Monday, December 30, 2013

Tim Priest Reflects on his Maine Paddling Treks Guided by Loon Parsons

This recently identified video was made by Frank Crosby as he interviewed Tim Priest heading for eight days of paddling and tenting on the 92-mile North Maine Woods Allagash Wilderness Waterway in July 2009.  We call this particular trek a Father-Son trip as the expedition of ten was made-up of four Dads and their sons and one friend.

Tim 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 on Linwood and Betty and his Maine North Woods trips.
The video includes pictures from this Allagash Wilderness Waterway trek.

Thank you to Frank Crosby for sharing this interview.


References to Timothy's Maine paddling trips can be found at

The Ballad of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway

Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go outdoors with my family." – S. Priest

Steve’s latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is available as an e-Book at Kindle ($3.99) and hard copy at ($11.95)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Snowshoeing in Bedford, NH at Benedictine Conservation and Van Loan Preserve

My friend Mark sent an email inviting his fellow outdoor enthusiasts to a moonlight snowshoe in the fields and woods of Benedictine Conservation Land and Van Loan Preserve in Bedford, New Hampshire.  Both areas are next to each other separated by Wallace Road.

These properties are protected by The Bedford Land Trust with conservation easements and allow public access to the trails for passive recreational use that remain in place forever.  They were perfect for our snowshoeing quest.
Snowshoeing Benedictine Conservation Land

On a clear moon lit night in December nine (9) Outdoor Enthusiasts met at the Benedictine Conservation Land parking lot.  The temperature was a mild 18 degrees F.

From the Kiosk leading to the Benedictine field we went clockwise on the Perimeter Trail climbing up the open field hill just inside the tree line.  We completed the loop passing the Kiosk in about 15 minutes.

We then crossed Wallace Road to the woods of the Van Loan Trail

Van Loan Preserve

The Van Loan Trail is initially a narrow trail through the woods before crossing Riddle Brook Bridge.  Thereafter the Van Loan Trail reaches a Junction whence we snowshoe onto the Anna and Pic Loop trail counterclockwise. 

The Anna and Pic Loop shortly returns to the Van Loan Trail from where we turn left back to the Junction of the Anna and Pic Loop.

We re-cross Riddle Brook Bridge following the Van Loan Trail to Wallace Road and the Benedictine Parking area.

The total snowshoe trek was about an hour and forty-five minutes.

The videos you are about to see are generally dark because the only light was that of our headlamps and the light of the moon.  I have left these black videos to give you a sense of hiking in the dark led by shining headlamps and the voices of fellow snowshoeing enthusiasts.

It was a magnificent night.  Wonderful friends.  Beautiful clean country air.  Enjoy this short video of snow shoeing in Bedford, New Hampshire.

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go outdoors." – S. Priest

Steve’s latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is available as an e-Book at Kindle ($3.99) and hard copy at ($11.95)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Rocky Steps

Philadelphia Museum of Art  - The 72 Steps of Victory

The 72 stone steps leading to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia have become known as the "Rocky Steps".  The steps were part of the triple-Oscar-winning film Rocky and four of its sequels, Rocky II, III, V and Rocky Balboa.  The eponymous character, Rocky, runs up the steps to the song "Gonna Fly Now".  (

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go outdoors." – S. Priest

Christmas and Holidays are coming.  Give Outdoor Play, “Fun 4 4 Seasons ($11.95) as a reading gift for a life-time of family outdoor motivation. 

Steve’s latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is available as an e-Book at Kindle ($3.99) and hard copy at ($9.95)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Making Apple Cider in New Hampshire with Robert Frost’s, “After Apple Picking”

On a recent fall Sunday in Elkins, NH, family and friends had the pleasure of making apple cider while enjoying apple donuts, caramel covered apples, apple bobbing, and apple slices with cheese - all topped off with a reading of Robert Frost's poem, ”After Apple Picking”. 
We made Apple Cider the New Hampshire way:
 1) Pick the apples
 2) Wash the apples
 3) Cut apples into four quarters
 4) Put quartered apples through a masher
 5) Press the mash for the apple cider.
 6) Bottle the cider
 7) Sip and enjoy the cider
Below is a short video of our family oriented day:

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go outdoors." – S. Priest
Bedford Community TV

Bedford Community TV (BCTV) is now playing Making Apple Cider in New Hampshire with Robert Frost’s, “After Apple Picking”.  Check their Channel 16 schedule.

Christmas and Holidays are coming.  Please consider giving Outdoor Play, “Fun 4 4 Seasons ($11.95) as a reading gift for a life-time of outdoor motivation. 

Steve’s latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is available as an e-Book at Kindle ($3.99) and hard copy at ($11.95)
  • Lea Newman, “Robert Frost: The People, Places and Stories Behind His New England Poetry” at
  • Download a streaming video from Bedford Community TV channel 16 of Making Apple Cider in New Hampshire with Robert Frost’s, “After Apple Picking

Monday, October 7, 2013

Kayaking the Herring River Estuary and Popponesset Bay of Cape Cod

Day 1: Kayaking the Herring River Estuary of Wellfleet and Truro
John invited Dundee and I to Cape Cod for two days of kayaking.  Day one was planned to be a full day paddling around Wellfleet Harbor. However, our plan was short-lived when we explored the Herring River Estuary, a tidal river with a history of bygone prominence. 

We proceeded west along the shoreline from kayak landing next to the Wellfleet pier. As we neared Chequessett Neck Road, and the dike at the mouth of the Herring River, John recalled a recent newspaper article on this dike built in 1909 when it significantly reduced tidal flow to the salt marsh on the other side of the Road.  This dike transformed the estuary into one of the Cape’s most degraded natural resources.

In 2007 the Towns of Wellfleet and Truro and the Cape Cod National Seashore signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on the development of a restoration plan for the Herring River.

It is expected that when the existing tide gate structure at the mouth of the Herring is replaced, along with other upstream considerations, that this significant change will restore and provide full tidal flow to the Herring River Estuary and a promise for shell-fishing and other community opportunities.

We had before us an opportunity to see a "before" peek of the Herring River Estuary - with an incentive for us to return  for an "after" look of the restoration on the environmental vitality of the Herring River Estuary.

We decided it would be worth our effort to portage over Chequessett Neck Road and paddle up the Herring River.

The Herring Run in Middleboro, MA
As we paddled along the Herring River I recalled to my friends how as a youngster I used to visit the Herring Run on the Nemasket River, Middleboro, MA. Each spring, herring migrate from the ocean, up coastal rivers and into tributaries and lakes to spawn.  The herring were so plentiful you felt you could walk across their backs on the river – and so hundreds of people would come to see them.

Friends and I would go to the fish ladders and catch herring with our hands and sell them to people.  I remember coming home soaked and with coins in my pocket from selling my herring catch to people for food and garden fertilizer.  It was a marvelous memory – and my connection to the Herring River Estuary.

Our paddle up the Herring River was well worth the expedition of nearly seven miles in five hours up and back on the Herring River Estuary:
  • We saw Swans, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Red Wing Blackbirds and other birds.
  • Many times we thought we were at the end of the river and about to turn back, but we managed to find a path through the narrowing quagmire of brush, prickly bushes and marsh weeds.
  • We passed under old wooden plank bridges.
  • We went through culverts under tar and dirt roads.
  • At about three hours mark we found a road sign that told us we were passing the intersection of Bound Brook Island Road the Atwood Higgins House.

If you are interested in more information, or to stay up-to-date on the Herring River Estuary, please visit Friends of Herring River.  They have an email newsletter.

Day 2: Paddling the Mashpee River and Popponesset Bay, Cape Cod, MA

  Day two’s paddlers were Tim, Rob, John, Dundee and I.
  • We put-in at Pirates Cove in Popponesset Bay.  
  • Paddled up the tidal Mashpee River.  After an hour or so, we were in marsh weed, and decided to return to Popponesset Bay.
  • Paddled around Popponesset Island.  Beautiful homes and boats/yachts.
  • Lunch on the sandbar protecting Popponesset Bay
  • Crossed Popponesset Bay to Pirates Cover in choppy water and wind.
  • Total paddling time about six hours.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Welch-Dickey Loop Trail - A Training Hike for Mt Katahdin

In mid-September 2013 three friends and I will be hiking Mt Katahdin in Maine’s Baxter State Park. Mt Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.  One of the trails leading to the summit is known as The Knife Edge.

We expect this hike to be between nine (9) and eleven (11) hours over very rough terrain.  We must be physically fit.  As preparation for this trip, our group has been doing hikes of varying distances and difficulties.  Each hike offers unique and beautiful scenery of New Hampshire. Our focus was on endurance and distance.

We carried day packs containing similar contents as we will have in September.  We had the same amount of water we will need for the Katahdin hike as well as gear (e.g. at least 48 ounces of water, rain coat, winter hat, first aid pack, whistle, map, compass, camera, two light source headlamps, duct tape, two contractor 30 gal bags for emergency shelter, bivy sack.)

 We will follow the ten essentials for hiking

In the past five weeks my hiking partners and I have done a variety of training hikes:
  • Mt Sunapee’s Rim Trail to Lake Solitude – 3.5 hours
  • Mt Sunapee’s ski lift trail with a return on the Access Road.  I did this route twice on two different days - 3.5 hours
  • The 7.5 mile round trip Pumpelly Trail of Mount Monadnock - 8 hours
  • South Mountain of Uncanoonuc - 2.5 miles in 2.5 hours
  • 4.5 mile Welch-Dickey Loop Trail described below via video - 4 .5 hours

I took the Welch-Dickey trail description from the Hike New England web site:


Welch (2605') and Dickey (2734')
Welch-Dickey Loop Trail
NH - Central East
White Mountain National Forest, Waterville Valley

Exit 28 - Route 93
Thornton, NH


Route Summary

This is a loop hike across the summits of Welch and Dickey Mountains, providing many views along the way as the trail winds its way across open ledges. It follows the yellow-blazed Welch-Dickey Loop Trail all the way. The different branches of the loop are commonly referred to as Welch Mountain Trail (the right-hand fork which leads most directly to Welch); and Dickey Mountain Trail (the left-hand fork which goes directly to Dickey Mountain.)

  • Start on the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail which will fork after just 15 yards.
  • Take the right-hand branch to approach Welch Mountain first. (The return trip will be via the opposite leg.)
  • After 1.3 miles on the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail, you will reach the open ledges and extensive views on the southern flank of Welch Mountain.
  • Continue following Welch-Dickey Loop Trail and you will reach the summit of Welch Mountain 0.6 mile later where you will be treated to a 360-degree panorama.
  • Descend the opposite side of the peak, continuing to follow the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail in a northerly direction.
  • You will then need to do some uphill climbing before reaching the summit of Dickey Mountain 0.5 mile from Welch's peak. Dickey Mountain offers views of Franconia Ridge and Franconia Notch. Shortly before the summit, there will be a poorly marked 0.2-mile spur path on the right leading to an open ledge also with an outlook to the north.
  • Still on Welch-Dickey Loop Trail, descend from Dickey's peak in the opposite direction from which you climbed it.
  • After 2.1 miles, you will be back at the fork near the beginning of the loop. Bear right to return to the parking lot.

Click the below 8 minute video as Dundee and I share our training for the Katahdin climb by hiking the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail.

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go outdoors." – S. Priest

Steve’s latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is available as an e-Book at Kindle and hard copy at

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New London New Hampshire Triathlon - a Family Affair for Three Generations

My adult son Shaun and I are fellow triathletes.  Is it possible we could get my grandson Carson in the same triathlon?

Teenage friends of my thirteen year-old grandson, Carson, ask me if he might be interested in being a teammate on their triathlon team they were putting together.  They wanted Carson to do the ¼ mile swim leg – the initial leg of the swim-bike-run triathlon.

A telephone call to my son Shaun asking if my grandson might be interested had a response of “Ask Carson”.

A follow-up text message from Carson, met with a one word response, “Yes!”

Carson’s positive reply peaked my interested in being in the same race, so I registered, as Shaun did, as an individual entry to do all three legs.

Two weeks before the race, I experienced a hamstring injury.  While I could swim and bike with this injury, I knew I could not complete a 3.1 mile run.

Hmm, maybe since Carson was starting the first leg for his team, I might ask Carson to do my third leg – the run?  Would the race officials allow this?  Would the officials allow me to change my registration from an individual entry to a team entry?

I contacted the person responsible for the race registration; I explained my injury situation; asked if I could change from an individual entry to a team entry; and asked if my grandson, Carson, who was already registered on another team for the first leg, could do my third leg - the run.  Her response was a very affirmative “YES!” to all my questions and concerns (I did need to increase my registration fee as the team fee is higher than an individual entry.)

Perkins Pond Team
The Priest’s

The above chart shows my grandson and I start the race as competitors in the swim, and finish as teammates with his run.  Fantastic!

Enjoy the below four minute video as three generations of the Priest family enjoy the New London New Hampshire Triathlon .

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go outdoors." – S. Priest

Steve’s latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is available as an e-Book at Kindle and hard copy at

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Never say, “I wish I had been on the Mount Sunapee Zip Line Canopy Tour”

A Visit with Family to Mount Sunapee

 My sixteen year old granddaughter, Madison, thirteen year old grandson, Carson, son Tim, and grandmother (Wife) Cathy, saw the below video of Sarah and I on the Mount Sunapee Canopy Zip Line Tour, and expressed their desire to never say, “I wish I had been on the Mt Sunapee Canopy Zip Line.”  A week later all four achieved their wish.  

What is a zip line?  Well, a zip line (also known as a zip wire, aerial runway, aerial rope slide, death slide, flying fox, or canopy tour) consists of a pulley suspended on a cable, usually made of stainless steel, mounted on an incline.  It is designed to enable a user propelled by gravity to travel from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable by holding onto, or attaching to, the freely moving pulley.  (

The Mount Sunapee Canopy Zip-Line Tour features a series of zip lines, rope bridges and rappelling as you descend from the top of Mt Sunapee’s South Peak. There are eight zip lines in total highlighted by the final leap on 1,000' dual zip lines which end on a platform behind the Welcome Center, from where we rappelled back down to earth. From the first tree platform to the last platform we traveled a total distance of almost ¾ mile as we flew above forest floor. Groups of no more than eight people are led by two guides as you fly through a canopy of oak, beech, maple, birch and evergreen trees. There are six ski trail crossings that offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Sunapee. [ .]

Click the Below Video and Go on Our Zip Line Tour

See Sarah and Steve on Their Zip Line Tour

My wife and I had visitors from Georgia.  Sarah, their sixteen year old daughter, heard about the Mount Sunapee Canopy Zip Line Tour.  Sarah, being a fellow outdoor enthusiast, wanted to do the Zip Line Tour – and so did I. 

Sarah and I were the only people in our group, and our tour took less than two hours.

To qualify as to who can go on the zip line tour, you must be 10 years old or older and between 80 and 260 pounds. 

We had two excellent guides, Mary and Martha.   They absolutely were part of the positive experience of doing this adventure – and they insured our safety.

Safe at All Times

  • The Clip-In With each platform, the moment we reached the platform we were clipped to the tree – not once but two times.  We could not fall off the platform if we slipped, stumbled, or were pushed.  As Sarah and I took turns jumping first, we remained clipped to the tree until we were positioned, and one by one – a clip was release and then re-clipped to the zip line.  Thus, again, in case we jumped or slipped before being ready or instructed, we still would not fall from the platform.

  • Before each jump, we received instruction pertinent to the particular zip line, bridge, or belay we were about to do. [Belaying refers to a variety of techniques climbers use to exert on a climbing rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far.  A climbing partner typically applies friction at the other end of the rope whenever the climber is not moving, and removing the friction from the rope whenever the climber needs more rope to continue climbing.  The term "belay" also means the place where the belayer is anchored; this is typically a ledge, but may be a hanging belay, where the belayer is suspended from protection in the rock, or in our case the wooden platform [ ].
  • Before each of the eight leaps, Mary or Martha would explain what to do, and then the guide would go first with her leap – this served both to demonstrate and to have the guide at the end of the zip line.

  • The guide at the beginning of the zip line would wait for the guide at the other end to yell “Clear”, and then confirm it with a “clear” – and then I/Sarah would jump.
The First Leap
We rode the Sunapee Ski lift to South Peak to our first platform.   We then climbed about fifteen feet on a rope ladder up the hillside platform.  Now came the moment I was there for – the zip line leap.

I must confess my stomach was tight for this first jump – and I was sweating with nervousness and anxious anticipation.  I looked downhill at the next platform hundreds of feet away, and thought, “What am I doing here?” I had all kinds of reservations as to whether I “really really” wanted to jump from this height.  Would the harness hold me?  Was I strong enough to hold on to the harness strap (no worry here as the harness cable strap was simply to give me “confidence.”)

My first jump was here.  I was all clicked to the cable, and Maratha said, “OK Steve, you can jump.”  I looked at Martha to be doubly positive I heard her correctly, and asked, “Is it OK to jump?”  [It never hurts to be absolutely certainly about this.]

You have to believe in the equipment and in your guides!!   The adrenaline rush came and the commitment was there.  I Leaped!!!  The harness held and I was flying down the cable with an eagle’s view of Mount Sunapee and Lake Sunapee.  It was a thrill!!

The Leap of Trust
With each zip line jump I gained confidence in myself.  As I readied for the fourth zip line leap, Mary asked, “Do you want to try the “Leap of Trust?”  I questioned her, and she said, “You jump off backwards without holding on to the harness strap.  Watch me.”  She took a short run off the platform and jump backwards into the open sky!  You will need to watch the below video to see if I made it. 

How to Dress
The Zip Line tour operates rain or shine, so you must dress appropriately. They recommend hiking boots or sneakers, and no open-toed shoes, sandals, or other footwear that can fall off. Sarah and I both wore sneakers - and this was perfect for us in warm summer weather.

In the summer it is suggested that participants wear shorts that  fall mid-thigh or lower and either short or long sleeves. No tank tops are allowed as the harness straps may cause discomfort. They provided all needed safety equipment including a helmet and zip line harness. You may also want to bring sunscreen, bug repellent, a small pack or fanny pack for cameras, snacks, etc.

You need to watch the below video to see Sarah and my first leap, our “Leap of Trust”, rope bridge crossing and belaying.

To see the web site for the Mount Sunapee Canopy Tour go to


To see more detail on our Mount Sunapee Canopy Zip Line Tour I have prepared an 11 minute video.  Click Here to see the unedited thrills of the Zip Line.

Winter Wild Race at Mount Sunapee, Newbury, New Hampshire

Mount Sunapee is an outdoor enthusiast’s four season paradise.  The Zip Line Canopy Tour was not my first time on the mountain.  I have hiked and alpine and telemarked skied here, and done many triathlons from this glorious and beautiful area.

A special winter experience at Mount Sunapee is called a Winter Wild Race that is a cold weather race on snow around the perimeter of Sunapee’s ski area.

Winter in New Hampshire offers unique and exciting opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. In one of my blog posts I share my training and research in preparation for running a race up the ski slopes of Mt Sunapee in temperatures around ten degrees.

The race is usually held in early March ( at Mt Sunapee, Newbury, NH (

Go to to see my Outdoor Enthusiast blog for this unique winter race.

For other outdoor adventures with Outdoor Steve go to and click the BLOG link.

Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons"

Steve's latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is now available in paperback and e-book at and Outdoor Play has more adventures at Mount Sunapee and Places to Play in Northern New England.