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I enjoy doing fun things outdoors. Family adventures, hunting, fishing, hiking, photography, 4 wheeling, etc. Get out there and enjoy ... NOTE: PLEASE CLICK ON MY PHOTOS IN THE BLOG POST SO THEY WILL BECOME LARGER.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

To Boston we will go ...

We made a plan to go into Boston on Saturday, 12/19. Megan and Katelyn arranged their work schedules.

There was a big Nor'easter heading up the coast dumping lots of snow. It was supposed to start snowing in Boston on Saturday night. I decided to park at Malden Center just north of Boston and take the subway. I didn't want to be stuck in downtown traffic if the snow started. It was pretty cold and very windy.

I had no experience with the Charlie Card here in Boston so I must have looked like a tourist. There were 7 of us so I bought 14 tickets on the card. It worked well. We took to Orange line to the Red line and got off at Copley Square.

I used to work in Copley Square so it was like old home week for me. The John Hancock building and observatory was closed. We decided to go to the Prudential Observatory and headed that direction.

We arrived and the Prudential observatory was also closed to the public as someone rented to observatory for the day. We went to the "Top of the Hub" restaurant on the 52nd floor and looked around from there.

Next we headed to Newbury Street and walked toward the Boston Common. Stopped at Starbucks for coffee and hot chocolate.

The pond at the common was frozen and had people walking and skating on it. The ice didn't look that thick to me but people seemed to fine with it. Katelyn and Kevin walked and slid on the ice to the bridge.

We continued on our walk to Faneuil Hall. When we arrived there were street dancers performing. They picked Katelyn from the crowd along with 2 others to be part of a trick. One of the people ended up jumping over the three of them.

We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. We figured the weekend before Christmas would be packed. The blizzard warnings definitely kept people out of the city so there was no waiting.

Dessert at Mikes Pastry was amazing. Megan posed with 2 friends along the way.

We returned to Medford and headed home just before the snow. Boston received 9 inches from the blizzard.

We had a blast and will add this as an annual family event.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Red Hill in NH - A Hunt or a Hike?

I decided to take a day off and hunt on Friday, 12/4. I was up at 4:10 AM and on my way to Red Hill. The prior week I saw a sign for Teedie Trail and though I would take that up the hill to hunt. I parked near the trail head (elevation 565 ft) and waited until it was light enough to see the trail (6:45AM). I would hunt but also check out the trail for a potential hike with Kevin.

The trail basically went straight up the side of the hill. It leveled off (elevation 1350ft) and I came to a sign saying Eagle Cliff .4 mile to the left or the Red Hill Fire Tower to the right. I continued to Eagle Cliff (elevation 1410ft) and spent 30 minutes there.

The view from Eagle Cliff was wonderful. It was a clear day with some wind so I bet I could see 100 miles. Squam Lake looked spectacular with the leaves off the trees. I went back down the trail to the sign. I wanted to go to the Red Hill Fire Tower and I thought old sign said 1.6 miles to the fire tower. Turns out it was 2.6 miles. The trail was well marked with yellow markers. It went from 1350ft down a bit, then to 1800ft, then down a bit, then to 2040ft. I hurt my right foot when going up a steep section of the trail on the climb up. The ball of my foot felt swollen and my toes kept cramping up.

When I arrived at the Fire Tower I was pretty tired. (elevation 2040ft) I relaxed for 30 minutes or so and decided climb up the Fire Tower. I could feel the tower wiggle in the wind so only made it to the second platform. I was able to get one picture on the fire tower when the batteries in the camera died. EEK … It was a bit much for me so I wasn’t about to change batteries and go back up the tower. Before heading down the hill I took off my boot which felt wonderful. It could be that my thick hunting socks made my boots too tight for this hike. My foot would make my descent more difficult.

From the fire tower I was around 3 miles southeast of my truck and 1500 feet higher. The main trail coming up on the fire tower side was descending the wrong direction. I was told there was a second trail ¼ mile down the hill with white markers which would take me closer to where I needed to go. My other option was to go back the way I came. Even with a hurt foot I remembered I was hunting and thought my chances of seeing a deer was better lower down as all I had seen on top was an older scrape. I took the White trail and saw some beautiful cuts with a view of Squam Lake on the way down the hill (you will have to take my word for it.) I also saw bear scat and one set of tracks.

1) With my hunting gear on I wasn’t dressed properly for a long steep hike on what turned out to be a 50 degree day. I should have thought more about the terrain and planned accordingly.
2) I ran out of water. (one bicycle water bottle is all I brought) I could have finished my water when I reached Eagle Cliff a mile or so into the trek. I was unprepared for the elevation and distance. Instead of heading back down the hill I stayed on top and continued to go farther away from my truck. I could have really been in trouble. I have no water purification backup and may buy a SteriPEN for the future. I could have used the SteriPEN on stream water.
3) I ran out of batteries. I always carry extra AA batteries as most everything I have uses them. I also make it a point to carry out what I bring in to the woods. I had 6 extra batteries I brought in a baggie. The WRONG baggie as they were the expired batteries from previous hunting.

I did a quick inventory and had 2 headlamps ready to go (they use different batteries) so I could descend in the dark. I had one small flashlight with 2 marginal AA batteries not strong enough to power my camera. In essence, I was down to the 2 batteries in my GPS. If the GPS went down I could use my ball compass so I was ok there.

On my descent down the white trail I intersected several other trails that weren't marked on my GPS. Looking at the topo made decisions easier to get me down the hill while continuing toward my truck. 2 miles later I ended up in an area where I hunted the previous weekend. By 3:45PM I was 1/3 mile from my truck in the woods. I was so tired and thirsty I headed for the road. Hobbling, I reached my truck at 4:10PM.

LEARN from my mistakes: Wear the right clothing for what you have planned. WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER !! (I now have a water bladder for my pack.) Know what you have in your pack and make sure you have a back-up plan.

I ended up hiking 6.25 miles with a total ascent of 2545 feet. Beautiful scenery but not so fun when dehydrated. My day of hunting turned into a long hike holding a rifle.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Memories of Pfc. Matthew A. Bean

Pfc. Matthew A. Bean, was killed in Iraq. His father, Dana, was my roommate at Gordon College.

Below are two YouTube videos made by Dana’s brother, Doug, as a tribute to Matthew. While on patrol for missing Soldiers (Alex Jimenez and Byron Fouty) from his unit, the 10th Mountain division, Matthew was shot in the head by a sniper and would die from this injury May 31st, 2007.

Dana and Cheryl continue to be strong through this time.

On Tuesday, December 8, 2009, Matthew was profiled on the Nancy Grace Program. Dana said his family is like all other "Gold Star" families: honored & proud to share our son's life with the shows viewers.

Dana (Matthew's father) has been corresponding with Blue Browning, of the Nancy Grace Show, giving more information about Matthew.

Matthew Bio ...

Matthew was an athlete of course: snow, skate, & wakeboarding. He wrestled & played judo. Football & soccer when he was younger. He enjoyed outdoor activities like fishing & softball. What he was famous among his military "brothers" for was playing guitar & singing after they came back from patrols.

While in Iraq, on his first tour, he survived two IED explosions and was awarded the "Arcom" (Army Commendation) for saving his unit from a third. He actually stood by the device, cleared the area, and located the enemy who had set it. We were told that he was targeted by the sniper who shot him because he would have been identified over a period of time as "the guy" in his unit that was outstanding. He died May 31st, 2007 from his head wound at Bethesda Naval Hospital after hanging on for 12 days. The Army doctors did all they could; we will always be thankful to them for the time they gave us with our son. Matthew had just turned 22 years old. He had been awarded the ArCom, Bronze Star, & Purple Heart.

He had an award-winning smile that melted the hearts of everyone he met. It reflected what was inside of him. Matthew was a Christian. That is what gives us the "blessed assurance" that we will see him again when our Lord calls us home! His life and death have touched many for the sake of Christ. That now includes you & Nancy!

Matthew left behind his brothers & sisters, as well as, his fiancee, Sarah. There are some great pictures of him along with a bit of who he was on various "YouTube" videos posted by family & friends.

My wife, Cheryl, & I thank you!

Dana Bean
Proud Army Dad