Sunday, June 30, 2024

On the evening of June 29, 2024, the town of Sunapee, NH, chose an innovative and eco-friendly way to celebrate the Independence of the United States by hosting a spectacular drone show instead of traditional fireworks. This decision, spearheaded by Keith Rodrigue, aimed to protect the pristine waters of the class 1 Lake Sunapee from contamination. The night sky transformed into a canvas of vibrant patriotic displays, with drones creating intricate animations of the American flag, stars, and other celebratory symbols. The breathtaking visual spectacle was accompanied by a harmonious musical backdrop, offering the community a mesmerizing and environmentally conscious tribute to Independence Day.

The crowd gathered in awe as the drones performed a synchronized dance, illuminating the night with vivid colors and intricate patterns. This modern celebration not only showcased technological prowess but also highlighted the town’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty. Families and friends enjoyed the festivities, marveling at the creativity and precision of the drone choreography. The event was a resounding success, leaving attendees with a renewed sense of patriotism and appreciation for innovative, sustainable celebrations.


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

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Monday, April 8, 2024

The Thrill of Dragon Boat Racing

 During my volunteer work at the Sarasota Invitational Regatta (SIR) at Nathan Benderson Park, I encountered Rickard, a fellow US Army veteran, adorned with a cap bearing the Army insignia. Our shared background quickly led to a conversation about our interests in the SIR, during which Rickard introduced me to the exhilarating world of Dragon Boat racing—a sport I was about to dive into headfirst.

Compelled by my mantra 'Never say I wish I had...,' and despite my extensive background in various paddling sports, I realized I knew nothing about dragon boats. Eager to expand my horizons, I took Rickard up on his offer for a lesson just two days later, embarking on a journey into a new paddling style.

Below, you'll find a 30-second video showcasing a Dragon Boat practice session, expertly captured by NP Paddling Coach, Angela.

Notice there are two types of dragon boats here. One has 20 rowers sitting two to a seat, plus a steerer. The second type has ten rowers, two to a seat, steerer, and a drummer.

This video offers a glimpse into the dynamic world of dragon boat racing.

Can you spot OutdoorSteve in the light purple hat, red life jacket, and sitting on the far side of the closest boat, third-row seat in front of the steerer(be sure to click Full Screen)?

( I edited the below from Nicholas Anderson's, "Exploring the History, culture, and evolution behind this dynamic water sport.")

Dragon boat racing, an ancient Chinese tradition, has evolved into a global phenomenon. The sport originates from the heroic tale of Qu Yuan, integrating cultural significance with the thrill of competition. Today, dragon boats, recognized by their distinctive designs and dragon head adornments, symbolize power, honor, and fortune. Despite its ancient roots, dragon boating has seen a resurgence as a competitive sport and team-building activity, thanks in part to the efforts of the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) established in 1991 to standardize the sport and foster international competition.
For many years, the sport was a leisurely pastime across the world, used primarily as a team-building exercise for various organizations. It has only been in recent years that national dragon boat federations that race have attempted to coordinate to standardize the sport.

Additionally, they are typically custom-built so that they can be properly fitted with the dragon’s head and other traditional details that adorn the hull. Because of these requirements, dragon boats are difficult to build, making them relatively expensive and difficult to find.

Dragon Boat’s main feature is the distinctive long, vibrantly painted rowboat, ceremoniously adorned with a large dragon’s head when in a race. This well-known iconography of the dragon in Chinese culture is associated with power, honor, and good fortune. These ornately carved wooden heads that sit prominently at the bow.

See the Dragon Head

Embarking on the dragon boat journey not only introduced me to a new realm of paddling but also deepened my appreciation for the sport's rich cultural heritage. As I continue to paddle and compete, I'm reminded of the community and camaraderie that dragon boating fosters, uniting paddlers from diverse backgrounds and ages in pursuit of speed, teamwork, and tradition.

Nathan Benderson Park (NBP)


1. From Ancient Tradition to Modern Sport: The Thrill of Dragon Boat Racing – The Science Survey  From Ancient Tradition to Modern Sport: The Thrill of Dragon Boat Racing

2. NBP Paddling Program

3.      Exploring the history, culture, and evolution behind this dynamic water sport. Nicholas Anderson, Staff Reporter • March 12, 2024


Thank you to Rickard Jensen and Angela Long for their tutoring and encouragement.

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

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Friday, March 1, 2024

Reflections on the Water: Rowing Solo at the Sarasota Invitational Regatta Olympic Trial Course

Nathan Benderson Park

The George Alexandru Sarasota Invitational Regatta (SIR), February 23-25, 2024, features three days of youth and masters rowing at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, FL. It is the site of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, the 2018 World Rowing Masters, and the 2017 World Rowing Championships.

The SIR is organized by the Sarasota County Rowing Club (SCRC), of which OutdoorSteve is a member.

Steve’s race, Men’s Novice 1X (1X meaning single person rowing shell)was 1,000 meters.

Time adjustment

The Master’s division is from age 28 up. In order to make it somewhat equal based on age, for example, 28-year-olds racing against 70-year-olds, a calculated value is made to adjust each rower's finishing time.

Races will be 1000m and start via Anchored Starting Pods, meaning a raft anchored.

SIR Venue

SIR is held at Nathan Benderson Park, now a world-class rowing venue and North America's premier 2,000 meter sprint course and regatta center. The course includes a multi-function Finish-Line Tower and state-of-the-art wave attenuation system, now fully in place through the length of the course, making for calmer water in the event of easterly winds. All starts for the three days of racing are from fixed platforms and races are either 1500 meters or 1000 meters.

The Race
As I positioned myself at the starting line of my very first single-scull race, my mind was a whirlwind of advice and strategies. My primary goal was clear yet daunting: finish the race without any incidents. Despite my coaches' emphasis on staying between the line markers, the unfamiliarity of the watercourse loomed large—after all, I had never practiced as a single rower on an Olympic course.

The moment the starter announced “Attention Go!” I propelled forward, slowly adhering to my coach's instructions of half slide, ¾ slide, and full slide. My form was far from perfect, as was slow and unsteady, a fact evident in the video my son, Tim, was filming. My start would have certainly made my coaches wince, however I was in the race.

As I steadily advanced, the absence of my four competitors from my peripheral vision surprisingly bolstered my confidence. The mantra “Steve, concentrate on form” became my guiding principle, pushing thoughts of winning or even placing far from my mind, as I fixated on each simple stroke.

With each stroke, my confidence solidified, my strokes became smoother, and I gradually corrected my course whenever I veered too close to the port side lane markers. The tranquility of the environment struck me—the absence of motors or crowd noise, with only the distant starter announcer's voice permeating the silence.

Finish Line
Guided by the wisdom of my instructors to “stay in the middle of the lane” and “look only straight ahead,” I focused solely on my performance, never once looking back to gauge the distance of my competitors.

As the race progressed, my stroke rate increased, prompted by the beeps signaling my competitors finishing ahead of me. Yet, the support of the crowd, shouting my name, and the distinct voice of my coach, Ray, son Tim, and wife Cathy, spurred me on.

Crossing the finish line was more than just the culmination of the race; it was the realization of a significant personal achievement—I HAD ROWED A SINGLE IN THE SARASOTA INVITATIONAL RACE!

In the aftermath, amidst the relief and pride, I offered a silent prayer of gratitude for a safe race, acknowledging the support of my family, the Sarasota County Rowing Club coaches, and my friends. This experience underscored a vital lesson: it truly takes a team to reach such personal milestones.

As I saluted the American Flag, I reflected on the journey that brought me here, a testament to the power of persistence, focus, and community support.

Click the below video to watch Event #38A Novice 1X  Lane 5

My wife Cathy, in reviewing this blog video, noted my left oar regularly was stronger than my right oar and may have accounted for my scull going port. This observation was later confirmed by Coach Ray as we discussed my pull to port side performance. Again, it takes a team to make a rower.

  • Thank you to my son, Timothy J. Priest for his videos documenting this special day.
  • In the video I thank my coaches: Ray, Joe, Jim, Betsy, and ARK, who all significantly coached me with skills and confidence.
"Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends" S. Priest

Click this link to SUBSCRIBE to OutdoorSteve's YouTube Channel



    * Never have to say, "I wish I had rowed in a Regatta!" 

(**2023 Florida Shorts Film Festival Award Winner First Place Film Documentary**)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

USS Orleck Museum Ship

 USS Orleck Museum Ship

My friend, Michael, a retired commander from the United States Navy, took his wife, my wife and I on a tour of the decommissioned USS Orleck. The Orleck is a destroyer and the most decorated post-WWII built US Navy ship ever.  The Orleck was used in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and the Orleck assisted in the recovery of the Gemini IV space capsule.

The U.S.S. Orleck, which earned the nickname "The Grey Ghost of the Vietnam Coast" by firing more rounds in support of ground troops than any ship in the Navy, is at the Jacksonville, Fl, Naval Museum open for visitors on its permanent berth docked in the St. Johns River.

The USS Orleck was called ”Train Buster of the Korean War”, as it demolished two trains in two weeks.

As Mike, myself and our wives walked up the gangplank of the Orleck, I could feel the spirit and bravery of the American sailors who had served aboard this proud ship during wartime and peacetime.  The Orleck had served this country for over 25 years in battle. My Dad and one brother had served in the Navy, another brother in the Air Force, an Army veteran myself, along with my grandfather and uncles, aunts, cousins, and nieces. I felt so humble about my family, yet proud to know we had served our country.

A visit to the Orleck is a MUST for every American.

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

Click this link to SUBSCRIBE to OutdoorSteve's YouTube Channel


Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle and hardcopy at Harborside Trading Company, 81 Main St, Sunapee, NHWild Goose Country Store, 77 Main St, Sunapee, NHMorgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH, Bookstore at Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Gift Shop, Lebanon, NH, and Village Sports, New London, NH.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Fourteen Videos of the Sunapee-Kearsarge -Ragged-Greenway


Click the Below Finisher Button and Do a Video Tour of the 14 Trails of Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway with


Click the below link, as Steve, in conjunction with the Appalachian Mountain Club New Hampshire Chapter, further defines the experience of hiking the Sunapee-Kearsarge-Ragged Greenway

AMC NH Chapter Mountain Passages: VOLUME 47, NUMBER 1 SPRING 2021 - 100 Years 1921-2021 Page 1 of 6  Exploring the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway 

Friday, September 1, 2023

ORFS - Kayak, Hike, Sculptured Rocks - Newfound Lake Via Grey Rocks Conservation Area

Proud to be in Outdoor Recreation for Seniors

Who are the ORFS?  Join ORFS, an active 55+ year-round group to walk, hike, and kayak throughout the Lake Sunapee and Upper Valley regions.

Scheduled events take place each Tuesday beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the designated activity location.

Today's Tuesday trip takes us to Newfound Lake

Where is Newfound Lake?

Newfound Lake is located in Grafton County, New Hampshire. It is situated in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire, in the towns of Alexandria, Bridgewater, Bristol, and Hebron.

A pristine, spring-fed lake surrounded by undeveloped land.

Reaching down 183 feet, Newfound Lake is considered to be one of the deepest lakes in New Hampshire. It’s also thought by some to be among the cleanest lakes in the world. Explore the lake’s 22 miles of shoreline, which include nature preserves, hiking, year-round events and unprecedented stargazing.

How do the ORFS get there today from New London, NH?

178 N Shore Rd
Hebron, NH
From New London, NH follow Route 11 East, turn left on Route 4, and follow 7 miles to Danbury. Turn right on Route 104 East and follow 9 miles to Bristol. Turn left on Route 3A North and follow for 8.8 miles. Turn left on North Shore Road and follow for 1.6 miles to 178 North Shore Road, Hebron, NH.

Presenting our trip today in three videos:

First Video is the Put-in at The Grey Rocks Conservation area

The Grey Rocks Conservation area provides a gateway to Newfound Lake and the Cockermouth River. Ample free parking is available. One can paddle along the shores of Newfound Lake near Audubon property where Bald Eagles nest. You can also paddle for a couple of miles up the Cockermouth River on smooth water.

 For ORFS hikers, a system of trails winds through the heart of the Cockermouth River delta with observation platforms for views. Wander the level and well-marked trails and enjoy the serene surroundings.  Bring your chairs and lunch to enjoy near the boat launch.

Green is Start
Blue is Current Position

The second Video is Take-Out at Gray Rocks Conservation Area

Third Video is Sculptured Rocks Geologic Site

Sculptured Rocks Natural Area, which spans 272 acres, is a unique example of nature's powerful yet delicate artistry. The Cockermouth River carved a narrow canyon in bedrock on its way to Newfound Lake, beginning as the last ice age drew to a close. Nature used grains of sand suspended in the current to carve the walls of the canyon into curious shapes and create potholes in the bedrock.


Friday, August 18, 2023

Lake Sunapee Rowing Club: Unique Two Days of Rowing, Coaching, Antique Boating, and Hospitality

The Lake Sunapee Rowing Club (LSRC) called a " special" session in place of their usual planned training day.

On Monday morning, at 6:am from the Georges Mills Lake Sunapee put-in beach, we did a 5-mile row to Shepard's Island (Burkhaven Cove, Lake Sunapee, Sunapee, NH), courtesy of one of our rowers. Our boats would be racked, and remain overnight on the Island.

Rowing one quad, two doubles, and two single sculls from Georges Mills Cove out on the big Lake, guided by the coach's launch, we rowed five miles in just under two hours, accepting an invitation for breakfast at Shepard’s Island at a LSRC member’s home.

After breakfast, leaving our boats racked on Shepard’s Island, we get an extra treat of a ride in a LSRC member's 1934 Hutchinson Sedan 30', Algonquin boat back to Georges Mills Cove.  Our Algonquin ride home included passing Lake Sunapee's three lighthouses (Herrick Cove, Sunapee Harbor, and Burkehaven Cove), and the Lake's weather buoy.

On Tuesday morning at 6:am in the pouring rain, we leave Georges Mills to take a car ride back to Shepard's Island, launch our boats, and row two hours back to Georges Mills. Again, in the pouring rain.

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

Click this link to SUBSCRIBE to OutdoorSteve's YouTube Channel


Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle and hardcopy at Harborside Trading Company, 81 Main St, Sunapee, NHWild Goose Country Store, 77 Main St, Sunapee, NHMorgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH, Bookstore at Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Gift Shop, Lebanon, NH, and Village Sports, New London, NH.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Four Days in Northern New Hampshire: Family, Friends Hiking, Paddling, Camping, and Moose Sighting.

 Kick up your feet, and enjoy how family and friends bond in the great north woods of New Hampshire. My 18-year-old nephew Nolan recently graduated from high school. To celebrate Nolan’s academic achievement, my wife Cathy and I planned a wilderness trip to the “Live Free or Die” outdoors of the New Hampshire Great North Woods, camping at Lake Francis State Park in Pittsburg, NH.

The Pittsburg–Chartierville Border Crossing connects the towns of Chartierville, Quebec, and Pittsburg, New Hampshire. The crossing can be reached by U.S. Route 3 on the American side and by Quebec Route 257 on the Canadian side. The last 18 miles to the Canadian border on the American side is the so-called Moose Alley because of its large moose population. The Great North Woods is located in Coos County.

In addition to Nolan and myself, our fellow trekkers included Nolan's dad (and my brother-in-law) Ron, my sons Timothy and Shaun, and our friends Dundee and Paul.

This four-day trip includes:
 (1) Tenting in Lake Francis State Park in the Connecticut Lakes area in Pittsburg, NH.

 (2) Two successful moose sightings on 18-mile Moose Alley (Route 3) 
 (3) A hike to and around the 4th Connecticut Lake, which is located on the Canada-US border and serves as the headwater of the 410-mile long Connecticut River. 

(4) Swimming, canoeing, and kayaking in Lake Francis. The above photo shows our camp activities including balancing two golf balls on top of each other.  
(5) Paddle East Inlet 
(6) A campsite life composed of:
    1. Setting up a tent site 
    2. Learning to start our campfire with flint and steel (yup, no matches) 

Nolan uses kindling, flint, and steel (his pocket knife), and creates a spark for our dinner campfire.

(7) Cooking breakfast and dinner over an open campfire – including cleaning up the utensils used
(8) Hidden deep within the American and Canadian archives lays the fascinating story of the Indian Stream Republic. Tim was gracious to locate a copy of a magazine article for us and he read it during an evening campsite dinner.
Map of Republic of Indian Stream (1832 -  1836)
Yielding to New Hampshire 1836
1842 Part of Pittsburg, NH

 Steve narrates a historical summary in this video from our tour of the Indian Stream Bridge, one of the sixteen distinct Indian Stream sites.  Enjoy.  

 (9) Sharing campsite games and chat. Playing Jenga is a game of physical skill created by a British board game designer. Players take turns removing one block at a time from a tower constructed of 54 blocks.

The Moose of New Hampshire 
Nolan had never seen a moose. His older sister, despite being in the moose habitat, had never seen a moose, leading her to jest that perhaps moose were merely figments of others' imaginations. One of my goals for this trip was to find a moose for Nolan to see. Indeed, we saw a moose during our “drive slowly along a road and keep an eye open for parked cards.” Our first night in the Great North Woods, as well as the second night, showed this technique worked as documented in this video.

Moose of New Hampshire
(References for the below moose discussion are provided below)
Moose are found in the northern regions of the United States and throughout Canada, and into Alaska. Due to their large size and insulating fur, moose are limited to cold climates. Forested areas with streams and ponds are ideal moose habitats. More than half of the moose (3,000 out of 5,000) and bear (13,500 out of 25,000) populations in New Hampshire are found in Coös County..

In recent years, moose numbers have declined across New Hampshire as moose are increasingly under stress from climate change. Wildlife biologists are concerned that shorter winters are allowing winter tick numbers to increase in areas of higher moose density. Winter ticks survive on the blood of animals, particularly moose; thus ticks and climate are held accountable for New Hampshire’s decreasing moose population.

While moose tolerate cold very well, they suffer from heat. In summer, especially during fly season, moose often cool off in water for several hours each day. In fact, moose are quite at home in the water. They sometimes dive 18 feet or more for plants growing on a lake bottom. Moose have been known to swim 12 miles. A moose calf is able to follow its mother on a long swim even while very young, occasionally resting its muzzle on the cow’s back for support.

In fact, moose can swim faster than most people can paddle a canoe.

Unique Moose Characteristics 1 of 2 

Unique Moose Characteristics 2 of 2

Hiking to the Fourth Connecticut Lake and Headwaters of Connecticut River

The Fourth Connecticut Lake, located up on a hill on the Canadian border is not as well known because it is not visible from the road. This little marshy pond is the true source of the Connecticut River.Directions: Route 3 North, 22 miles past Pittsburg village to the US/Canada border. Park across the road from the U.S. Customs station. The trail begins on the same side as the Customs station, about 50 yards on the right of the building. There's a small kiosk at the trailhead.

From a small trickle to a mighty river

The Fourth Connecticut Lake is a protected nature preserve located on the U.S. side of the U.S./Canadian border. The Nature Conservancy holds a conservation easement that safeguards the 78-acre preserve and the surrounding forest. The lake itself resembles a small bog, but it is more accurately a northern acidic mountain tarn — a small glacial pond. The small brook flowing from the pond is the start of the 410-mile Connecticut River. Just as you can step back and forth between Canada and the United States while climbing to the lake, you can step back and forth across the Connecticut River at its humble beginning at Fourth Lake.

A short, moderately steep climb takes you to the pond. The trailhead is located just behind the U.S. Border Guard installation. Limited parking is located immediately south of the guard station. Hikers do not have to check in with border guards before accessing the trailhead.

The trail is made up of granite boulders at certain spots, which can be wet and/or icy. It’s wise to pay attention to your footing. The hike to Fourth Lake is .6 miles. Once there, you’ll see trail markers for Loop Pond, a beautiful trail that circles Fourth Lake and brings you to the spot where the Connecticut River begins. Round trip, the hike, including the Loop Pond trail, is 1.7 miles and takes about two hours.

The forest is predominately balsam fir and delightfully fragrant. You’ll also find red spruce, paper birch, and mountain ash. The edge of the pond is made up of a floating bog of mosses, sedges, grasses and insectivorous plants like pitcher plant. Look for wildflowers at the southern end of the pond. The pond supports a small year-round fish population, river otter and beaver. Other wildlife includes moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, spruce goose, and three-toed woodpeckers.

Because this is a conservation area, no dogs are allowed and there is no hunting, trapping or fishing.

Fourth Connecticut Lake Vital Statistics

Surface Elevation

2,670 feet


2.5 acres


There are two outflows. Beaver activity determines which outflow becomes the Connecticut River


22 miles north of Pittsburg off Route 3, at the U.S./Canadian border

Average depth

Between 2 and 4 feet

Maximum depth

5 feet

Did You Know?

The Connecticut River impacts four states — New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut — and feeds a series of large, cold-water lakes. It flows out to sea at Long Island Sound. The waterway has been an essential part of New England’s economy, used for transportation, log drives, a power source for mills, farming and recreation.


My son, Shaun, has a blog titled CloserQ. Here he presents his unique perspective of our NH Great North Woods adventures. 



3.New Hampshire Fish and Game: Moose

4. Canadian Wildlife Federation: Moose

5. Republic of Indian Stream

6. Pittsburg NH - Republic of Indian Stream - once a Country

7. TouringNH:  Pittsburg by  Laura Mahoney

8. NH Family Hikes
8. Fourth Connecticult Lake


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

Click this link to SUBSCRIBE to OutdoorSteve's YouTube Channel


Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle and hardcopy at Harborside Trading Company, 81 Main St, Sunapee, NHWild Goose Country Store, 77 Main St, Sunapee, NHMorgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH, Bookstore at Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Gift Shop, Lebanon, NH, and Village Sports, New London, NH.