The weather has turned warmer, and is supposed to stay that way for the next few days. The snow is now mostly gone; melted away. The Canada geese have arrived and staked out their claims in the usual places, spending their days honking and fighting with each other. Mean birds.
But these are the late signs that Spring is indeed here. Another sign is all of the mud. Over the weekend I drove about and checked out some of the access roads and trailheads near here. Wheeler Mountain Road was a gawd awful mess, and without the Jeep’s 4-wheel drive I’d have never made it to that trailhead. The parking lot was still full of snow and there was at least a foot still on the trail.
From there I drove over the hill and along Lake Willoughby to Long Pond Road to check out one of the Bald Mountain trailheads.
That road was in much better shape, but still greasy. The parking lot was clear, but there was still snow upon the trail.
I’m thinking we’ve got a couple more weeks before the trails up here are snow free. Then we wait for the mud to dry up! 😆
The trails become clear sooner down in the White Mountains, so over the next few weeks I’ll probably explore some of the hills down there.
A couple weeks ago I mentioned planning to test the little Solo backpacking cook stove when hiking Mt. Willard. I did collect some dead twigs and branches while hiking up that trail, half filling a one gallon ziplock bag. But when I arrived at the summit there really wasn’t any appropriate area to play with fire, so I didn’t.
The next day I did perform the test out on the patio, using the wood previously collected. The cotton balls made an excellent fire starter, and I had a nice burn happening quickly. The Solo generates a lot of heat without consuming too much fuel, as it employs the rocket stove principle, channeling air in from below the burn platform.
I filled the pot with eight ounces of water, and brought it to a boil in about 8 minutes. Given the test occurred at 1200 feet above sea level, I’d call that good performance.
Now I’ve got a decision to make. The three parts of the Solo kit, pot, pan and stove nest up in a nice tight package. It weighs only 1 LB 5OZ, even when I add my stainless steel coffee cup, which also nests into the kit. If I replace the Solo stove with my little propane burner and a small can of fuel, it adds a half pound, and the kit is no longer snug and compact.
My initial take is that I’ll pack the Solo gear, making sure that the first order of business on any overnight hike will be to collect fuel, and to make sure of having enough when going above treeline. As I tend to use dehydrated foods when hiking, I’ll only need to boil water for dinners, and for morning coffee.
We’ll see how this goes as the year wears on.
Finally, a quick update about the seedlings. All things considered, I’m happy with the way things are going so far. The tomatoes and eggplants sprouted 100%, as did all of the brassica save for the cabbage. The marigold and nasturtium germinated at about 50%, and the planters and baskets are doing okay. The parsley and rosemary failed to pop.
I addressed the issues yesterday by replanting cabbage, parsley and rosemary. I also started more marigolds and nasturtiums and more impatiens and pansies, as I found a couple seed packets I didn’t know I had. Why not? There’s still plenty of time before “setting out weather”, and it’s never a problem deploying flowers around the grounds.
Then this morning I realized I’d completely forgotten to start the sage. That’s been added to today’s to-do list!
Thanks for visiting!