Friday, January 24, 2020

Snowshoeing on the Libby Hill Trail With Lori Watts

A little video my friend made of our adventure on Libby Hill Trail, my first time on snowshoes! You can subscribe to my friend Cheryl's (trail name Bionic Yowie) YouTube channel and get a preview of many, many trails in Maine & New Hampshire.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

First Time on Snowshoes!

I grew up in Maine, but until yesterday I had never snowshoe'd. I never skied growing up either; I guess my parents weren't big on winter sports. I put on snowshoes for the first time yesterday, and now I see what I was missing!

It was only 19° yesterday, so I dressed carefully: tights & leggings under my jeans, a long-sleeved shirt under a thick wool sweater; hat-scarf-gloves; and a down jacket. Double socks and good boots. Between that and the exertion, I was not even a little cold on the trail. 
Yowie (foreground) and me

My high-school best friend, trail name Bionic Yowie, is a committed hiker, and she wouldn't let a little winter stop her. Lucky for me she has extra equipment! She dug up poles & shoes, and an extra pack ( I had one but didn't know I'd need it), a fleece, and made sure we both had water. Yowie is training to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, so she is in the habit of very thorough preparation! Me, I brought...the chapstick.

Our trail was the Libby Hills Forest Trail in Poland (that would be Poland, Maine) , home of many nice hiking trails. Yowie helped me get the shoes on (the hardest part, tbh) and off we went! It was easier than I thought: I would put the effort level at Shoveling Fluffy Snow. I got winded and a little sweaty, but nothing I couldn't deal with just by stopping to rest & drinking some water, and I'm not especially athletic. 

Here's me grinning like a fool! A happy fool tho

The trail through snow-covered woods, over a brook, and up & down a ridge, was incredibly beautiful, and silent in the way the winter woods sometimes are; not much moving, and the snow muffles sound anyway. The trickle of the stream under thin ice was musical. There is a lot to be stressed about, in the world; a snowy woods is a good place to be free of it, for a spell.  

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

All of us at the House of Many Cats want to wish you joy in the New Year! May the world get better in 2020.
With love,

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Day of the Dad

It is said that in November the veil between the world of the living and that of the dead grows thin. In Mexico, November 2nd is the Day of the Dead, a festive celebration to pray for and remember loved ones who have died. I admire this tradition, as the taboo of death in American culture makes loss and grief more isolating.

I'm not especially religious, nor do I subscribe to any woo-woo philosophies. Despite efforts to embrace both of those idea sets at different times in my life, my thinking remains pretty firmly evidence-based. That said, no one can say for sure if there is or isn't a next life, and it can be a comfort to think there might be; that out loved ones are not lost to us forever.

My Dad passed on January 1st, 2001, a single day into the new millennium, by some accounting. If time is a dimension, like spatial dimensions, in a way he is not gone, like a person who is spatially out of sight is not gone. Anyway, sometimes I want to talk to him. I can do that anywhere, I suppose; if there is a next world it's unlikely our spirits would be tied to the resting place of our physical bones. Nevertheless, sometimes I go to the Scarborough Marsh, where we scattered his ashes, to visit. I stand on the footbridge and talk. The first few times I felt silly, but it comes more naturally to me now.
I visit a few times a year, kind of randomly; a couple years ago, I did because we were having a solar eclipse, and my dad was blessed with a great intellectual curiosity, and I deeply wished he were there to see it with me. 
It's a beautiful place, never more so than on a sunny day in late autumn, when the colors are gold an
bronze vibrating against the blue sky and water. It's accessible via the old Eastern Road, now a bike/walking trail with entry points at Black Point Road and at Pine Point Road, among several others (it's a pretty long trail, nearly 30 miles from South Portland to Kennebunk.) It's a flat, easy trail - easy to walk or jog, and you can ride a street bike on it, and it takes you through some of the most beautiful landscape in Southern Maine.
Don't let your outdoor activities end in September! Late fall landscapes have an austere beauty all their own, and cooler temps are quite conducive to delightful hikes.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Sometimes you're driving down a road in Maine...

...and the cars ahead swerve out of their lane, but you can't see anything in the road. When you get up there, you see why: a snapping turtle is trying to cross!

This happened to us on Saturday. I find them to be fearsome beasts; luckily Doug is braver than I & gave this grande dame a lift across the road. If there was any doubt where the name comes from, it became very obvious, as she tried her damndest to bite his fingers off. He lifted her by placing his hands as far back on her shell as possible, just forward of her hind legs, and still she almost got him.

Once safely across the road, she continued to glare (in a dignified way) but stayed long enough for a photo before lumbering away.