New Admit Day at Harvard Kennedy School

I just had one of the best days of my life. My heart was singing.

I was surrounded by hundreds of people who were recently selected to participate in some form of public service training at the Harvard Kennedy School.

I am excited to continue my work to improve the sustainability of the built environment, and with that, participate in increasing justice and peace in the world. I know I have a bit of a “save the planet” theme, but I have matured to know there is more to it – the world is not out there to be saved, and the people who are the world are the larger part of the thing I care about. It is complex, but it is also simple: if we all were more gentle, things would be better. How can we do that? Well, I think adjusting the way buildings happen could be a part of the change. And I enjoy working in the space of buildings and real estate.

I look forward to continue my growth as a practitioner and leader to facilitate change for the better. I feel lucky, blessed and destined to be tapped by Harvard to join their ranks and become better at what I do. I feel a tremendous responsibility to work hard this coming year to become a more powerful change agent.

It was delightful to be surrounded by so many others who must feel something similar to what I feel.

And we were called to public service repeatedly by the speakers on the day.

So I wanted to share a few of the photos I took and I will be keeping you all up to date on my academic journey.

Thank you!



It was a fine Friday morning as I walked from my house, the Cambicoop, across Harvard Square to the Kennedy School. A breakfast was awaiting at the Charles Hotel Ballroom where we would first convene.

On the way, at Brattle Square, my eye caught a little lucky penny on the bricks. Super lucky as it was a copper from 1944. What facilitated this penny arriving on my path on this morning?

Here’s the Charles Hotel. One of my favorite mixed-use projects from the 1980’s. It was the site of the old MBTA (well, it was MTA at the time) trolley yard. When the Red Line expanded to Alewife, it became a developable lot – this and the Kennedy School came out of the shuffle. I would like to learn more about this project. I have met the developer, Richard Friedman, at an industry event. He seems like a nice guy.

The Ballroom on the top floor was full of the different types of students. Most pertained to the two-year MPP or MPA for people who were “of traditional Master’s degree age” – like 25 as I had been for my first Master’s at LSE. Lots of very energetic people. I am not calling them kids!

I had a yellow namebadge as I am part of the Mid-Career cohort. Many of the international students were there. It was fun to hear about what and how they became interested in the program. Most (like 9 our of 10) of the US students I met were from DC. I wonder how many made the sprint from Nov 9th to Dec 1 to get all their application materials in!

Mary Beaulieu of the Office of Career Advancement asked “what is the difference you want t make in the world? People here care about solving public problems. Keep that purpose at the front of your minds.”

Tim McCarthy was a fabulous keynote speaker – he is a professor and part of the Carr Ctr for Human Rights Policy.

“You are not a mistake” was his central theme. Forget the “imposter syndrome” he exhorted us. We are here because we were intentionally, specifically, and arduously selected to be part of the Kennedy School. And while it is quite a brand, this Harvard thing, it is a tremendous opportunity. And with that opportunity, comes great responsibility.

He shared his story as a student and then academic. A telling tale of time in Alabama meeting a community and sitting with an elderly woman in a church. Taking various directions and efforts through personal and professional duress. Explaining that the answer to how he “got there” was: “through the mess.”

One of the things that he left me with, as an impression was, to come to the Kennedy School because you care about the big issues, but be here in order to discover new parts of yourself. To breathe. To take time to explore and to think outside the box. Education is an opportunity to help us live a life of meaning.

He noted one of the things we want to gain is moral courage – the skills and the network to take risks that matter. He noted the quote of Paul Tillich: “Power is the means by which love can achieve justice.” He was absolutely inspirational and I’ll need to spend some time with him.

He also encouraged us to take our professors to lunch!

We broke out for various sessions – as MC/MPAs we left the hotel and went over to some of the HKS buildings. We had a seminar on diversity and thinking from different angles. Prof. Livingston (I believe) shared a story of social networks and one about a collaborative project – using the Old Mutual Building in Zimbabwe as the example – this is where the built it to emulate a termite mound’s natural air-cooling. Perfect example for me. #MoreGreenBuildings!

Great group of people. We had an exercise to identify a famous person, and then to see if we could be a certain degree of distance from them. Some of the colleagues worked in journalism in Geneva, or for the Chief of Staff of some entity – so all the celebrities, the Pope, Vladimir Putin, Aung San Suu Ki, you name it – were literally one or two steps away. It was fun to hear and think about.

The buildings are in the middle of some major renovations and expansion. I’ll have to read up on it. I know it’ll be GREEN!

One of the sessions outlined the year. It is only one year. Woah.

Earlier in the day, I took a break to meet with Rand Wentworth. He was on the selection committee and is the Senior Fellow for the Bacon Environmental Leadership Program at the Center for Public Leadership. He is the former and emeritus President of the Land Trust Alliance, having lived in DC for a long time. He is now in Cambridge and serves to coordinate the Bacon Fellows. I was a finalist, but not an awardee, of the program. He wrote to me asking if he could meet with me and connect. I had a nice chat with him over a coffee in his office at the CPL. He encouraged me to connect with some of their other programs. We talked about leadership training, trial by fire, and hiking. Maybe we’ll set up a winter hike for “intensity training” this January or February. He was talking about how environmental topics and sustainability could be more high-profile and more coordinated at Harvard. There isn’t a College of Sustainability or such a thing as of now, though there are a lot of Centers for teaching and research related to environment. I also talked a little about cooperative housing – wouldn’t that be a great way for future environmental leaders to learn from each other and develop intersectionality? I know I’m going to do some cool stuff with Rand!

More of the project. I don’t think it will be done by July…

We had the first of what I expect will be many receptions, called Quorum Call, which happens each Friday at about 4:15pm. Students gather for a self-designed presentation, and somehow someone comes up with some beer or wine. It is totally something I’m looking forward to.

At this one, I noticed an older, but not old, gentleman, who seemed somewhat out of place. Possibly a professor? Well, I introduced myself and asked him what he was doing at HKS. He responded that he is John Keenan (and a light went off in my head), MA State Senator from Quincy, doing the two-year MC/MPA that elected officials can do with us. Such a cool program. I think we will have some good times coming up.

Then, I continued to do my “networking” thing. I met some people from Brasilia, Singapore, Boston, Delhi, and Tel Aviv. Also a fellow from Armenia but living in Lexington, MA. The super surprise of the day was meeting Sayaka Takahishi (below) who I had met over 25 years ago! She mentioned she was from Tokyo, I mentioned I was from around here. She asked where. I said Weston. She said she knew Weston. I asked how. Well, her parents were living in Weston in the late 80s and she graduated from Weston High, class of 1990! She had been quiet and not super proficient in English at the time, but she knew some of the kids I’d known through theater – what a small world!

More panels and presentations. I’d gone to one with current students talking about the MC/MPA program, one about student activities, and then one presenting alumni to share “what they wish they’d known when they were coming in” – which was pretty funny. My new friend, friend of my old buddy Doug Levine (HKS ’08), Amy Davies is the senior director of the alumni relations office. She was one of the facilitators. It was nice to see her throughout the day. I had first met her at one of Doug’s parties in Wayland a few years ago and it is great to have a familiar face (and email address) at my “next big thing” – thanks Amy!

Even after a full 10h day of filling our brains with new info and orientation materials, everyone was still quite animated and ready to socialize. I was just beaming and thrilled the whole time. Just very excited to be surrounded by what is so delightful to me – sharp people talking about big subjects, eager to get to work, to connect and help each other, and to grow our capacity to make a difference!

And the receptions continued. Here I am with Keesha Ram – a woman who was also a UVM Student Government President (she in 2008 and me in 1996). So cool. I know we are going to have some good stuff to talk about. She’s on the board of the Institute for Whole Communities (in VT) and also at Trustee for UVM.

Then, as the reception ran out of beer, we started wondering, where to next? I was happy to step in as a deputized tour director and suggest the one place that you could actually see from the reception, Charlie’s Kitchen.

So a bunch of us eventually made our way there. I started out with a guy from North Carolina who sells hot sauce, and ended up with the crew here which included an NYC cop, a ballerina from Montreal, a journalist from Geneva and an officer in the US Army Missile Command…what an amazing mix and I know many good adventures to come!

Watch out, HKS, and watch out WORLD!


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From Cat’s Paw to High Spy


The Lake District of England. Bliss!

I was in for a treat this particular day of my life. September 30, 2016. I took a lot of pics – you can see an album here.

I was really lucky – at the evening reception the night before, my host David mentioned that some of his friends were interested in taking a hike. We were introduced. It was great! Yay people ready to go hiking – Bernardo and Kerry!

We met at the trailhead (I was a little late, yikes!) and headed up. The sun was out, some clouds were coming and going, and everything was fresh, vibrant and delightful. Perfect for a day hike.

They actually only wanted to do a short hike, which was fine – but I wanted to be out all day. I mean. I couldn’t resist. So I kept going and going. It started to rain. It stopped. I kept going. I found a little place and a fella met me, saying he had finally come to all the peaks in the “Cycle of something” or Ring of XYZ, after 30 years since first starting. That was pretty cool.

Wow. What a fine day in the Lake District of England! I was invigorated like rarely.

Here’s Kerry and Bernardo sending me off, with Derwentwater and Keswick in the background.

And I turned and headed south back over Cat’s Claw toward the south. The trail on the map just went on and on. I’d just go for a few hours and turn back to get back to the car and back for the wedding evening gathering at the pub in Silverdale.

I was just loving it!

This is looking east as I headed south on the ridge.

I was able to find a little lookout to the west – what a lovely little valley there!

For some portion of the hike it was raining, no pics. But then it dried out as I kept going. No lightning so I felt fine.

Loved the weak stone, lots of cracks, lots of live growing up from it.

And here I am at High Spy – the cairn at the top. About 600m in height. That’s the bloke’s finger – the fella who was at this spot after trying to get there for 30 years. Now just imagine that. I had never heard of the place prior to that morning and seeing it on the ordinance survey map. I was just like, hey, that looks like a good target to head for. And this guy has been thinking about it for 30 years! I mean. That is awesome. He was telling me all about the other peaks of the area and the Ring of … which I can’t recall now. I just nodded and said “oh, right” and “That sounds great” every now and then. I like meeting hikers.

I could hear the water coming down the hillside.

There was a little hut near that pond – and it seemed like a few people were making their way toward the ridge on the right. I would have loved to continue…but I had a wedding thing to get to!

So I turned around and headed back toward the trailhead…oh my. How gorgeous is this?!!

As I descended, this little bird stopped right by me, to tell me to come back soon. I sure plan to!

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Lassen Peak: with the Bros

Above: there is it in the distance, as we left the main wilderness adventure. Below, from the summit, looking at Mt. Shasta to the north. Our next big Cascadia Adventure!

On Labor Day 2016, the Brothers Lee (Teddy, Benny and Grey)(Alex was tied up and couldn’t make it) headed out of the wilderness where we had been growing our beards and cavorting, back to the asphalt of the access road through the Volcanic National Park. The Super Vanagon took us up up to the highest paved point and we joined the throngs at the Summit Parking Lot. We took the trail to the top. It was great. It’s the lowest of the Cascades, and the most accessible. It wasn’t a wilderness hike, but it was great to be at the top with my bros.

Here’s a link to the album on Flickr with about 75 pictures.

We had someone catch the three of us on film.

Okay, but let’s start at the start: here’s us getting ready to huff it up the 2 or 2.5h to the summit.

So we set off, up and up and away. The trees here have Teddy’s favorite bird, the crow-woodpecker, in abundance. Very interesting to hang out with a high-elevation bird.

This was the path at near the top. Yes. there were a lot of people. It was about 45F – from having been 75F at the parking lot.

On the way up, it was cool to see these mega tallus fields with the hardpack of snow from last winter.

This is looking to the southwest, across the main valley of Lassen’s former super-peak (Mt. Tehama) and Brokeoff Mountain in the distance (it is the remnant of the past collapse of Tehama some 350,000 years ago). Really amazing area here. Features in the foreground (look harder) in this picture were amazing. You can read more about Lassen here.

It was pretty insane at the top. This pic does not do it justice. The cameral is pointing straight down here, I’m at the edge of a crazy drop. Quite breathtaking.

Totally cool to be on the top. Behind Teddy (below) is the total drop-off that I photoed above

Teddy was psyched to be at the pinnacle here:

Incredible views to the southeast towards the High Sierra – but not quite visible in this picture. Somewhere out there is Black Rock City!

We thought it was pretty cool.

There was the last of the previous winter’s snow on the top – Teddy and I butt-slid down the slope and had a barrel of laughs


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Driving to the Burn

I love Burning Man. It is such an amazing experience. Gathering so many on such a shared adventure. So collaborative. Everyone trying to add and complement the whole.

I love the art. I don’t do much about art in my day to day. And theater. Theatrics. It’s like everyone is on the stage. And post-apocalyptic. It’s like, the ATMs ain’t workin’, so we may as well just drink until the bombs fall…well…it’s not that dystopian but there is a “whatevah” feel. A “This Is The End” feel. Like: don’t worry, be happy. Don’t worry about trying, just be. Be here now. I like that.

Be part of the improvisation. Be a great part of the improvisation.

So, going there, with someone who hadn’t ever been before, was like going into the beautiful unknown all over again. It was absolutely delightful!

Here is an album of the photos of Peter and I on our way from Trout Lake, Washington, to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Seriously great day on the road.

As dawn arrived, we made our way past Mt. Hood.

Dawn came and the landscape got dry as we descended the south flank of Hood. But the volcanoes of the Cascades continued to serve as milestones as we rocked down the highway.

We made it over the Deschutes River. Beautiful area on Rt. 26 just north of Madras, OR.

This was a little rest stop somewhere along Rt. 31 south of Bend, south of La Pine. I think it was at the junction of a road to Christmas Valley…

This is Summer Lake. Or Silver Lake. Lots of waterfowl. Pretty neat to see. Like an oasis.

On the other side of the road were the hills. With cowboys!

And little old churches…

But we made it to our rendezvous in Lakeview. The Cleu Campers were out in force. As we came into town, I saw the At-One-Ment bus and was like Pete! Turn this thing around – follow that bus! Made it to the Safeway just like we had planned ;0) and got some ice and whipped butter (we had everything else – you know – eight cases of beer and a lot of granola…) It was great to see Gian and Yoko, and to meet some of our new comrades. There were other Burner parties also assembling. It was cool to feel the vibe. The Migration of RV’s and trucks with weird stuff on their trailers. We then rolled along to Cedarville for final petrol fill-ups. And onward!

We are freaking PSYCHED!

A few last pieces of “civilization”

Then the final stretch past Menlo Baths along 447 into Nevada…

Pete is getting excited!

This was at the “interpretive station” of the BLM for the Black Rock Desert. This is not a relic from a ghost town. This was a bus full of burners, heading to the big event! Straight ahead in this pic is the location of the largest annual temporary collaborative art show in the world!

And here you can see onto the desert floor. The cars and trucks are inching forward at 15mph (speed limit) along the flagged lanes into formation to wait at the Gate, to be let in…

This is the access road: from the state highway (busiest day of the year)(or actually, Exodus (the Monday of departure when most people leave) is probably the most busy)…onto the desert floor. It’s an old lake bed. Dry alkali clay. Dusty. Amazing place for a 60,000 person party/refugee camp/temporary city…

And so we were in the line, waiting for things to move forward, so we could get to our camp, set up, and be part of the Burn!

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Good Stuff in the Gorge

What a beautiful place!

I had some great times in the high summer at Broadfork Farm. On the way to Burning Man. I arrived in PDX and got a ride from Ad to the farm…a few high density adventures and then onward…

Here is a link to more of the photos on flickr. [This post is dated 8/26/17 (the Friday night of this post) but I published this a little later, but I don’t want to get out of sequence as Burning Man is directly following!]

On the flight in I had a great vista of eastern Oregon. This may be the Deschutes River? Or further east…

Great to see Mt. Hood from “up/close!” (…and Jefferson further along)

Ad picked me up at the airport in the afternoon and we drove on the north side – the older highway. It goes way up and along at one point. Absolutely stunning. This doesn’t do it justice.

Then headed across the “Bridge of the Gods” to get to Hood River for some errands ahead of getting to the farm for the evening. The Gods are the two native spirit beings, brothers in ancient times, who…well I think the story was that eventually that is why there are the two peaks – Adams and Hood (Pahto and Wyeast) – something about fighting over a woman and some sorcery and lessons learned. I guess I have to hear the myth a few more times to be able to relate it…sorry…

Maybe I can’t recall because as soon as we did the errands we ended up at this great pub: the Pfreim Family Brewers Tasting Room. Note the building is LEED Certified (always makes me happy to see) in the flickr album. We had a couple of great beers and solved a couple of life struggle issues of course…

[The first evening, we just had a great meal at the outdoor kitchen of the tent-cabin. We we just having such a delightful time – the kids, Kaye, Ad and Pete, that I forgot to take any pictures. It was super relaxing, perfect temperature, the kids just the right energy level doing funny things, and PZ manning the kitchen with his slappy-aplomb that he can pull off. It was delightful!]

So this photo below is already from the next day.

We were going to pick up supplies for the Burn over in Hood River and make sure the vehic was all set. We also wanted to find a bike for Pete and some costumery from a thrift shop he knew about. We stopped at the little apiary he has near the road, off the driveway outside of the farm gate. He’s been helping these bees for a couple of years now. 

Here you can see what we meant by “supplies…”

This is a pic of the land in the valley – just to get an image. I’ve driven that road so many times since I was first there in April, 2010, and here are some Doug Firs that are about 10 years old – had been mini-transplants when I first saw them. Now starting to block the views. There have been a few forestry harvests in the past few years, and replantings. It’s a big economic driver though I would imagine tourism is starting to be more important in terms of jobs.

That evening was the regular “Community Pizza” Friday night up at Trout Lake proper – about five minutes up the highway from the farm to the “center” of town. If you’ve been there, this is the gas station/ice cream shop at the main fork. You know, where you get your huckleberry shakes in the summer!

A couple of doors down is a lovely couple who host a big backyard pizza party each Friday evening in the summer. They make the dough and have a cob oven going, and everyone brings their own fixings. It is great. A real social hour. Everyone is there. I’ve been able to time my visits to get there a few times over the years.

Beautiful place, right on the river. If you turn around from this shot below, you look out at Mt. Adams.

Here you can see some of what it’s like w/ the kids running around. That was a heckuva slip n slide!

Then we had fun going through Kaye’s costume closet to add to mine and PZ’s. We had a great time. I think a little ping pong even. Or was this the night of indoor whiffle ball championships? She had to come out to get Ad and bring him into the house. She is great. No nonsense, love her man to have fun with his boys, but always in charge. Love you Kaye!


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The Prezzie of Clouds

This year we went for it but had that “balancing” adventure – not the real epic mega-hike you want when you head up to the north country.

This was what it was like most of the day:

Here are more of the photos at flickr.

It was good people, good times, and all that, and reminded you of how you just gotta go. You gotta go and see what happens. You can’t always have epic. But you can always have good.

We started out with our Friday night usual – Smitty Burgers at the Black Mountain Brewpub. Who can resist using two grilled-cheese sandwiches as a bun?

We slept on the old rail bed at Appalachia parking lot on Rt. 2 in Randolph.

We hiked up Airline just as the sun came up. It was pretty stellar to have the sun peer through the trees like this below. I don’t know how I got the shot off.

And the light flew through the woods illuminating like mystical fingers some of the trees as we walked through:

I always enjoy the northern boreal forest.

We got to the treeline and it was nice out – blue as blue can be…

But, there was this – at about 4000 ft – some kind of thermocline and a cloud bank. We were marching right into it!

One of the crew was Casey Townsend – I’ve known Casey for about ten years. We have hike a lot over the years but not recently. He still lives in Boston, from Wyalusing Pennsylvania. Once upon a time I hired him and he was my right-hand man running a small org. He is still in the community education field. He’s one of those people you would want to work for, if he had such a need. Or go into battle. Solid guy.

This is looking across to the east, the other ridge coming down Madison.

Corey was not too thrilled about heading up into the moisture. Adams would be straight up this ridge, going to the right. Ben was just going to keep troopin’!

Up up and up…

Well, that trail led to Madison Hut – in the col between Madison and Adams. It’s a great approach on that ridge generally, really lovely rocks and interesting stuff, up and down.

At the hut we ate a little. We were kinda soaked from all the moisture. Some of us decided to head up to the top of Madison. I hadn’t been up there in at least 25 years.

The cloud cover suddenly became a bit chaotic, patchy…

Wafting through – fast. It was powerful. To be on that peak with the mix of light and visibility. One moment totally socked in, the next, with fragments of vista.


Suddenly the whole fabric peeled back and we were on the top in the most brilliant light!

It was amazing!

I hollered over at the folks on the true peak – they hooted back and waved. It was pretty cool to watch the cloud bank just roll out to the east toward the Carters…super chaotic and amazing!

Then to the west, there were more clouds. This was just a special treat.

Below is the “Star Lake” – a little pond near the Hut. That would be Adams Peak straight ahead.




There it is – the summit peeking through. One of my old friends, that Adams Summit. Been there many times. About once a year. It’s the tallest peak around which is a real mountain peak without what you find at Washington…

I was pretty happy in the sun on the top of Madison though, on this particular morning. This is about 8:30am at this point.

And then we headed out to the West. That is Washington in the distance (you can just make out the road on the east (right) flank), the Great Gulf in the mid-ground, and Adams on the right. Everyone seems to be wearing clouds this day. I’m rarely on Madison to get this angle – you can’t even see Jefferson or the southern Prezzies from this perspective.

Now we’re heading up the rockiness to Adams. Love this trail. It’s steep. Makes you really feel like you’re in the mountains.

Looking back at Madison. This cover of clouds was like a too-heavy duvet all day.

“Can’t see it, nope, no visibility fellas!”

My favorite summit. Not due to the view.

I started looking at the stuff around my feet more.

This area is the Monticello Lawn – a high alpine area here between Adams and Jefferson. Great stroll through the height. Always want to spend more time here.

Not much laterally though. Kinda neat how some of the tors and erratic giant boulders would loom out of the mist from time to time.

And here we are on the beautiful summit of Jefferson. Shawn was not exactly thrilled. Corey was making the most of it. Casey was not paying attention to the photographer.

But I mean, it was modestly awesome, still. To be up there. Almost flying.

That was it though. I had stopped taking pictures!

We didn’t summit Washington, just kept going. Did go up Monroe as that is quite a cool little setting up there. Then Franklin and Eisenhower. Coming off the last one we finally got below the cloud and that was delightful.

There was a lot more to the hike – some great conversations, entertaining tales and silly jokes. Made it down, that last three hours after Eisenhower without total cramping and delirium. Got back to the cars mid-afternoon and decided to drive back that very night.

Actually seem to recall a stop at a diner and a few chuckles there with more high-protein/high-lipid plates ordered. [Corey – send me that pic with me and that chef hat!]

This Green Building Mountaineering Club just can’t be beat!

See you next time!

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Taking on the Pemi Ring!

2016 was the year to take on the Pemi Loop again*.

Okay, so technically I haven’t done it entirely prior to this, and this one still was not the actual loop doing the whole Franconia Ridge peaks…but we did get to Owl Head which was important. More on that later.

Absolutely great to get out there with a small crew – Peter Zink, Ben Myers and Corey O’Connor. We headed up on a Friday night getting to Lincoln kinda late. Too late for Black Mountain but we found the One Love place was open. Then we got supplies at Price Chopper. It was about midnight before we actually got to the trail to head in. About 2am when we pitched tents, having finished a twelve-pack of PBR on the way. Okay, maybe not all that but certainly a few more beers. I don’t think I even set up a tent.

The next day, all this happened (there are more photos here at flickr):

Heading along from where we started. In the night it was like this but black in the dark. But straight and on and on. So in the morning we got up and did more of it (having camped right off the trail.


There are a few stream crossings to negotiate!

And then we were going up and up and up Owl Head! Got a little view to the east – the backside of the Franconia Ridge?

So look up to the right there – that is looking down the “trail” to Owl Head. The pic below is looking up the trail. It is one of the worst in the Whites. I believe this is due to it not being an official trail, but being an official 4000’er. So everyone punching the list (we included) are scrambling up it. But it really needs an intervention. A mini-directed fund at AMC to support a re-design. I’m sorry I’m not going to spearhead that project and just be one more user/abuser making armchair recommendations in his blog…

There are good views from the top of this little mountain. That is Corey looking out at Middle Majesty (er, South Twin). Yet, if that is correct, my statement above is incorrect. Anyone with a better sense of the topography? I had a feeling we couldn’t see to our West from Owl Head – but that does kinda look like the tops of Lincoln and Lafayette from their east sides…

Four dudes having a good time!

Owl Head is a dead-end trail, so we went down the breaknecker and found the onward trail toward Thirteen Falls, to head up to Galehead, and onward to the west side of the Ring.

I’m noticing the white tee shirt – this is due to having come straight from work on that Friday I think. Not my usual but it happened. I probably still had my tie on when we stormed into the Price Chopper.

More of that view…That scree ought to be known or at least knowable. At least guess-able!

We found things in the near vision as well. Cool sundews on the side of some wet rock stuff. This little peak is still only a few hundred feet as high as the ridge where we’d find Galehead and go up to South Twin.

And some blooming trout lillies – I think that is what these are. No – this is a yellow trillium, right?

More streams to cross, as we headed around the north side of Owl Head.

Made it to the center point in the middle of the Pemi. Time to head back up to the ridge.

Here we are down in the low, with Galehead up there somewhere.

That trail took a good couple hours, but great to be in that spot. Corey and I had been here from the north side in April, with snow. Looking southeast, that is something like Hancock or Carrigain in the distance. This is the massif of Guyot in the foreground – the Bonds must be just beyond what you can see. Not sure how the geometry works here. You have a map to refer to, right!?

PZ and G having a chuckle. Sorry no pic of the hut which is right here. There were a bunch of couples with two dozen little girls running around. It was funny.

Then up an up – we wanted to get to the campsite past the summit ahead, at Guyot. But it was already about 7 or 8pm and the sun was sinking fast. This is the AT – seriously heavy wear on this trail. And stable.

The sun continued to descend as we headed up and up. That is Lafayette out there, I believe…but I would have thought Lincoln would be higher, to the left, w/o so much of a descent. This could be Garfield we are looking at, further and more distinct but not quite as high as the Franconia peaks…As I recall, in the distance in this picture, I could see Camel’s Hump or Mansfield in VT, a good 60 miles west.

Well, at some point we just had to stop. Nightfalling.

The short story was we saw a crew of Boy Scouts coming down from the peak. There were four dads. The one who was the tough guy. The one who was the smart guy. Then the “oh my god do I have to do this and why am I doing this” kind of overweight guy, and then the guy who was like “where am I? how did I get here” bringing up the rear. It was hilarious. We asked a couple of the kids how far the campsite was, and they said it was a couple hours behind them. We assumed that was one hour for us. They asked about where Thirteen Falls was, as they had reservations. We were like, oh boy, good luck. “It’s just down this trail, you get to the Hut, and you go a little further” – we didn’t want to say it was an hour to the hut and at least two down from that!

But we did respect their suggestion that we just find a place here as Guyot was a refugee camp (full). So we jumped off the trail, into the thick and rocky, and lo and behold, found some delightfully mossy spots for the night.

Again, I did not set up a tent here. It was about 65F and delightful. No bugs. Gorgeous sunset in the air. And finally Ben made it up the hill and found us.

Night. Finishing the flasks. Cooking up some good grub. Cracking a few jokes. It had been a long day. And the next would be almost longer.

From above:

*I had done the half-circuit in about 2010 with my old friend (my bro Benny’s friend first) Tony Deary. I recall we arrived late on a Friday night at Lincoln Woods and hiked in about 5 or 6 miles along the old rail bed to Thirteen Falls campsite and crashed. Then headed up and around the western half of it in a day, returning from the Bonds on that flat (other railbed) for hours. I think I had intended to see a concert that night – but that didn’t happen!

** This is dated for the day it happened (6/26/16), though I blogged about it somewhat later.

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Walkin’ Around Boston: Gov’t Ctr Northside

I had a nice walk after meeting with Darien for a Beer at our favorite dugout at Houston’s. No wait, it has another name. Hillstones. Perfect spot for a beer on a fine afternoon in May.

I walked him to the train station, North Station, the commuter rail, so I could keep talking.

Then headed back toward Park St to catch my T train. Saw a few interesting buildings so I took a few pics.


This is the construction site in front of the TD Garden. This is the Boston Properties project which will create a grocery store underground, some retail at street level, a brand new “gateway” entrance to North Station, and three towers of office, hotel and apartments. Going for LEED Platinum. It’s going to be great!

Leaving the station heading south and west back to Park St, toward Gov’t Center…

Another oldie but goodie in the Bullfinch Triangle…

I thought this was cool.

I don’t know what this round thing is, maybe ventilation, at the JFK towers of Gov’t Center’s federal plaza…One Boston Place in the background like Batman’s skyscraper.

The new Millennium Tower and high-end residential sibling, 45 Providence, stick up above the Downtown Crossing neighborhood, while Center Plaza’s curvilinear profile bends its repetitive 70’s kitsch around the block…

One Boston Place with its vertical exaggerations flaunts its distance from the neoclassical Court St building…

I like the Old State House nestled in the middle of generations of succeeding constructs…

And at Park, looking at the most iconic building in Boston, the Hancock Tower / 200 Clarendon St. designed by Henry N. Cobb of I.M. Pei & Partners. This is the tallest building in New England and a classic of modernist minimalism.

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Hitting the Twins of the Pemigewasset

It was early but not early enough.

I had to get out. Get a hike in. Headed up to Franconia Notch.

It was a fine day in the early spring of the North Country. You can see a bunch of the other pictures from this day at my flickr site.

Looking north on the way up. Might be a bit of Canada out there.

This is the amazing summit of Galehead Mountain. Worth the extra hour to get to…

On the way to that summit, you can look down at Galehead Hut. South Twin on right (out of frame) and North Twin on left.

Gorgeous view from up above Galehead Hut looking out at the Lafayette Ridge east side, Mt. Garfield on the right. Right foreground is the southern shoulder of Galehead. Owlhead on the left, the large dark mass.

We weren’t the only ones out there! (This is a small black bear!)

This is the top of South Twin. We just ran to North Twin from here, about 25 minutes/1.3 miles. It was awesome.

Wow. From the top. Mt. Washington in the background. Gorgeous day.

Nothin’ like the top of a good old mountain after a lot of pure physical exertion.

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Gamalama Amazama!

Hiking to the top of a smouldering live volcano doesn’t happen every day so I was thrilled to get to try it on this wild trip to Indonesia. This was on the second-to-last day of our trip. We had just gotten back from Halmahera’s three nights, having gone across that island the day before. Then the boat and the funny commandeered mini-taxi in the evening to our refuge at Marasai. There was that whole situation with when exactly they could host people and all that. But Hasrum was good and welcoming us that night – actually in two different rooms for the same price. I think it was $35/night per person. Great value! And a great dinner with their amazing chef team.

Definitely would like to visit again. What a great base.

We were happy to have this day of hiking. And we weren’t feeling too zombied by the Halmahera escapades. Then the last day would be more scooters and beach time – maybe snorkeling. Then the flight out and a stop in Japan. Well…stay tuned for those posts.

One more adventure!

Here is a link to about 90 pics, but here are a few for your to scroll through right in the blog. Enjoy!

So we got up at dawn and caught a taxi, arranged by Hasrun, and headed to the trail.

Along the southern lap of the ring-road, there is this vista of the peak, to the north, as we headed counter-clockwise east toward the center.

It was shaping up to be a great day!

There it was: the grass above the forest on the peak.

Totally lush:

This is the clove tree orchard on the slope going up: very cool to walk through this – so intense historically with the spice trade and the beginning of the european model of globalization and commodity exploitation…quite peaceful right here among the trees, though…

Crazy trails – here’s Chris with one of our guides. I think his name was Mohammed.


It was cool – a really fun trek. The trail was just not improved and had no effort to reduce erosion or manage traffic. Someday the guides would actually be organized into some effect…I hope!

Meanwhile, I was just cool tourist who was full of himself!

Then we found things like this moth that blew us away…

And we were humbled by the raw force of nature.


And suddenly we came out to the top! What an amazing feeling. We were in a primeval forest. It transitioned to these reedy tall grasses, and then, we were in even a more primitive era of evolution and geology. It was like going to the Cambrian era! A dinosaur was going to pop up at any minute!

Whew. Amazing. Looking east at Halmahera where we’d recently (like yesterday!) had our amazing trek…

We followed a bit of a path, but as the grass became shorter in the ascent, the trail was less and less clear, confused with little streambeds. The guides were useless. but we could sort of understand the gestalt of the peak. I have good hiking instincts.

Chris was pretty psyched to be up on the top of this volcano!

The mist lifted. The peak was right in front of us!

Now we were on a moonscape. Definitely pre-Cambrian. Very ancient feeling, though this is literally one of the youngest parts of the earth!

Heckuva view – I think that is the mountain island Hiri to the north of Ternate right there.

But notice the vent! This thing was HOWLING – like groaning from the center of the Earth. Like the voice of Sauron coming up from his subterranean domain…

And stinky – good old sulphur.

Amazing place to feel connected to the fundamentals of the planet, geoscience and time.

I’d love to come back and show this to you, dear reader!



Chris was impressed. Just not as wild about the intense smell, the precariousness of our position and our water supply…

But still a great view!!

Even underfoot, amazing stories of mineral “life…”

I was just pretty happy!

And we had a great lunch. Thank you Vila Marasai packed lunch of hard-boiled eggs, cheese and bread.


That, is a live volcano. Yeah. “Cafe Vulcan!”

Ha ha!

And this picture is an optical illusion – I am about a tenth of the way to the gorge where the elevation changes direction. The moonscape makes it hard to reckon. That little pile of gravel was ENORMOUS! If I were all the way in, I’d be about the size of one of those white dots in the fold – those were some erratic boulders…

A wild place!

But we had had enough and it was time to head back…Thank you Gamalama!

We are glad you did not erupt while we were on you, and that you showed us so much of the power and glory of Earth.

See you again, sometime!

So now we descend back into the amazing forest. Near the top – more tree ferns, then later the broad leave deciduous…

Beauty surrounding us:

What a jungle!

On the way down the mountain, I got separated from the rest of the crew. I had an interesting little mini-adventure. But here we go. At least I had a nice view through the trees – looking south at Tidore peak. Another mountain, another trip:


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