7206 Days Remaining

It’s been snowing in the Great North Woods and the aptly named White Mountains of New Hampshire. Today being roughly a 25-degree day with only light wind it was comfortable to be outside wearing a couple layers of thin fleece and a light fleece hat underneath my boonie hat.

During the morning I fired my obligatory 25-rounds of .22 air rifle pellet. The Odin Mountain Compound Air Rifle Range (OMCARR) comes in handy for this as all I have to do is basically step out the door and I am there.

Twenty-Five rounds of .22 Air Rifle to start the morning
Twenty-Five rounds of .22 Air Rifle to start the morning

Excellent and inexpensive training, which I highly recommend to anyone desiring to improve all-around rifle skills.

After lunch and a nap, I drove my truck to Bethlehem, New Hampshire and the intersection of Trudeau Road and Route 3. From here I did one of my favorite loop walks on a series of old logging roads on the south slope of Mt. Cleveland and the north side of the Gale River.

It snowed off and on during the 3.99 (according to my GPS) walk. Next to the river my path cut the fresh trail of a fisher cat right where I had seen one run across the ice last winter. The tracks of this fierce animal were well developed in the fresh damp snow.

A fisher cat had recently walked across the woods road and crossed the Gale River in its search for squirrels, rabbits, and porcupines.
A fisher cat had recently walked across the woods road and crossed the Gale River in its search for squirrels, rabbits, and porcupines.

A short way later the old abandoned woods road that parallels the Gale River crosses Beaver Brook. The bridge here has long since been washed out and sometimes the crossing is difficult because the channel is very narrow. After a rain or snowmelt the brook can be too deep for crossing by the usual method of stepping on underwater stones several inches below the surface.

Crossing Beaver Brook where it empties into the Gale River
Crossing Beaver Brook where it empties into the Gale River

Walking further down river I eventually came upon the woods road that ascends Mt. Cleveland a way before heading back down toward the old logging railroad trail and my truck. The wet heavy snow made any though of bushwhacking problematic, as can be see in the picture. The jungle-like forest is thick and difficult enough to traverse. When wet snow is added it can become something else altogether.

The jungles of the Great North Woods become especially difficult after a wet snowstorm.
The jungles of the Great North Woods become especially difficult after a wet snowstorm.

A walk on old woods roads of just four miles is very relaxing, even when carrying a day pack that weighs 20-pounds. I carry that much gear even on a short simple outing for two reasons

1) In case of mishap such as sprained ankle or broken leg, I can stay immobilized for a longer period of time until I can extricate myself or help arrives
2) It is good training to carry the same gear I would normally carry on a Scout.

Along the way I came upon several areas where a pack of coyotes had been running the roads and following rabbit tracks. The canines enjoyed marking their territory by digging up the forest duff from time to time along the way.

A pack of coyotes ripped up the ground, possibly as a territorial marker.
A pack of coyotes ripped up the ground, possibly as a territorial marker.

Later on the day, back home, I played with attaching a patrol pack to my main sustainment pack. Especially for the winter season in these northern mountains it can be difficult to get weight and pack balance so that it works with the relatively heavy and bulky loads required.

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