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GayOutdoors Blog ~ Musings From Brokeback Mountain

Musings From Brokeback Mtn

Musings From Brokeback Mtn blog is a daily mix of light hearted outdoor news, events, reviews, observations, wisdom, facts, and surprises; that is both informative and fun.

Posts by category "General"
Your Next Travel Destination Dec 4, 2012 6:22 PM

My very next travel destination will be ___________ >>Post Comment

Best Airline Ad of 2012 Dec 2, 2012 4:18 PM

Do you agree with Adweek that this is the best airline ad of 2012?

>>Post Comment

Bike Ride From North Hollywood To Chinatown Nov 27, 2012 6:31 PM

To get away from the holiday madness, treat yourself to the knowledge that you've got a super fun escape! Join our bike ride from North Hollywood to Chinatown. >>More Info

Thanksgiving Poll Nov 21, 2012 6:27 PM

When traveling, I'm most THANKFUL for [post answer].

Transgender Day of Remembrance Nov 20, 2012 6:25 PM

Today, we're proud to stand with our transgender members and come together for the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Learn more:

Why Do You Travel? Nov 18, 2012 4:44 PM

Why do you travel? An interesting article from Travels With Adam.

Man About World Nov 16, 2012 6:29 PM

If you haven't subscribed yet, check out this fantastic & fresh new digital travel magazine for gay men at ManAboutWorld.

Focused on Cherry Mountain Nov 15, 2012 7:11 PM
Doesn't he look focused? Let's just say Derek was a lot happier when he reached the summit of Cherry Mountain.

New Year's Eve Wish Nov 13, 2012 6:33 PM

We want to know ~ if you could be anywhere in the world for New Year's Eve, where would you be?

>>Post Comment

Let's Hear It For Our VETERANS Nov 12, 2012 6:35 PM

Today let's hear it for our VETERANS, who have given so much to keep our country safe & secure! We're thankful for you and all our amazing military GOers!

It's Snowing On Brokeback Mountain! Nov 8, 2012 8:19 PM

It never ceases to amaze me how different the weather and scenery can be in just a weeks' time. Last week, Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy was still winding down with Brokeback Mountain on the warm side of the storm. Temperatures were well above freezing, it was raining, and there wasn't a trace of snow anywhere.

However, today, it definitely felt like winter here on Brokeback Mountain. We had 2 inches of snow when I woke up this morning. Mountains are now reflecting the winter season. There is snow/ice/rime coating the peaks above 2,000 feet. And the snow guns are firing at Sunday River and Sugarloaf ski areas in Maine!

Mike Boisvert

Instead Of Hiking The Next Few Days, Consider Volunteering Helping Others Oct 28, 2012 7:54 PM

Should I go hiking Monday or Tuesday? That is a question you might be asking yourself. So here is my long and short response.

The long response is this: A storm is coming up the eastern seaboard. Now, you may have heard it called Hurricane Sandy, a post-tropical low, a Nor'easter, Frankenstorm, the Perfect Storm -Part Deux, or one of many other names. Regardless of what you want to call it, the bottom line is a strong storm is coming with its impact occurring Monday through Tuesday (and possibly into Wednesday). It will bring heavy rains and high winds across the state and not just the summits. That means lower elevations will see tropical storm gusts (39-73) to possibly hurricane force gusts (73+mph). Since this isn't the first time New Hampshire has experienced a strong storm, we know the effects a strong storm has on the state and the Mountains (think back to Hurricane Irene). It will result in flooding, excessive trail runoff, adverse road and trail conditions, flying debris, and several fallen trees around the White Mountains and the rest of New England.

How does this translate to you hiking? Trails will be a mess. Roads will be a mess. Conditions will be dangerous. Calling 911 may be difficult if an emergency arises as cell towers may be affected and call centers may be bogged down. If you do get through to emergency services, help will not be as immediate as it would be under normal circumstances. Travel and rescue resources and personnel around the state will be stretched thin in the coming days, with any search and rescue efforts that arise in the backcountry likely being slow going or possibly even delayed until resources become available or safer conditions are met.

This potential for dangerous conditions has prompted the US forest service to strongly advise against backcountry travel in the White Mountain National Forest from Sunday evening through Thursday, November First. The Randolph Mountain Club is echoing the same statement and although cabins and shelters in their system are stated as remaining open during this period, they are strongly advising against travel during the same Sunday - Thursday window. The Appalachian Mountain Club White Mountain Huts are realizing the dangerous conditions and are echoing a similar massage as the USFS as all their huts are listed as being closed from Sunday through Wednesday as a precaution.

So that is the long of it. The short response: Should I go hiking Monday or Tuesday? Better yet, let me reword that - Would I go out hiking Monday or Tuesday? NO.

Alright, that maybe blunt and a bit too short, but it is my personal decision and it is the answer that I would provide my friends and family, regardless of their skill level. But, let me back my response just a bit more as to why I wouldn't. While statistically you won't likely get hurt, if you do get hurt, remember, it doesn't just affect you. Search and Rescue [SAR] efforts require several individuals, many of which are volunteers. That means these men and women have to give up helping their family and neighbors and local community to drive to the base, under dangerous conditions, and then traverse in conditions that threaten their safety to get to you.

So that is the long and short of it. So please be safe in the coming days and maybe instead of hiking, consider volunteering your time helping out family, friends, neighbors, and/or communities that might be affected in the days ahead.

Mike Boisvert

Man vs. Women Hiking Abilities Oct 25, 2012 7:04 PM

Men are athletically/physically superior to women. This is not an opinion; it's a demonstrable fact. You can hate me for saying it. I don't care.  Name the sport/activity....Hockey, baseball, football, swimming, weight-lifting, hurdles, sprinting, long-distance running......even the "female" sports such as figure-skating and gymnastics....the men are stronger, faster, better. And while we're at it, let's add hiking to that list. Define "better hiker" however you like, but whether it's a day hike (for speed and endurance) or a multi-day backpack (for strength and endurance), men are superior. It's not misogyny, it's biology. Are there women who can hike faster/stronger than a lot of men?.....yes, of course....however these women are the exception. 

What characteristics do women possess that are superior or different to men that are key to hiking? Pain tolerance, team work, risk perception, cooking?

What about binders full of women hikers? Oh my, let's not go there!

Men and women are superior...each in their own way. Each are unique and different. Not better, just different.

Mike Boisvert

Mud Room Update Oct 23, 2012 6:45 PM

My contractor is progressing nicely with the Mud Room, with the wiring completed yesterday. He has been working on the entry steps, framing the closet, and putting up the final wall with the windows. All being well he now will be putting in the insulation. Now that the Mud Room is enclosed, it's darker to work so he's using an extension cord from the house to give him some light. The Mud Room should be finished by Thanksgiving.

Mike Boisvert

Too Quiet? Oct 20, 2012 7:31 PM

Yeah, it's a tough time for guys to want to get out and run activities, so the Trips/Events Calendar has been a bit bare. It's probably the uncertainty of the weather coupled with the post-foliage and pre-ski doldrums. BUT it is a fabulous time to GO Outdoors and Make New Outdoorzy Buddies. Let's start with the lack of bugs! :-) Crisp, cool autumn days are invigorating; dress right, and you're all set. Got an activity idea? Post A Trip. Click onTrip Leading Tips  to read about what it takes to run an activity ~ anything from a nature walk to a social get-together to a hike to...well, that's up to you. And THANK YOU.

It's true that some of the "classic" old timers don't post many trips anymore. It's not all that unusual for guys to move on or move away. Personally, I really don't know what they're doing. It seems like it is always the same members posting trips. I wonder what would happen if Jon and I decided to move on from GO?

Gone are the days where members belong to only one club. Granted one in ten guys are gay, so meeting another member on the trail is rare, but it does happen. In most cases, when I'm hiking alone, I'm recognized more from my involvement with another local 'straight' club than with GO.  

Many members appear to have switched over to Facebook based hiking activities and potential new members that previously would have attended a GO trip have elected to spend their time on Facebook. Facebook handles photos well - and we all know that photos are what people like best. Trip reports are nice, but in general, they want to see photos. GO does offer members to upload their personal trip photos to their own profile photo albums; and we've made it easier to upload photos after a GO trip.

We've had many new members the past two years and in general I don’t see them posting/attending trips. I think a lot of them are on Facebook keeping up with their hiking friends instead of visiting GO. 

I'm starting to think we need to start offering winter and summer GO Gatherings that attract a large number of people; perhaps specific to northern New England since that is where we are most active. 

Also some gay outdoorzy guys have started their own Meetup group that offers another way of getting introduced to the outdoorzy scene, by basically melding Facebook with a web based forum. That is why whenever GO has a website upgrade, we try to emulate the functions of Facebook and MeetUp groups. Nonetheless GO has a high level of social interaction for new members and offers a high comfort level to an entry level hiker. Obviously we'll have growing pains like any other group will. 

Mike Boisvert

Winter Forecast: Not Mild, But Wild for Eastern U.S Oct 19, 2012 7:46 PM

Every year, issues a U.S. winter forecast, highlighting predictions of temperature and precipitation trends. Last year, winter was unusually warm for much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation.

Big snow events may return to a portion of the I-95 corridor of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic as well as the central and southern Appalachians this winter, while wet weather is predicted for the Gulf Coast and Southeast.

Parts of the Midwest could fall short of normal snowfall again this year with the main storm track to the south.

Farther west, dry conditions are forecast to persist in the Northwest, leading to growing drought concerns.

A breakdown of the Winter 2012-2013 forecast can be found below.

Above-Normal Snow for Northeast, Appalachians
Above-normal snowfall is predicted for the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and central and southern Appalachians, spanning western Massachusetts to northern portions of Georgia and Alabama, this winter.

"I-95 this year in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic will have more snow than they did last year. However, as far as above-normal snowfall goes, from New York City on south and west has a better shot with more mixed rain and snow systems in New England," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Charlotte are among other cities that may receive more snow than usual.

A couple of larger storms could unleash the above-normal snowfall in the major cities, as the winter setup should allow big storms to form off the East Coast. The best chance for the big snowstorms will arrive during the middle to latter part of the season, including January and February.

Temperatures may start out slightly above to near normal, but as the season progresses and some snow accumulates, it will turn colder than normal during February.

While the coldest air is expected to bypass New England, bringing more mixed rain and snow events, Boston and Portland may get near-normal snow amounts this winter.

>>Read About Other US Regions

Mike Boisvert

Mud Room Update Oct 16, 2012 8:14 PM

Brokeback Mountain is buzzing with having the Mud Room finished before winter settles in for good as seen from the photo. The windows were delivered today. Then the last remaining wall will be closed in. This weekend we'll be putting away the deck furniture, remove all screens from windows and washing windows. Finally, we'll be confirming that our snowplow contract is still in place. 

Mike Boisvert

Start Packing Flashlight/Headlamps For Hiking Trips Oct 15, 2012 7:38 PM

While my work day starts and ends at the same time year round, the rising and setting of the sun is not working on a similar schedule. In the summer, the sun rises earlier and sets later and in the winter it rises later and sets earlier. In the peak of summer, there is maximum of 944 minutes [or 15 hours and 44 minutes] of available sunshine.

While we still have some time until we hit the minimum of available sunshine minutes [that comes in December and early January] we have hit the time of year when I wake up to work in darkness and once I get home, it is starting to get dark. Luckily with this time of year, the sun is beginning to rise after I wake up so it's light out for my drive to work and it's still light out for my drive back home. But there will be a point where I'll be driving home in the dark; and that point is about a month away. Let me illustrate what I mean a bit more with some numbers.

At the start of this month [October], there was 11 hours and 57 minutes of daylight available but by Halloween, there will only be 10 hours and 27 minutes of available light, a loss of an hour and half of daylight. Contrast that with December where the sun starts to hit its lowest point on the horizon, December 1st will have 9 hours and 19 minutes of light and December 21st has 9 hours and 6 minutes of light, so only a change of 13 minutes. Quite a difference I would say. And while this illustrates my plunge into more darkness, it also serves as an important reminder for everyone who is hiking this time of year; start packing flashlights/headlamps just in case you are out later than expected.

Mike Boisvert 

Felix Baumgartner's Breaks Skydive Record Oct 14, 2012 8:23 PM

"I'm coming home," Felix Baumgartner radioed Sunday just before stepping off his 24-mile-high (39-kilometer-high) balloon capsule and into the history books.

He wasted no time getting there: In the process of logging the highest ever jump, Baumgartner reached unprecedented speeds of 833.9 miles (1,342 kilometers) an hour while free-falling in a pressurized suit.

Though he appeared no worse for the wear during a post-jump press conference, Baumgartner had, officials announced, broken the sound barrier during the free fall, reaching Mach 1.24. Asked what it was like to go supersonic, he said, "It's hard to describe, because I didn't feel it  ... In that pressure suit, you don't feel anything."

After several postponements, the so-called Red Bull Stratos Mission to the Edge of Space had begun shortly after 2 p.m. ET, when he opened his capsule high above Roswell, New Mexico.

"Be sure to duck your head real low as you go out the door," warned retired U.S. Air Force pilot Joseph Kittenger, who set the previous height record in 1960—19.5 miles (31.3 kilometers)—and was the only Red Bull Stratos team member with a direct radio link to Baumgartner.

Soon after, Baumgartner dived from beneath history's largest helium balloon ~ 55 stories tall and as wide as a football field.

After a 4-minute, 22-second free fall—not the longest duration on record, as he'd hoped (that record-breaking speed may have had something to do with it)—the Austrian sky diver opened his parachute at about 5,000 feet (1,524 meters).

"Couldn't have done it any better myself," Kittinger said over the radio, and to the millions who watched the live interned feed of Baumgarner's skydive.

Baumgartner safely touched down at 2:17 p.m. ET after roughly ten minutes total in the air—the picture perfect desert landing punctuated by an apparently elated Baumgartner falling to his knees before being whisked away by a recovery helicopter.

Mike Boisvert

Be Prepared For Winter-Like Conditions On Higher Summits Hikes Oct 11, 2012 7:59 PM

As I'm packing for a hike up Mt. Washington this Saturday, I noticed a difference from what I packed on a day hike just a week ago. Granted, Mt. Washington is almost 2,700 feet higher than Mt. Wolf, so that alone would make me think about what more to bring.

The foliage leaves around Mt. Washington are all but gone, snow is coating the summit in almost permanent fashion, and temperatures now average below freezing. Saturday the high temperature will be 22 degrees and the wind as high as 50mph.

Gone are the days of packing up shorts and light pullovers; in their place, synthetic underwear under shell pants, layers of fleece under a shell jacket, wool hat/warm gloves, and neck gaiter/face protection. Was I shocked at this? Not at all, it's Mount Washington after all, so this is normal and to be expected, especially this time of year.

Does this mean we won't be hiking in shorts again until spring? No, but those days will become fewer. So like me, you need to start having the summer mindset behind and start packing and preparing for winter-like conditions on the higher summits.

Mike Boisvert

Snow In Higher Elevations Oct 8, 2012 7:05 PM

Higher elevations of VT/NH have reported snow. It made for some great pictures of snowcapped mountains with past peak foliage below.

The picture posted is from the top of Mt. Washington.

Manna from heaven!

Mike Boisvert

First Snowfall on the East Coast for 2012-2013 Ski Season Sep 25, 2012 7:19 PM

Mt. Washington had its first snowfall of the season yesterday! The falling snow was relatively brief. Pictures of early season snow on Mount Washington either gets people's hearts longing for winter or make people wish the summer hadn't gone by so fast.

As autumn progresses to winter, Mt. Washington will get many feet of snow. Come spring this snow becomes stable and induces a migration of ski addicts to the mountain. One of the most popular places to ski is Tuckerman's Ravine, Southeast of the summit. Much of the snow on the summit above is drifted into the ravine, piling snow tens of feet deep onto the ravine floor. On warm spring days, there can be hundreds of people in a long line climbing up the steep snowy slopes for the opportunity to ski snow with pitches of 55 degrees and steeper (to give you a sense of how steep that is, a steep black diamond run is usually about 45 degrees). [GayOutdoors has led spring trips here in the past.] Ski patrol takes its regular post at the bottom of the bowl, often making skiers believe that all the medical help they may need is easily accessible.

It is easy for skiers to not realize the risks they may take skiing on Mt Washington. They may be surrounded by hundreds of people cheering them on as if they were in a gigantic stadium, but one misjudgment can have grave consequences. Each year, many skiers are seriously injured in Tuckerman's Ravine. Many skiers don't understand that it can take countless hours to get the seriously injured to medical help.

Mt Washington has this allure for hikers, too. People heading up the mountain are lulled into a false sense of security by planning to take cover in one of the summit buildings or take a car back down to the base if the weather gets bad. Especially this time of year, not all hikers understand that the summit is iced over on a regular basis when the valley is warm. In the case that the auto road closes or the summit building is not open (such as in the winter), unprepared hikers must rely on rescuers to help find a safe way down the mountain. Unprepared hikers are putting their own safety at risk and sometimes risking the safety of their rescuers.

As with any outdoor adventure, there is always risk involved when ascending Mt Washington. Hikers can minimize this risk by preparing for a backcountry adventure. In Tuckerman's Ravine this may involve gaining experience on smaller runs before skiing down high-risk runs. When climbing Mount Washington this involves preparing for worse conditions than you believe you'll encounter and turning around if you think you may be unprepared for the conditions in front of you. If you are unsure of the consequences of a certain hike or ski run, travelling with a guided group like GayOutdoors is a good way to understand how to minimize risks. Climbing Mount Washington, just like skiing Tuckerman's Ravine, is an incredible, and sometimes a life changing, experience. [Note that GayOutdoors has a hike to the summit of Mt. Washington on October 13th.] However, travelers must always be mindful to be self-reliant and anticipate the ever-changing conditions on the summit.

Mike  Boisvert?

A Day On Brokeback Mountain Sep 24, 2012 6:41 PM

I'll share a little bit more about living on Brokeback Mountain. This time, let's do it by the numbers...

10...The approximate amount of hours of music I listen to during the day. In large part to keep me alert and awake, solid background music is a crucial part of my day. After all, who can work in dead silence anyway?

9... The approximate amount of hours I spend at my day job…Bank Internal Auditor. On average, I'll get there around 8AM, and leave around 5PM.

8...The pieces of gear I must assemble in order to venture outdoors for an adventure this time of year. This includes light fleece, down sweater, outer shell jacket, shell pants, boots, winter hat, gloves, and of course, a headlamp.

7...If everything works out, I’ll get 7 hours of sleep every night.

6...[P.M] Dinner time! I’m usually eating it alone while I’m working on GayOutdoors matters.

5...The cups of coffee it takes to get me through the day. This is heavily dependent on the quality of sleep, but who doesn’t like to sip coffee in the morning?

4...The number of legs belonging to my feline companion, Sunshine. You certainly know she has legs since she loves to jump on sofas and cat perch, leap for the rope up high, and run after the red laser pointer [we call it the red bug]. She loves to run around the house at full speed.  

3... The average number of 'snacks’ I'll consume during the day. I’m really trying to increase servings of fruit in my diet. A guy's gotta stay healthy!

2...The number of hours I spend working for GayOutdoors each day. During the weekdays that consists of writing a blog entry, answering member emails, updating content for the website, and planning future events [I’ve been contacting Club Café in Boston to put together the GO Holiday Party and gay businesses to provide gift certificates to raffle off]. On the weekends, Jon and I are usually running GO trips and then uploading pictures/writing trip reports.

1...[hour] My total commute time to work [30 minutes each way]. Generally, this is no big deal, but on those snowy days, getting up and down my steep driveway with my truck can be a harrowing and adrenaline-inducing experience. It's at these times when I think to myself, 'Yup, every day is an adventure on Brokeback Mountain!'

Mike Boisvert

Fall Equinox! Sep 22, 2012 6:56 PM

When I woke up this morning Brokeback Mountain was enveloped in thick fog with enough drizzle falling to soak you through in no time at all. It looked like we were heading for another dull foggy day. However, within a few hours the sky above was completely clear. Now the clouds are starting to roll in again as a cold front approaches from the west. The current balmy 70 degree temperatures will soon be plummeting. 

Today is also the equinox, it's that special event that occurs twice a year (around March 20th and September 22nd) when the Earth's axis is inclined neither towards nor away from the sun. From today the northern hemisphere will start to tilt away from the sun as our fall season officially begins. Not many people will be happy with shorter days and longer nights. In the southern hemisphere the opposite is happening and the length of their days will increase as their spring season gets under way.

Mike Boisvert

Brokeback Mountain At Night Sep 20, 2012 7:18 PM

Brokeback Mountain at night is a completely different experience than the daytime scene.

Having lived here for over eleven years, I've seen my fair share of fascinating phenomena. But I can say, without hesitation, that the vast majority and the most notable experiences have come during the nightime hours. As ironic as it may sound, most of these experiences have to do with the concept of light during these dark hours. Because of the dark setting, different forms of observable nighttime lights take on a whole new significance.

LIGHTS FROM ABOVE: A star-filled night sky on a crystal clear winter night at Brokeback Mountain feels like you are inside a planetarium. Shooting stars streaking across the sky. A satellite or plane with blinking lights moving across the sky. A full moon lighting up the surrounding landscape.

LIGHTS FROM THE NORTH: The Aurora Borealis [northern lights] is a spectacular light show that not many will ever behold in their lifetime, and the only opportunity to view it on Brokeback Mountain will come during the nighttime hours.

LIGHTS FROM CLOUDS: There's plenty of action and adrenaline with night-lights, too, in the form of lightning-producing-thunderstorms. During the summertime, thunderstorms within view of Brokeback Mountain are a common occurrence. While the viewing of a distant light show is downright awe-inspiring, the experience of a storm right over one's head, is exciting and incredible.

Mike Boisvert

The First Foliage Report of the Season Sep 18, 2012 6:47 PM

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Days like the last couple epitomize the reasons why I enjoy it. The air had the feeling of fall that I enjoy so much.

There were certainly some concerns over just how brilliant foliage would be in New England for the 2012 leaf peeping season this summer - New England had fallen into a moderate drought and the combination of dry and hot weather was stressing trees. Just in time, the weather pattern shifted and ample rains all but wiped the slate clean, allowing New England's flora to recover wonderfully, growing strong and healthy into these days of early fall.

Additionally, the weather has cooperated with near-normal temperatures, and perhaps most importantly, the classic New England autumn combination of cool nights and warm days with relatively dry air.

As I left for work Monday morning, I could see my breath for the first time this season, and it always brings a little smile to my face.

The result of all this should bring a brilliant and long-lived display of autumn color for New England!

Mike Boisvert

On Vacation In The Adirondacks Aug 30, 2012 6:31 PM

This weekend Jon and I will be leaving for our vacation lasting two weeks. Our vacation will take us to New York's Lake Placid and the Adirondacks. I plan to finish my goal of hiking up all of the Adirondack 46ers [the 46 highest peaks in the Adirondacks] and we'll celebrate in nearby Ottawa, Canada. 

In the meantime, our Help Desk will be closed so if you have any website issues or questions about our club, you'll have to wait until I get back.

Mike Boisvert 

August Is Coming To A Close Aug 24, 2012 7:54 PM

August is quickly coming to a close for us here on Brokeback Mountain. When I return back from my vacation in mid-September most tourists will be gone.

As the last days of summer are quickly coming to a close, students are heading back to school and fall is just around the corner. With the wonderful weather we are having and should continue to have for the weekend, now is the time to join us on a trip. What better way to learn about GayOutdoors. 

If for numerous reasons you are not able to join us on a trip this weekend you need not to worry. We have lots of trips already scheduled for the fall. Experience the incredible fun of outdoor adventure with gay/gay-friendly men in a safe and comfortable atmosphere that leads to life-long friendships.

Mike Boisvert

The 12 Worst Fitness Mistakes Aug 23, 2012 7:25 PM

Training on empty. Taking it easy. Obsessing over your abs. Outside Magazine explains how to avoid 12 of the most common fitness screw-ups.

Mistake #1: Training on empty

Mistake #2: Working out just to work out

Mistake #3: Living at the gym

Mistake #4: Stretching cold

Mistake #5: Going long and slow to burn calories

Mistake #6: Ignoring weights

Mistake #7: Taking it too easy

Mistake #8: Skipping recovery

Mistake #9: Moving on one plane

Mistake #10: Ab obsession

Mistake #11: Pretending you're too busy

Mistake #12: Not keeping score

>>To fix these mistakes, click here

Mike Boisvert

Man ~ Isn't Life Beautiful! Aug 20, 2012 7:25 PM

While out hiking around Mt. Jefferson Saturday on the Gulfside Trail on the Monticello Lawn, we came across an interesting sight. These large rock cairns were perfectly placed, spaced evenly from each other, with this dramatic low cloud above them. While these were manmade, they looked like they were naturally put there. There's nothing wrong with a bit of artificial beauty to complement the natural beauty that surronds us. It was pretty neat to see. We often see large cairns above tree line, but seeing these across the Monticello Lawn felt like I was watching the Druids engaged in some ancient ritual. It seemed that the clouds above were responding to their prayers. Looking at the picture tonight, I keep thinking that these perfectly placed cairns are a perfect symbol for what it takes to live ~ it's all about finding that perfect balance.

When it comes to work and "play" you have to find that balance to shore up your daily/ weekly/ monthly/ yearly tasks but also get out and blow off some steam with fun and adventure. You have to find that balance of clothing when body temperature and air temperature are constantly in conflict; too much clothing and you overheat, too little and you shiver your body down to your core. You have to find those winds that allow you to hike safely and/or not at all; too high and you lose the ability to move and too low...well those days are rare above tree line. And when it comes to wind, on those higher days, you have to find your inner balance or you'll be hugging the ground quickly and painfully. You have to find a balance of time; if hiking, what time to leave to get to your ending point by "x" time, or if doing a yard project during the summer, how much longer until snow will hamper you, or if working, keeping up a pace so it doesn't backlog. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

While living definitely requires plenty of balance physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc., I know we aren't alone. While some of our external forces [wind, temperatures, etc] may be more evident, the same "invisible" balances that affect us, affect us all. So, I would say if things are becoming a bit much and throwing you off balance, step back, find your "center", and try again. I'm sure whoever made these rock cairns didn't get them like this on their first try. Things slipped up, the rocks fell, and they stepped back, collected their pieces once again, and started over until they got the balance just right ~ a good lesson for life. But if my comment about a picture of stacked rocks is getting a bit too deep I'll boil it down and balance it out with this ~ Man, isn't life beautiful!

Mike Boisvert  

The Top 25 Outdoorzy Colleges Aug 16, 2012 9:22 PM

With affordable outdoor programs and proximity to national parks, these schools will satisfy any adventure-seeking student.

We know what our members look for in any kind of experience: adventure, grit, sweat, a worthy struggle, tested endurance, goosebump-inducing views, wide-open skies, maybe some roiling water. So why should college be any different? The correct answer is: It shouldn’t.

We set out to examine which schools are best suited for those of you who aren’t willing to let opportunities for adventure sail on by. For those of you who, to paraphrase Angelou, tend to grab life by the lapel and tell it that you’re with it, kid. For those of you who can only get rebooted with a shock to the system of air so fresh that it cuts to the core of you, and hauls so long that a blister ripping open signifies satisfaction well had.

But this process wasn’t about gut feeling. We needed to be methodical, so we developed a scoring key designed to capture all possible aspects of an institution’s ability to cater to your adrenaline-rush cravings.

We learned a few things First, that California dominates. Once all the numbers shook out, it was clear that the academies of the Golden State (public or private, it didn’t matter) would most deeply satisfy the yearnings of a soul that needs to be outside. As you’ll see, California schools occupy our top four spots, and are peppered heartily throughout the rest of the list, a testament not only to the state’s embarrassment-of-riches geography but also to the college administrators who’ve made it a point to hold a door open into the wilderness.

We also learned that affordability matters. College kids are notoriously cash-strapped, but that should be the last thing to stop someone from getting out there—and even from getting out there well-equipped. Gear, lessons, certifications—these things all cost money in the “real world.” So if administrators can roll those expenses into the cost of tuition instead of charging adventure-seekers extra, so much the better.

>>See The List

Mike Boisvert

Bear Grylls' Next Act Aug 14, 2012 7:09 PM

Last spring, Bear Grylls walked away from one of the sweetest gigs in the adventure world with Man vs.Wild on the Discovery Channel. Was it career suicide? Or a savvy move by a born survivor?

“ONE! TWO! THREE!” And with that, Bear Grylls, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, and one unlucky volunteer from the congregation all toss back a handful of worms and maggots. The crowd of some 5,000 inside this Orange County megachurch groans and cheers, followed by an awful moment filled with the miked-up sounds of chewing and swallowing. Then Warren—evangelical icon, best-selling author, and the minister who delivered the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration—digs into the squirming glass bowl for seconds. The place erupts. “EEEWWW!”

Welcome to Bear Grylls, live on stage.

It’s early May, and Grylls, 38, star of Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild is six days into a PR blitz to promote the U.S. release of his autobiography (and 11th book), Mud, Sweat and Tears. Today’s performance, a version of an act he debuted in 2011, follows a simple formula: Grylls makes a dramatic entrance by—look up there!—rappelling down from the ceiling. He plays some Man vs. Wild clips. He chats with a cohost about his life of adventure. He gets audience members to eat bugs. It’s hardly as thrilling as watching him brave nature’s cruelest punishments on TV, but for Grylls fans it’s crack. In the past year, he’s sold out 17 shows in the U.K., Australia, and Norway. Here at Saddleback—where, at the invitation of Warren, he’s performing free of charge—churchgoers vigorously applaud every Man vs. Wild video. They hush in reverence when he discusses his faith. (“You don’t meet too many atheists in the Death Zone on Everest.”) They guffaw at his punch lines. (“I thought, Typical, it’s the best-hung goat in the hemisphere!”)

Indeed, last spring it seemed that everything was going right for Bear Grylls. Mud, Sweat and Tears had already become a bestseller in Australia and the U.K. His signature collection of survival products for Gerber, including the $62 Ultimate Knife, which has sold a million units since 2010, was adding 12 new tools. His outdoor-clothing line with British brand Craghoppers was also expanding. He’d recently become the face of a Dockers ad campaign and had starred in a high-profile TV commercial for Degree deodorant. (“Sweat is like tasty gravy to a hungry wolf,” Grylls deadpans.) In the days surrounding the Saddleback appearance, he taught Al Roker how to light a fire, gave stranded-mom survival tips to Rachael Ray, and shot arrows for Jay Leno.

>>Read More

Mike Boisvert

New Brokeback Mountain Type Movie Being Filmed Aug 13, 2012 6:33 PM

Private Life, will begin shooting this week. The story is a little bit Brokeback Mountain, a little bit Boys Don't Cry. It's a short film, a fictionalized re-telling of an actual hate crime the writer/director read about nearly a decade ago that really terrified him. A gay couple, backpacking through the Appalachians, was shot at eight times sniper style while making love in a secluded mountain meadow. Check out his website, tell all your friends and SHARE it will all your Facebook friends. >>View Website

The film is written and directed by Greg Williamson, a grad student at the cinema school at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

In addition to the gay-interest theme, there is also a huge outdoors theme. Two-thirds of the story takes place out in the mountains on a backpacking trip. They have been scouting outdoor locations for months! [He’s really enjoyed being able to go on so many hikes to scout the locations.]

The film tells the story of a gay couple, struggling in their relationship, who end up forging a deeper connection while on a backpacking trip out in the great outdoors. Private Life is a story about a broken sort of person, who is scared and trying to hide from the world and how he ultimately learns that only by opening up and making himself vulnerable can he can truly begin to heal.

Greg added, "Even after coming out I spent a lot of time judging others—too gay, too effeminate, too shallow, too political or just too into escaping their troubles with drugs and alcohol and drama. Being gay is a large and complicated conversation and my place within it has never been much more than tenuous. It wasn’t until I started figuring out what this story means to me that I felt like I had anything to contribute to the conversation. To really open myself up to another person makes me feel vulnerable to them shutting me down, walking away and not returning it. It makes me feel that what I’m sharing might be judged as offensive or immoral or wrong or selfish and met with hostility, anger, rage or violence. It makes me feel vulnerable to feelings of embarrassment and humiliation and that’s really scary to me. Fear of vulnerability I think is a universal part of the human experience—a necessary instinct for survival. But there’s so much more to life than just surviving it. Making this film is a way to confront my own fears about what it means to me to come out and be vulnerable."

We will try to put together a screening in Boston once it’s complete.

Mike Boisvert

Sunshine ~ The Most Popular GayOutdoors’ Member Aug 9, 2012 7:46 PM

I don't get to blog very often even though I actually live on Brokeback Mountain more than anyone else does. I observe Mike doing yard work, I observe him working on the GayOutdoors’ website, I observe the sunrises and weather outside, and I observe GO members visiting. That's a lot of observing, no wonder I'm exhausted all the time and have to find a nice spot to sleep!

I hear GO members talking and I think they're jealous that I’m the most popular member. They come and go but don’t understand that I’m the only full time resident of Brokeback Mountain. Members can count on me to be here when they come for a visit. I know that when members come to visit sometimes I can ‘hiss’ at them but my adoring public just has to understand that keeping Brokeback Mountain clear of insects, mice and chipmunks single handedly is a big job and I do need to get my beauty sleep. I do look so tame in pictures if I do say so myself!

The beginning of September is going to be a very sad day for me as Mike and Jon leave me to go off on their vacation in the Adirondacks. I really enjoy having them up here. I don't want to say that cleaning the litter box, giving me water, and refilling my food had any impact on how I feel about them however I'll surely miss the two of you so don’t stay away too long.

Sunshine ~ Brokeback Mountain Cat

Fine Sunday Evening Aug 5, 2012 8:17 PM

Sitting here on a fine Sunday evening, it's time to write my blog comment. Another great day on Brokeback Mountain but hot, hazy and humid with a high temperature of 88 degrees. We started the morning with an overcast, by noon the sun was shining, and Sunshine started meowing. Speaking of Sunshine, because she is short-haired, she does not have much of a fur coat so it helps her tolerate the heat. It felt like a thunderstorm was coming in early this afternoon but all we got was a spot shower that left us with an horizontal rainbow [in picture]. Jon and I went into Plymouth to run some errands and after he left I uploaded pictures and wrote a trip report for our Moat Mountain Hike we led yesterday. Dark clouds are appearing so I'm thinking we'll get a thunderstorm tonight. 

Mike Boisvert

Newport Beach, California Jul 27, 2012 9:58 PM

I've been spending the week at Newport Beach, California for a conference and it was very rewarding. I enjoyed ocean views, sun, temperatures in the 60s, and palm trees. But what did I do each day after the conference?  Well sunbathing and swimming in the hotel pool was something incredible.  The whole atmosphere made me feel like I was transported to a different world. 

Mike Boisvert

10 Tips for Mountain Athletes Jul 24, 2012 11:36 PM

You may not be a pro skier or climber, but at least you can train like one. Mountain sports coach Rob Shaul and his students share how they prepare for the peaks.

As owner and head coach of Mountain Athlete and Military Athlete, Rob Shaul lives and breathes discipline. From his gym in a warehouse in Jackson, Wyoming, Shaul uses traditional strength and conditioning workouts to teach climbers, mountain guides, kayakers, and other outdoor athletes how they can boost their performance by structuring their gym sessions. As you might expect, he doesn't believe in random training.

"We like knowing where we're going," says Shaul, who calls his program "MA" for short. To that end, he creates carefully programmed, sport-specific training routines designed to help his athletes build functional strength. While his job is in the gym, Shaul acknowledges that, “gym numbers are meaningless if they do not build to an outside purpose.”

With a roster of students that ranges from freeskiing world champions to Navy SEALs, Shaul's brand of focused fitness has helped professional athletes from across the spectrum of mountain sports. 

>>Read More

Mike Boisvert

Places to Kayak in Southern NH and Northeastern MA Jul 19, 2012 7:50 PM

In Nashua you can kayak the Nashua River from Mine Falls Park. It's not weed choked or filled with swimmers. And you don't need to worry about ocean tides. You can do a short trip to the Osprey nest and check out the swans. The put-in is by the Nashua YMCA or Stello's Stadium. You might also check out the NRWS-Nashua River Watershed Association. They lead trips and may give you ideas on where to go.

The Concord, Sudbury, and Assabet river system is very good for kayaking. It goes through Concord, MA. No ocean tides [fresh water] or swimmers to dodge. The Concord is VERY flat, it is easy to put-in, go one direction, and then double-back to your starting point if you don't do a car-spot. Put-in at Lowell Road in Concord or the boat landing at Rte.225 in Bedford. The Lowell Road spot is also the downstream end of the Sudbury and Assabet Rivers. You can go upstream from here pretty easily. For more information, check out the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord River Steward Council.

The Shawsheen is small but interesting. The Shawsheen River Watershed Association [SRWA] runs public guided paddles, usually the first weekend of every month. There is a nice interactive map on their website showing put-ins, etc. I know that this spring there have been some sections that are "challenging" due to downed trees, so check with them for conditions. Other than the dams in Andover, the Shawsheen is generally good for kayaking from the DPW in Bedford to the Merrimack River [need a vehicle for the Andover portage].

The Ipswitch River is also popular.

Mike Boisvert

Rainbow From Deck Jul 1, 2012 6:15 PM

The weather on the summit never disappoints, and late on Sunday I got quite the treat. With instability in the atmosphere, storms began popping up on the radar in the afternoon. I watched anxiously, hoping some would track towards me; and I lucked out. The clouds started to build in the distance as they slowly made their way towards Brokeback Mountain and I was soon rushing to the deck to check out the developing storms. As they passed I got some amazing views, including the cumulonimbus.

For a weather lover, I couldn't have asked for anything more. After dinner I ran back onto the deck. Looking to the southwest, a huge storm loomed on the horizon. All I got was a passing shower that left me with a rainbow, truly a magnificent sight. Sitting in the chair on the summit I watched in awe; quite the spectacle. 

Mike Boisvert

Summer Has Arrived Jun 21, 2012 8:58 PM

So, rather than focus on any one particular point in this comment, I will call it quickie news of five things that mattered to me today.

1. Yesterday was the first day of summer. That also means that the days around this date are the longest days of the year providing us with lots of daylight. I cherish these days because it allows me to actually enjoy my outdoor surroundings when I get home from work. Now, little by little from here on, the days will be getting shorter until bottoming out in December once again.

2. It was hot in New England today. If you live in New England, this isn't news to you as you probably felt it and sweltered in it or are still wallowing in it. National Weather Service reported that several areas set new records or came close to setting them. On Brokeback Mountain, we tied the high of 91F originally set in 1987.

3. Tomorrow will be just as hot around New England. In addition, the frontal band will allow for the possibility for some isolated thunderstorms. So if you are planning on hiking or be on/in/around a swimming hole tomorrow, keep an eye to the sky, or, if available, your smartphone just in case.

4. I'm expecting to see lots of fireflies from the deck tonight with this heat. I'm looking forward to having a glass of wine and watching the strobe lightshow.

5. Wildflowers are blooming and stellar. In addition, wild strawberries are peaking, and some of the other fruited plants around the northeast are nearing perfection. Some of the most spectacular sights and experiences are the small things found near where you live.

Mike Boisvert

NH Gay Pride Dinner Dance...OUTstanding!!! Jun 17, 2012 7:22 PM

What a fantastic evening, and clearly everyone who attended felt the same. Over 175 gay men attended.

Hosted by Granite State Gay Men with GayOutdoors being one of many sponsors. With President Obama’s recent announcement coming out in support of full marriage equality for same-sex couples, the NH gay community has been given a wonderful reason to be especially proud during Pride month. Our community has made tremendous political and social progress in the many years following the Stonewall Riots in 1969, a historic moment many credit as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. Gay men from all over New England flocked to take part in this event. 

The evening started out with socializing, having drinks and sampling the appetizers served by HOT shirtless boyz. Lots of good cheer was in the air as everyone was able to catch up on what friends have been up to. At 8:00 dinner was served and most guys ate outside by the waterfall in Eagle Square. Lots of gay pride, a warm venue, and high energy helped make this an impressive event. After dinner, sponsors introduced themselves, an entertaining drag queen show followed, and then a champagne toast! Everyone started dancing to the pulsating dance music under flashing lights.  

Watching so many NH gay men together under one roof and enjoying themselves was truly a sight to see. It displayed why the NH gay communty has made tremendous progress towards achieving full legal and social equality. As we look toward the future and all the progress still to be made, we seek inspiration and hope from our past. While our work surely isn’t complete, and we may have a long road ahead to achieve full equality, we are so excited to pause for a moment to reflect on our community’s momentous accomplishments at a state level. 

Mike Boisvert


Bike Week In The White Mountains Jun 14, 2012 7:12 PM

Glancing out the window at work in Meredith, NH, the first thing to catch your eye is the sunlight gleaming off the chrome of motorcycles, trailing their way up the roads as they approach the Harley Davidson store in town. Events throughout the area are scheduled all week. Walking through town, it is teaming with activity. Bikers and visitors are all taking advantage of this wonderful weather moving from one venue to another enjoying the views and snapping pictures. Looking at Route 3, a continuous trail, of what looks like ants, are traveling thru, accompanied by a steady hum as the bikes ride by.

Taking a walk at Weirs Beach, I can't help but notice that everyone is enjoying the day. The beach is full with bikes which gives it a different feeling, laugher and echoes of conversations can be heard all over. As the day progresses, the streams of bikers making their way to the beach becomes more and more continuous. The continuous streams of people eagerly coming into the beach are enjoying checking out the vendor booths, rock bands and entertainment. 

Bike week will culminate this weekend and the area will be very busy so plan accordingly. Give yourself extra travel time. Predictions indicate this will be the best bike week in years! 

Mike Boisvert

Boston Pride Day 2012 An Easy Success Jun 10, 2012 7:51 PM

If there’s a group of people who see the fun in being overly sexy, flamboyant, and colorful it’s the crowd at Massachusetts’ annual Gay Pride Day on Saturday, June 9. Under a sun blasting 80 degrees of warmth after a week of mini gay festivities in some awkward June cold front, Pride Day was a success in multiple, and effortless facets in celebration of Pride Week 2012.

As the first state to legalize gay marriage in the United States, there’s an extra feeling of emotional glitter in the Massachusetts’ sea air. The Pride Parade is in its forty-second year and celebrates the theme, “Thirty Years of Worldwide Pride Movements.” Flashy floats, gaudy dancers, and six-foot-three drag queens sauntered down Boylston, taking many erratic turns throughout the city streets to eventually arrive at the City Hall Plaza by Government Center. Donning a balcony of City Hall was the official Rainbow Flag, waving over the rows of tables set up in support of the 42-year movement. Some groups were registering folks to vote, and other tables were outlets for people of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender) Community including AARP, HIV awareness booths, and the Human Rights Campaign, the organization advocating for gay rights nationwide.

The Massachusetts group, Boston Pride, has been continually upholding a week in June since 1970 dedicated to celebrating LGBT  groups. Pride Week, along with the parade, is an annual event in multiple cities across the United States in the month of June. Both Presidents Bill Clinton and Barak Obama have recognized the summer month as the official celebratory and awareness time for people of the LGBT  communities. Strong political support also followed this year’s parade day with both Governor Deval Patrick leading a contingent of President Obama supporters and Senate contender Elizabeth Warren marching alongside volunteers and admirers.

Amidst the tables and food carts with the Boston wharf in the background glittering under the hot afternoon son, it was the Pride Day attendees that gathered the most attention. From catchy t-shirts, girls in pasties, and dramatically made-up drag queens, there was a lot to visually take in. There were just as many dogs in multi-colored collars as there were shirtless men in glitter, and rainbow attire was everywhere. Anyone on the hook-up awareness app known as Grinder was consistently checking their phone for hopeful last-minute dates. It was an easy day to find a smile.

The afternoon was filled with gaiety, all joking aside. Crowded together on a football field length outdoor plaza, flip flops slapping against the brick-laid ground, people of all orientations and passions literally moved in harmony and appreciation of one another. The concept of comfortability in the overall dramatics in some choice fashion, and the exaggerated makeup up was a symbol. It showed, and has been portraying such the idea for forty two years, that ignorance is a state of mind to be chosen. Our desire for love and expression of ourselves is something that comes naturally. Boston’s annual Pride Day 2012 showed more than just the rhinestones and leather thongs of human rights, it projected the absolute method of equality and acceptance: that it’s really just effortless.

New Hampshire will also have its own version of Gay Pride next Saturday with the NH Gay Men's Pride Dance in Concord, NH. Tickets are still available. Admission includes dinner, testimonials, drag queen show and dancing! I'll see you there.

Happy Pride!

Mike Boisvert

Lazy Rainy Weekend Jun 3, 2012 4:07 PM

It has been quite some time since I updated you on my life here on Brokeback Mountain. Since today is most definitely an indoor day I can spare a few minutes between naps to fill you in.

With the warmer weather I am enjoying wandering around the deck on nice days and even discovered how to jump off the deck to enjoy the greater outdoors! Unfortunately I got caught and now I can only go out on the deck if I'm supervised.

We had visitors here last weekend and I reminded them that I'm the top cat. Sometimes they wanted to pet me too much so I had to hiss and hit them with my paw. Don't they know this is my territory?

When not out on the deck I enjoy begging for treats and taking long naps in my tower. It's a hard life trying to keep up with my daily schedule; especially in the summer when I am so busy greeting guests but some feline has to do it.

Well it is time for my next scheduled nap so I will Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Sunshine ~ Brokeback Mountain Cat

Mad River Swimming Hole Relaxation May 29, 2012 7:35 PM

After a day of trail maintenance on our adopted trails on Brokeback Mountain, Jon and I spent a couple of hours on the Mad River last Sunday. Our house is on the river's edge and we built a hiking trail to gain access. We were curious to see the impact tropical storm Irene had on our secluded swimming hole. The first thing we noticed once we reached the river's edge is that the birch tree that spanned above the river was now in the water. We now had to climb over it to get into the water.

Once in the water, we have to cross the Mad River in order to relax on the river rocks. One has to be careful because the river is usually just above the knees, has a slight current to it and rocks beneath the water are slippery to step on. We are also carrying beach stairs and a cooler filled with beer. Mix this all together and it becomes a challenging crossing! We have learned not to put our beach chairs in the water to assist with the crossing because it will act like a water sail and pull us in. We have done this crossing many times and surprisingly neither of us has ever fallen in. There were a couple of times when we tried to cross the water when it was waist deep and very fast. We knew better not to continue and turned around. We've had some guests fall in but nothing major ever happened. The current pushed them down the river a few feet but the river is shallow enough that they eventually regained their footing and made it safely across. 

On the other side of the Mad River we noticed that the river rocks where we setup our chairs were more apart than before and more sandier in between them. It is actually nicer than before with lots of sandy flat spots among the rocks to setup our beach chairs! The other thing we noticed is all the large tree trunks that got trapped at the head of the island down river from us.

After noting all the changes from tropical storm Irene we found a couple nice spots for our beach chairs, applied sunscreen, listened to some tunes on the radio, opened some beers and sunbathed. The soothing sounds of the Mad River were beside us, the sun was shining brightly, there was a cool breeze and bugs were not an issue. Yes, we were in heaven!  

The water was a bit too cold for swimming but next time we return we'll start damming up the river somewhat to increase the water level for soaking and cooling off on a hot summer day. Today we did build a few cairns around us providing a Zen-like quality to our favorite secluded swimming hole. Some friends always ask if we hang out there in the nude. There is a campground and a few homes nearby so occasionally we have seen kids walk by. And yes, there is a group of gay men, like us, who like wearing swim suits! That said, we have on occasion taken them off to soak in the river :-)

After a couple of hours on the river we decided to head back to the house. We are looking forward to spending many more hours along the Mad River this summer!

Mike Boisvert

Summer Frame Of Mind Has Returned May 24, 2012 8:29 PM

It's not that I have a bias or hate spring or fall; not by any means. But at Brokeback Mountain, it always seems that there are only two seasons or should I say, states of mind ~ that of summer and that of winter.

Summer is when it gets 'warm', people are hiking in the masses, vegetation greens up, flowers bloom, hummingbirds appear, bugs come up, its humid and hazy so it cuts down on how far you can look from the summits [among several other things I could list.]

Winter is when it gets cold, fewer people are hiking, the vegetation becomes brown and eventually covered with snow, the winter birds come to the feeder, bugs die off, and its dry so it expands visibility much further from the summits [again, among several other things I could list.]

As far as the weather goes, spring and fall gradually change into summer and winter.

My summer frame of mind has returned. It is warm and sunny. The ground is bare. The landscape is neon green; flowers are sprouting. And hikers are everywhere. 

So, 'summer' [or at least my summer frame of mind] is officially back. Technically the calendar still reads spring. So, while it is 'summer' today, tomorrow is another day...

Mike Boisvert 

Chaotic Skies May 21, 2012 7:16 PM

This early evening we were treated to a great display of clouds. It was a truly chaotic sky at times with many distinct layers all stacked up on top of each other. A sure sign of turbulent conditions up above.

Looks like we'll have clouds soon enough though. The extended dry and clear spell we have been lucky enough to experience will soon be at an end. We should see plenty of rain tomorrow and with a cold front expected in the afternoon perhaps even a thunderstorm or two. Last Wednesday's storm was very impressive indeed - I wonder if we'll get another one?

Mike Boisvert

Steep Climbs in the White Mountains Part Two May 14, 2012 7:14 PM

The following is some steep climbs in the eastern and northern White Mountains. 

  • Great Gulf Trail [Spaulding Lake to Gulfside Trail] 1700 feet in 1.0 mile
  • King Ravine Trail [Foot of headwall to Gulfside Trail] 1300 feet in 0.6 mile
  • Great Gully Trail [King Ravine Trail to Gulfside Trail] 1700 feet in 1.0 mile
  • Madison Gulf Trail [Foot of headwall to Parapet Trail] 950 feet in 0.7 mile
  • Castle Ravine Trail [Roof Rock to Randolph Path] 1300 feet in 0.7 mile
  • Huntington Ravine Trail [Floor to Alpine Garden Trail] 1400 feet in 0.8 mile
  • Six Husbands Trail [Buttress Trail to Top of Jefferson's Knee] 1400 feet in 0.8 mile]
  • Wamsutta Trail [Great Gulf Trail to Outlook] 1250 feet in 0.9 mile]
  • Chandler Brook Trail [Great Gulf Trail to Auto Road] 1300 feet in 0.9 mile
  • Tuckerman Ravine Trail [Snow Arch to Alpine Garden Trail] 600 feet in 0.3 mile
  • Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail [Gem Pool to Lakes of the Clouds Hut] 1560 feet in 1.0 mile
  • Carter-Moriah Trail [Climb to North Carter from north] 800 feet in 0.5 mile
  • Wildcat Ridge Trail
    [Lost Pond Trail to Wildcat E] 2150 feet in 1.8 miles
    [19 Mile Brook Trail to Wildcat A] 1034 feet in 0.7 mile
  • Baldface Circle Trail [South Baldface Shelter to Baldface Knob Trail] 1100 feet in 0.7 mile
Mike Boisvert

Love-Hate Relationship With Transition Seasons May 13, 2012 6:58 PM

I have a love-hate relationship with transition seasons. I love fall, because of the colors of the leaves, the cool, crisp air, and the prospects of the forthcoming winter season. I hate (well, more like dislike) fall because it's difficult for me to deal with the anticipation of the upcoming snowshoeing/skiing season. As for the transition season we're in now, spring, I love it because even I need a break from the snow and cold. The warmer weather also allows me to get back into biking, kayaking and swimming, among other outdoor activities. Oh, and I absolutely love spring wildflowers. I dislike spring because of the mud, the bugs, and because I do ultimately have a hard time letting go of winter some years.

Mike Boisvert

The Many Seasons Of Brokeback Mountain May 10, 2012 6:30 PM

Growing up, we are taught that there are four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. And most people would associate these seasons with the weather or plant life. In spring, flowers and leafs on trees return and things start getting warmer. Summer is hot and can bring severe weather. Fall bring cooler nights and a change in the foliage color. And winter brings the cold and usually snow or ice. Now, while these all hold true for calendars and educational purposes, depending on where you live, there are several more localized seasons that are a subset to the big four. And having lived in New Hampshire for most of my life, I have learned a few that make sense to people I talk to locally but if I mention them to my friends out west or down south, you're usually asked "What's that?" or are provided with a similar facial expression.

Some of these seasons are as follows: mud season, "okay" season, black fly season, "dimwit" season, swimming season, leaf peeper season, ski season, the January thaw, back country ski season, and so on. So what defines each season? Mud season is a subset of spring. In early spring there is snow but as this melts and things warm up, it creates mud. New Hampshire's mud season has to be experienced to be believed. After the mud season tapers off, okay season takes over. It's that period in spring where it's not really warm enough to do summer stuff nor is it cold enough to do winter stuff. It's just "okay!" Then, as things warm up, the black flies hatch, starting that season. Now, I've heard the state has somewhere near 40 species of flies. While most are just the annoying type that swarm you when outside, there is a handful that bite; the kind of bites that leave welts and bruises. You would think bug spray would help, but it doesn't. When you go out during this season, you have to be prepared to look like you got in a street fight. Not a fun season at all.

"Dimwit" season is kind of a rolling season but it peaks in summer. This is when the mountain communities are swarmed by...let's say, severely underprepared individuals. If you're "hiking" in flip flops, you're a "dimwit". If all you have is a 20oz bottle of water for an 8 mile hike, you're a "dimwit". If you go hiking without a flashlight, you're a "dimwit". Some are so unprepared that they need rescuing. Luckily, the rescuing subset is a small group. So, now that you are aware of this term, try not to be one. As summer starts to end, swimming season lasts for about the month of August. This is the one month span that allows for swimming comfortably in most watering holes. Some holes have a longer period, but where I live up north, it's one month. Then comes leaf peeper season where you give yourself more time to get around because inevitably you'll get stuck behind the one car going 25mph in a 55 mph zone with no passing allowed. Fun times! This is followed by another okay season as the leaves are gone and there isn't any snow on the ground. But once it does snow, skiing (and winter activity) starts and usually continues through winter. January thaw (or sometimes February) is a warm period where it feels like spring in the middle of winter. I usually like this short span. Then as winter draws to a close, back country skiing peaks with perfect corn conditions and mostly stabilized slopes that are melting leading back into mud season...

While I'm sure there are several other seasons I could talk about, these are the key ones around here I have learned over my years. And in case you are wondering what season we are in, I would say it's going to be okay. The weather is mild, not too warm, not too cold. The trees are generally bare but are finally getting their neon green and flowers are starting to sprout again. The sedge is a mix of browns and green. And the weather is non-descript. There's just nothing significant to report per say. But, luckily this season is a short one. It will quickly be replaced by all the ups and downs that summer and it's "sub-seasons" bring. Now we just have to wait it out and play the waiting game...

Mike Boisvert

Bugzilla May 8, 2012 6:43 PM

This past weekend on Brokeback Mountain we started to get bugs.

Conditions were perfect for their arrival. The winds were calm with warm temperatures. They buzzed around me while I was doing yard work. The birds seem to be happy to see them as their visits to my birdfeeders has dropped significantly. Sunshine went out to chase the bugs. She was happy as she could be.

I hope everyone has been enjoying the nice weather, since today begins a rainy period that will end just in time for next weekend.

Mike Boisvert

The Signs of Summer May 5, 2012 7:23 PM

They're all around...the signs of summer...

Fishermen are out flyfishing.

Spring Beauty is blooming.

The landscape is snow free, thanks to warmer temperatures and plenty of spring rain.

The sun's rays are noticeably stronger even when partially obscured by clouds and patchy fog. This is due to the more direct angle of the sun overhead as the summer solstice approaches. With less atmosphere to penetrate, more of the sun's radiation makes it to the surface.

Trout Lilies are appearing all over the woods.

The bird feeders will be coming down permanently real soon.

Taller clouds. Again, with increased instability in the air, clouds are generally allowed to grow to more sizable heights in the summertime. It's a sign that thunderstorm season is on the way!

More hikers are making their way into the woods.

Sunshine is practicing on the deck to embrace her role as the Brokeback Mountain mascot to ensure she lives up to her infamous re-purr-tation.

Mike Boisvert

Rain Is Helping With Fire Danger May 4, 2012 7:38 PM

Today the weather has been quite different here on Brokeback Mountain. Rain and surrounding fog have once again confined me to my summit home. I will admit I am a little excited that we are receiving rain. With the small amount of rain we have been receiving lately the fire danger has been high and consequently prevented the ability to have a campfire in the backyard. The deficit of Smores is taking its toll.

Besides the rain aiding in lowering the fire danger the rivers are benefiting too. With the lack of snow to melt the river levels have been lower, but the rain that we are receiving will help. Looking at the USGS Discharge charts for the Ammonoosuc River it is evident that we are below the 72 year median daily discharge represented by the triangles. Hopefully with rain on the horizon the rivers will return to normal.

Mike Boisvert

Getting Things Ready May 3, 2012 7:09 PM

It's been overcast here with just a light breeze and very mild temperatures. 

Sunshine and I took the opportunity to get outside after I got out of work. While she explored the deck I started to think about getting things ready for the rapidly approaching summer season. The deck furniture has been out but I still have some yard work, window washing, and spraying the yard for ticks. Hopefully in a couple of weeks it will be warm enough to start thinking about decorating the deck with flowers. 

It's hard to imagine but our peak season will be here soon enough with lots of trips to participate in. And we'll be welcoming more members at the house afterwards. Must say I'm looking forward to some summer weather too - it's been a while since I've seen towering cumulus and a thunderstorm light show.

Mike Boisvert

Spring Or Not? Apr 26, 2012 9:17 PM

Just saying, is it spring or not? Last week I went outside on the deck all the time, it was sunny. I got into the rhythm pretty quickly. I had to order Mike to let me outside though, as he still needs training to know by my body language what I want him to do.

He joins me often when I go out. He enjoys the views. He's not wearing all that stuff he used to have when he went outside. But he's pretty good about opening the door. All I have to do is wait by the door to the deck and he lets me out. Sometimes I have to meow.

So, things were going pretty good until a few days ago when I got let outside and it was raining buckets all over, yuk! And when the door opened to outside, I swear I started to get cold! Next thing I knew, Mike was covering his body again when he went outside. This is clearly why they made litter boxes, I have no need to freeze my 'ahem' off in that kind of weather!

But, inside it's still ok. Mike put a fleece blanket on top of my favorite couch. I LOVE fleece! My treat drawer is well stocked and I have toys to play with. It's pretty dry inside. 

I hear all those happy GO members who give me treats will be back soon. There is a trip this weekend and a lot of guys are coming back here for dinner. After that, more humans will be visiting us soon, another sign that winter is ending.

I guess it takes a lot of work to get Spring to come and stay.... Until it does, I'll just keep napping and waiting.

Sunshine ~ Brokeback Mountain Cat

White Mountain National Forest Website Redesigned Apr 19, 2012 7:55 PM

The WMNF website has been redesigned. Old links may or may not work.

Speaking of broken links, the Appalachian Mountain Club's seems to have broken for the backcountry trip planning page: New Location

In the road status page I noticed Haystack Road is completely missing. It's not listed at all, open or closed. Other stuff missing on the website is Sugarloaf I campground and the Fourth Iron tentsite. And a lot of the campgrounds are not listed as to the "open/closed" status.

Now  I will have to check all the links we have to WMNF website...sigh. I guess I should check all links and add some more while I'm at it...more sighs. Broken links is a fact of life. I'll curse the bastards, fix the links and move on :-)

Mike Boisvert

Sunshine Bulking Up For Spring Apr 9, 2012 7:11 PM

My resident feline has been very sprightly the past few days. I guess she can sense that spring is coming and she'll be able to spend more time out on the deck again soon.

After spending all winter cooped up inside she's itching to get out, roll around on the deck, walk the railing, and chase insects. Several times she's gone out on the deck only to find it chilly ~ you can almost read her disappointment and utter disgust on her face as she quickly comes back in.

In the meantime she's been bulking up on her treats ~ she sure is a spoilt cat.

Mike Boisvert

Connecticut River Paddling Trip Apr 7, 2012 5:35 PM

Paddling the Connecticut River up in the NH/VT area this summer would be fun. The Connecticut River Watershed Council’s guidebook would be a good resource to plan a 3 -day paddle trying to avoid most of the dam/whitewater/portages up in the far north. You can put in at the Dodge Falls hydro dam in East Ryegate, NH and work your way south to Hanover, NH. This seems to avoid most of the dam/portages and whitewater.

Here is someone's trip report>>

Here is another resource with maps and descriptions>>

The Upper Valley Land Trust river-access-only campsites are terrific to use. All the campsites are great. They have 8 sites from North Haverhill, NH to Windsor, VT. All of the campsite adopters do a great job with the sites and the access points! Upper Valley Trust Campsites Info>>

Another cool place to stay on the river is Dartmouth Outing Club’s Titcomb Cabin on an island just south of Ledyard Bridge in Hanover. You’ll likely get any of these campsites to yourself on Memorial Day Weekend before paddling season kicks in.

This is also a good resource to use for paddling the entire Connecticut River>>

Mike Boisvert

Adventure Dog Photo Contest Apr 6, 2012 6:59 PM

I bet there are a few members who like to take photos of their "adventure dogs" and would have a good shot of winning this thing! Unfortunately this year's contest is over but you can view the winners!

Check Out This Year's Adventure Dogs Winners>>

For next year, enter your adventure dogs photos on the page:

Too bad this Austrian and his Malinois aren't eligible. It was taken during a military exercise in Norway and is my all-time favorite dog action shot.

Mike Boisvert

The Top 3 NH Day Hikes For First Timers Mar 29, 2012 8:47 PM

Click Here To Read Article>>

The article states Mt. Chocorua, West Rattlesnake and Welsh-Dickey Mountains. Mt. Chocorua is an amazing experience and the views are probably something first timers do not know exist in NH. Welch and Dickey have one ledge in between that can be a bit intimidating but if you have a butt, you can get on it and slide down! West Rattlesnake is a piece of cake and has great views for the small effort required to hike.

Guess what? GayOutdoors has hikes scheduled to two out of the three!

Other hikes for first timers I would include are the Sugarloaves in Twin Mountain [but route finding might not be simple for a novice], probably Mt. Willard since it's commonly mentioned as a gem, the White Ledges from the campground on Rte. 16 and the Imp Loop near Dolly Copp campground on Rte. 16.

Black Cap is easy enough and has blueberries. Also we recently went up South Moat and that is a nice one.

I would add Mt. Major. For a beginner who doesn't want ledges, they can be bypassed by using the Yellow Trail. The views from the top of Mt. Major are breathtaking. Or, on the other side of Lake Winnipesauke, Mount Roberts. It has views of the lake from many open ledges, plus views of the Whites from the summit. You can add the Brook Walk if starting from Route 171.

The rocky summit of Mt. Monadnock should be easy enough for first timers.

I'd include Mt Cardigan. It is a great first real mountain to do for first timers. The route from the west is just three miles round trip.

Mike Boisvert

Meow From Brokeback Mountain Mar 26, 2012 6:34 PM

Meow from Brokeback Mountain!

At 6:30PM on Monday, March, 26th, there were snow flurries outside, and I still didn't care, because you all should be focused on the pretty kitty that resides up here on Brokeback Mountain. 

That's right, folks. It's me, Sunshine the Brokeback Mountain cat, interrupting the long string of comments by the humans to let you in on my perspective, from a foot or two off the ground.

I was one happy kitty last week when it got very warm outside. I ordered Mike to let me outside very often, and he obliged, which allowed me to air out my fluff.

Since I'm only 8 months this was my first time outside on the deck in the month of March and I overheard that it's not usually this warm. I didn't mind at all, as I was getting very antsy being so cooped up inside for the winter. I discovered for the first time what humans called 'insects' and my, how they kept me busy chasing after them. What else do I do when I go outside? It's true, I enjoy running around on the railing and keeping these four chiseled legs in tip-top shape. 

Unfortunately for me, it got real cold today, so my delicate senses could not handle venturing outdoors for too long. So now I'm snuggled back up on my carpeted kitty tower in the living room and watching the snow flurries descending. 

Sunshine ~ Brokeback Mountain Cat

Record High's Are Being Broken Mar 22, 2012 8:46 PM

The past few days have been historic on Brokeback Mountain.

The theme of the past few comments has been very consistent ~ it's unseasonably warm. I'm sure that point has been hammered home, whether you've experienced it first hand or not. However, there's a difference between just eeking out new records, which is normally the case during a stretch of unseasonable weather, and completely shattering them.

We reached 83 degrees on Wednesday which topped the old mark of 79 set in 1921. This was the fourth day in a row with a record high and the fourth day in a row with a high of 80 or warmer. Before this stretch of warm weather we never had four days in a row of 80 plus temperatures in March and never set record highs four days in a row, ever! That's quite a feat.

As to trail conditions ~ the snow pack is solid in the morning but monorails are forming; some postholes. Above treeline there is very little snow left. Snowshoes are not being used much but I would still carry them in the event soft snow is encountered. Tomorrow we return to typical March weather. Even so, temperatures this time of year average 44 degrees, and we won't dip that low until next Tuesday. Temperatures will then rise again after that.

Since most of you are lovers of summertime, I'm sure you are thrilled with this earlier-than-normal-by-two-months transformation of the landscape from winter to summer.

Mike Boisvert

Perhaps More Snow Storms Will Arrive Mar 20, 2012 7:39 PM

Previous comments talked about Brokeback Mountain experiencing higher temperatures than normal. In the past day or so it has become very evident by the change in the landscape. Two weeks ago the yard was mostly snow covered so you would have thought it was the beginning of March. Now looking out the window it feels like summer. The Mad River is roaring from melting snow. It makes you realize how fast the snow is disappearing.

To illustrate what I am talking about I took a picture of the last remaining snow patch in the yard at 7AM this morning and then took a picture again at 6pm this evening to show the change in 12 hours. You can see most of the snow has melted.

Much colder air arrives for this weekend. There is a storm in Texas and British Columbia with lots of precipitation moving this way. IF we get these storms and the Cold air...well then we get a Major Wintry storm for next week. More likely though is that we'll be returning to a more typical late winter pattern with seasonable chill and mountain snow returning by the end of next week. But there is a ton of cold left from Alaska to Greenland and with such an extreme weather pattern, I'm starting to think that perhaps more snow storms will arrive this season. And I just put my snow shovels and snow blower away! This type of weather makes you appreciate the variability of conditions we can see from day to day up here.

Mike Boisvert

Let's Hope This Warmth Does not lead to Trouble down the Road Mar 15, 2012 8:51 PM

Today's talking point on Brokeback Mountain was the snow, or lack thereof I should say. At the end of February, it still looked like winter in the White Mountains. Snow coated everything and while it may not have been impressive as it was back in March 2011, we at least looked and felt like winter here in the White Mountains; something I can't say for other parts of New England and the rest of the country this winter.

Now, don't get me wrong, I took full advantage of the warmth this past week. And while I LOVE winter, there is nothing like being able to go outside in a short sleeve shirt again and actually enjoying it for the first time each year. While nice, it also felt wrong at the same time; like I was cheating on winter. This wasn't normal for mid-March. Mid-April? Yes. Mid-March? Not so much. And this seemed to ring true with many people I talked to.

While we were hitting 50s and 60s on several days this week, we should be averaging closer to the mid-30s for this time of year. Call it the "David Copperfield Affect" the way the snowpack disappears. While there is still plenty of large snow fields and snow in the Great Gulf and the eastern Ravines, other areas were clearly lacking by considerable amounts, again, making it look and feel like mid-April and not March.

Looking ahead, I bear mixed news depending on your views of winter. If you love spring, I have some great news, the warmth isn't going anywhere. In fact, if things hold and the forecast holds true, by this weekend, several daily records are in danger of falling in the coming days. But, if you love winter or spring skiing, now the bad news. With this warmth comes the rain and continuous melting 24 hours a day. This will destroy the remaining snow packs. And while this is bad for winter enthusiasts, the worst news could come later in the year. With the warmth melting snow quickly at the surface but the ground still frozen beneath it, the gradual snow melt and seeping that normally occurs will not be occurring. This is bad for water tables and spring flow in surrounding streams and rivers. This could lead to potential drought conditions and will affect summer river flows. While rain storms could help, we could end up like California this summer where drought is constant, putting a lot of people on edge. So, we'll see. So, I guess the bottom line is, enjoy the warmth and the activities that it brings but hope it doesn't lead to trouble down the road.

Mike Boisvert

Sunshine Enjoying the Outdoors Mar 13, 2012 6:39 PM

In light of the mild weather as of late, Sunshine has been enjoying her jaunts outside.

As soon as I open the slider doors to the deck, she runs off and enjoying her outdoor mountaintop dominion.

After running along the railings, she takes a few moments to enjoy the views.

However, after a mere ten minutes, Sunshine had clearly tuckered herself out, and promptly headed for the slider door, asking to be let back in to the shelter of the house. Sunshine decided she'd stick to indoors for a while.

Glancing a week into the future, the trend looks to remain warm for the majority of the time, so Sunshine will have plenty more opportunities for outdoor activities.

Mike Boisvert

GayOutdoors Weekly Summary Mar 12, 2012 8:25 PM

As is typical for the transitional month of March, this week featured both winter and early-spring-like conditions.

We continue to have member’s post trips, which is just awesome:

A member also posted a trip idea for Colorado Skiing. Please remember that for trip ideas, you should turn this into an official posted trip with a date and details once it's a GO.

The annual GO Rendezvous in NH will be held on April 14th at the Breezeway Pub in Manchester, NH. Come meet the GOers! Get a feel for our laid back, friendly vibe.

I spent half of Sunday trying to figure out how to complete the GayOutdoors tax return. We are a non-profit organization without the tax-exempt status. We changed from a Limited Liability Corporation to a non-profit organization in 2011. In the past GayOutdoors tax return was commingled with my personal tax return. I am proud to know that our members like to pay our fair share of taxes to the US government. We are US citizens and as members, we should financially support what our great country does for us. Ideally, I would like GayOutdoors to be tax-exempt because we could use every penny. If only I could find the time…

We periodically have guys trying to become members and get errors while doing so. I have found that most of the time it’s due to them not receiving the subsequent email to validate that their email address is real and click on the activation link. We cannot elaborate this enough, in order to receive any emails from us, before you register, please configure your Spam blocker to accept messages from "" BEFORE you register.

Mike Boisvert

Snowpack Is Melting Fast Mar 11, 2012 7:05 PM

It was beginning to look like March would save this peculiar winter.

During the first five days of March, we received about 8 inches of snow. Normally this wouldn't be a particularly momentous figure, but considering the scarcity of the white stuff this season, it was encouraging to see this much snow to kick off the month of March.

However, the powers that be subsequently decided that this was unacceptable, and as a result, the snowy five-day period has been followed by temperatures averaging 10-20 degrees above normal on Brokeback Mountain, drastically reducing our snowpack.

Luckily, I was able to catch the metamorphosis from purely white winter wonderland back to patches of snow.

This is the picture I took last Saturday of the house following the new 8 inches of snowfall: View Picture>>

Fast forward to today...

On Wednesday: The high temperature was 55F, and the daily average temperature of 36F was 19 degrees above normal.

On Thursday: The high temperature was 64F. Temperatures have not dropped below freezing until 8:30PM on Friday, resulting in a 36-hour thaw.

Today [Sunday] it warmed up again with a high of 56 degrees.

Here is the picture I took today of the house from the same location: View Picture>>

The prognosis for a wintry March is not looking good for the future, with temperatures remaining in the 50s this week. 

Mike Boisvert

Long Lake in New York buys land from The Nature Conservancy Mar 9, 2012 6:47 PM

The town of Long Lake bought a 46-acre tract of land from the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy last week. The transaction, which was completed March 1, completes commitment initiated by both parties several years ago. Read Story>>

Long Lake paid $36,720. Nice price. I wish I could get a piece of the Adirondacks near Long Lake for that. What I think is going on here is that the Nature Conservancy bought the property [and a lot of other property] with the understanding that the State of NY would be purchasing it and adding it to the total Forever Wild acreage of the Adirondack Park. The State was big into land acquisition a few years ago but land purchases have taken a back seat since the economy fell on hard times. So the Nature Conservancy is stuck with all this property it never really intended to keep long term but the DEC commissioner recently announced that he expects to begin purchasing pieces of the former Finch Pruyn land in 2012 and more to come.

The Nature Conservancy has received some fantastic donations to cover the debt service. The organization has some very serious, deep pockets. Why did they sell to Long Lake? Probably 'cause the land really isn't a great fit for the forest preserve situated where it is. The Nature Conservancy is also interested in maintaining good relations with the towns in the Adirondacks and this is a small price to pay for selling land. Long Lake really wanted and needed a good way of building good will with another constituency in the Adirondacks.

Mike Boisvert

It IS March After All! Mar 8, 2012 6:42 PM

"It IS March after all!" That seems to be today's unofficial motto around Brokeback Mountain. So why the reminder of what month it is? Why, the weather of course.

Temperatures soared today. Weather forecasters long term outlook for the month have declared that the New England winter is dead. Though spring snow is always possible with brief shots of cold air ~ and, in fact, likely in the mountains ~ there will be no potential for more than a day of below normal temperatures. As such, this leaves virtually no chance for winter to make a stand. In fact, we won't see the cold temperatures we experienced earlier this week until next winter.

So how high do you think it got today? A seasonable 30 degrees? No. 40 degrees? No. 50 degrees? No. We reached 64 degrees that was just shy of the record of 67 degrees for March 8th. And while it may sound unusual, I go back to my opening statement, this IS March after all!

Mid-50s, 60s or even 70s by the end of the month, are not that unheard of. To some, it might feel like winter just began last week, but remember that meteorological spring has already begun, daylight savings is this weekend, and then shortly thereafter the official first day of spring. Now, this isn't to say that winter is over in the mountains. In fact, tomorrow, below normal temperatures make a return and snow showers are in the forecast. But between these periods of winter weather will be periods of spring weather.

Hopefully winter hikers are still with me and didn't start packing it up for the season with this weather because there is still a lot of winter left in the mountains! Yes, it was warm today. So the thing to take away from this comment is, although it IS March, it is a time of transitions; some days it will be warm, some days will be cold, and sometimes both in one day, as we depart winter and start heading into summer. So, please still come prepared for winter conditions up in the mountains since colder temperatures, wind, and more importantly snow will remain for quite a while longer.

Mike Boisvert 

Brokeback Mountain’s Appearance Is Forever Changing Mar 5, 2012 9:31 PM

Living at the gateway to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, there are peaks galore. But among those peaks, there are a handful of landmark summits that I always look for to know where I was in relation to home. If I saw them, I knew home (or another destination) was just around the corner or 'right there'. So, if I ever got 'lost', I would always find my way back home. Out here, while there are many notable peaks I look for when I'm out and about, one of them is Brokeback Mountain. Every day, it is home. So finding it on the horizon means I always know where home is. I scan that horizon and look for my beacon back home, you know, just in case...

But apart from it being a beacon, it's also a summit that demands attention. And I give it all the attention it wants since everywhere I see it; it is like a new perspective. Every day, I am looking up at it. When I’m hiking, I look for the summit to see it at a new angle, with different light, different clouds, different shadows, and with a fresh pair of eyes. I'll admit that even though I've seen the different angles of the summit numerous times, I still find myself saying 'Wow!' I don't know how to explain it, but if you've lived here, traveled here, or hiked around here, I'm sure you know the 'wow' factor I'm talking about.

One of those 'wow' moments came this past Saturday, while Jon and I were shoveling the driveway. I took this photo and just kept thinking/saying 'wow' as the clouds were lifting from the summit. My next ‘wow’ moment might be how the light will react this time of year with certain conditions, or another look. And that's what's great, while the summit is physically constant (relatively), its appearance is forever changing making something old new again, over and over again.

Mike Boisvert

Gay Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan on a Welcome-Home Kiss That Went Viral Mar 4, 2012 7:28 PM

When Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan, 25, returned home to Hawaii on Feb. 22 from a deployment in Afghanistan, he found partner Dalan Wells, 38, waiting for him. When a friend snapped a photo of their welcome-home kiss and posted it online, it quickly went viral and has been viewed tens of thousands of times on blogs and Facebook. It has been interpreted as a sign of a more open military in the wake of the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Thanks to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” we’ve had active-duty military personnel signing up for GayOutdoors trips for the first time this year — without the fear that doing so could cost them their job. We’re thrilled to welcome our armed services on GayOutdoors trips!

This photo of a marine’s heartwarming homecoming has gone viral, and the Daily Beast has a first-person account from one of the marines, Seargent Brandon Morgan:

“Weeks just flew by and I couldn’t wait to get home, and I was like, ‘When I get home, I’m going to give him the best kiss I can think of.’”

Read Story>>

Mike Boisvert

Brokeback Mountain In Very Wintry Conditions Feb 26, 2012 6:13 PM

Brokeback Mountain has experienced very wintry conditions this past weekend. We received about 5 inches of snow. Our hike up to Carter Dome led us to discover that the higher summits had up to three feet of drifting snow. A lot of this snow will fly into the surronding ravines setting us up for some great spring skiing. At Carter Dome, we were close to white out conditions with abundant blowing snow. Today, as high pressure took control, we experienced a much pleasanter day with blue skies and great visibility. However with temperatures around 20 degrees and high winds it certainly hasn't been a day for lingering outside.

Mike Boisvert

27-Second Long Nighttime John Brooks Lodge Time-Lapse Video Feb 23, 2012 6:57 PM

The Adirondack Mountain Club’s [ADK] John Brooks Lodge, in the midst of New York’s Adirondacks High Peaks, is a haven for those who treasure quiet places and outdoor living.

The video has music, otherwise, work friendly.

I love it! I liked the jets at 9 and 12 seconds. [Probably chemtrails. Standard overnight government spraying of barium and aluminum as part of its covert geoengineering project. Thanks to this video, there is now proof. :-) ]

Hmmm…trying to figure out the source of the explosion inside the lodge around the 15-16 second mark.

This is what the photographer, ADK employee Brendan Wiltse, the current manager of the lodge had to say:

It is comprised of a little less than 400 still shots, each is 20 seconds long with a 2 second delay between shots (allows for camera to process images).

They were shot with a Nikon d7000 at f3.5 with the ISO set to 400 using a 10mm lens.

The images were batch processed in adobe lightroom then compiled with quicktime pro, final editing was done in final cut pro.

The camera was facing north, there was a nearly full moon, without the full moon the stars would have shown up noticeably better.

Mike Boisvert

This Winter Is Flying By Feb 21, 2012 7:03 PM

This winter really seems to be flying by. I can't believe the calendar is already pushing its way toward March! This winter has been especially busy for me on the mountain for two reasons: Blogging and the trips that Jon & I run. This certainly lends largely to the feeling of winter getting away from me.

With regards to Blogging [Musings from Brokeback Mountain], this relatively new program for our organization has really taken off. I was thinking about starting a blog a few years ago, then added it as part of the website last year, and now it’s turned into a full-fledged, solid feature of our website. It's been very rewarding to see that process, and it’s been a lot of hard work to make it all happen. Exactly how much has the program taken off? Well, I can tell you that there have been numerous times when running trips that members have commented to me about it. If you would be interested on becoming a regular contributor to the blog, contact us for more information. I think obtaining different points of view would only make the blog better.

Then there are all the members that attend our trips by signing up through our
Trips Calendarmany of whom return at Brokeback Mountain afterwards for a home cooked meal, camaraderie beside the fireplace and spend the night. Then there were friends of ours who spent an entire week with us with their two children last week.

Here's hoping that winter doesn't get away from me too quickly. Well, that is as long as it's going to snow some more!

Mike Boisvert

Valentine's Day Feb 15, 2012 7:49 PM

It has been an extremely busy week at Brokeback Mountain. Besides having our straight friends from New Jersey spending the week with us with their two children [Cole, 5 years old and Brad 18 months], Jon and I have been winter hiking up to 4,000 footers and doing some cross-country skiing. And, at night Jon has been busy preparing and cooking meals for everyone.

Brokeback Mountain is a fascinating and exhilarating place to be which is why they spend a week with us every winter! However, after one week we'll be looking for some serious R&R. For the time being though, everyone is making themselves feel at home. It's been fun watching James and Heather raise their family these past few years.

Valentine's Day is really no big deal ~ just a fun day that Jon and I spent together cross-country skiing at Waterville Valley finishing the day off by hosting a 'make your own pizza' night that Cole just loved doing. We finished the night watching pictures of our Tour du Mont Blanc vacation and seeing this awesome movie that's now available 'on demand' called The Way. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an irascible American doctor who comes to France to deal with the tragic loss of his son [played by Emilio Estevez] who died while embarking on the historical pilgrimage, "The Way of St. James." Rather than return home, Tom decides to continue his son's trekking journey and scatter his ashes along the way. Highly recommended.

Mike Boisvert

Moderate Avalanche Danger In Ravines Feb 11, 2012 6:56 PM

There may not be an overwhelming amount of snow on Brokeback Mountain, but what snow does exist, you'll find it's doing interesting things. In the wooded hillsides of the mountains you will likely find snow in varying but mostly consistent levels as you move about.

Above tree line there is little to hold the snow in place. Without trees, light fluffy snow is at the mercy of the winds, and as is often the case, it gets moved around quite a bit. If you've ever seen snow in Tuckerman's Ravine in June or July (or later) you probably already know what I'm talking about.

Recently when going off trail I had the opportunity to saunter and study (or struggle through) the varying depths and densities of snow. Some of my steps found hard crust that would hold my weight, and other times I would simply punch right through to a softer powdery layer. Sometimes there was a foot of solid powdery snow right on the surface, while other times I found myself walking on hard packed ice. 

It turns out in Tuckerman's Ravine, snow rangers for the White Mountain National Forest found 5 different and distinct crust layers in just 1.4 meters of snow depth. To back up just a bit, consider how those layers were formed. Certainly you can recall a lot of warm winter days in our region, followed by some fairly cold days and days where it snowed or perhaps when the sun shone all day. Just like rocks, snow can undergo metamorphism over the course of the winter as variables like temperature, humidity and pressure act on it.

So to be blunt, why should we care about any of this? For all those backcountry adventurers who plan to venture above tree-line it's extremely important for everyone to understand how to read snow conditions.

Avalanches, caused by snow sliding off unstable lower levels of snow, are a serious danger for anyone venturing in the ravines,  especially in Tuckerman and Huntington's Ravine where avalanches have seriously injured or claimed the lives of many inexperienced and experienced backcountry travelers. That's not to say you shouldn't travel above tree-line in winter, but it's certainly a good idea to take an avalanche safety course through any number of local outdoor organizations.

And for daily avalanche forcecasts, snow reports or information on the ravines on the rockpile, visit the US Forest Service's Mount Washington Avalanche Center.

Mike Boisvert  

Weather Has Been Absolutely Great! Feb 10, 2012 6:15 PM

The day started bright and sunny with yet another wonderful sunrise along with mild temperatures and light winds. The past few days have been absolutely great! I honestly can't remember the last time we've had such a good stretch of nice weather, just blue skies, amazing. Anyway it's starting to cloud over now so I'm sure this weather anomaly will be a distant memory soon enough as we plunge back into the clouds overnight. We'll see some snow tomorrow, then it looks like it's going to be very cold and windy - ah normality will be restored.

Jon and I will be hosting some friends and their two children next week. Cole is five and Brad is one. Jon and I will be off hiking and cross-country skiing during the day while they relax around the area. Jon has all the menus planned with the highlight being 'make your own pizza' night. Um...always a favorite at Brokeback Mountain. 

Mike Boisvert

An Orange Day Feb 5, 2012 5:30 PM

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade; and sometimes Brokeback Mountain provides days that I would classify as "lemons" that I just have to deal with. Windy, bitter cold, blowing snow, freezing rain, etc. make outdoor activities challenging. And I get days that are just stellar and sweet like a mandarin or an orange.  I also get the "Meyer Lemon" days. To those of you unfamiliar, a Meyer Lemon isn't like the common, cheap lemon you pick up at your local grocer. These are a specialty "lemon" that, although similar in looks to a common lemon, tends to be sweeter, less acidic, and just a bit tangy [typically you can eat them without puckering your face much]. It gets that way because it is the mule of the fruit world; a different species than its "parents" since it is an offspring of a lemon and the sweetness of an orange. So it is a middle ground between the sourness of the lemon and sweetness of an orange, However today I am classifying it as an Orange; it was a sweet, stellar, bluebird day.

It ended with a full moon above the mountain. This morning as the sun rose, the winds diminished reaching a high temperature of thirty degrees allowing Jon and I to take advantage of the weather at hand. It was a sweet day so we pounced on as many outdoor chores as we could.

One activity we didn't have to do was shoveling since I did that with my headlamp on Tuesday night. I shoveled the entire driveway [Picture 1, Picture 2], shed entrance, house entrance and the deck. The guy I hired will only plow my driveway if we have 3 inches of snow; we received 2 inches of snow on Tuesday so I had to take care of it by myself. There was an urgency in the effort because freezing rain was forecasted overnight so I didn't want to deal wtih the snow turning to slush and freezing overnight [eventually turning into ice].

I did refill the birdfeeders since today was a 'stellar' day. Sunshine also enjoyed the day by walking the deck railing. I re-stocked the firewood for our fireplace. We also got rid of the trash and dropped it off at the transfer station. And lastly, we washed our vehicles [Jon's car, my truck]. So while it was a lot of exhausting work this week, today was an enjoyable day and anytime we can get outside is a good thing, especially on an Orange Day.

All that is left is for the New England Patriots to beat the New York Giants in the Superbowl. GO PATS!

Mike Boisvert

Estimating Wind Speed Jan 19, 2012 7:02 PM

With 2-4 inches of snow arriving tonight the decision was made not to leave my truck next to the house. It's a precarious situation trying to drive up the steep driveway in the morning that I opted to avoid altogether.

A simple thing as not having my truck next to the house makes living here feel isolated but in a strange sort of way excites me as my imagination makes me think I'm at some remote outpost.

It was quite windy yesterday that led me to think about how can someone estimate wind speed. A while back the chart in the lead photo was published by KELTY, it's quite interesting!

We often over-estimate wind speeds. What we think is 60 mph winds are actually closer to 30 mph, and such. Here is another chart to refer back to.

I now carry a weather instrument with me when I'm hiking in what I anticipate to be windy conditions, just so I can get honest measurements to tell people about afterward. It's taught me that people definitely overestimate wind speed.

Climbers, but not as often, totally miscalculate elevation gain as well. When it happens it is by several thousand feet, and occasionally distances. There are lots of GPS our there to use but, but...

I usually gauge the wind if I can stand up in it and feel how close I am to being bowled over. I kind of go on the rule that if I have to lean into the wind while standing to prevent from being bowled over, that we're looking at around 45mph gusts....Anything stronger, I'm probably not trying to gauge.

It's easy to overestimate, as the force exerted goes up with the square of the velocity, or in less geeky terms:

10 mph ~ Feels like a force of 'X' [whatever]
20mph ~ Feels like 4 'X's
30mph ~ Feels like 16 'X's
80mph ~ Feels like 64 'X's

Same goes for a good beer, an X strength beer often tastes like a triple X!  :-)

Mike Boisvert

Winter Has Magically Arrrived! Jan 14, 2012 8:23 PM

The weather has been truly exciting this week. It seems as if winter has magically arrived with the significant snowfall that fell across the region and on the summits Thursday. That was followed with a combination of arctic air and wind delivering a wind chill of near zero. With a bit more luck, I'm hoping like many other people across New England that the remainder of winter will make up for our slow start. I might be asking for quite a bit here, but I might as well add that I hope that my driveway continues to be plowed and sanded after every storm! 

Mike Boisvert

Me, Myself, and I, I, and I ~ Running GayOutdoors Jan 9, 2012 7:05 PM

Mike Boisvert

Like most kids, when I was a kid, I used to wake up really early on Saturday's to watch cartoons. One of the cartoons I liked to watch was Looney Toons with Bugs Bunny and pals. While there were many great and memorable shorts, one of my favorite Bugs Bunny shorts was called 'Baseball Bugs'. In it Bugs Bunny claims that he could single-handily win a baseball game against the 'Gorillas' baseball team, a bunch of oversized, un-sportsman-like players. As the episode progresses, Bugs Bunny is seen playing all the bases and positions on the field. He would throw a pitch then race behind home plate to catch it. If a ball were hit, he would catch it then throw it to himself on the appropriate base or bases. He was one player playing as a team, covering all nine positions at once.

Now, while it is near impossible for any one person to physically be a one man team, mentally, I'm sure we have all had that feeling once or twice before. Those days when we have a list of 100 things going on and we somehow manage to get through them; as if we were able to replicate ourselves and send our replicated minions forth to accomplish all our goals only to come back together at the end of the day. For some reason when I am busy with several tasks all at once, I can't help but remember the Bugs Bunny episode and feel like I am Bugs Bunny up here.

Here is typical week: work my full-time job [which is not GayOutdoors], post a daily blog entry, answer phone, respond to emails, delete/update/respond to Forum/Facebook entries for GayOutdoors, cook my own supper, approve trips submitted to post on the website, call my Mom every other day, contact members attending the Ethan Pond Hike and answer their questions, work with GO advertisers to renew their ads, assist with putting GO newsletter together, drive down to Manchester Wednesday night to check on my elderly parents and visit with Jon, do grocery shopping, clean the house, wash my clothes, pay bills, scrape the driveway free of snow, run the Ethan Pond trip and make our overnight guests comfortable, cook dinner at the house with everyone who attended the trip and chat, type up a trip report, upload trip photos, watch some TV, play with Sunshine, and find some time to go to bed.

It's been busy and exhausting but just as Bugs Bunny came out on top at the end of the game, so far I am staying on top of it all. Hopefully I can keep this up.

Merry Christmas from the GO Crew Dec 22, 2011 7:51 PM

I put my twist on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" with my version titled "Sunshine the Torbie Haired Kitty". I had other ideas but contraints on time narrowed my choice down to this one. But the upside is I can use those other ideas in the coming years. So hopefully you enjoy it. But before I go. The GO crew would like to wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS and JOYFUL HOLIDAYS

Sunshine the Torbie Haired Kitty

You know Mike and Jon
And Dave and Steve,
Rick and Carlos
And the members that pass through,
But do you recall
The most famous resident of all?

Sunshine the torbie haired kitty
Had a very shiny coat,
And if you ever touched it
You would say it glowed.
All of the other GO members
Like to play and give her fame,
Always letting Sunshine
Join in their kitty games.

Then one cloudy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say,
"Sunshine with your eyes of might
Won't you guard my elves tonight?"
Then all the GO members loved her
For all the gifts by their tree,
Sunshine the torbie haired kitty
You'll go down in history.

Mike Boisvert


ALLEN MT.: Warning regarding bridge over the Hudson River Dec 20, 2011 9:35 PM

Last spring’s melt took down the bridge over the Hudson River crossing to Mt. Allen. Then as it was being repaired Irene showed up, leaving only the metal structure downstream along the river bank. With so much else to do in Irene’s aftermath, the Rangers/DEC had no other option but to hoist and temporarily anchor the metal structure way above high water level so that it could be rebuilt in summer 2012. That is expected to take four weeks. Till then the BRIDGE IS CLOSED.

Shortly before the bridge a sign directs you towards a very low water crossing. On December 15, following the heavy rains overnight, the picture shows that it was very dangerous if not impossible to cross: the water was 3 feet plus deep and the current swift. In addition, considering how the planking on Lake Jimmy was damaged by Irene, reaching Allen this coming winter season will be difficult at best.

UPPER WORKS TRAILHEAD UPDATE: On a more positive note, the new section of the Calamity Brook Trail is very scenic and will please backcountry skiers. The first two bridges over Calamity Brook were taken out by this year’s floods and a long-term solution was found. The path now stays west of the brook and rejoins the Indian-Pass –Calamity-Brook Crossover Trail about a quarter-mile from the trail to Flowed Land. It’s now slightly longer as the former 1.6-mile stretch from Upper Works to the now-gone bridge has become an almost 2-mile hike. Not to worry, however, the first mile in (or, if you prefer, the last mile out) is as muddy as ever... even though the 46Rs trail crew recently built (2011) a considerable number of walkways to ease the pain.

Mike Boisvert

Winter Peak Bagging Starts Thursday Dec 17, 2011 6:04 PM

From the Farmer's Almanac:

WINTER SOLSTICE December 22, 2011 12:30 A.M. EST
SPRING EQUINOX March 20, 2012 1:14 A.M. EDT

Who's hiking Thursday?

Just for completeness, in NY, 'Winter hiking season' is always December 21st - March 21st, inclusive, regardless of what the almanac says. So this year, we get 3 extra days of Winter.

My plan to start this year's quest of working on the NH winter 4,000 footers will begin on December 30 with Bondcliff. I'm hoping to talk Jon into hiking up Eisenhower the next day, on New Year's Eve.

I've already planned with Steve to bag Zealand, West Bond and Bond in March using Zealand Hut as a base.

Mike Boisvert

Olympian Sunrise Dec 16, 2011 6:16 PM

Upon waking this morning I was afforded this spectacular sunrise. With the dark clouds lit up by the raging sun from below one might think that this is not merely a mountaintop but another planet altogether. A virtual perch with dead trees and vegetation enveloped by orange and yellow ephemeral billows. On such a morning there is a realm of peace and tranquility like no other abode.

When the ancients envisioned the place where their gods lived, this is the scene they created in their mind's eye - Mount Olympus, as it were. Surely a self-respecting Greek god would be honored to dwell in this residence.

In the dark days before dawn of modern science, humankind attempted to explain the Earth and its natural phenomena by fabricating a fantasy world populated with various divinities who, depending on their disposition could, in turn, calm the winds and push the Sun gently across the heavens - or whip up a frenzy of gusting winds and hurl lightning bolts down upon the frightened populace. Today Brokeback Mountain was a pleasant and placid place to perch.

Occasionally the lure of myths and legends capture my imagination.

Mike Boisvert

Where To Retire In Maine Dec 15, 2011 6:36 PM

First, compared to New Hampshire, Maine has high taxes. The overall business climate is unfavorable, and overall it's more expensive to live in. And personally, if you are into mountains and hiking there is no better place to retire than New Hampshire.

That said, Maine's natural attractions, coastline, distance to the mountains, and quality of life is what makes it attractive. Maine's damn big, even if they gave Aroostook back to Canada. When exit numbers become mileage markers, something disproportionate has occurred. Leaving Baxter a few years ago I listened to a complete football game on the radio...and still hadn't gotten out of the state.

Maine is one of the few states where you can wander about without much fretting about private property. Especially for retirement you can participate in low impact outdoor pursuits like cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sea kayaking, hiking, fly fishing and most of the time you won't have to pull your wallet to pay an entrance fee. GayOutdoors has a good membership base in Maine to provide you a means to GO Outdoors and Make New Outdoorzy 'Maine' Buddies in a safe, comfortable atmosphere.

For gay men, Ogunquit is a good place to live. There are at least a couple of gay bars, a section of the beach for gay folks and some gay owned/gay friendly lodging. Ogunquit isn't exactly low key in the summer, but it quiets right down in the "off-season." Not quick access to the mountains, for sure, but I-95 is right can be in Portland in 45 minutes and the Sugarloaf Region in less than 3 hours; Baxter is a little longer.

Portland is a neat little city with the Old Port, an older part of the city down on the waterfront with cobblestone streets. You can get to Pinkham Notch in about 1.5 hours, Crawford Notch in 1.75 hours, Franconia Notch in about 2.25 hours, and Appalachia in about 2 hours. Boston is 2 hours down I-95. The Maine Mountains are 2-3 hours away. Beaches are scattered up and down the coast, as well as inland on lakes and ponds. If you don't want "Economically Depressed", stay in southeastern Maine.

If you lived in Bridgton, 30 minutes west of Portland, you would be one hour away from the Whites.

A good inland town to live in is Bethel and a coastal town to check out is Brunswick near Acadia National Park.

You might want to check out the area between Camden and Belfast. It has small mountains, lakes, near the ocean and is within an hour and a half or so from Portland, Augusta, Bangor, and Acadia National Park. Camden has a nice slower pace for retirees.

Speaking of retirees, Sunshine got spayed today so she is in semi-retirement as you can see from the photo. She will be back to her normal self in a couple of days.

Mike Boisvert

Many Ski Areas Are Now Open Dec 14, 2011 7:21 PM

We started off this morning with light rain and it remained mostly cloudy the rest of the day. Temperatures started out in the low 30s this morning and made it to the high 30s by mid-day. The deck and driveway has no snow.

Even with the lack of snow on Brokeback Mountain, many downhill ski areas in NH have been using the past cold weather to make snow. However with the rain coming in tomorrow we'll have to see how much damage will be done. Today, Loon Mountain had 16 trails opened, Bretton Woods 12, Cannon Mountain 8 and Waterville Valley 7. The only nordic center open at the moment is Bretton Woods with 4km tracked. Once this rain passes thru it will get colder again so snowmaking operations will kick into gear again. Most ski areas are planning to be open this weekend. 

Mike Boisvert


Adventure Books For Holiday Gift Giving Dec 12, 2011 7:14 PM

I recommend Following Atticus The compelling and beautifully written story of Tom Ryan and Atticus M. Finch, the unlikely man-and-dog duo who set out to climb the fourty eight 4,000 foot peaks in the White Mountains twice in one winter.

Three Days on the White Mountains.  Dr. Ball endured one of the earliest survival epics on Mt. Washington in October, 1855, and published an account of his three-day misadventure the next year. Reprinted in 2002.

Wandering Through The White Mountains: A Hiker's Perspective. If you spend time in the Whites, you will get lost in this book [and you don't have to worry about getting fined by the NH Fish & Game :-) ]. It's a compilation of past published essays, with some objective lists of White Mountain stuff thrown in. I personally enjoyed each and every story.

Beyond the Notches: Stories of Place in New Hampshire's North Country. Beautifully illustrated, this anthology offers a compelling look at the past, present and future of northern New Hampshire, through the eyes of more than thirty Granite State writers.

Mike Boisvert

City of Wind Quickly Developing in Kern Dec 11, 2011 6:02 PM

For those interested in wind power, here's an article from the Bakersfield, California newspaper. It's on a megascale, especially compared to the very small wind projects in New England.

From the article:

Now, wind turbine farms approved during the boom are expected to cover an area roughly twice the size of the urban portions of Bakersfield, generate some 4.2 gigawatts of power to an estimated one million homes and send tens of millions of dollars in taxes each year into local government coffers.

The area where these windmills are located is at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, where the warm, dry Mojave Desert air collides with the cooler, moister air of the San Joaquin Valley streaming over the Tehachapi mountain range. The town of Mojave is located about 100 miles north of LA, and is the location of the Mojave Air and Space port, which bills itself as "as the world’s premier civilian aerospace test center".

The Mojave Air and Space port is also the NOT so famous for being the home of the "Hyundri-Kia Motors Calf. Proving Ground" although they may have moved some of their activities to Ohio.

Check out the vastness of the Wind Farm on Google Maps.

It's freakin' huge.

Wind By the Numbers from the article:

Existing wind farms since the 1980s: 11 square miles

Recently approved projects: 104.7 square miles

Proposed projects: 28.1 square miles

Total: 132.8 square miles

Tehachapi Wind Resource Area: 362.8 square miles

City of Bakersfield, urban area: 61.1 square miles

County of Kern: 8,131 square miles

See you in the wind...

Mike Boisvert

Using Trees/Foliage To Tell Weather Dec 8, 2011 7:45 PM

On Brokeback Mountain there is an outdoor weather device to tell exact measurements of wind speed, barometric pressure and temperature. I also rely on trees and other foliage to tell the weather.

There are a lot of windows in the house so immediately upon waking; I look at the big hemlocks, white birches, beeches, pines, maples and oaks. If they are moving a lot, it is windy, and if the leaves are inverted, I know rain could be on the way. If they are coated in ice or snow, I know it may be a slippery drive to work. The rhododendrons serve as an amazing thermometer ~ the leaves curl up tightly if it is below 25 degrees so I better dress up warmly. The foliage of trees and shrubs are not only as something to which precipitation can cling, but also as a backdrop against which I can see it falling. I also find it mesmerizing and peaceful to watch the trees swaying and have lost many a block of time just watching them.

Mike Boisvert 

Sunshine's Blog Dec 4, 2011 6:13 PM

After being here for over two months, I've finally completed my take over of Brokeback Mountain by getting to blog. Mike clogs the GO cyberspace with his thoughts, grievances and musings and has not allowed the most adoring member of the household to share her side of the story. So here I finally am, in the flesh and fur, to enthrall my doting fans with the most essential opinions of my mountaintop domain.

First of all, I saw all these white bugs falling from the sky the other day and I was in cat heaven. However when I went outside, despite my lustrous fur, I got chilled very easily. Despite being rugged, I am a rather delicate and distinct kitty, and I was shocked when I stepped onto the deck to find that these white bugs were cold, wet, and went up to my neck. Worst yet, I could not eat them! I found out this is what humans call 'snow.' I'm told plenty more is to come and that it will be so high that my whole body will be buried if I attempt to go out in it. But from what I hear, if winter is not your thing, in a few months winter enthusiasts will all be sick and tired of the snowy weather. In the meantime, just sit back and relax as I would, and enjoy it.

After over two months of being here, I feel comfortable enough to call Brokeback Mountain my home. I'm well fed, there is water to drink, my litter box is kept clean, and I have lots of toys to play with. I even make up my own entertainment such as unrolling all of the toilet paper and proudly sit on it, climbing up the fig tree, knocking over plants, jumping into the laundry basket, and trying to play with these red, gold and silver balls that were recently put up all around the house. Jon visits most weekends and I like playing with him. I especially like him because he gives me more treats than Mike. As long as Mike keeps me fed and provides me with plenty of entertainment, he is permitted to remain in my presence. Although I don't like that he put up something last week to attract birds just to tease me. What's the point if all I can do is watch and not eat them? And one more thing, he needs to turn off that racket he calls 'music.' I can't get my beauty sleep with all that noise. I'm told we'll be getting a lot of visitors this winter. I hope my subjects are prepared to pamper me profusely.

That's all from me for now, but I promise to update you on the REAL deal of Brokeback Mountain life again soon.

Until next time, a fond and feline farewell!

Sunshine - Brokeback Mountain Cat

Brokeback Mountain Christmas List Nov 30, 2011 7:50 PM

Dear Santa-

Where did the year go? It seems like just yesterday I was writing you and yet, here I am writing to you with my Brokeback Mountain Christmas List. I have the process down to an exact science: 1. Hand written note mailed out to you no later than November first. 2. Email sent to you no later than Thanksgiving. 3. Sending you my list via our blog since I know you follow them daily to check if I have been naughty or nice.

Once again, in my opinion, I have been good all year. I’ve acted kindly to all GO members, friends, and family. Even Sunshine, my cat, who I’m training to stay off the table and kitchen counters, has been acting abnormally cooperative. Sunshine is looking forward to her first Christmas. Similar to how I look forward to Eggnog with spiced rum this time of year; I think Sunshine will like a special blend of Christmas cat nip. And when you arrive, don't be surprised if she rubs up against you and meows at you. And Santa, if you're going to give her anything this year, make it cat treats or food. While she does enjoy toys, I have more than enough up here and running out of places to store it all.

When you arrive at Brokeback Mountain, you should find things pretty much the same as they were last year, with one major exception, the living room furniture. We’ve moved them around so we can have more seating around the fireplace. From personal experience I know you can bump into them in the middle of the night until you get used them. So my advice would be to be careful and you should have no trouble sneaking in and out in little to no time.

So once again, if it's not too much trouble, could you get me one or more of the following?

1. Full Memberships - Not for me but for other outdoorzy boys on your list around the world. Since we are membership supported, these gifts would be the gifts that keep giving over the year.

2. GO T-Shirts - Again, not for me but other outdoorzy boys on your list around the world. This gives us the gift of funding and in return, someone on your list gets a great looking t-shirt that indicates they are both outdoorzy and a supporter of GayOutdoors. 

3. - This is a recommendation if you plan on giving outdoorzy gear and clothing for the outdoorzy boys on your list around the world. 

4. Office Supplies – The GO office is here, so anything you can send that will cut costs for us is great: postage stamps, envelopes, larger envelopes for shipping t-shirts, notepads, printer paper, printer ribbons, pens, pen markers, yellow highlighters, ‘Hello, My Name Is’ labels, 50/50 raffle ticket rolls, etc. The only exception is Post-it Note pads since the past few years you've gone a bit overboard with these and I think I have more than I will ever be able to use in the next few years.

5. Batteries - Preferably AAA, AA or D's as our headlamps, flashlights and other electronic devices use these.

6. Gift cards – I go shopping for food weekly at Hannaford, or Walmart but Lowes, Home Depot, or anywhere else in Waterville Valley is fine. Well, you know what's here.

7. Outdoor Clothing/Equipment - Can you ever have enough outdoor clothing/equipment? I will take any kind of outdoor "toys" and clothing. I think topping the list this year is a very small plastic sled to slide down the mountains and my driveway with instead of tearing up the bottom of my pants.

8. Calendars – I need at least one to keep track of the days up here. While those of hot shirtless guys are fun to look at I prefer ones with nature scenes.

9. Board Games To keep my guests entertained from time to time. We already love playing Jenga, Uno, Outburst, Monopoly, and Pictionary. We could use more offbeat games. 

10. Candles - Preferably the soy-based, large jar type or tumblers like the ones from Soyfire for example. They liven up the house and give it some ambience in the darkness of winter. 

11. Trail Snacks - Since I know you eat a lot of cookies and sweets, I know you can relate. Can we ever really have enough? I like to keep on hand maple cookies, jolly ranchers, granola bars, nuts, cheese crackers, M&M’s, Reese’s peanut butter cups, chocolate, Gatorade powder mix, etc. And there are so many new sweets out there. Just last week I saw coconut and pretzel M&M's - can you believe that? What will they think of next?

12. Baking Pans – Jon loves to bake and the ones I have are getting old. It would be nice to have some of various sizes and types [glass, Teflon, etc.]. My cupcake mold pan is getting old and I could use a new pizza pan sheet. It can be frustrating for him to try to bake something when I don’t have the right size pan.

13. Snow - the more the better! October started out awesome but as of this writing, there is almost nothing left. So you would make me and all our members happy with a bit more of the white gold that we use for snowshoeing, skiing [alpine, snowboarding and cross-country], sledding, climbing, etc.

14. Surprise me yet again! - Sometimes the coolest gifts are the ones you didn't think you needed.

That's about it Santa. Remember that I don't mind second hand items so long as they are in good, clean and usable condition. This helps out the environment and extends the life on perfectly usable stuff. I am really not picky and just thankful for anything. Also, if you want a particular type of cookie and drink, like last year, you can post your preferences in our forums and or our Facebook page. I will try once again to keep the plate full, but you've had Jon’s cooking, it's hard for me to pass it up sometimes; so delicious!

I will ensure that everything is in order for your arrival: outdoor Christmas lights lit, a roof clear of snow, fireplace soot removed, clean house, Christmas decorations inside the house, and a full plate of cookies next to a glass of milk and eggnog. Travel safe and see you then.

Thanks and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays -

Mike Boisvert

This Snowless Weather Is Depressing Nov 29, 2011 6:13 PM

While quite a few of you out there are probably enjoying the unseasonably warm weather [if you live in the northeast], I am not one of those people. In fact, the weather over the last several days has been downright depressing for me.

We built up a bit of a snowpack only to see it dwindle away shortly after. Last week's coastal storm that dropped nearly 10 inches of new snow has almost completely succumbed to temperatures above normal for this time of year.

I always try to remember this time of year is still very early for snow, and things can and will turn around eventually. Last November was very similar to this year, and by January everyone had forgotten how warm the start of winter was. The problem is that I am too impatient to really want to wait for that to get here!

In the mean time, I will try to look on the bright side of things. I'm able to drive up and down my driveway without putting my truck in four wheel drive. My commute to work is quicker, smoother, and generally easier without snow.

Mike Boisvert

Happy Thanksgiving Nov 23, 2011 6:49 PM

After a snowy 36 hours before Turkey Day, it looks like the weather is going to change by tomorrow for the better. Since the snow started falling last night we have measured around 10 inches of snow on the summit. Looking around there are locations that do not show 10 inches. Some of the snow is slushy so it is hard to believe we actually got that much.  When walking down the driveway I'm stepping more in slush than snow. 

We at GO hope that everyone traveling this holiday is safe in getting to their destination as this storm didn't bring ideal traveling weather. Tomorrow looks like a great day to bundle up and watch some football as the turkey cooks. We actually have a great game this year between Detroit and Green Bay. We hope you have a pleasant Thanksgiving in your way of celebrating it. Jon and I will be having a Turkey dinner tomorrow with all the fixings with my sister's family. I am excited! Turkey is all I can think about right now. Gobble, Gobble!

Mike Boisvert

Snowstorm On Its Way Nov 22, 2011 6:50 PM

Brokeback Mountain is bare of snow, however this will surely change in the next 24 hours as a winter storm approaches from the southwest. Nearby ski areas are already preparing by putting down a base layer of snow before the storm arrives tomorrow.

The projection is for us to receive 6-10 inches. 

This storm couldn't of picked a worse day for New England seeing that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the heaviest traveled days. If you are travelling, be safe!

Mike Boisvert

The Warmth Is Back! Nov 8, 2011 8:41 PM

The warmth is back! Warmth with respect to early November on Brokeback Mountain, that is. Last week it was chilly and more indicative of late November. The temperatures have rebounded once again with a high temperature today of 64 degrees. This extended stretch of nice weather will end tomorrow.

The snow pack in the higher summits that were nearly a foot deep has diminished by about half, and will continue to do so for the next few days. The white-capped mountains that could be seen in the valleys in recent weeks will return to a rockier hue as the feeble snow pack most likely dwindles to scattered patches of ice between the rocks.

Mike Boisvert

Attention GO Peakbaggers! Share Your Accomplishments... Nov 7, 2011 9:19 PM

I'm interested to learn which GO members have completed peakbagging lists and which ones. If possible, share with us how long it took you to complete, and your first and last peak.

I'll start first:

White Mountain 4,000 Footers: It took me 15 years to complete. My first peak was Mt. Washington and my last peak was Mt. Cabot.

New England 4,000 footers: It took me 24 years to complete. My first peak was Mt. Washington and my last peak was Mt. Abraham.

New England Hundred Highest: It took me 24 years to complete. My first peak was Mt. Washington and my last peak was Elephant Mountain.

>>Click Here To Enter Your Stats [or view what members have accomplished]

Mike Boisvert

Historical Post on Iron Mountain Nov 3, 2011 7:13 PM

I found this on Iron Mountain where the trailhead is off Route 16 in Jackson, NH. Makes me want to check it out! He starts off by saying: Iron Mountain has always been an intriguing mountain to me ever since the first time I noticed it on my trail map. I would even go as far as saying it is my favorite mountain. The mountain and its trails seem to stand alone, secluded from the vast trail network that New Hampshire houses in its backcountry. One can reach the trailhead by traveling up a secluded, dirt road, a few miles out on Iron Mountain Road, off from Route 16 in Jackson. The road climbs a few hundred feet in elevation in these couple miles and dumps you off at an old pasture and farmhouse, with spectacular views to the Presidentials. The trailhead itself is known to be one of the best views you can obtain on this hike, being picturesque in both the foreground and background landscapes. As one would imagine on such a secluded trail, the Iron Mountain Trailhead is simply marked with a homemade wooden sign that simply says “TRAIL”.

Read More>>

Mike Boisvert

You Know You Are Not A Peak Bagger When... Nov 2, 2011 7:17 PM
  1. With Carter Dome just a short stroll away [on 'the list'], you skip it and stay on Mt. Hight with better views for over two hours.
  2. When you would rather take a nap in the sun on the summit rather than grab another nearby peak on 'the list'.
  3. When you don't know the mountain you just climbed is on 'the list.'
  4. When from a mountain's summit you look longingly at the waterways below and say, "damn wish I was down there".
  5. When the weather is rotten, you are entirely willing and able to come back another time when the weather is nice.
  6. When you hike to the mountain on 'the list' and turn around the last 20 feet from the summit because there's a crowd.
  7. When you don't understand why you should care about peakbagging.
  8. When you laugh at someone talking to you as if you're a beginner when you answer "no" to the common question "have you finished your 4,000 footers", as if all hikers are peak baggers.
  9. When Sunday afternoons are spent on the couch with nachos and beers watching football games in real time.
  10. When you thought "The Grid" was a horror movie back in the 80's starring Anthony Hopkins, and "The List" was a reality show on Monday nights about compulsive shopping.
Mike Boisvert

Above Average Snow Forecasted For This Winter Nov 1, 2011 6:58 PM

Take this for what's it's worth. And the Farmer's Almanac concurs. Good news to those who categorize themselves in the "bring it on" category:  >>Read Forecast

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Bring on the beauty of stillness!

No mosquitoes, no bears [haha], no crowds [kind of], pizza in your pack won't spoil for lunch, hot apple cider in the thermos and butt sliding down the mountain. Love the winter.

Mike Boisvert

Brokeback Mountain Snowfall Oct 31, 2011 6:27 PM

We got about 5 inches here at Brokeback Mountain with the Halloween Northeaster. It is melting fast. We were reminded of how beautiful a snowy landscape looks like on Sunday morning as seen from this photo.

We enjoyed observing Sunshine's reaction to her first snowfall. When she walked onto the deck with her little body the snow reached her neck. She didn't like it so she walked under the roof overhang that prevented the snow from reaching the deck.

I was lucky to escape the power outages throughout the Northeast however Jon is without power in Manchester, NH so he is currently living with me and commuting to work. I guess in the higher summits we'll need snowshoes for the time being.

When I drove to the house tonight I was lucky enough to see three deer feeding in the yard.

Pretty crazy weather. Makes me wonder what the rest of winter is going to be like. I can't remember ever seeing significant snow before Halloween except in the higher summits.

Mike Boisvert

A Day in the Gay Outdoors Oct 25, 2011 6:20 PM

The everyday lives of LGBT Americans are often spent outside, enjoying nature, whether on a hike or another escape. That showed true in the Advocate's annual Day in Gay America report on August 12, 2011.

A Day in the Gay Outdoors Pictures>>

Mike Boisvert

Book Recommendation: Following Atticus Oct 24, 2011 7:34 PM

Following Atticus: Fourty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship is getting rave reviews and on my 'must read' list. A few people at work, who are not into mountain climbing, have come up to me raving about this book. Here is one person's review from

Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, And An Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is one of the most delightful books I have read in a long time.

Atticus M. Finch, partly named after the hero lawyer in To Kill A Mockingbird, is a Miniature Schnauzer who changes Tom Ryan's world. Tom's life publishing a muckraking newspaper in Newburyport, Massachusetts is only partly fulfilling. Tom loves his work but is lonely and his life has no real direction. Tom's mother died when he was seven, and he is not close to his father and eight siblings.

Tom had acquired a Miniature Schnauzer, Max. When Max died, Tom was determined to get another dog of the same breed. Tom looked at dozens of photos emailed to him from the dog breeder, and he chose Atticus because he was different. Little did he know just how different Atticus would prove to be.

One day Tom and Atticus went hiking with three of Tom's brothers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where they had spent some vacation time as children. Atticus proved to be a natural born mountain climber. When Atticus reaches the top of a mountain, he would sit and gaze at the stunning scenery around him.

The experience was so enjoyable that Tom and Atticus return to the White Mountains on a regular basis. At first, Tom and Atticus start to make a habit of climbing the mountains because they enjoy the tranquility and peacefulness. They also love being together and share a very strong bond, Tom always holding Atticus in his arms after they reach the top of a mountain.

When a friend of Tom's dies of cancer, however, Tom decides that they will climb all forty-eight of the four-thousand-foot peaks twice -- in the winter -- to raise money for cancer.

Tom and Atticus brave blizzards, Lyme disease, and incipient blindness to conquer the mountains. Tom also starts to become closer to his elderly father through his mountain-climbing, something that his father appreciates because of his own love of the mountains.

As word spreads about the mountain climbing dog and the overweight, middle aged newspaperman, Tom and Atticus - especially Atticus - become media stars. When confronted with tragedies and near-tragedies, will Tom and Atticus persevere?

This has immediately become one of my favorite books. I am a sucker for animal stories, and I have read many mountain climbing books. This is my favorite. There were times I was laughing out loud at some of their adventures, and other times when I cried.

If you like animals, you will love Following Atticus! Five stars!

Check out a video trailer promoting this book>>

Mike Boisvert


Outdoorzy Pop Quiz Oct 21, 2011 6:56 PM

Who will be the first to get these questions correct?

1) True or False: The following are two types of stoves: white gas and kerosene.

2) Why might it be best to eat your biggest meal in the evening after hiking?

3) What type of bottle is excellent for taking on camping trips: Polypropolene, Stainless Steel or Mylar?

4) Petroglyph National Monument is noted for petroglyphs, what are these?

5) On what side of the tree is the bark thicker?

First member to get all of these correct gets the braggin' rights!

Click Here to Submit Your Responses>>

Mike Boisvert

Wilderness First Aid [WFA] Classes Oct 18, 2011 6:26 PM

Accidents happen. People get hurt, sick or lost. The temperature drops, the wind picks up, it starts to rain and people get hypothermia. What would you do? Many backcountry emergencies are preventable.

When bad things happen sometimes the wrong care can make things worse. By learning a few basic first aid skills you can make the difference between a good versus bad outcome.

WFA is the perfect course for the outdoor enthusiast or trip leader who wants a basic level of first aid training for friends and GayOutdoors trips.

The WFA is 16 hours long [two days] and focuses on the basic skills of: Response and Assessment, Musculoskeletal Injuries, Environmental Injuries, Survival Skills, Soft Tissue Injuries and Medical Emergencies. 

You will receive a Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities [SOLO] WFA Certification, which is good for two years.

WFA courses taught at SOLO campus in North Conway, NH cost $160 however some clubs sponsor these classes for as low as $125. These classes are offered all over the country.

Click Here For Classes Near You>>

Mike Boisvert 

Be Prepared: Its Warm At The TrailHead But Cold On The Summits Oct 17, 2011 7:36 PM

As hikers scale the summits, the temperatures get colder as they ascend. In summer, the cooler temperatures on the summit can be fixed with a light fleece. In winter, it's already cold at the trailhead so hikers know that it will only get colder higher up; so they start out dressed warmly and [hopefully] pack several layers to adjust as they go up. But in the transition seasons of spring and fall, we see the mix of some well-prepared hikers along with a majority of those that are greatly unprepared. The reason is the contrast in trailhead weather compared to summit weather. 

The trailheads that hikers start in this time of year tend to be mild to warm with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. To the inexperienced hiker, they assume that this will be the conditions on the summit as well and start off greatly unprepared with tennis shoes, blue jeans, and a sweatshirt. By the time they reach the summits where it is 20 or 30 degrees and in the fog, they are soaked to the bone, shivering and red/pale skinned from the loss of heat.

Denial: This can't be happening, not to me!
Anger: Why? This isn't fair! F*ck, F*ck, F*ck
Depression: Now what? I can't go on in this state...

While not everyone goes through all of these steps or goes through these steps in this order, every unprepared hiker plays out a similar yarn. This might be why if you ask any search and rescue official, fall and spring tend to be the most active times of year for them. 

So how do you avoid being an unprepared hiker? Know before you go. Know the weather before you head out. You can get the weather online [that includes smartphones] at the National Weather Service. No internet available? You can get the weather in your area via the National Weather Service Weather Phone or by dropping by any Visitor Centers where you will be hiking.

As a general rule of thumb, to calculate the summit temperature, I subtract 10 degrees from the valley high temperature forecast if heading up between 4,000 to 5,000 feet; I subtract 20 degress if heading higher than 5,000 feet. I would subtract more if I expected windy conditions above. This works for me in the Northeast however I'm sure it's different out West with higher elevations so adjust accordingly.  

Know what to bring by looking at the GayOutdoors Gear List or asking an experienced hiker. And if still unsure, stop by a Visitor Center and talk things over before heading up. And above all else, know that the mountain will always be there. So if you are inexperienced or unprepared for certain weather conditions or you have to turn around from the weather, remember, you can always try again on a better weather day!

Mike Boisvert  

Time Is Ticking...Cold Temperatures Is On Its Way Oct 13, 2011 8:08 PM

The Sierra's in northern California received over a foot of snow in the higher terrain and had unseasonably cool weather last week. Meanwhile, on the east coast, we were enjoying an Indian Summer. This was probably the last week of warm east coast weather for this year.

While I am disappointed that the last hurrah of summer will soon be departing, I am eagerly anticipating winter rearing its head once again. So if you've been putting off getting out and enjoying the fair weather, time is ticking because change is on its way. In the coming days, the weather will still be a bit mild although rainy as a warm front swings northward but after this, several cold fronts will be bringing not only colder tempartures but the prospect of snow on the summits. A week from now, high's will only be in the low 50's! So, now we play the waiting game as wet and eventually wintry weather moves towards us into a more seasonable weather pattern.

Mike Boisvert

GayOutdoors Weekly Summary Oct 11, 2011 8:08 PM

This week was dominated by all the outdoor activities our members either ran or attended. Trip reports and photos are starting to get published including Mt. Osceola, Mt. Monadnock, East Pond/Little East Pond and Mount Israel/Sandwich Fair. If you ran or attended an outdoor activity this past weekend please share with us your experience. 

The approaching colder weather has started our GO Rendezvous indoor social events. Boston's will be held on Saturday, November 12th at Fritz Gay Sports Bar [free pizza!] and the following Saturday at the YMCA in Concord, NH. GO has the facility all to itself for swimming and a certified gay belayer will be there to spot you on the indoor climbing wall. If there is not a GO Rendezvous in your area, why don't you host one? Click Here for Tips.

There were also many new outdoor activites posted this past week including Cumberland Day Hike at Cumberland Island in Georgia, Mount Jackson at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, Hike-In Coastal Camping at Point Reyes at Bolinas in California, and Mounts Morgan/Percival Hike at Holderness in New Hampshire.

Trip ideas posted this week included ToughMudder 2012 at Mount Snow in Vermont and a Tour of Texas National Parks.

I'm sure many of you took awesome photos from the incredible trips you took the last 12 months and would like to share them with the rest of us. As it gets colder, many start spending time inside. Take this time to view your photos and enter our Fifth Annual GayOutdoors Photo Contest!

We've already started to get some outstanding submissions, check them out. So if have not entered yet, do it now! You have until the end of this month to get them posted.

Mike Boisvert

Fall Colors Oct 10, 2011 5:59 PM

Over the past few days the clear sunny weather has provided us with some spectacular views where the fall colors seem to be really taking hold now. This late afternoon view of Brokeback Mountain shows some fine reds and yellows along with the full moon above. 

The unseasonably warm weather continued today along with a high of 75 degrees. It certainly has been quite an experience for most visitors over the weekend. Lots of GO members have been out hiking this weekend based upon the events listed in our Events Calendar. Usually Columbus Day weekend is cold with the summits sometimes coated with snow. What an amazing stretch of summer weather for all to enjoy! Hard to imagine that in a few weeks we'll be switching into winter mode, thinking about keeping the driveway free of snow and seeing snow blanket the mountains once again.

Mike Boisvert 

Happy Birthday To Me! Oct 9, 2011 8:11 PM

October 8th, which was yesterday, is a very special day for me. What is a day that happens once a year for each individual? A birthday and it was mine! 

Last Wednesday night in Manchester, I had an early birthday celebration with my family and Jon that included pizza, cake and presents. 

Yesterday, I got to do my favorite outdoor activity, hiking, with 15 of my GayOutdoors friends. It was near peak foliage which made it even more spectacular. 

Afterwards we enjoyed a wonderful meal cooked by Jon back at Brokeback Mountain followed with a Bundt Cake, candles and birthday wishes. 

The day ended with Jon sharing his photos of our recent Tour du Mont Blanc Trek and our visit to Paris. I am very happy to have spent the day with everyone who helped make it memorable. Even though I have had previous birthdays and also know there are many more to come, I look forward to spending many more with my GayOutdoors friends. 

Mike Boisvert

Our Events Calendar Has Lot Of Activities To Choose From Oct 2, 2011 8:17 PM

It's a rainy and foggy day with temperatures around 55 degrees for the day here on Brokeback Mountain however that doesn't stop people from all over the world to view the colorful fall foliage. Jon and I drove around the North Country this weekend to view it and it looked real good around Rte. 2 in NH.   

This was not a great weekend to enjoy outdoor activities in the Northeast but nonetheless, our Events Calendar has lots of choices to suit all abilities in the weeks ahead. Our Events Calendar is a program that GayOutdoors offers to everyone. It's the very generous support of our Full Members that allow us to continue offering this service.

Our Events Calendar includes the opportunity for members to post/run an outdoor activity for everyone to join them. 

Mike Boisvert

Far Northern New England Racing Towards Peak Sep 26, 2011 7:12 PM

This cool snap of last week accelerated the color changes in our northern forests. Already now, areas above three thousand feet, and traditionally cool northern valleys are showing hints of the show to come.

A few hillside maples now match their siblings in the swamps, and the golds of birches are starting to show on granite outcropping. This past weekend, I hiked up to the summit of Mt. Tecumseh from which I could see the landscape for miles.

I've read on the Internet that areas north of the notches are definitely far more advanced in color than those to the south, but that is quite typical in September.  I suspect that a few areas in the far northern reaches of New England will be reaching peak this week. 

The best color right now is largely reserved for some of the higher elevations of the Northeast Kingdom, Dixville Notch, the Zealand Valley and Baxter State Park, which should all have at least moderate color. Great drives might be Rt 5 and 5A around Lake Willoughby in Vermont, Rt. 26 through Dixville Notch in New Hampshire, and The Golden Road from Millinocket, Maine. I wouldn’t expect peak conditions, but color will be moderate with mixed greens and reds. It might actually be even nicer in these areas this coming weekend, but you’ll also have far wider options to see color by then.

Overall, things are still shaping up very well for the season ahead. The maples look healthy, and are starting to show signs of strong reds. The color is a showing a bit late, but not far from the statistical norm.  There are a few more unhealthy birches than in a typical season, but it’s more common to see the birch’s bark featured in photographs than their foliage, so I wouldn’t be worried. Road access through areas hit hard by Irene continue to improve with temporary and/or permanent fixes…so hopefully you find yourself on the road this weekend! 

The picture posted is the current view from Brokeback Mountain.

Mike Boisvert 

Sunshine Already Getting Comfortable Sep 24, 2011 7:29 PM

I went to the NH Humane Society to decide who would become the next mascot of Brokeback Mountain.

Each cat certainly made their impression on me however I was leaning towards adopting a kitten. Some were friendly, but seemed too shy for summit life. Others reminded me of Gwen who were very laid back and very friendly. Some even hopped into my lap and started purring, seemingly trying to plead their case. Sunshine was very social and full of energy. The second I took her out of her cage, she started rubbing her face against mine, purring and even nibbled my ear. When I let her go on the floor, she darted around, exploring the area. 

Thus, Sunshine was chosen. She was found near a local Rite Aid Pharmacy where someone dropped off her Mom and all the kittens. I brought her in the house today to take her post on Brokeback Mountain. She did great on her trip up in the truck and I let her out of the carrier in the living room just after arrival. She ran around the house going up and down the stairs, but after only half an hour she was meowing at me to be picked up. She purred, licked my face, and sat down quietly on my lap. I am very impressed at how quickly she is adapting to her new home and I can tell she is going to fit in very well here.

Here are a few more pictures:

Playing With Plants

Checking Out Her New Toys

On the Bench

Quickly Causing Mischief


On My Lap


Mike Boisvert  

Irene Drenches Brokeback Mountain Aug 28, 2011 8:03 PM

She came, she saw, she drenched.

I'm referring to Irene, of course...a storm with fury that rolled through most of the eastern U.S., dropping tremendous rainfall amounts and creating widespread wind damage all across these areas.

There are so many reports of damage and flooding, it's hard to know where to start. North Carolina's Outer Banks receieved the worst the storm could dish out, as expected, with yet another new shape to the coastline chiseled out. Irene came ashore at Cape Lookout, and charged northward, with sustained winds of 90 mph and gusts reaching 120 mph. Holly Shelter, just to the northeast of Wilmington, NC, which sits west of where Irene came ashore, recorded 8.26" of rain as of 2PM Saturday.

Irene then passed directly over Corolla, NC on the northern banks, making a very close pass to the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area as it moved offshore once again. The storm picked up speed and paralled Virginia and Maryland's eastern shores, before making a second landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane at Atlantic City, NJ. Gusts to 60 and 70 mph were felt all across New Jersey, and flooding all across Delaware and New Jersey is immense. Some of the highest preliminary rainfall totals are 11.48" in Tuxedo Park, NY, 11.34" in Easton, MD, 10.43" in Ellendale, DE, and 10.32" in Stockton, NJ. Around 9 a.m., Irene came ashore at Coney Island, NY, with her center passing right over Brooklyn and the Bronx. A wind gust of 91 mph was recorded in Sayville, NY, which is located on the southern shore of Long Island. Central Park recorded a maximum wind gust of 60 mph.

It's still too early to assess all of the impacts Irene has had on New England, primarily due to the fact that as of 5 p.m., Irene is still traversing the Connecticut River Valley. However, preliminary reports are conclusive that, even as a tropical storm, Irene had (is having) a significant effect across this area as well. Rainfall totals ranged from 4-8" for most of New England, with the highest amounts reported across northwestern Connecticut and northwestern Massachusetts.

Here at Brokeback Mountain, I've never seen the Mad River as high as it was today. In fact, the Campton Dam that it runs into, has been breached and people downstream are being evacuated. Route 49 into Waterville Valley has been closed and is flooded. 

I'm uploading videos I took of the Mad River on YouTube as we speak so I should be able to share those with you tomorrow. [They take a long time to upload].

After reading these astronomical numbers, and seeing plenty of pictures of extreme flooding, I hope all GO members and their friends/family are all safe.

Mike Boisvert

Irene's Still Coming! Aug 27, 2011 7:11 PM

If you were hoping your collective hurricane/rain dances, etc., would ward off Hurricane Irene, I regret to inform you that they have not. Irene still has her sights set on New England, along with most of the rest of the eastern seaboard, and she does not intend to play nice.

As of 5 p.m. EDT, Irene is a Category 1 Hurricane centered over the Outer Banks of N.C., and moving quickly towards the north. It is spreading rain bands as far north as southern NH. Boston has already seen its first dousing of rain, and plenty more is on the way. In the meantime, residents along the coastlines of NJ, NY, CT, RI, and MA are bracing for a very wet and windy 36 hours.

Irene is still expected to come ashore as a strong Tropical Storm or minimal Hurricane on the CT coastline late tomorrow morning, and make a bee-line towards New Hampshire. As a reminder, all White Mountain National Forest trails and campgrounds, in addition to all NH State parks, forests & trails, are CLOSED tonight through Monday. Long story short: stay home tomorrow! Search and Rescue operations will be all but impossible.

Although Irene will almost certainly not be a hurricane as it barrels through New Hampshire tomorrow, it will still bring PLENTY of dangerous conditions, including massive amounts of rainfall and winds possibly gusting up to 70 mph (with the highest gusts near Irene's center). Stay away from flood-prone areas, and seek higher ground BEFORE the storm reaches it's height. Secure loose outdoor objects that could become projectiles, and be prepared for prolonged power outages.

Mike Boisvert

The Descent Into Winter Has Begun! Aug 23, 2011 6:47 PM

The descent has begun. By that, I mean the descent into winter! Ok, so maybe it's a little early to be talking about winter considering we haven't even really hit fall yet, but I have to admit it's been on my mind a lot this week. Waking up this morning to temperatures in the low 50's made me think about it even more.

The descent I am talking about though more specifically refers to the fact that, nearly two weeks ago, we reached our peak for the year as far as average daily high temperatures are concerned.

So starting August 9th, when the average daily high fell from 76 to 70, we will see a decrease in these average daily highs all the way into January. Between now and then, there's lots more transition to happen. 

Footnote: As to the reported earthquake in VA, we did NOT feel anything on the summit. But it was reported as being felt as far north as Bar Harbor. If you did feel it, you can go to the "Felt It Map" and fill out a Felt It survey to be part of the archive survey. It's quick, free, easy, and great for research into earthquakes like this.

Mike Boisvert

Hiker's Paradise Aug 1, 2011 7:08 AM

Generally speaking, a ridge of high pressure building into the region is a harbinger of fair weather. True to form, today we have absolutely gorgeous conditions for alpine activity - mostly sunny, light winds, low humidity and good visibility. This is a Hiker's Paradise.

Mike Boisvert

Fantastic Weekend Weather Jul 17, 2011 6:52 PM

The fantastic weekend weather has drawn hundreds if not thousands of people to the White Mountains. Yesterday was the perfect day to hike up the Twins and Galehead! Today some of us enjoyed soaking in the Mad River. From all the outdoor activities we have planned this summer, all the trip reports/photos posted and all the entries in this blog, guests are beginning to believe that we are Home of the World's Largest Gay Outdoors Club.

Mike Boisvert 

Soak In The Sun Jul 14, 2011 8:18 PM

This past week was just what the doctor ordered ~ plenty of sunny days, with temperatures soaring into the 80s, and lots of time for outdoor activities. Last Sunday Jon and I constructed a bathtub in the Mad River to soak into for the rest of the summer. I was most certainly bred for the summer and it's accompanying warmer weather, so with the weather up in Waterville Valley, NH this past week, I was quite in my glory. It looks like more of the same for the upcoming weekend!

Mike Boisvert

Watch Jake Gyllenhall Get Wild! Jul 5, 2011 8:00 PM

Yo boyz: If you didn't have a reason to watch Discovery's Man vs Wild, you have one now! To kick off a run of six all-new episodes, Bear Grylls, adventure and survival expert, will bring along special guest Jake Gyllenhaal for the July 11 premiere. For two days, the men will survive what Discovery describes is a "brutal Icelandic landscape dominated by mountains, glaciers and volcanoes ~ and cope with some of the worst conditions known to man." The conditions look harsh, but it appears Gyllenhaal was ready after tackling the North American landscape in Brokeback Mountain.

But what's the deal with this extreme camping weekend, and why's the pretty boy actor choosing to get all roughed up?

"For me, it's all about discovery," Gyllenhaal said of the experience, while Grylls added that the actor held his own during the trek.

So it sounds like our pampered actor rose to the occasion during the excursion. Maybe he remembered the tips from his Brokeback Mountain days on keeping warm at night?

Just brainstorming here!

Either way, he definitely impressed Grylls on their bromantic adventure.

"The wild is always very revealing ~ not only physically but mentally. You've got to smile when it's driving horizontal hail and be able to face your fears and just get on and do it ~ and on both those accounts, Jake came up strong," Grylls added.

Yeah, Jake, just get on and do it! That's what we've been telling you all along.

And on the episode, airing July 11, the Discovery Channel folks tell us "Jake will have to go where Bear goes, eat whatever Bear eats, and on occasion even take the lead, if he's going to cope with some of the worst conditions known to man." Jake aware that Grylls has had to drink his own urine in previous episodes?

We can't wait to see what Bear makes Jake do!

Thankfully, Jake returned unscathed despite Bear truly pushing the actor to his limits, as you can tell from this just released preview of the episode. Watch the clip and be sure to tune into the season premiere of Man vs. Wild on July 11 at 9PM ET.

Mike Boisvert

Rain Showers Sunday Jul 3, 2011 6:30 PM

After a pleasant day yesterday with warm temperatures the summit is experiencing rain showers and some fog. It can be a little demoralizing at times but it makes the moment when the fog clears or a sunny day appear feel all the more spectacular. But one interesting thing about Brokeback Mountain is how quick the weather changes up here (although not always for the better). We frequently see storm systems, but they usually move right on through as quickly as they came. 

Tomorrow's weather looks to be an improvement over today, just in time for Independence Day. An afternoon thundershower cannot be ruled out, but overall the day will be much drier than the current weather. So if your looking to head up to the mountains for the holiday tomorrow be sure to pack a rain jacket, but hopefully it won't see any use!

Mike Boisvert

Stargazing on Brokeback Mountain Jul 2, 2011 4:57 PM

Last night, not wanting to simply watch late night TV, I decided to turn off the house lights, sit on the deck and enjoy a glass of wine. There I sat for nearly 45 minutes, enjoying the cooler temperatures [high 50s] and the amazingly abundant stars. With only a few clouds and new moon soon on the way, it was quite dark and the stars quite brilliant. Below the deck there were a couple dozen fireflies providing a strobe light show. I was hoping to see some shooting stars but did not have any luck. I did see a couple of satellites travel across the sky. It looks good for stargazing again tonight so I'll see if I can spot shooting stars.

Mike Boisvert 

Sunscreen - friend or foe? Jun 21, 2011 7:28 PM

I've been hearing bad things about sunscreen, so I made the mistake of googling and there seems to be a sizeable minority opinion out there that the use of chemical sunscreens can do more harm than good when it comes to protecting against skin cancers.

There is universal acceptance that they are very effective in preventing sunburn (we all know that first hand), but less agreement that preventing sunburn = preventing skin cancers.

More specifically most of the cons I read involve the various chemical compounds used to block or absorb UVA and UVB being highly reactive; in other words when absorbed into the skin they absorb and convert harmful UV radiation to harmless heat (which is good), but the compounds themselves are photo reactive and produce free radical molecules that do more cellular damage than the UV would.

The latest issue of Consumer Reports just happens to have a report which includes some comments on the subject:

Almost every tested sunscreen contains some ingredients associated with adverse health effects in animal studies. Oxybenzone and other endocrine disruptors may interfere with hormones in the body, and nanoscale zinc and titanium oxides are linked to problems such as potential reproductive and developmental effects.

Retinyl palmitate (look for it among inactive ingredients), a type of topical vitamin A, is an antioxidant that animal studies have linked to an increased risk of skin cancers. In skin, it converts readily to retinoids, associated with a risk of birth defects in people using acne medications containing them. As a precaution, pregnant women may want to avoid sunscreens with retinyl palmitate. (They're footnoted in the Ratings.)

More research is needed, but as of now, the proven benefits of sunscreen outweigh any potential risks.

Mike Boisvert

Brokeback Mountain Cat, Gwen, Put to Rest Jun 19, 2011 7:04 PM

Gwen came down with FIP [Feline Infectious Peritonitus] over the past few weeks that began with the lost of her eye sight and her condition deteriorated rapidly from there. Jon and I could not see her suffer any longer and we put her to rest yesterday.

She was born in 1997 in a house with two other cats. The paperwork says she did not get along with the other cats and would chase them away. She never got along with other cats from the very beginning. When I had Leia still alive, I brought her over to see Gwen at Jon’s house. When Leia tried to jump in the bed with us Gwen made sounds we never thought could come out of such a small cat! Leia would run away and she was twice the size of Gwen. Gwen’s throne was the bed of the owner she was with and no other cat could share it!

It appears that her first owners put her in a shelter on 4/13/01 because they had an infant that became allergic to her. A childless couple adopted her about two months later. In 2003 the couple was going to retire in Colorado and was looking for someone to adopt her. Gwen liked a quiet house and no kids so they were looking for someone who could fit the criteria. One of them worked with Jon at Catholic Medical Center and posted something in the bulletin board including her picture. Jon immediately fell in love with her and chose to adopt her.

When she first entered Jon’s house, she hid for a few days. Eventually Jon just pulled her out of hiding and began to show her lots of affection. Within a few days, she warmed up to him and the relationship began. I lost Leia in 2005 around the time he was moving to his new house so he asked me to take care of her. She already knew me but again, she did hide in the house for a few days until she warmed up to me. She loved the summit because it was quiet, the house was big enough for her to explore and it provided her some great views from her perch on the couch.

Jon and I discovered what an amazing affectionate cat she was over the years. She loved to be held and would not struggle when you picked her up. She loved to receive affection and had no problem giving it back. She would always greet me at the door. She would jump on the top of the rocking chair to make sure I pet her as I made my way to the bedroom. If I were sitting down somewhere, she would seek me out and jump on my lap. The same thing occurred if I was upstairs watching TV or working in front of my computer for the GO website. She eventually became less shy with all the visitors who came to the summit and would occasionally jump on their laps as well. It was so nice to see her personality develop over the years.

She would always tuck Jon and I in before going to bed and be there in the morning when we woke up. She loved having the sides of her face rub, underneath her neck, and behind the ears. Even at 14 years, she would purr like a kitten. Her favorite pastimes was playing with her toy mouse or feather ball, perching herself on the couch looking at the scenery outside, lying on a newspaper next to Jon and I on the couch, lying on me while I was watching TV, and sleeping with me on 'her' bed.

Gwen has been buried in the yard next to Leia and we both will miss her very much. I’m expecting to see her at anytime on my bed, to sit down beside me as I write this, turning the corner upstairs in the loft when I’m watching TV to jump on my lap or jumping on the bed to sleep with me. But alas she is no longer here. The house feels empty without her. She was just an incredible cat and we both feel very privileged to have known her. We miss you Gwen but we will never forget you!

Mike Boisvert & Jon Normand

A friend sent this to me and called it 'Ode to Gwen':

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; Her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.  

Things Ramping Up Tomorrow Jun 17, 2011 4:31 PM

The past two weeks have been quiet on Brokeback Mountain. Things will be ramping up once again tomorrow with GetFit Hike #4 to Black Mountain followed by a BBQ for the evening. Be sure to keep an eye on the sky if venturing above treeline tomorrow as pop-up afternoon showers and thunderstorms will be possible once more.

Mike Boisvert

Laconia Bike Week Jun 14, 2011 8:19 PM

Working in Meredith for the past few years I have experienced quite a few Bike weeks. This weekend was the start of the 2011 Laconia Bike week. Despite the weather, the bikers, some of whom are gay I’m sure, appear to be all very impressed at how amazing the Laconia bike week was shaping up to be. I’m sure they are all hoping for better weather. In the mean time, they are all excited to be in New Hampshire and enjoying the beauty.

It's best to avoid the Laconia area as the roads get crowded with motorcycles. The other thing to consider is that mountains near major highways will have a lot of background noise. There is the constant drone of motorcycles all around. There is a lot to be said for heading to more remote areas which is one of the reasons Jon and I are running GetFit Hike #4 to Black Mountain.

To all the bikers here for Bike Week, be careful.

Mike Boisvert

Gray skies don’t dampen spirits at Boston Pride 2011 Jun 12, 2011 7:00 PM

Jon and I arrived at Tremont Street in Boston's Gay South End just as the parade started wtih an explosion of colors and costumes. We saw six-foot-long ruby slippers down the middle of the street. Pirates swarmed around a Duck Tour bus decked out with tiki masks and fake dried grass.

Approximately 200 organizations lined up along Tremont Street Saturday morning under ominous rainclouds to prepare to march in the 41st annual Boston Pride Parade, which ran along Tremont Street and Berkeley Street to the Boston Common, then along Beacon Street to the Pride Festival in Government Center.

The participants ranged from the corporate, such as Best Buy employees in their blue polos, to educational institutions such as Lexington Montessori, Lynn High School Gay Straight Alliance and Boston University, to advocacy groups such as MassEquality, to leather organizations, burlesque shows, and transgender rights organizations. Religious groups also marched in the parade.

First, every little bit of visibility helps in the fight for equality.

Second, it's good for you. For the many who are struggling to see themselves reflected in the world, you benefit from seeing a small slice of the various ways we live our lives and exhibit our passions. From corporations who support their gay employees, to educational institutions who support their gay students, to leather organizations, to gay burlesque shows, to transexuals, to the gay spiritually minded, to drag queens, to gay seniors, you realize there's no one right way to be gay.

Jon and I never pass up the chance to celebrate gay pride. There's a fair argument against celebrating the fact of our sexual orientation ~ it's a characteristic we had nothing to do with determining. We think this is a great day, not just for the LGBT community, but for all of us, because we are strengthened by diversity. It’s important that everyone knows that no matter who you love, we’re still all human, and we deserve to be treated equally.

As the parade started a drenching rain was falling on the city, and the bystanders lining the route had put up rainbow-colored umbrellas or were huddled in their sweatshirt hoods. But still, bystanders applauded marching past the Boston Center for the Arts which is where Jon and I observed the parade.

At Brokeback Mountain, there’s not much pride. Then you come to Boston and it’s like an explosion. I think it’s important for people to know who we are. 

As the parade moved out of the South End, marchers threw candy, beads, and reusable shopping bags into the crowd. MassEquality chanted "Our streets!" as they marched by, and Massachusetts Leather representatives gyrated on a flatbed. Confetti soared above the crowds. One group was a gay hockey team, and we thought about how great it would be if gay sports players in the BIG 4 of team sports came out. 

And yes, despite the rain, guys still took their shirts off: Pic 1, Pic 2, Pic 3, Pic 4, and Pic 5.

What is now incontrovertibly clear to me is that we must be proud of the people who have come before us, of those who fought, rallied, litigated, shouted from the rooftops, and endured terrible hardships so that we may express ourselves like no generation has before us. Cheers to them!

Mike Boisvert

Hot, Hazy Weather Coming To An End Jun 9, 2011 7:55 PM

The hot hazy weather is coming to an end, as I write this, in the form of a cold front passing through New England. Not only will this front bring much more seasonable (and reasonable!) temperatures to the summit, but it brought some interesting severe thunderstorms. After not seeing very many thunderstorms on the mountain last summer, this summer is making up for that fast, as we have seen quite a few over the past couple of weeks.

It's certainly nice to have the cooler temperatures. The upcoming temperatures will be in the lower 70s which is my idea of a perfect summer day! I have to say that this year has been one of the worst for bugs. I've been spending time outside this past week and still have quite a few bites and stings to show for it. Let's hope the cooler temperatures will keep them away! 

Mike Boisvert

Double Rainbow May 22, 2011 6:00 PM

For more than a week the daily mantra has been fog, drizzle and rain showers, with only occasional breaks as the stubborn low just off the coast continued to supply mostly moist, mild flow from the Atlantic side. Yesterday a Canadian cold front finally traversed the summits to usher in a drier air mass and produce partial clearing and good visibility. In the afternoon the summits were intermittently obscured by fog, which later dissipated to see the finest rainbow imaginable. Not only did we see one rainbow, but another formed faintly above it.

We see many rainbows from the summit in the summer due to moisture/drizzle in the late afternoon and the angle of the setting sun. Yesterday was what Jon and I felt was the best display we've ever seen. The rainbow was vivid, must have been on display for at least 15 minutes and then a second rainbow appeared above it.

There is never a dull day here, each moment unique and extraordinary. I live in the best place in the world. 

Mike Boisvert

Reliable Unreliability of Brokeback Mountain May 20, 2011 6:55 PM

The reliable unreliability of Brokeback Mountain provided me with quite a treat yesterday.

In the mountain's infinite incomparability and unpredictability, the fog inexplicably cleared yesterday during the early afternoon hours, revealing blue skies overhead.

'This won't last' I thought to myself, a notion perhaps doubling as a plea to Mother Nature. Last it did, though, up until sunset time ~ at a seemingly tardy hour of just past 8 p.m. EDT. Instead of sitting down in front of my computer as I normally do after work when the weather is less than kind, I went out to the deck, breathing in the sunlight.

Little by little, I witnessed the alpenglow steadily coloring the mountain in from the mid-May sun gently setting. Eventually the fog reminded me who's boss, first drifting faintly over the summit at times, and then ultimately covering it.

If this serene and placid experience was the unfailing result of a busted weather forecast, I'll take it any day.

Mike Boisvert

Weather Has Been Kind Of Nice May 17, 2011 7:05 PM

As the quasi-stationary low remains stalled to the south, the moist flow over New England continues. On the summit, this low has meant persistent fog, drizzle, rain showers, relatively low winds and mild May temperatures. Most would simply brush these conditions off as bland after four days straight of fairly unchanged weather but I am kind of enjoying it. Read that I didn't say that I love it. I would gladly take a calm sunny day over what we have been getting these past few days. We are just in this limbo pattern and holding. It's been kind of nice.

This moisture is perfect for getting seeds started in gardens and lawns. After a winter like we and most of New England had, it's better than a snowstorm. No heavy winter coats. No shoveling. No gloves or winter boots, No fear of my truck sliding off the driveway. No worrying about losing power. So, it's been kind of nice; of course I say that now in May. By August, after a few more storms like this, I'll probably be saying bring on winter!

Mike Boisvert

Get Used To This Weather May 15, 2011 6:33 PM

If you live in New England or the Mid-Atlantic, get used to the weather you have been experiencing over the weekend, because it's not going to change real soon. A very large, complex, and slow moving low pressure system is meandering along the Mid-Atlantic coast right now, and will continue to do so through at least the end of the work week. This means lots of cloudy skies, rain showers, and some steadier periods of rain as disturbances move along the stationary front.

Here on the mountain, all that moisture of course translates to wispy fog in addition to the rain. We got a quick glimpse of Brokeback Mountain this afternoon for a time. We won't be seeing much of it this week. 

Given all this, I am very glad I was still able to complete the Three Ponds Hike yesterday. Having gotten to experience this will make all this stretch of soggy, wet weather easier to handle.

Mike Boisvert

Summer Looms on the Horizon May 7, 2011 7:49 PM

With Old Man Winter reluctantly releasing his grip on the summit, we now begin to witness harbingers of the approaching summer season.  There are more hikers out there hiking. They reach the summits in a slow but steady parade, looking triumphant and a bit fatigued. They pause to savor the astounding panorama and capture the moment in photographs. Even the wildlife and insects are gradually revealing their presence. This new surge of summit transformation and human activity is a welcome change.

By late morning temperatures on Brokeback Mountain and southern New Hampshire flirted with the 70 degree mark as cold air remained aloft, triggering thunderstorms that blossomed on the radar screen in Hillsborough County like spring dandelions on a freshly green lawn. Meanwhile, from our omniscient vantage point at Brokeback Mountain I saw towering cumulus clouds.  

The inevitable arrival of summer looms on the horizon. 

Mike Boisvert

Today Is Jon's 50th Birthday!!! May 6, 2011 6:52 AM

>>Click Here To Wish Him Happy Birthday That's right, he is 50 years old. This is a picture of Jon when he was back in high school! He is aging very well. It will be a fine birthday for him since he's taken the day off to do his favorite activity, gardening and yard work. We are wishing you many more adventures. Happy Birthday!

Love ya,

Mike Boisvert

Gwen Likes The Weather May 2, 2011 7:53 PM

It was another beautiful day on the mountain. The sun was out, the sky was clear, a cool breeze, and it was warm. This recent weather is a welcomed change on the mountain and it seems everyone has been taking advantage of it. Not only where there many people taking part in outdoor excursions but even Gwen has been enjoying the weather.

By the time I got home from work clouds were making their way over the mountain. I hung out on the deck listening to the roaring Mad River and it was so refreshing. The fresh air was so wonderful and clean. It was warm even in a t-shirt but there was just enough of a breeze to keep me cool.

Gwen's experience outside was also very exciting. She has been going outside on the deck for a few short minutes for the past couple of weeks but just to look things over. Today however she was ready to frolic around. Gwen rolled around the deck constantly taking in the smells. She explored the whole deck and checked on some of her favorite scenic vistas. I think Gwen is excited winter is coming to an end on the mountain.

I took some time to enjoy the weather and grilled some chicken. It was so great to smell them from inside the house. There is nothing I enjoy more than grilling on the deck. I sat on the deck for a while and just soaked in the views. The weather we've had lately is what makes spring awesome.

Mike Boisvert

Spring Clouds Apr 28, 2011 6:44 PM

It's starting to feel quite a bit like spring. Walking outside, we have puffy clouds on Brokeback Mountain. The mention of thunderstorms is something more often seen in the warmer weather. Walking around the woods I noticed my daffodils are starting to bloom. The tree buds are just starting to appear and I am starting to wonder just when they will leaf out.  

A lot of different things happen in a short period of time as trees go from being a mass of sticks, to buds beginning to swell, to budding and leafing out all in a few short weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing the forest transition to vibrant green from that dull brownish grey. There is something special about seeing it occur. It's like the difference between seeing a newborn animal and actually seeing the animal being born. There's just no substitute for seeing something all the way through, especially life.

Mike Boisvert

Mad River Roaring Apr 26, 2011 7:35 PM

Water, water, everywhere!

April certainly has a reputation for being a wet month across the country, and it has certainly lived up to its name, even here.

We've indeed had the April showers with both rain and snow, but the more significant hydro-issue has been the melting snow and ice pack. If you've visited the mountain, you know that we boast a great view of the Mad River from our house.

As temperatures begin to warm up during the spring months, melting snow and ice begin to seep down through the snow pack, and find their way into the Mad River.

The rainy weather and warm temperatures have allowed the resumption of the river getting mad with its roaring, whitewater rapids. The rate of flow is much more rapid this time, and we are expecting quite a bit of rain combined with temperatures breaking into the 70's over the next day or two. So, I will be able to keep enjoying the Mad River rapids for a bit longer.

Mike Boisvert  

Happy Easter! Apr 24, 2011 7:10 PM

Happy Easter from Brokeback Mountain! Today it was partly cloudy with a high of 61 degrees. 

Jon and I took my parents to the ocean this afternoon for some seafood. The weather has been unsettled lately with a mix of cold/warm temperatures and snow/rain each day. To be frank, I'm sick of this 'in between' weather. I just want spring to hurry up and arrive! The daffodils are about to blossom and the grass is getting greener.  It is going to get warmer the next couple of days.

In other news, the mountain has been desperately devoid of show tunes. That being said, I better get back to watching Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Mike Boisvert


Last Snowman of the Season Apr 19, 2011 7:21 PM

Growing older does not necessarily mean growing up. Of course, with it comes more responsibility, but it does not mean one can simply shun the responsibilities they had as a child. You must still brush your teeth, do the dishes, and get to work on time.

One of my greatest responsibilities I had as a youngster was to have fun and I have never lost my desire to fulfill this. I spent countless hours playing with my trucks in the backyard sandpit, biked all over town, and did small hikes around a nearby pond. Of course, a main activity was creating the biggest snowman possible.

This desire is still present with me today. At our first GetWinter Hike this year, we created one. With the last remaining snow patch in the yard, I had to create one more frozen fellow on Brokeback Mountain, named Squirt. He is created from M&M's, two twigs, a carrot and a ziptie. Hopefully temperatures will not get too warm for a while longer so he can hang out to greet me as I walk into the house. He doesn't say much, but with a smile like that, he doesn't have to!

Mike Boisvert

POV Slacklining Moab Apr 18, 2011 7:45 PM

This video immediately throws the Don’t look down idiom to the wind. The portions filmed by helmet cam are nerve-wracking to watch if you have even a small fear of heights–but give a great slackliner’s eye view, nonetheless.

It’s a lot more fun to watch people slacklining over a massive hole in the earth than six inches off the ground in the public park. What happens when they fall? They would just hang from their webbing. If I was there I’d bring stuff to throw at people who fell in the middle of the line. And then a big pool cleaning net to hand them food and drinks.

>>View YouTube Video

Mike Boisvert

Brokeback Mountain Clouds Apr 17, 2011 8:52 PM

Today there were some great fair weather clouds. It was a sight that even my pictures don't fully capture. The way the clouds streaked on top of Brokeback Mountain was memorable. Over the course of an hour the clouds eventually disappeared. This was another reason why I love living here. 

Mike Boisvert

Turning North Dakota Into An Ocean, What's Stopping Us? Apr 12, 2011 8:12 PM

And they thought I was crazy for paying that drifter cash for ‘oceanfront’ property in North Dakota. Heavy snowfalls and North Dakota’s unique geography (extremely flat, literally so flat and void of life that if the wind stopped blowing everyone in this state would run out of oxygen) have turned open land into massive but shallow floods.

Wait, didn’t Utah get a lot of snow this year…and isn’t Salt Lake in a huge valley? It seems the timing and snowpack is just right for a similar flood in downtown Salt Lake this year.

Mike Boisvert

Meltdown Apr 8, 2011 7:25 PM

It happens every April. The Meltdown! A few more days of sunny skies and warming temperatures are on tap. I just love this time of year on the mountain. The transition is so interesting and never exactly the same.

Mike Boisvert

Short Term Impact of Government Shutdown Apr 7, 2011 7:23 PM

This is just a heads up that if the government shuts down this weekend the National Parks and National Forests will be closing. So any campgrounds you are planning on using will be closed. Also gates will be shut so access to fee-type roads will be unavailable.  

Mike Boisvert

Rain Rain Go Away Apr 4, 2011 6:38 PM

Rain rain go away, come again another day. It is days like today that I wish I had my rain boots, rain coat, and umbrella. Granted splashing around in puddles is a bit out of the question since there is still snow. I've been looking outside at my desk in my 'day job' hoping the rain will stop. I know many would like the snow to be gone, but spring skiing is just starting to get good and there are lots who want to enjoy it for as long as possible. Rain does not help this goal. So until it stops I am going to continue my anti-rain dance.

Mike Boisvert

Preparing For Spring/Summer Mar 31, 2011 7:53 PM

Despite the 8 inches of snow arriving tomorrow, we are still starting to plan for spring and summer at Brokeback Mountain. We will be getting things ready for our spring and summer guests.

The birdfeeders will have to be put away so the black bears and raccoons don't get them, chairs will be placed on the deck, windows will be washed, screens will be put on the doors/windows and the yard cleaned up. Ummm...maybe the yard will have to wait....LOL. 

We are busy making plans and preparing for the upcoming season. Even the GayOutdoors forum is getting into the spirit of things with a First Mt. Washington Cog Ascent Contest ~ all I can say is I hope it's early this year!  

Mike Boisvert

Happy Reunion with Gwen Mar 29, 2011 6:20 PM

Whenever I’m away for the weekend Gwen displays more affectionate than usual upon my return.

I hadn't seen my furry feline friend all weekend.

Much to my delight, my pawed pal kept close to me upon my return, where she plopped in her usual spot on the rocking chair, and settled in to one of her regal poses. Not only was she present near me, but her demeanor was exceedingly affectionate, more so than I have seen in quite some time. She even jumped on my lap while I was writing yesterday's blog. Regular tummy rubs and under-the-chin/ear massages were quite eagerly appreciated, which managed to restore my confidence in our partnership.

The reunion was not complete, though, until I started watching some TV upstairs. As I'm eating a snack, I searched for some sort of entertainment to unwind in the evening. While I sat and watched an episode of one of my favorite sci-fi shows, Stargate Gate Universe, Gwen jumped on me, settled in with a full view of the screen, and gazed as the crew resolved Chloe’s body falling under the sway of the alien pathogen. She purred very heavily, rolled on her back, with her paws up in the air. I would occasionally glance over at her face expecting her to be fast asleep. But much to my surprise, she was not asleep, but intently watching the screen. What a moment.

Yes, you read it correctly--I just wrote a few somewhat sappy paragraphs about my cat. But hey, every relationship you can muster counts!

Mike Boisvert

March Not Going Out Like A Lamb Mar 28, 2011 7:02 PM

March does not seem like it will be going out like a lamb this year. What an interesting beginning to Spring it has been. Ten days ago it was 50 degrees and sunny. It was very comfortable hiking in a t-shirt. Today, I woke up to a temperature of 23 with winds at 7 mph. The wind did not let up all day with gusts up to 24 mph and temperatures barely breaking above freezing. The mountains have received over a foot and a half of new snow over the past week. Tuckerman Ravine has experienced some serious loading. Hopefully this will lead to good ski conditions lasting late into the Spring this year.

Mike Boisvert

Winter Storm on the First Full Day in Spring Mar 21, 2011 7:24 PM

This storm, as well as another later in the week, will serve as a reminder that winter isn't done yet on Brokeback Mountain. Although I am definitely ready for some spring hiking, I am more than ok with the addition of a little more snow before it begins to disappear in the next few months!

Mike Boisvert

Spring Begins on Mt. Jackson Mar 20, 2011 5:56 PM

It's been a crazy couple of months on Brokeback Mountain. Jon and I have run a few day trips with some overnight guests each time. On top of that, I was working on the website upgrades when I got home from my "real" job. This has certainly kept me busy, and definitely makes the time fly by. Honestly, it's hard for me to believe that it's already the middle of March.

Our most recent guests, who were participating in one of our Spring Excursions, experienced a gorgeous day on Mt. Jackson yesterday. It was sunny but cold, a temperature around 20 degrees and 23 mph winds gusting to 37mph, with some fantastic views. In addition to the photo attached to this blog, you can see more pictures in our Mt. Jackson Trip Report.   

Mike Boisvert

First Muse Mar 11, 2011 7:35 PM

The saying goes that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but I haven’t seen any lambs yet at Brokeback Mountain.

Thus far, March has been a brute, with lots of rain. Last Sunday the mercury hit 10 degrees. 

But of course, I can’t complain about our own weather given the travesties unfolding in the Pacific Rim. My heart goes out to all those dealing with these devastating weather events.

We're particularly enthusiastic about the outdoorzy world here at GayOutdoors, and we've needed a place to share all that enthusiasm when we're not away on trips!  So we've decided to start a blog using the spirit, love, and energy from Ennis and Jack when they first met at Brokeback Mountain.

I'll be sharing photos of Brokeback Mountain [also known as Sandwich Dome that can be seen from my house in Waterville Valley, NH] and its surrounding area, weather conditions, observations, commentary, personal trip reports, destinations/gear advice, and interesting articles found on the internet. Even my cat, Gwen, will get to blog!

And we'll encourage you to submit your own post for the day so you can become our guest blogger. Muses From Brokeback Mountain will be informative, fun, and full of surprises.

I hope you are enjoying all the new features that were added with our recent website upgrade. We almost had to empty our bank account to pay for these and it took a lot of work/testing. I can't thank enough our paid/full members and advertisers who made this possible.  If you believe in our mission and have a shared belief in the importance of GayOutdoors, then please become a paid/full member.

I'm hoping this blog will be something our members and readers will enjoy.

Mike Boisvert

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