Sunday, September 3, 2017

107.7 Radio interview with Ela Ramsey aka Pearl Monroe - September 6, 2017

Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS). 

Had a wonderful interview September 6, 2017 with Ela Ramsey aka "The Pearl Monroe" of WTPL 107.7 FM

Readers interested in more information in ORFS can contact The Chapin Center web site or the below telephone number
37 Pleasant St
New London, NH

I was thrilled to share my latest New Hampshire outdoor discovery with Pearl and her listeners. The below pictures and short videos will give you a taste of two of our Tuesday paddling encounters.

In July, my wife Catherine and I joined a most fascinating group of kayakers, hikers, and bicyclists, in the greater Lake Sunapee area. They call themselves Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS). And their mantra is “Make weekly outdoor exercise with us your joyful resolution. Join us each Tuesday at 10 am.”

I learned about ORFS from the monthly newsletter of the Kearsarge Council on Aging (COA) with headquarters located in New London, NH at the Chapin Center. The Kearsarge COA includes nine towns in Sullivan and Merrimack counties [Andover, Danbury, Grantham, Newbury, New London, Springfield, Sunapee, Sutton, and Wilmot]. The attendees at the Tuesday 10 am paddles and hikes are not limited to residency in these two counties.

Attendance at the Tuesday 10 am paddling and hiking welcomes all active paddlers and hikers 50 to 90-years young.

When someone says, “I am too old”, then they do not belong with my young friends and me!  

The ORFS monthly email schedule lists “every Tuesday” paddles and hikes on different lakes and ponds including lake descriptions and directions for our put-ins.  While there is no cost to join ORFS, you do need your own kayak (and paddles and life preservers).  Bring water for thirst when paddling, a small lunch for post paddling, and a small chair.

I do get asked if kayaking novices can come.  My quick response is no.  But, I would suggest if an interested person with no paddling experience wants to learn kayaking to attend the ORFS Tuesday paddles, they call the COA (603-526-6368) and ask if an ORFS member might give individual instruction to them.

This summer ORFS paddled nine lakes/rivers:
  •        Pleasant Lake (New London),
  •        Little Lake Sunapee (New London),
  •        Goose Pond (Canaan),
  •        Highland Lake (East Andover),
  •        Grafton Pond (Grafton).
  •        Lake Kolelemook (Springfield),
  •        Lake Sunapee (Sunapee)
  •        Otter Pond (Sunapee)
  •        Ompomysonsoosac River & Connecticut River - Norwich, VT.

When we paddled Little Lake Sunapee, it was so hot that we stopped paddling for a bit and went for a swim. We were certainly a motley group as some had “official bathing suits, and others went swimming in their street paddling clothes.  No matter, we all had a great time.

Attendees of these outdoor adventures come from all over the state including Vermont. As the weather changes the group does more hikes as well as snowshoe and cross-country skiing.

ORFS meets every Tuesday (year-round, weather permitting) to do an outdoor activity for two or more hours.  Their mantra is, “Make weekly outdoor exercise with us your joyful resolution. Join us each Tuesday at 10 am.”   

Kayaking and hiking occur at the same time with starts in the same area.  Our recent choice of sport has been kayaking.  When weather makes kayaking too cold we will start hiking.

AND there are two biking groups that ride every Thursday. One group pedals moderately and the other calls themselves “Slower Spokes for Older Folks”. Miles differ depending on the routes, but can sometimes exceed 20 miles.

As you know I am also a biker, and I plan to pedal with these cyclist in the fall.

Summary Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS)
The Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) group at the COA is made up of numerous high-energy seniors whose hiking, alpine and nordic skiing, kayaking and snowshoeing activities would put many younger persons to shame.  The ORFS is active throughout the year.

So, not only are Cathy and I getting outdoors regularly, we have a schedule planned for ever Tuesday throughout the year!!  No more excuses, “I wish I had known …”

“Make weekly outdoor exercise with us your joyful resolution. Join us each Tuesday at 10 am.”

You may ask, "Why have you not been biking?"  Well, my summer has been busy with other outdoor commitments.  I average running 3 days a week.  I have a 22’ single rowing scull, and I row another two days a week on Perkins Pond.  Plus, I am also an acitve member of the Lake Sunapee Rowing Club, and they have evening lessons for me to learn to progress in my single sculling technique. I also have an opportunity to improve my rowing skills in the doubles, quad, and eight-person (plus coxswain) boats.

[In rowing, the coxswain sits in either the bow or the stern of the boat (depending on the type of boat) while verbally and physically controlling the boat's steering, speed, timing and fluidity. The primary duty of a coxswain is to ensure the safety of those in the boat. In a race setting, the coxswain is tasked with motivating the crew as well as steering as straight a course as possible to minimize the distance to the finish line. Coxswains are also responsible for knowing proper rowing technique and running drills to improve technique.
A coxswain is the coach in the boat, in addition to following the orders of the team coach, the coxswain is connected to the way the boat feels, what's working, what needs to be changed, and how. A successful coxswain must keep track of the drill, time, pace, words of the coach, feel of the boat, direction of the boat, and safety. During a race, a coxswain is responsible for steering, calling the moves, and responding to the way the other boats are moving. Success depends on the physical and mental strength of the rowers, ability to respond to the environment, and the way in which the coxswain motivates the rowers, not only as individuals but as members of the crew. ]


I know there is only 7 days in a week.  However, my wife has become an avid golfer, and we have been playing golf nine holes about once a week.  I do take days off occasionally and I double up activities. Yesterday I rowed for an hour, and then we played nine holes of golf.

In July, I also learned the game of pickleball on a week’s visit to my nephew’s wedding in California.

[Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of badmintontennis, and table tennis. T[wo, three, or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a wiffle ball, over a net. The sport shares features of other racquet sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules similar to tennis, with a few modifications. Pickleball was invented in the mid 1960s as a children's backyard pastime but has become popular among adults as well.]

What is the difference between a lake and a pond?
Interestingly, I frequently get asked “What is the difference between a lake and a pond?”  As taken from the New Hampshire Environmental Fact Sheet:

The term "lake" or "pond" as part of a waterbody name is arbitrary and not based on any specific naming convention. In general, lakes tend to be larger and/or deeper than ponds, but numerous examples exist of "ponds" that are larger and deeper than "lakes." For example, Echo "Lake" in Conway is 14 acres in surface area with a maximum depth of 11 feet, while Island "Pond" in Derry is nearly 500 acres and 80 feet deep. Names for lakes and ponds generally originated from the early settlers living near them, and the use of the terms "lake" and "pond" was completely arbitrary. Many have changed names through the years, often changing from a pond to a lake with no change in size or depth. Often these changes in name were to make the area sound more attractive to perspective home buyers. Examples of ponds that are now called lakes include Mud Pond to Mirror Lake in Canaan, Mosquito Pond to Crystal Lake in Manchester and Dishwater Pond to Mirror Lake in Tuftonboro.


Rowing Blog Posts by OutdoorSteve

"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   

    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:

    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: