The Green Building Mountaineering Club: Kinsman Pond in Winter


That’s right: we have a new name in the game. The Green Building Mountaineering Club had its inaugural expedition on January 23rd, 2015, heading to Kinsman Pond Shelter in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. [Above: Lafayette and Lincoln of the Franconia Ridge while heading to the top of North Kinsman]

In the crew were Brig Leland, Greg Bartolini, Ben Myers, Dan Armstrong and myself, Grey Lee. Our fearless leader, Guy Compagnone had to bail at the last minute – literally at 5AM – due to the flu assaulting his family over that preceding night.

He did make it to the muster point in Campton to go over the plan. I can’t believe he took the 4h round-trip drive just to see us off for an hour. Thank you, Guy!



The crew proceeded to the trail head at Lonesome Lake Campground in Franconia Notch.


It was decent weather – about 20F and light breezes. Everyone had good gear, having been instructed by Mr. Compagnone repeatedly on what to get. Especially to not bring ANY cotton. No cotton was on the trail for this trip.



Lonesome Lake is completely frozen. We had fun strolling across. It took us about 1.5h traveling the 1.4mi to get to the hut, though we spent 15 mins horsing around on the lake. The Cannon Balls are to the north (background, above) and the Franconia Ridge to the east. Lonesome Lake Hut is on the west side where we met the caretaker and had a snack.

From there, we continued on the Fishin’ Jimmy trail for just under three hours to get to the Kinsman Pond Shelter. The shelter is a few meters from the pond. We enjoyed the quiet of the frozen pond. No one else came to stay the night. It’s a great shelter.



We took another hour to get up to the top of North Kinsman. Below you can see the trail conditions and the vista to the north – into Vermont and Canada. We all had micro-spikes on – the rubberized plastic band with a chain/spike “basket” under your boot soles. We had not brought snowshoes due to the low snow and high traffic pattern anticipated on this expedition, which was fine.


Here’s Ben Myers and Grey Lee with the Lafayette and Lincoln peaks in the background.



Looking toward North Kinsman on the way up.



Here’s looking from North Kinsman to the South peak, with Loon Ski Resort in the left background.


Me with the Franconia Ridge in the background. It was a gorgeous day.




I had been up here with my brother Benny & our dad some years ago. I knew there was a vista that could see the pond. With a bit of a cavalier attitude and one of the crew asking me not to fall off the mountain, I headed into some of the underbrush on an intuitive trail. Scampering somewhat like a four-legged winter creature through the snow and branches, I managed to find a way to a lower ledge of Kinsman North – to see this:


You can see two small dots on the ice – in the upper left of the pond – two of our crew who stayed down there. The other two with me – Brig & Ben – made it through the brush to the ledge here. It was fun to wave to them and hear them shouting back at us. Not that we could really understand them, though.

We headed back to the main trail toward South Kinsman and found this peek of Mt. Moosilauke to the south and perhaps that’s Kearsarge or Sunapee in the far south – can you just see it?





After the summit, we headed back to the shelter for a good dinner at about 4pm. There was a lot of freeze-dried mush, but Dan had brought a steak and I had my trusty omega-3s (sardines), and we all shared. There was some chocolate. There were some flasks passed around. By 5pm we were bundled up and in for the night. We heard a couple of stories about “Worst First Dates” and wrapped up our conversations about the future of the green building industry. There was some snoring. At 1am I went out to the pond for some stargazing and caught a shooter among the constellations. It was brilliant, but pretty cold. About 10F, but still quiet of wind, so not really damn cold, just cold.

We were up at 7am and on the trail by 9. We returned the same Fishin’ Jimmy trail, as the alternative, Kinsman Ridge trail, had only been trekked by one or two snowshoed parties and as we started we were just post-holing, thus changing the plan. At Lonsesome Lake they offered us their excess chocolate chip pancakes which was a real treat. Brig established the strict pull up  record of (uh-oh – I already forgot) 18 (?) for one of us to beat next year. By 11:30 we were down and on the road to grab the real mission of the trip: Burgers & Beers. This is so no one imagines the peak as the goal – if anyone has trouble, and we have to turn back on these expeditions, that is fine as the real mission is…

Here we are at The Common Man (Plymouth) offering a beer to our dear leader Guy Compagnone for having organized such a great trip!






See you in Feb for the Jefferson Assault! (February 20-22 based two nights at Gray Knob Cabin of the Randolph Mountain Club). Stay tuned for the travelogue of that one!

Here is a Flickr Album of the Kinsman trip.

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Happy New Year!

I’m going to write more this year. Here are some pics I liked from 2014.

IMG_3955Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 11.04.10 PM EscherSteelworkerNewYorkerScreen Shot 2014-12-31 at 1.42.57 PMIMG_2544 Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 9.18.46 AMScreen Shot 2014-11-01 at 7.41.12 PMIMG_8596IMG_6863 IMG_8654IMG_8699 IMG_0417 IMG_8807IMG_8529IMG_9391IMG_2113 IMG_4821Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 6.13.04 AMIMG_7990IMG_0679IMG_0534IMG_8226 IMG_2872IMG_8316 IMG_9415IMG_5832IMG_9174 IMG_8871 IMG_0448IMG_6837


Okay, to explain: White Mountains, Happy New Year, Funny Comic


Over Arizona, My Ride in Detroit, Sustainable Neighborhood Dev in JP


Ric & The New Orleans Devvil Himself, A conference about green buildings & cities, Norie & Grey in Quebec

A conf about healthy building materials, a beautiful farm in VT, the Bostonville at night

Considering farm property, me w/ hero David B of AllEarth Renewables, sunset over Tucson


My colleague Steve & I at a gala, looking down at a farm from the silo, an architect who recently died (I liked the pic)

My favorite Threefoot Building (Meridian MS) (at left), seeing Sting, summiting in -15F (Mt. Crawford I believe)

NY, NY! Me with Kerri, The Carolachusetts vista from my office


Teddy balancing in the desert, Monhegan Island, skiing



A stately tree in Maryland, my revellers for the big 4-0, looking up at Frontenac


Thanks everyone! 2014 was a fabulous year and now we’re on to 2015. Let’s ROCK!



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Showcase Spotlight

I was interviewed related to my upcoming MA LEED Project Showcase on Oct 17th – it’s sold out, but I had buy meratol fun talking about it with the fellas at the New England Real Estate Journal Radio Show…


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Carter Dome to “New” Height (Mt. Height)

Finally got out on the trail for a great overnighter in the White Mountains!

Organized with PZ (who of course is more organized than I am, every time) and decided to drive further but hike shorter. He has some back issues, I’ve got leg issues, but we have to get out there. It had been a while since our last outing – Labor Day last year at Camel’s Hump in VT. Time flies.


In the area to the east of the Carter Huts, there are the Ramparts. These seem to be a major tellus field from falling off the side of the dome sometime in the post-glacial era. Huge boulders piled up all over the place. Lots of nooks and crannies. As I mentioned to Pete – this would be a great place to take your kinds and let them run wild and freak out your wife. He said he’d be freaked out too. I’d let them have fun. I do see the point, there were serious gaps and drops into dark corners and someone could get hurt etc…I’d be happy to go there again to play.


At the top of Wildcat, some interesting rock formations and vegetation. Actually minerally odd- our compasses were totally thrown off. Luckily we did not actually need to use the compasses.


I was totally fascinated by the lichens on the top of Wildcat…Amazing colors!


Not that you can really see it but the community of plants in the crack of the rock was really beautiful, and then, there I am, standing on the edge of this pond (see below).


I really enjoyed meditating at this pond between Carter Notch and the Huts. I’m not sure the name. Very peaceful. Bullfrogs, some fish biting at flies, a few birds but not many. 

Loads of yellow-flowering lillypads. Very cool. The trail goes around to the left, on the way to the huts, so you could hear any traffic. A few parties moving through. Mostly just the mist and increasing precipitation…into the dark of evening…Mystical for real.


This was up at the actual Carter Notch were we camped, just to the south of the 19 Mile Brook Trail as it hits the Wildcat – Carter Dome connecting trail. There’s a little patch of rough ground but open to the sky, and this magnificent frozen druid…or something…We



I Natox was psyched to have both whiskey and a chocolate bar. Note cool wind screen for stove:


Soon it would be night. I had an orange theme to dinner – carrot, cheese, and Annie’s Mac-n-Cheese with a can of tuna. Anatto!



The next morning we woke up but the tent was wet. Waiting a bit, reading more of Dharma Gaia, then up the trail to Carter Dome. This was about 1500 in about 2 miles. Just over an hour. It was a slog but nice to summit. No view. The remains of a lost, perhaps burned out, tower. A pair of mother-daughters that we passed arrive at the top to take pictures – it was one of the old gals’ 46th 4000-footer (there are only 48 in NH) so she was excited. They were very talkative. Pete and I were trying to dry the tent and finishing off the whiskey. In the distance you can actually see the top of Agiocochook.


Then another hour on a ridge, not to far up or down, to Mt. Height. What a gem!



Looking east (below) from the top of Mt. Height. I really liked how removed we were. Total wilderness all around. The only thing you could see of humankind was the auto-road on Washington, but that was behind clouds a lot. Otherwise, really about as far-out as I’ve felt in the Eastern US.


Yep, two dudes hangin’ out on the top of the mountain.




Here we can see the tops of the northern Prezzies – Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Madison, peaks obscured by clouds, but I like the foreground. It was sunny the whole time we were on Height. Great peak.




I liked the little mountain plants. I don’t know what this cute stuff is…



Well, here’s to a great day out in the mountains! Avocado on bread. With super salt from the PZ pantry. Thanks man!IMG_7868

The most interesting thing we found was this dangling slug in the middle of the trail. I had never seen that before:


Anyone know what these are? I would like to identify.


I also don’t know the name of the bird right in the middle of the photo here:


So we’ll have to come again, to see past the edge, into the unknown…













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Furthest Dingle

Alex and I drove on, drove out past that lunch near Camp on the north side of the peninsula west of Tralee…after ripping up the road to Castlemaine, finding the little parking spot for the Burren…we kept going.

We kept going to Dingle and through.

We found the end of the road.

We found a little car park and took a walk – we are looking back at the little village – where the cove disappears behind the side of the hill in the foreground – and proceeding west, but looking back…maybe you had to be there. Lots of fog over the hills in the distance…


I liked this rock. There were a lot of these, long and plate-ey with little gardens of sedums packed in the crinkles…


Looking south, the massif might be the hills near Portmagee, or Valentia Island…something says “Inishtooskert” in sizegenetics complaints my head…







Great Basket Island…and the little one, last in the chain known as “Lure” – to the deep blue sea? I liked the lichens on these rocks.





It was a bit steep!



Alex observing the distant scenery:





Thar she blows! The SKELLIG!



Also some sheep on the ridge above the crashing waves…




Still pretty anywhere you turn…







“Harrumph, excuse me, I’m trying to eat here, please…”



I must say I like the old stone wall pastures of this long-inhabited land…don’t quite know the economics of it these days but still it’s fairly attractive, eh?IMG_5749



That was a good little ramble!







Now, on to Kenmare! Maybe with a couple of stops along the way yet…I love you IRELAND!!!

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Just a bit of that Hooky Norton





The afternoon required us to venture further into the Cotswolds, the real Cotswolds. Not those little villages with embroidery and teacups for sale, but really into the heart of the economy. We had to look at what was being produced in middle England. What did the people really require?


We must needs take our youth to see the inner workings of one of Britain’s finest productive establishments: the Hook Norton Brewery!


So after our quick lunch at Shipton Standing we headed over hill and dale, passing the bright fields and small woods to where the ancient art of zymurgy continues daily. We arranged the tour for the boys as this was the first afternoon of their spring break. Below you see Sebastian and Marcus dutifully listening to the safety precautions. Charlotte is already wondering how long the tour will last.



The whole place smelled great – rich musty malt and fermentation. The boys really enjoyed all the machinery. This is Marcus and his schoolmate from Thailand who was staying with them over the break. He had never been in anything like MaleExtra this.



And from the top – in the cupola where they dry the malting barley, quite a view of the quaint old (eponymous) village. Hey – is that a photovoltaic array?




Down below we went out around the grounds to the Stables to see the draft horses who still deliver casks of beer to the local pubs in the valley. Mostly they are good for festivals and tours. I liked the idea of horse-drawn beer.



In fact, I liked the entire idea of having a brewery!


And thus, after the rigors of the tour – up and down all those stairs and ladders! – we made it back to the welcome center which doubles as the village pub. Our guide then put on his next had to share with us the particulars of the brews we had seen in production. The newest recipe is the Lion, “Pride of the Cotswolds,” – quite good. My favorite: Old Hooky. Thanks for joining me on the sampling, Andrew!


And if you want to know the latest scoop from Hook Norton, be sure to follow Albert the horse!



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Jonathan Rose and “The Well-Tempered City”

I attended a presentation by Jonathan Rose whom I first met through the Garrison Institute in New York.

Jonathan’s family owns the Rose Company a big real estate operation in NYC. His philanthropic efforts have resulted in the Garrison Institute – they bought an old monastery about an hour north of the City and have turned it into a buddhist/mindfulness themed place which hosts a lot of components, including the Climate, Mind & Behavior program which I support.

Jonathan was at Harvard to talk about “Planning Resilient Communities in and Uncertain Future” and was introduced by Dan Schrag, one of my neighbors. Jonathan is into how minds lead reality – we have cognitive problems a priori, then traffic or crime or lost opportunities. So his theme was linking resilience of infrastructure to cognitive resilience. Very cool stuff. I hadn’t heard him really present on anything before, only as a “chimer-in-er” on panels, so it was great to see him as an academic.


Here are more of my notes:

Russian revolution in 1600 was caused by climate change that challenged the reality of the serfs which was caused by a volcano in Peru……Cognitive problems are a last issue of priority – 9/11 resulted in back-up generators going off the roofs and into the basements. Hurricane Sandy flooded all those lower-level generators…….Urbanization will grow from climate-destabilized rural migrants…….already Cairo is 70% unplanned shantytowns…….McKinsey’s Top 600 Cities in 2002 were 1.5B, in 2025 = 2B…US triactol the best way to was 190 of those top cities in 2002, in 2025 will be 125 of them……What is the implication for infrastructure in declining cities?……He brought up Split in Croatia (though used a picture of Dubrovnik) to describe how the 300AD water system for Diocletian is still being used……NYC’s water system is from 19th century……

The for-profit mission of his company is “to repair the fabric of communities? – very cool!

Things I need to look into: Rose Company in Brazil recycling……David King UK Net Zero……NYC BERDO & then labeling like cars……Christine Jones soil study in Australia

He had some principles to hold to: Diverse, clustered, dense, connected, independence, leadership, participation, planning, feedback systems, Nature, Buildings, Social systems & labor, Economic systems & Info. I’ll have to review this another time.

Information does not shift behavior. There is a “conservation attitude behavior gap.” The Garrison Institute is about people’s behavior and creating embodied experiences.

He went through a few examples: Via Verde, Burnham Building in Irvington, and the Denver Dry Goods Buliding – 23 pieces of financing!

It was a great presentation that I’m sure you can catch another time. Thank you Jonathan!

IMG_5981The cool thing was I sat next to Karl Thidemann who I’ve been networking with for a long time. He is a big proponent of Allan Savory’s holistic management and grazing grass-soil carbon sequestration stuff. Which you can read about somewhere else in here…See ya later!!



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I got blogged:

In support of Mayor Menino’s Energy Disclosure Ordinance proposal, a connection chumped my linked in shout-out and blogged me. So MaleEdge now I really am a celebrity. Of some kind. In the green building world.


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The Sharing Table

We had our usual Wednesday night dinner at the Cambicoop this eve. However, we had a topical focus on the sharing economy and collaborative consumption. Janelle Nanos from the Boston Magazine had been in touch with Zahra (from my house) about the subject and wanted to check out a real share-space, our cooperative.

photo (26)Nora, our subletter of the past three months from Germany, cooked an apple cake from her grandmother’s recipe which was delicious. The discussion talked about the shared economy as seen with platforms to make markets like AirBnB and TaskRabbit, but also the more sharey stuff like couchsurfing and yerdle. I made a point to distinguish sharing as a means of exchange, the commercialization of sharing that is, and the collaborative lifestyle and the cooperative process which we embrace in coop culture. Our situation is more about the process and what goes on, than the result of the activity. We’re not so transactional as all these techie we collcons startups.

photo (25)I Performer5 was thinking it could be a much longer conversation. I hope to elaborate further with Janelle and also with our former housie Eric who is studying collaboration in a psych degree at Northeastern.

We did start talking about the various ways we participate in the collcons scene and it made me think about all the things I’m involved with, such as:

  • Couchsurfing
  • Zimride
  • TimeTradeCircle
  • Co-working at Space with a Soul
  • AirBnB
  • BlastOffice (AirBnB for office teams)
  • LiquidSpace (for subleases of office space)
  • RelayRides (for renting out my car)
  • Tryxler – some Weston contacts are creating a platform for web-based collaboration co-branded with a firm to increase morale and social capital within the firm
  • Wikimedia
  • and of course the social media – facebook, LinkedIn and twitter…

We are sharing all over the place, but these are all different ways of connecting people, and figuring out who and how to trust people and make decisions about exchanging based on anticipated future returns. Very interesting stuff indeed.

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Happy Birthday!

Yes, it’s been a fine birthday. I’m actually wrapping it up listening to the last of my real estate broker license continuing education webinars. 12 hours of droning…I suppose it would be quite good but being able to do it on your own time means I’m double or triple tasking and actually not much paying attention. Next round I’ll certainly go to the full day live course. I enjoy asking questions of the presenters, which is a major drawback of the online course. It’s really pathetic to let people do the online thing. You could just have a kid sign-in for you and click every 9 minutes to indicate that someone (certainly not needing to be you) is listening. Sure you have signed something threatening perjury if you don’t actually listen to the courses, but it’s really a bad system ripe for abuse. See – I’m blogging while listening.

Earlier, I started this fine bluebird of a day heading to the old Hancock Building in the Back Bay to a presentation for A Better City – I was filling in for a volunteer who’d come down with the flu, to talk about LEED accreditation and how to take the exam(s). Even though my colleague hadn’t been able to send me a presentation or anything, I let the facilitator know, “Meghan, I’m flying blind but I’m happy to talk about this stuff” and she was fine with it – she had more recently taken the exam so was actually better at it than I was. The group was ABC’s “Challenge for Sustainability” which is a regular gathering to enable mutual support for mostly facility operators in the downtown to work on bringing sustainability into their realms. I enjoyed the venue, the crowd was very receptive, and I felt like I made a good presentation, even if I wasn’t really the best person for it.

photo (27)I walked across the Boston Common (from Berkeley St) through the north end of Chinatown on Tremont toward South Station and took this picture looking west toward Federal St (I think). The highest tower there is the Bank of America building. The white one has the distinct (if you know what you’re looking for) shadow of the Federal Reserve building.

I went to work for a little but then had a lunch date with my dear old UVM friend Heather (Kaplan) Coleman, and her new 4-week old daughter Lila. We went to Sam’s on the waterfront – on Fan Pier. It is so cool, with parking for her ease, and great views. I really enjoyed getting taken out by Heather! Thanks! We had tofu-mushroom cheeseburgers and I had _two_ beers! Then they brought over this dessert! Wow:

photo (28) Heather got me flowers – and I can’t say when the last time I got flowers was – and when I got back to the Miroverve office I bumped into one of my housemates – Yutaka – who was there for a conference. The office is co-working “Space with a Soul” and often other non-profits use the board room and conference rooms. It was great to see a housie outside of the Cambicoop.

I managed to catch up with my friend Anu for drinks at Les Zygomates in the Leather District. We sat next to the grandson of George C. Scott, Campbell James Scott, who was moving through town from VT to NYC but the Fung Wah had been shut down so he had a longer than usual layover. He offered us pot and took this pic of us:

photo (29)

While we were there my father called to wish me happy birthday, and while I was on the phone with him, my mother called from here phone. Funny coincidence. Two of my brothers also called. Not at that exact time though, at another coincidental moment. Then as I was leaving, someone says “Hey Grey! How are you?” and it was some friends from high school – Lindsay and Sam Hunt (now married) who had started the supper club when I was running the farm, Land’s Sake. Sam said “Yeah, we’re out for my birthday” – and I’m like, wait, it’s my birthday! but actually it was his on the 22nd, same as Jeb. But it was funny. Great to bump into them, esp. in such a fine little restaurant. He just bought the Wild Horse Cafe in Beverly and is re-launching it later this spring. Great to see them! 

photo (24)Then it was off to dinner for myself, with my next date, my other other dear friend, Theo van Roijen, back in Harvard Sq. We went to First Printer and I ordered a bossa nova (cachassa w maracuja) and jambalaya. We walked back to her place and got to thinking about another old friend, Gordon Fontaine, who we have a habit of calling whenever we’re together. So we left him a message at his “Zen Dog Training” answering greeting. I had met Gordon while doing controlled brush burns in Weston almost ten years ago and through him and his Aikido Dojo had met Theo. Theo had rescued a rabbit from a lab that someone at the dojo worked at. So we got started singing a song about Dojo Rabbit Phone Call – don’t ask me how. We were really into it! Dojo Rabbit!

And now I’m back wrapping up the last of my re-licensure webinar nonsense and getting the blog back on track (thanks JEB!). It was a great birthday, thanks everyone!

I’ll be at it every day from now on.



I got the following quote via a spam-bot today:  “It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.” by David Hume….What’s up with that?

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