Thursday, August 8, 2019

Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar

I was reminded yesterday of a health advisory on the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar I forwarded to friends last year.  The health advisory notice came from the Sunapee Fire Department.

We again have the annual presence of this caterpillar with its allergic reaction or rash to humans.  Below is a picture of the woolly, white caterpillar with black markings and long white hairs. 

We had a hickory tussock moth caterpillar yesterday on our front door. After posting this notice on Facebook yesterday, I received many comments in agreement to the widespread presence of the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

Don't touch them if you see them! The hairs of the Hickory Tussock caterpillar, which has black tufts on its back and black spikes, can cause an allergic reaction or rash for some people who make contact with the insect. The caterpillars have microscopically barbed setae, which can cause inflammation.

Watch out for this caterpillar. It is a woolly, white caterpillar with black markings and long white hairs (see above).

Don't touch them if you see them! The hairs of the Hickory Tussock Caterpillar, which has black tufts on its back and black spikes, can cause an allergic reaction or rash for some people who make contact with the insect. The caterpillars have microscopically barbed setae, which can cause inflammation.

This caterpillar appears between June and September and munches its way through the leaves of deciduous trees (it prefers nut-bearing trees, but will settle for willow, ash, aspen, apple, oak, and even raspberry plants and corn stalks).

The caterpillar excretes a type of chemical defense upon contact (which is more 
 appropriately termed "allergenic" than "poisonous").

Most people who handle these creatures will experience a burning, nettle-type, itchy rash of mild to moderate severity, but washing the affected area with soap and water, then applying ammonia or calamine lotion and icing the area should set things to rights.

However, some people are hypersensitive to the poison and have allergic reactions to it in addition to the itchy rash, those persons are likely to experience more severe symptoms such as swelling and nausea and should seek expert medical advice as soon as possible.

To emphasize the impact of the hickory-tussock-moth-caterpillar, below is a picture of a 5-year-old who learned the hard way when he touched the insect, put it on his face and ended up with a nasty rash. 


Monday, August 5, 2019

8th Annual Lake Sunapee Cruising Fleet "Poker Run"

Never say, "I wish I had been in the Lake Sunapee Sailing Day Annual Poker Cruise"

When Captain Al asked if Cathy and I wanted to be part of his crew in the Annual Lake Sunapee Sailing Day "Poker Run", we could not pass up this unique outdoor challenge. My motivational mantra, Never say, "I wish I had ..." had to be answered, "Yes!".

The ANNUAL “POKER CRUISE” SAILING DAY HOSTED BY THE LAKE SUNAPEE CRUISING FLEET, promotes sailing fun on Lake Sunapee. All sailboats from sunfish to cruisers to racers are welcome to join a “Poker Cruise”.

Sailing enthusiasts are invited to rendezvous at the Lake Sunapee Cruising Fleet boat just outside Sunapee Harbor. At the Committee Boat each sailboat is given instructions, a map of the course and a playing card. Boats will then sail to four-mark boats on the upper end of the lake.

At the mark each sailboat will receive another playing card. Following the “Poker Cruise” each crew is invited to bring their “poker hand” to a reception sponsored by the Lake Sunapee Cruising Fleet at the Knowlton House (LSPA) in Sunapee Harbor. There are prizes will be awarded for the best poker hands and for the best themed crew costumes.

In case you cannot tell, Captain Al’s crew costume theme is that of being WACKY WAHINES (Goggle "wacky wahines" .)


Call to Action: 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Testing Browning Trail Camera in Sunapee, NH

This post is for friends to comment on my trail camera experience.  Let me give a disclaimer here.  I am an outdoor writer and the videos and pictures I use in my books and blog posts all are taken by me. The Browning is my first use of a trail camera.  Suggestions and comments are most welcome.

I selected the Browning Trail Camera Model BTC-5HDPX because it received a very positive online review.  My criteria were: 1) Ability to talk to a company specialist if I had camera set-up and operation questions. 2) Fairly easy set-up - I am not a camera expert. 3) Quality pictures and videos I could use with minimum editing in my books and blog. 4) Night pictures and videos. 5) Medium pricing.

After nearly one month of use, the Browning Trail Camera Model BTC-5HDPX has meet these requirements.

The most current videos are first.  The second video is my initial use of the trail  camera. I first placed the Browning Trail Camera Model BTC-5HDPX on a wooded trail in Sunapee, NH.  The area is close to where I live.
I am learning more about the camera each time friends and I look at a locations's videos:

  • Weeds and over-hanging leaves - and even rain - can set off the camera - giving us beautiful pictures, but no wildlife. Placement of the camera needs unobstructed view.
  • Pesky squirrels scrambling up trees and inquisitive deer are all part of wildlife pictures.
------August 9 through August 14

Here we have a five day video from a second location.  We indeed saw some exciting wildlife activity. 

-----July 31 thru August 3rd

Below are my first three days with my new wildlife camera. I edited out all videos started by wind from nearby weeds. I also split videos that did not contain significant information as I continue to learn this camera and where to place it.

The doe with her fawn was interesting. The coyote ... some who have seen this video thought it may be a fox ... what do you think?  The way it walks and its size make me sure this is a coyote.

Enjoy - and please send me your comments.

Call to Action: 

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Teaching Moment - How to Remove a Tick

Three days ago, I did a blog post video on How to Remove a Tick. I showed this video to friends, and many laughed at it, while some said, "ugh" and a few said "disgusting."  One said, “I just flick them off with my finger.” The “flick them off” is undoubtedly the best choice for tick removal, BUT what if the tick’s head is embedded in the skin!!

See this first video at

Within an hour of this video, and the accompanying comments, my youngest sister yelled, "You have a tick on your neck!" My first reaction was, "Ticks are not a joke." Other friends gathered around, and sure as can be, a tick was embedded.

I removed my HOW TO REMOVE A TICK vee notch card from my wallet.  Fortunately, my camera was nearby, and I asked a friend to document this "Teaching Moment" on how to remove an embedded tick.  After removal, wash the bite site with soap and warm water.

Hey, some guys are "Chick Magnets.“ Does this make me a "Tick Magnet?"

I have also used fine-tipped tweezers to remove a tick. If using tweezeers, grasp the part of the tick that's closest to your skin -- you want to grab the head, not the belly. Slowly pull the tick straight out, without twisting it. 

Do not have a tick removal notch card?  Quickly make your own from a like plastic card as seen in the video below:  


Call to Action: 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Hiking Mount Moosilauke New Hampshire

Start: Ravine Trail to Gorge Brook to Summit. Return:
Carriage Trail to Snapper Trail to Gorge Brook and back to Ravine

My friend John organized a mid-June trip for three friends to hike with him up Mt Moosilauke in Benton, NH. Mount Moosilauke is a 4,802-foot high mountain with a 7.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail rated as difficult by

The Gorge Brook trailhead starts at the Dartmouth College Ravine Lodge directly to the summit dome. F
rom the Summit our return route  is the Carriage Road trail to the South Peak. This section of the Carriage Trail follows the Appalachian Trail (AT.) Where the AT turns right on South Peak, we keep on the Carriage Trail until the junction where it meets the Snapper Trail. The Snapper Trail meets the Gorge Brook trail about a half mile from the start of our Ravine Lodge trailhead. 

A large cairn with a sign marks the top of Mount Moosilauke.

We planned a one mile per hour speed with a good half hour at the top, weather permitting. The peak is wide open, so our stay depends on the weather, such as wind, temperature and rain. 8 am to 4 pm on the trail is our conservative estimate. We pretty much stayed with our plan, mainly because the rating of Difficulty was very appropriate for this senior group.

Highlights of our hike:

  • The weather was perfect – 70 degrees, light wind, and moderate sun.
  • We all had walking sticks – speaking for myself, these “extra two legs” helped my balance as most of the trail was a rock-strewn path with rock steps in a mostly dried stream. We went up – up- and up.
  • We stopped for water and Gatorade every 10 to 20 minutes, as well as nibbling on trail mix and nourishment bars. This water and protein discipline was necessary given the difficulty of the rock-laden trail that required all our strength and concentration. 
  • We switched leaders every 30 minutes or so. The rotation of leaders allowed our group to stay together, and pace moderately,
  • As we neared four hours on the trail, we were ready with exhausted and anticipation to reach the top. This summit expectation was temporarily put on hold with a moment of tired disappointment, when upon reaching the above treeline plateau, and expecting this to be the summit, we saw in the distance a peak marker that was so far away. As a hiker heading down passed us, I asked, “Is that the peak way up there?” She responded, “Yes, but it is not as long as it LOOKS.” At first her comments did not pick up our spirits, but as we quickly closed the open distance between us and the top, we realized she was correct. Whew!
  • On the trip up, the bugs were no issue, but on the return trip the bugs were overwhelming, and we had to stop and spray ourselves with bug repellant, or, like John and I did, put on our bug nets
  • That evening at dinner, we all agree Mt Moosilauke took our full effort … we left no regrets of “Giving it all we had on the mountain.”
  • Personally, hindsight says I should have prepared better for Mt Moosilauke by doing short local hikes of one to three hours. This nearly eight hour very strenuous hike required more effort than merely my preparation of rowing and running twice week.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

How to Remove a Tick

I stepped out of the shower and noticed what appeared to be a scab on my shin.  I did not remember hitting my leg.  I rubbed "the scab" and the end came up. I then saw the legs of a tick.

Hey, I have a tick stuck on my lower left leg.

I went to my "How to Remove a Tick" card I carry in my wallet.  I then proceeded to remove the tick. I first came in with the notch from the head side of the tick, and this did not loosen the tick. On my second try I placed the card notch in the back side of the tick, and this attempt very efficiently removed the tick.

Notice in the video the white material in the tick's mouth. I assume this is my skin.

I am sending this video to the New Hampshire Fish and Game for identification of the type of tick.

As mentioned in the video, I encourage you to pause the video and read the "How to Remove a Tick" card.

Three days later, I had another tick removed. See A Teaching Moment: How to remove a tick

Do not have a tick removal notch card? Quickly make your own from a like plastic card as seen in the video below: 


Call to Action: 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

An Eagle on Perkins Pond

Last evening we were taking a sunset cruise on Perkins Pond.  We spotted an eagle on Isle of View.  I rushed back to my house to get my camera.

Excuse the shaky video taken from my bouncing boat with a 20X Sony camera.



Call to Action: 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Doubles Rowing Lessons with Lake Sunapee Rowing Club (LSRC)

I am a member of the Lake Sunapee Rowing Club (LSRC.)

The Lake Sunapee Rowing Club (LSRC) trains and gives lessons at Georges Mills Beach, Sunapee, NH. It is a very welcoming group from novices to experienced rowers. Rowing sculls are provided.

Novices: Starting Tuesday, June 18, 6 p.m.  Just show up!
Experienced Rowers: Starting Monday, June 17, 5:45 a.m.

Interested people are welcome to attend a rowing session and ride in the LSRC launch along side the rowers. 

Ways to Contact Lake Sunapee Rowing Club
The below video is narrated by Brenda Balenger, an exceptional LSRC coach, as she instructs me during my recent Doubles rowing lesson.  My rowing partner, Melissa, is an advanced rower and serves in the video to maintain the boat's stability while I follow Brenda's instructions.  Melissa also demonstrates the gunnel skill drill that assists me in learning to keep my oars out of the water during my return stroke.

The last half of the video is Melissa and I rowing together demonstrating progress in my instruction.

My blog post, Rowing Through the Eyes of a Beginnerintroduces you to some of the basics taught in the Lake Sunapee Rowing Club's four-week three times a week course.

My LSRC lessons opened a unique world for me.

Never say, "I wish I had taken lessons with the Lake Sunapee Rowing Club."

Call to Action: 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

2019May25 Perkins Pond Protective Association Ice-Out Presentation

The below pictures and video were presented to members of the Perkins Pond Protective Association at their May 2019 Meeting.

The below is a Google Map screen print of Perkins Pond.  The image with notations of the Chickadee Point and Piney Pond locations is a reference for member attendees.

The below Entry Form initiates an entrant's "best guess" for the date of "Ice-out." Members receive this entry form via email

The below dates of prior ice-in and ice-out are provided via email for member reference prior to their receiving the entry form. The orange is the 2019 date of Ice-out, the red earliest recorded ice-out date, and the green the latest recorded ice-out date.

The video below is an edit of three videos taken April 17, 19, and 20, 2019.

Members of the PPPA get regular updates at:
1. Facebook - Perkins Pond
2. Facebook - Perkins Pond Community
3. Blog:

1. Memorial Day 2019 from Union Leader
2. Perkins Pond Ice-Out Declared April 20, 2019 7:40 PM!!

Call to Action: 

Friday, May 3, 2019

ORFS Hike Bicknell Brook Trail & Colette Trail, Enfield, NH

Our hike begins by entering the woods at the Groton Pond-ColetteTrail sign on Boy’s Camp Road in Enfield, New Hampshire. The Colette Trail intertwines with Bicknell Brook as we follow it upstream enjoying its roaring (meaning very loud) cascades and waterfalls. When we get to the bridge crossing Bicknell Brook, we backtrack to our start, and cross Boy’s Camp Road again, this time going downstream following the Crystal Lake-Colette Trail sign. We enjoy lunch on the promontory overlooking the rushing Bicknell Brook twenty or so feet below us.

We find ourselves yelling to talk over the noise of Bicknell Brook.  Hiking poles are recommended due to the rocky and root lined path.

The below narrative and above map of the Bicknell Brook Loop Trail and Colette Trail are from the Upper Valley Land Trust.

“Although undeveloped for the most part, Bicknell Brook owes its current state to humans, as well as beavers. The stream houses the site of a former sawmill just downstream of Boy’s Camp Road and the Butman Bridge. Mr. Butman constructed a hydro-powered mill circa 1821. The mill was likely active throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. Approximately one-fourth mile upstream of Boys Camp Road and the former mill site, the trail passes over the remnants of a stone wall. The stone wall was a retaining wall that created a millpond. The water was held back to be released by a sluice gate when power for the mill was needed. Evidence of the sluice door exists in the form of a rock-lined hole which likely held a post.

Also at the old mill site is evidence of small-scale granite quarrying. The extent of the quarrying is debatable, but rectangular slabs of granite in the stream bed along with indication of drill holes and remaining metal wedges speak to its existence. Most likely the quarrying was for harvesting material locally with which to build the mill. It is fascinating to note that some of the cascading waterfalls are not natural and flow over rectangular ledges cut in these operations.

Logging is another human activity that has taken place along Bicknell Brook. There is evidence of logging activity throughout the past several decades in the form of open, grassy clearings riddled with the stumps of harvested trees. Openings from former logging roads leading in the direction of Boys Camp Road are also visible, along with basal scars on the bases of tree trunks that were created by logging skidders dragging downed trees through the forest. These scars exist where the bark has been knocked off, and the inner wood of the tree trunk is exposed.”

DIRECTIONS: from New London take Rt.11 East to Potter Place. Turn left on Rt.4A and go 15 miles toward Enfield past Grafton Pond Rd. to next right sharp turn at Boys Camp Rd. Continue over a small bridge (Butman Bridge and angle park on the left. The trailheads are on either side.

Now, I never have to say, “I wish I had hiked the Bicknell Brook and Colette Trail in Enfield, NH.”

Who are the ORFS?
The Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) group meets every Tuesday year-round at 10 am. In the summer we kayak/canoe, swim and hike. In the fall we hike, and in the winter we snowshoe and cross-country ski. Our trips are from 1-1/2 to 2 hours, followed by lunch.

Directions and location are available for our Tuesday 10 am outings via email and the monthly New London Chapin Senior Center Courier newsletter. To learn more and join, contact the Chapin Senior Center at 357 pleasant Street, PO Box 1263, New London, New Hampshire 03752 or go to their web site at

ORFS is a very informal group and participation is for all outdoor enthusiasts wanting guaranteed good exercise with a friendly fun group.