Monday, April 10, 2017

Remembering Trips to Maine's Allagash Wilderness Waterway

Maine’s Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) is often described as the prime jewel of Maine’s wilderness paradises. I have had the privilege of spending three different weeks, paddling and camping in this unique wilderness area.  Each of the three trips generally covered the same 100 or so-miles of the AWW watershed.

Each trip was planned and guided by Master Maine Guide, Linwood ”The Loon”. Of special significance to me, is that each trip included my son, Timothy. Good friends, John K, Joe R, and Harry, went on two of the trips. Dundee, Paul, Eric, Lennie C, Pat, Rick, Lennie #2, and Jim did one trip.

I composed this montage using pictures from the three trips. My initial goal was to create a 20” x 16” canvas to share AWW highlights in a manner all trip participants could relate to each trip.

I wanted each person on a trip to be in the canvas, and each picture had to generate a unique AWW memory.
The pictures
In the center is a map of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in northern Maine bordering Canada.  One of the exceptional themes about the Allagash is it flows northeast.

  1.  Linwood and Betty (upper left).  Betty did not go on the trips, BUT, without her behind-the scenes work beginning months before the actual trip, and then the after-trip cleaning and repacking of equipment, these trips could not have happened.  Think of the time it takes to prepare food for a weeklong trip for six to eight people.  Examples of the meals were lobster, steak, breakfast choices, “How do you want your eggs prepared?”, and campfire charcoal stuffed Cornish hen in a can with peas, potatoes and onions – one can for each of us!
  2. Truly we experienced five-star meals. Packing seven days of three meals a day – in coolers (upper right) named for the rivers Linwood and Betty have paddled.  And the coolers contained no ice!)
  3.  Chase Rapids (below Linwood and Betty) is five miles of class 2 rapids. This picture shows us transferring our gear from our canoes to a ranger van at the head of the rapids.  We paddled through the rapids without fear of losing our gear.
  4. Tim and Steve paddling over Long Lake Dam.  Think of the portage time we saved!
  5. Bottom Left – the 2001 crew after a week in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway
  6.  A selfie as the 2001 crew enjoy morning coffee at Round Pond. We are looking at two moose across the Pond.
  7. A mother and her calf viewed on our 2009 trip.  We stopped counting moose at 25!
  8.  Bottom center. Our 2001 trip experienced a canoe rescue in the middle of Eagle Lake.  Fortunately, “The Loon” in a prior trip had us practice canoe rescues – and within 5 minutes after this trip’s spill, our trip continued, losing only a six pack of diet soda.
  9.   “The three cousins” at the top of 40-foot Allagash Falls.
  10.  Bottom Right.  Two rusted locomotives from 1900 used for transferring logs from one lake to another to the Penobscot River paper mills.
  11. Paul and Dundee experience spruce gum.  All first-timers on our trips must experience spruce gum – as chewed by local Abenaki Indians.
  12. Crew poses with canoes for the Father-son 2009 trip (plus driver friends to take us to the put-in and then drive onto the town of Allagash to leave trucks for us to drive back at end of trip).
  13. Middle right.  The 1998 crew before Leaving the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
  14. The eagles were always plentiful.  A joy to experience our national bird.
  15. The steak (plus one hotdog for Dundee)
  16. Folgers Black Silk coffee.  Steve always had one cup of chocolate for breakfast. The rest of the crew would have one or two cups of coffee. The morning routine was to have breakfast with coffee, stow our gear and pack the canoes, and after checking the campsite was without trash (leave it better than we found it), and the fire was out and watered down, we put-in our canoes and away we paddle.  Well, on this trip, after the coffee pot was empty, we made second pot for all.  Our put-in for a long-day of paddling was getting delayed because of Folger's Black Silk!
    On the third morning, Steve began to wonder why everyone was having a third cup of coffee.  So, Steve decided to skip his chocolate and instead have a cup of coffee – and he had one cup – then a 2nd cup, and then a 3rd cup.  The Folger’s Black Silk was delicious.  On all our outdoor trips since, Folger’s Black Silk is a MUST.

For more Allagash videos and stories by OutdoorSteve:
  • The Ballad of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway
    This  Allagash Wilderness Waterway Ballad video was prepared from participants’ memorable moments of expeditions guided by Registered Master Maine Guide Linwood Parsons and his wife Betty.
·    Reflections on the Allagash by Timothy PriestTim has been on many wilderness paddling trips guided by Master Maine Guide Linwood “The Loon” Parsons and his wife Betty “The Chickadee”. Tim shares his reflections of Linwood and Betty and his seven Maine North Woods trips.
·    The Allagash Wilderness Waterway: A Father-Son PaddleTen of us just returned from paddling the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) in northern Maine. The 100 or so miles of the AWW is composed of streams, rivers, and lakes. This was a father-son trip with four dads and five sons. Linwood "Loon" Parsons ( was our guide. Loon’s knowledge of the history and special sites around the Allagash meant many side trips and unique Allagash lore.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Never say, “I wish I had visited the Ice Castle in Lincoln, New Hampshire

The Ice Castle is located on the west end of the Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

The Ice Castle web site is  Below is a short video of our trip.

As I shared the above video among friends, I keep getting one inquisitive question on our Ice Castle visit. "Will icicles fall on me? Here is a picture I took looking up at hanging icicles as we roam in the Ice Castle:

Below is the answer I copied from the Ice Castles web site Frequently Asked Questions (

"There are several reasons why Icicles at the Ice Castle do not have these problems, and do not fall like icicles attached to a roof:

  • Icicles at the Ice Castle are attached to ice. This means there is no weak point (i.e. a roof) limiting the strength of the structure.
  • Connection points of icicles at the Ice Castle are proportional to the icicle. This means that the base of the icicle at the Ice Castle is the strongest, because it is the largest in mass and diameter.
  • There is no dark material at the base of all the icicles at the Ice Castle that will heat up and cause melting.
  • When Icicles at the Ice Castle melt, they melt per the laws of nature. This means that the smallest parts of the icicle melt first and it will take more time for the ice in the center of the icicle to melt. On a warm day, the icicles will melt from the bottom up. The smallest parts of the icicles will drip and turn to slush. The slush at the end may fall in small pieces. Guests visiting on days where the temperature is sunny and above freezing will get dripped on, and occasionally small masses of slush will fall."
We know icicles attached to roofs in New Hampshire may be dangerously heavy and knife shaped. You most assuredly do not want to be under a falling icicle. The FAQ explains roof attached icicles:
"Icicles attached to roofs almost always will fall. There are several reasons that Icicles attached to man-made structures will fall. Here are some of them:
The connection point of the icicles to the roof is inherently weak and it is usually not proportional to the icicle.
·         The connection point of the icicle (dark shingles) absorbs heat from the sun and causes that point to melt first.

·         The icicles usually fall when the weather warms up. The way it happens is that snow on the roof melts causing water to run past the small connection points of icicles causing melting at the base of icicles attached to roofs. The base of the icicle (which is usually smaller in mass, diameter, and width) melts faster than the large hanging portions of the icicles and the icicles fall."

Making Maintenance Ice

How do they make Ice Castles?
I found a video from 2015 showing how the Lincoln Ice Castle is made:

"Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
    Steve's 5th book, Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II, is now available (2016).  

    Outdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send Steve an email and we can work out the logistics.

    Order books at:

    Sunday, December 4, 2016

    The Progress Report Live by Mike Farley - An Interview with Outdoor Steve

    Mike Farley, Manchester Community Television (MCTV) producer and weekly co-host of The Progress Report Live, asked Steve to join him on his weekly one hour TV show and discuss Steve's New Hampshire outdoor experiences.

    Steve shared his mission to motivate and encourage families and individuals to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.  Steve outlined his approach in “Making the outdoors a lifestyle for the long haul.” 

    Below is a 50-minute video of The Progress Report Live, November 16, 2016.  Steve and Mike chatted on:
    •  “Everyone should believe in something … I believe I will go OUTDOORS!”
    •  Never say, “I wish I had …”.
    •  Up is optional – Down is Mandatory.
    •  Down is Option – Up is Mandatory.
    •  How to get started in becoming an outdoor enthusiast.
    •  Steve’s latest New Hampshire outdoor activity.
    •  One of Steve’s favorite New Hampshire outdoor trips – the Great North Woods of NH.
    •  Steve’s outdoor books offer references and galore for New Hampshire outdoors fun.
    • Steve’s e-book versions have videos of Steve with his family and friends in their many New Hampshire outdoor adventures.
    • Steve’s hard cover and e-books can be found at


    "Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
    Steve's 5th book, Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II, is now available (2016).  

    Outdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send Steve an email send Steve an email  and we can work out the logistics.

    Order books at:

    Tuesday, November 8, 2016

    Bagging Two New Hampshire Four-Thousand Footers in Two Days: Mt Tecumseh and Mt Osceola

    My long term adventurer friend John called and asked if I wanted to hike two days in early November in the White Mountains of New Hampshire   He had picked Mt Tecumseh and Mt Osceola, both in the Waterville Valley area, and both described as moderate 4,000-foot mountain hikes.  

    Two-days and Two Four-Thousand Footers
     Mt Tecumseh and Mt Osceola
    Timothy, my son and fellow long-term adventurer, and his friend Rob would be joining us for the Tecumseh hike.

    Day 1 - Mt Tecumseh

    A Selfie at Mt Tecumseh Trailhead
    Mt Tecumseh is 4,003 feet, and the shortest of the 48 New Hampshire 4,000 foot mountains.

    The Mount Tecumseh trail ascends Mt Tecumseh, starting at the Waterville Valley Ski area with the trailhead at the top right edge of the parking area.  It climbs the east slope of Tecumseh.

    Starting at the trailhead sign we used exposed boulders and rocks to cross a small brook and follow the south side of Tecumseh Brook for 0.3mi., then crossed the brook again to a section along a small ridge.  At 1.1 mi., the rock bound trail drops down and recrosses the brook, then climbs to intersect an old logging road.  A view sign points to the edge of the ski slope for good views of the North and Middle Tripyramid Mountains.

    Continuing upward on the rocky trail, we began to get sights of snow and ice. We carried crampons/micro spikes, but we did not put them on.  Not wearing our spikes was a a bit foolish because it would have made our hike a bit more sure-footed.

    Boulders, snow, and ice beginning at 1 mile
    The main trail turns right and follows the rock-strewn road, angling upward along the south side of the Tecumseh Brook valley, then climbs steadily to the main ridge crest south of Tecumseh, where it turns right in a flat area.  Here at 2.2 mi. the Sosman Trail enters from the left. 

    We were not sure whether to follow the Sosman Trail to the summit, or the Mount Tecumseh Trail, as both arrive at the summit.  We referenced our notes from the AMC White Mountain book, and decided on the Mt Tecumseh Trail.

    At this fork we took the Mt Tecumseh Trail as it swings right, descends slightly to circle the base of the steep cone, and finally climbs steeply to reach the summit from the north at 2. 5 miles from the trailhead.

    The summit offers a majestic view of 6,288 foot snow-capped Mt Washington, the only mountain covered with a snow.  We also saw neighboring Mt Osceola, which we will hike the next day,

    Snow-covered Mt Washington viewed from Mt Tecumseh

    The White Mountain guide says our trip should average 2 hr. 20 min.  We took 3 hr., with me continually pulling up the rear of our four pack.

    Mt. Tecumseh - Sosman Trail
    We decided to return to our parking area from the summit by the Sosman Trail, which connects the summit of Tecumseh with the top of the Waterville Valley ski slopes. The Sosman trail sign is clear with an arrow, and leaves the summit along the ridge to the south, then turns to the west and switches down the slope with rough snow-ice footing around the rocky nose of the ridge.  It merges to the right onto the Mt Tecumseh Trail at .2 mi., then after 120 yd., the Sosman diverges right and follows the ridge south. At .4 mi, it climbs a rocky hump with an interesting view of the Tecumseh summit cone, of which we just came.  And just beyond was another excellent view from a rustic wooden bench of snow-covered Mt Washington.  The trail runs south nearly along the ridge, bearing right at .8 mi, and emerging beneath a Waterville Valley Ski transmission towner, and the trail comes out to the top of a chairlift.  We are about 1.8 mi., from our parking area. 

    The White Mountain Guide books says the Sosman Trail to the ski slopes to the parking area averages 1hr 45 min.  We took 2 hr.  Our quads down the ski slopes were unforgiving with cramps and pain.  We all agreed, next time no exit via for ski slope hike.

    We found the New England Hiking site to be an excellent reference in preparing our hike.

    Day 2 Mt Osceola
    Mount Osceola is a 4,315-foot mountain located in Lincoln, New Hampshire within a few miles and view of Mt Tecumseh.  Mount Osceola is named after a Native American Tribe leader, Osceola.

    The Osceola Trail begins at a parking area on Tripoli Rd.  Unfortunately, the only two signs we saw were the Parking area sign and the Trail head sign - both in the same area.  After the hike started, including our reaching the summit, we saw no trail signs.

    The trail leaves Tripoli Rd. and climbs moderately with rocky footing.  At 1.3 mi. It begins to climb by switchbacks toward the ridge top.

    At 2.1 mi, a ledge on the left was noted in our notes for a view of Sandwich Mountain, but we did not see any going up or coming back. 

    At 2.3 mi. we crossed a small brook. The trail resumed in switchbacks, gains the summit ridge and turns right, and soon reaches the summit ledge at 3.2 mi, with excellent views, BUT today the summit was fogged in. 

    There used to be a fire lookout tower at the summit, but was removed in the 1970s. The only remaining signs are three one-foot cement footings. The summit is a large rock slab which is perfect to grab lunch or hang out!

    Summit Mt Osceola

    We learned our lesson from the Mt Tecumseh hike, and we wore our spikes going down the same trail we came up.

    A fogged in Osceola Summit

    On our trip we met heavy fog at the summit, and missed the views of Osceola, Mount Washington, and other surrounding 4,000 plus footers.

    Day 1 Mt Tecumseh
    • Elevation: 4,003 feet (1,220 meters)
    • Waterville Valley, NH (Grafton County, NH)
    • Sandwich Range of White Mountains
    • Coordinates: 43°57.99' North     71°33.40' West
    • Features: Cascades, Waterville Valley Ski Area, Limited Summit Views, Loop Hike
    • Distance of highlighted hike: 5.2 miles
    • Shortest mountain on the AMC's official 4,000 footers list.
    • The mountain is named after the Native American Tribe, Shawnee.

    Day 2 – Mt Osceola
           Elevation: 4,315 feet (1,315 meters)
           Lincoln, NH (Grafton County, New Hampshire)
           Range: Sandwich Range
           Coordinates: 44°0'5.81" North     71°32'8.21" West
           Brooks, Cascades, Limited Summit View,
           The mountain is named after a Native American Tribe chief.


    1.     Osceola
    2.       New England Hiking
    3.        New England Hiking
    6.        White Mountain Guide 28th Edition Compiled and edited by Gene Daniel and Steven D. Smith.  Appalachian Mountain Club Books, Boston, Massachusetts, 2007


      "Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

      My fifth book, Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II, can be ordered by clicking  OutdoorSteve.comOutdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will be great to motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send me an email and we can work out the logistics. Amazon has a special where you can order the paperbook and the e-book comes free! Hmm, use the paperbook for bathroom reading – and the ebook as a reference book with links for on-line references, places to go, and videos for bucket list musts! or

    Monday, August 29, 2016

    Rowing Lessons with Lake Sunapee Rowing Club

    A proud father and grandfather shares videos of his two sons and grandson taking July 2016 and July 2015 rowing lessons from the Lake Sunapee Rowing Club  (LSRC

    The 2016 day's class was for the doubles scull and the singles scull. The LSRC provides the boats (also known as shells). 

    Lake Sunapee Eight plus Coxswain on Lake Sunapee with Mt Sunapee in background
    Our coach, Brenda, is just an amazing instructor with knowledge, skills, and a lot of patience.  Brenda makes the classes fun with personal instruction for each student, and a wealth of education on learning the language and techniques of rowing. 

    Tim and Carson did the doubles scull, while Shaun did the singles scull. Coach Brenda motored between the two sculls given each one immediate feedback.  In addition, while Brenda counseled Shaun and Tim at the end of the evening, she had Carson get into a single scull, and with a brief tutorial, Carson was sent on his way into Lake Sunapee to adjust to the single scull.  After Brenda's session with Shaun and Tim, she rowed in a single scull beside Carson to instruct him in his first single scull lesson.

    See a nine minute video of this 2 hour lesson by Coach Brenda.

    In 2015 Tim and Carson, and friend Nicholas, took lessons in the Eight plus coxswain boat with LSRC.  Below is a 5 minute video of the 2 hour lesson.

    Now, Shaun, Tim, Carson and Nicholas have experienced lessons offered by the Lake Sunapee Rowing Club.

    So where is OutdoorSteve in his rowing this year?
    •    I had the privilege of participating in the 2016 Prouty Rowing doubles rowing event on the Connecticut River starting at the Dartmouth College boat house. As representatives of the Lake Sunapee Rowing Club, my teammate Dave and I, under the excellent tutelage of LSRC coaches, trained for the month of June and early July for two hours every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.
    •    Along with the Prouty training, a friend asked if I wanted his unused single scull. His offer was readily accepted, and from June till the middle of September, I managed to do a one-hour every other day row in my single scull.  The very positive results of this committed training will be discussed in a future blog. 


    Single Scull



    Eight Plus

    What is Rowing/Crew?

    Here is the definition by River City Crew: The term "crew" is often used when talking about rowing. This term is commonly misused, so this may clarify the truths of the names of the sport. "Crew", as a noun, can refer to either the people in a specific high school or collegiate rowing boat or the entire sport of rowing in high school or college. The term "crew team" is redundant and is not properly used. After college, the term "crew" is no longer used to describe the sport or people in a boat, and "rowing team" or "rowing club" is proper. In the sport of rowing, "crew" is never, ever properly used as a verb, i.e., one does not "go crewing", rather one would "go rowing". When in doubt, the noun "rowing team" or verb "rowing" will always be correct when describing the sport.
    Rowing is truly a sport which can be done throughout one's lifetime.
    Other Rowing Blog Posts by OutdoorSteve

    Steve's 5th book, Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II, is now available (2016).  Order by clicking

    Outdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send Steve an email send Steve an email  and we can work out the logistics. Order at