Partial Pemi Loop, NH

Here are some photographs from a partial Pemigewasset Loop that my wife and I hiked this 7-8 August.
We hiked the loop in a counter-clockwise direction from Lincoln Woods trailhead, over Bondcliff, Mt. Bond,
Mt. Guyot, South Twin Mtn, Garfield, Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Lincoln, and exiting
down Falling Waters Trail from Little Haystack Mountain.
25 miles, 17 Hours in two days.

The first (roughly) 10km is pretty flat, on an old rail bed, and after a long but easy vertical kilometer, you emerge onto Bondcliff, In my head, I think of them as the Bond Cliffs, as they are on the shoulder of Mt. Bond, and therefore, I anthropomorphically ascribe ownership
of the cliffs to the body of Mt. Bond…in any case, here’s my wife in the classic cliche Bondcliff shot, but it’s an amazing spot everytime I go to it.

Standing out on the far rock is almost sure to make one take pause (it always totally terrifies me), and most people will not stand closer than about 1m from the edge.

Standing out on the far rock is almost sure to make one take pause (it always totally terrifies me), and most people will not stand closer than about 1m from the edge.

View from the Bondcliff "plank" ; from the hiker's perspective, it's not clear whether the far rock is held up by anything, and even though you know it is, there's a part of the brain that doesn't really trust the visual observation. I mean, one of these years, it will fall...

View from the Bondcliff “plank” ; from the hiker’s perspective, it’s not clear whether the far rock is held up by anything, and even though you know it is, there’s a part of the brain that doesn’t really trust the visual observation. I mean, one of these years, it will fall…

From Bondcliff, its uphill to Mt. Bond (elev 1,432 m), and then to Mt. Guyot (1,396 m), and then a 3 km walk through the woods to South Twin Mountain (1,494 m). From there, its a short but STEEP downhill to Galehead Hut, and then a slow but steady and then steep climb to Mt. Garfield (1,372 m). At the summit of Mt. Garfield there are panoramic views from an old fire tower’s foundation (from WhiteMountainHistory.org)

The 1938 Hurricane blew down thousands of acres of forest and many sections of the White Mountain National Forest were closed to public use because of the high fire hazard. Several new lookouts, guard stations, trails and roads were constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) at this time. The concrete foundation of the lookout on the summit of Mount Garfield is a stark reminder of that period. (Incidentally the outhouse for the Garfield Lookout is still standing and is a short distance north of the summit hidden by balsam fir trees. )

View of Owl's Head and the Franconia Range from the summit of Mt. Garfield.

View of Owl’s Head and the Franconia Range from the summit of Mt. Garfield.

From here, it was several kilometers unti the summit of Mt Lafayette (1,603.2 m) became visible.

First clear view of the Mt. Lafayette summit after emerging from the forested ridge connecting Mt. Garfield and Mt. Lafayette. Note the inherent fashionability of this NH hiker on his way to the summit.

First clear view of the Mt. Lafayette summit after emerging from the forested ridge connecting Mt. Garfield and Mt. Lafayette. Note the inherent fashionability of this NH hiker on his way to the summit.

Stunning views from the summit:

The view looking south along the Franconia Ridge from the summit of Mt. Lafayette.

The view looking south along the Franconia Ridge from the summit of Mt. Lafayette.

And then, a down and up to Mt. Lincoln before a final descent/ascent to Little Haystack:

Descending Mt. Lincoln toward Little Haystack Mtn.

Descending Mt. Lincoln toward Little Haystack Mtn.

All in all, a great hike in perfect weather conditions over two days — a rarity in the White Mountains!

Texture, Gesture, & Visual Thinking

Texture and Gesture, Wolf Neck Woods, Freeport, ME

J. S. Bach composed 6 little “praeludiums” (which I assume means “little preludes”) which I just love to play. The other day, I was playing one of my favorite ones in c minor (BWV 934) and had the wonderful experience of observing myself playing the piece (the same observer that watches one’s thoughts when sitting in meditation) and simultaneously (another observer?) experiencing the walking bass melody in visual terms. While playing, it was as if I was seeing the bass line bounce up and down harmonic hills. The odd and utterly amazing thing is experiencing all this while simultaneously playing the piece. Who is playing anyway?

More recently, Saturday evening I took a walk in Wolf Neck woods in Freeport, ME after a long week working on preparing for my fall semester. I then had a parallel experience of watching myself looking at things photographically. There is a definite visual dialog I have with myself. I have this running silent conversation as I frame and make an image.

I found that tonight, ┬ámy process was an initial visual attraction that would make me stop. Then I start framing an image. Why did I stop here? What’s the dominant theme here? How does this look? No, a little this way…look at the edges of the image..distracting element…reframe. And so on…sometimes this internal process would go on for quite some time. And it’s enjoyable to me. It’s fun to pay attention to your thoughts and feelings while making images.

Sometimes the dialog is short. See something, stop frame. Done. The above image is an example of this. I was immediately arrested by the gesture, and not until I opened up the image did I notice how important the texture of the image. If we’re good photographers, we’re thinking visually like this all the time. And this visual thinking is very much like the musical thinking I started off describing at the beginning of this post.