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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Winter in Fast Forward Photo Form

This winter was a scary one.

Tons of snow, tons of cold. Remember the ARCTIC BLASTS?! I remember when it was below 0 for a week. I took a screenshot of what it was one night in Williston, VT, and it was -11, while feeling like -33. I remember walking outside in Maine when it was -14 I think. -14 is cold. 

I'm gonna blast through pretty much all of winter with this post. I don't know why I'm still trying to catch up, but fuck it. I'm still trying to catch up. 

I went to Maine for Christmas and although it was a quiet Christmas, it was nice to be home.

My parents picked a beautiful tree that I decorated beautifully.

This was pretty cool. I randomly went downstairs at one point and saw something moving in the yard. We had a nice little staring contest.

A highlight of Maine was when it rained for most of the 2 days before Christmas, then got cold. It created this:

I took a billion pictures, but that's my favorite. Then on Christmas, it snowed, creating this:

So awesome. 

When I drove from Maine back to NH to do our roommate Christmas, I talked to my boss on the phone. He told me what the "special gift" we had been promised was. Through 5 years of working at Apple, I got an ipod Shuffle one year. After being at Lycos for 3 months, I got a freaking ipad:

so awesome

Our roommate Christmas was absolutely fantastic. I want to post a million pictures, but it's August and I'm trying to catch up. And some of the pics have some incriminating stuff. We had a great night, opening presents for hours, listening to Christmas carols. We got Chinese food. Our tree was absolutely magnificent. 

In fact, our whole setup was. Even Irwin got a stocking!


This winter, I finally visited Stonehouse Pond. It looked awesome.

As did the Somersworth river walk.

I took this from inside my car in Winchester. I love the mess of my car window.

This was taken in the NH house, from the weeks of freezing. All our windows froze. This was looking out at the streetlights:

And this was taken in the back parking lot in NH:

As per usual, I got real anxiety ridden and somewhat depressed this winter. I just can't deal with a world without sun and outdoor activities. But this year was a little bit better because of Blue Job. 
I decided to try to stay active, both to keep in somewhat shape, and also to attempt to ward off said depression. I never really do anything in the winter because I always feel like I get sick as soon as I start exercising in the cold. I still am not great at being able to breathe if it gets too cold, but this year I decided to go with the theory that it's actually staying inside all winter that makes people sick, and I forced myself to hike every weekend that I could, even if it was just tiny little Blue Job, just to get as much fresh air as I could get. 

Through going there in late November all the way until April, I truly saw and experienced all of the winter season. And it helped me mentally in immense ways. Whatever was going on in my life that was stressing me out, I found absolute solace in just walking through snow and cold to the top of Blue Job, smoking a little, and wandering around playing air guitar and listening to pretty much nothing but Gates' You Are All You Have Left To Fear, Dorena's Nuet, and Caspian's Hymn For The Greatest Generation. Those albums meant the world to me all winter and will forever bring back images from Blue Job. 

This winter made Blue Job mean more to me than I ever thought it could, and I plan on hiking it in winter every year and listening to those albums. Here's some of my favorite pictures from my Blue Job treks:

From a small stream, right as winter started to kick in:

From early December I think. I love this little pond:

Once winter kicked in, the trails started getting a bit rough, especially without snowshoes. But I fought my way up every time:

The end of the trail is awesome- it's nothing but stick trees against white snow, and it's quite the sight at sunset.

This was from the top of Blue Job, the one time I didn't make it to the top. This was after I didn't hike for a few weeks and it snowed a lot. I've never had more difficulty hiking in my life. Right away, the snow was higher than normal, and I stupidly went my usual long route to the fire tower, cutting through the woods to the second peak. I shouldn't have done it- nearly the entire trip from the fire tower to what I call the top of Blue Job (but which is really another mountain) was packed snow, which meant sometimes I'd step and sink an inch or two, and sometimes I went to my crotch. Hiking up one section, I ended up just lying down and crawling because my legs were sinking so much. It was EXHAUSTING. I made it up to the last section and the snow had been blown into cool patterns. I thought it looked like mountains from far away. I finally had to turn back at that point. Maybe I need to buy snow shoes next year.

I would often just hike around rocks so I'd have something solid to stand on:

Once the pond froze over, it made for great pics. And a great memory of finally deciding to trust the ice and running around and sliding on it like I used to do when I was a kid. It still felt great. I may have to bring ice skates up with me next year.

There were days where my beard was complete ice. Although Blue Job is small, it gets a LOT of wind, and the top was always a tundra. It's hard to really put it into words, but hiking up here in the winter was truly a movie experience. The feeling I get from hiking alone in deep woods in the summer or fall is great, but it's more about beautiful views and the pretty music I listen to creating a soundscape for a view. In the winter, through the crunching of my boots on ice and the stinging wind in my face, it was truly an epic journey just to hike up to this tiny summit. And listening to beautiful instrumental music made me feel like I was in Alaska, hiking to the top of some grand mountain by myself, the only survivor who made it this far. I'd come back to my car sweaty, face still somewhat frozen with a melted ice beard, tired only the way you can feel after fighting your way through an end of the world frozen tundra, and I'd feel like I was just in a different world completely. 

As hard as it can be and as much as it can hurt, I now see the appeal of winter hiking. Your world really is like nothing else when you're out there.

This winter was big for me because of all of this. It further reaffirmed that outside on mountaintops is where I should be.

My last picture is probably my favorite from this winter. When I left family time in Maine to head back to the real world, I saw what looked like it would be a nice sunset starting to form. I drove down to my Great Aunt's summer house, a place I haven't been in probably 10 years, knowing if I was going to catch it, it would be on their beach. Their road had been plowed, but obviously nobody had shoveled anything around the house. I sludged through a waist-high snowbank and a foot plus of snow past that to get to the beach, and was met with this view:

Maybe winter isn't that bad after all. 

currently listening to: Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson- Self Titled