DuBois — Plan your summer adventure – Yosemite to Whitney on the John Muir Trail

image010HIKE

By Gordon DuBois

 

The following article is part of a series on hiking trails that you may want to consider tackling as you make plans for your summer adventures. Over the next few months I will share my experiences of multi-days hikes that I have taken, so you can take advantage of the many trails that await you. As a follow up to this article I will be offering a program, The Life and Legacy of John Muir, Hiking the John Muir Trail on Monday, April 18, 7 p.m. at the Laconia Public Library. The program is being sponsored by the Laconia Historical and Museum Society.

In 1884, when Theodore Solomons was 14 years old, he envisioned a trail along the spine of the Sierra Nevada Mountains running from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney. He and others explored several routes and in 1914 the Sierra Club, founded by John Muir, began to organize efforts to officially build the trail and in 1916, with an appropriation from the California legislature, the trail began to take shape. It wasn't until 1938 that the John Muir Trail was completed with the construction of the Golden Staircase that climbs over Forrester Pass at 13,153 feet. The JMT is the premier hiking trail in the United States. This 230-mile trail starts in Yosemite National Park and continues through Post Pile National Monument, Ansel Adams Wilderness, John Muir Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, and ends at the highest peak in the continental U.S., Mount Whitney, at 14,496 feet.

My daughter, Annemarie, and I learned of the John Muir Trail on a multi-day hike along the Appalachian Trail in Maine. It was late fall when we began our hike. We had pulled into the Popular Ridge Shelter, north of Saddleback Mountain in Maine, when along came two thru hikers heading south on the AT. They were cold, wet and tired as it had started to rain and snow earlier in the day. We welcomed them into our place of comfort and after a warming cup of soup and hot chocolate we began to swap stories of our hiking adventures. They began by telling us of their struggles to get through Maine as the weather was worsening with the approach of winter. One thing I have learned about thru hikers, we love to share stories of our adventures and our most telling moments on the trail. Our conversation turned when they told us they had just returned from a thru hike of the John Muir Trail. Anne Marie and I became locked in and fascinated with their stories of this trail, the incredible beauty and awe inspiring majesty of the Sierras. From that point forward we began to plan our hike of the JMT.

It was two years later that we began the JMT in Yosemite National Park. After learning of the JMT, we began our research of the trail. Our study would always lead us to John Muir. He is the trail. All paths in the Sierras lead to Muir and his legacy. Born in Dunbar, Scotland, in 1838, he immigrated to the US with his family in 1849. He always loved nature and had a wanderlust for walking and travel. His itchy feet eventually brought him to the Yosemite Valley, where he began his activism for preservation, especially the Yosemite Valley. He became known as a pioneer in the conservation movement and is widely recognized as the father of our national park system. According to the Sierra Club, "John Muir was perhaps this country's most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist. He taught the people of his time and ours the importance of experiencing and protecting our natural heritage. His personal and determined involvement in the great conservation questions of the day was and remains an inspiration for environmental activists everywhere."
Annemarie and I began planning to hike the JMT a year in advance. Taking on any long distance hike requires significant planning, but the JMT has several additional caveats. First and foremost, we needed permits. JMT permits are in high demand. There are more people interested in hiking the John Muir Trail than the trail can handle. Wilderness permits in the Sierra Nevada are under a quota system that prevents crowding on the trail and protects the environment. Because of its popularity, permits go quickly. Our start date was in August and we began the permitting process the preceding January. Our travel plans had to be prudently coordinated in getting to and from the trail heads. We also needed to plan our food menu with care, keeping in mind that we would be hiking in large expanses of wilderness. After leaving Yosemite Valley, resupply points are few and far between and for the last 100 miles, from John Muir Ranch to Mount Whitney, there are no resupply points. One other thing we had to consider was the need to purchase bear canisters for food storage on the trail. This is a requirement, as encounters with black bears (not grizzlies) and marmots are common. We wanted to keep our food safe and not provide an easy meal for the local wildlife.

There are several good trail guides available as well as resources on line. A recent survey by Backpacker Magazine found that the JMT is the number one long distance trek that all hikers should do. So, start planning now for the hike of a lifetime. In the words of John Muir, "Climb the Mountains (Sierra Range) and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."

Gordon has hiked extensively in Northern New England and the Adirondacks of New York State. In 2011 he completed the Appalachian Trail (2,285 miles). He has also hiked the Long Trail in Vermont, The International AT in Quebec, Canada; Cohos Trail in northern New Hampshire and the John Muir Trail in California. Gordon has summited the New Hampshire Hundred Highest peaks, and the New England Hundred Highest in winter. He spends much of his time hiking locally and in the White Mountains with his dog Reuben and especially enjoys hiking in the Lakes Region due to the proximity to his home in New Hampton. He is also a trail maintainer for the Belknap Range Trail Tenders and can be found often exploring the many hiking trails in the area. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Pat Buchanan - WIll Trump & Sanders be swindled?

In the race for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump would seem to be in the catbird seat. He has won the most states, the most delegates and the most votes — by nearly two million.

He has brought out the largest crowds and is poised for huge wins in the largest states of the East, New York and Pennsylvania.

Yet, there is a growing probability that the backroom boys will steal the nomination from him at a brokered convention in Cleveland.

Over the weekend, Colorado awarded all 34 delegates to Ted Cruz. The fix had been in since August, when party officials, alarmed at Trump's popularity, decided it would be best if Colorado Republicans were not allowed to vote on the party's nominee. After all, these poor folks might get it wrong.

In South Carolina, where Trump swept the primary, a plot is afoot for a mass desertion of Trump delegates after the first ballot.

The Republican Party in Georgia, another state Trump won, is also talking up delegate defections.

In state after state, when Trump wins, and moves on, the apparatchiks arrive — to thieve delegates for Cruz.

"This is a crooked system, folks," says Trump, "the system is rigged. ... I go to Louisiana. I win Louisiana. ... Then I find out I get less delegates than Cruz because of some nonsense. ... I say this to the RNC. I say it to the Republican Party: You're going to have a big problem, folks, because the people don't like what's going on."

Something rotten is also going on in the Democratic race.

Bernie Sanders is on a roll, having won seven straight primaries and caucuses. Yet, he keeps falling further behind.

"I watch Bernie, he wins. He wins. He keeps winning, winning," said Trump in Rochester. "And then I see, he's got no chance. They always say he's got no chance. Why doesn't he have a chance?

"Because the system is corrupt."

Sanders seems to be shorted every time he wins a primary or caucus. And the insurmountable hurdle he faces was erected against folks like Sanders some time ago — the 700-plus superdelegates.

These are Democratic congressmen, senators, governors and party officials. By more than 10-1, close to 500 of these superdelegates have lined up to back Hillary Clinton and stop Sanders.

The Democratic Party believes in democracy, up to a point — that point being that Democratic voters will not be permitted to nominate a candidate to whom the party elites object.

Richard Nixon's 49-state triumph in 1972 cured the Democrats of their naive belief in democracy. Henceforth, the George McGoverns and Bernie Sanderses can run. But they will not be allowed to win.

Yet, since it is Trump and Sanders who have stirred the greatest passion and brought out the biggest crowds, if both are seen as having been cheated by insiders, then the American political system may suffer a setback similar to that caused by the "corrupt bargain" of 1824.

Andrew Jackson ran first in the popular vote and the Electoral College, but was short of victory. John Quincy Adams, who ran second, got Speaker Henry Clay to deliver the House of Representatives, and thus make Adams president. Clay became Adam's secretary of state.

In 1828, Jackson got his revenge, winning the presidency. Clay would never make it. On his deathbed, Jackson confided that among the great regrets of his life was that he did not shoot Henry Clay.

While the turnout in the Democratic primaries and caucuses has not matched the Obama-Clinton race of 2008, Sanders has rallied the young and working class, turned out the biggest crowds and generated the greatest enthusiasm.

But on the Republican side, the party has had the largest turnout in American history. And the reason is Trump.

And if, after having won the most votes and delegates, Trump is seen as having been swindled out of a nomination he won, by intra-party scheming in Cleveland, the GOP could suffer a self-inflicted wound from which it might not recover.

Another matter that could prevent a return to national unity? The deepening split over trade and foreign policy, both between the parties, and within the parties.

Sanders, last week, was saying that what disqualifies Clinton as president is her support for free trade deals that gutted American industry and cost millions of jobs, and her support for an Iraq War that was among the costliest, bloodiest blunders in U.S. history.

On both issues, Trump agrees with Sanders. Cruz, an uber-hawk and free trader, is more aligned with Clinton.

If the "America First" stance on foreign and trade policy, close to a majority position today, is unrepresented by either party this fall, and we get a free trade, War Party president, the divisions within the country will widen and deepen.

If Sanders and his revolution are sent packing in Philadelphia, and Trump is robbed in Cleveland of a nomination Americans believe he won, political disillusionment, and political realignment, may be at hand.

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

 

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Jim Hightower - Where does GOP grouchiness come from?

I've found it! I've discovered the original document from which today's tea party pontificators have drawn their political creed.

Tea-infused Republicans are the "anti" party — anti-science, anti-public, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-Obama ... anti-anti-anti. Where does all this unrelenting bombastic negativity come from? It turns out that their sour philosophy is rooted in "Horse Feathers." It's a 1932 Marx Brothers musical comedy that features Groucho belting out a song with these lyrics:

"Your proposition may be good/ But let's have one thing understood

Whatever it is, I'm against it!/ And even when you've changed it

Or condensed it/ I'm against it!"

So it's no surprise that the GOP's Senate leaders and presidential seekers have taken a preemptory "we're agin' it," head-in-the-sand stand against anyone President Obama would nominate to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia. We won't let logic, fairness or our duty to the Constitution reverse our petulant, purely partisan, knee-jerk "NO," they vaingloriously proclaim. Maybe if he nominates a corporation or a sack of corporate cash to sit on the court they'd change their tune, but otherwise they're a big, fat no, no, no!

Actually, their recalcitrance is no surprise, for the right wing has consistently been an obstructionist group throughout our history. Indeed, there wouldn't even be a USA if the reactionaries of the 1770s had won the day — their Tory faction adamantly opposed Jefferson, Adams, Washington, and the other "radicals" who broke from the British Monarchy to forge our independent nation. And they've fought every progressive advance since — abolition of slavery, extending the vote to women, civil rights, Social Security and Medicare, women's rights, gay marriage, etc. etc.

The "Grouchos" of today are just singing the same old reactionary song, still trying to shove America back into a monarchy of the rich. So I really didn't expect this!

The National Republican Party has published an official policy document showing that the GOP really might be more than a gaggle of serve-the-rich plutocrats and wacky, Trumped-up right-wingers. Just when you thought the party was consuming itself in the know-nothingism of its presidential pretenders and the recalcitrant do-nothingism of its Congress critters, out comes a sign of sanity.

Right at the top of this 18-page manifesto, the party proclaims that, "Our government was created by the people for all the people, and it must serve no less a purpose." ALL the people! Forget pontifications by Wall Street billionaires dividing America into virtuous "creators" (like themselves) and worthless "moochers" (like you and me) — this document abounds with commitments to the common good. "America does not prosper," it proudly proclaims on page three, "unless all Americans prosper." Wow — that's downright democratic!

And how's this for a complete turnaround: "Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country — they are America." Holy Koch brothers, share the wealth?

Yes, and how about this: "The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy of the (Republican Party)." Eat your heart out, Scott Walker, and you other labor-bashing GOP governors!

The document also supports our public postal service, the United Nations, equal rights for women, expanding our national parks, "vigorous enforcement of anti-trust laws," and raising the minimum wage. New enlightenment in the Grand Old Party. Hallelujah!

Can all this be true? Yes — except it's not new. This document is the Republican Party Platform ... of 1956.

(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)

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Affordability at Barefoot Beach, Misty Harbor

By Frank Roche, President, Roche Realty Group, Inc.
If you Google "beautiful sandy beach," gorgeous images of beaches from all over the world will pop up, and website after website will give you lists of "The Top 10 Beaches in the World." Imagine these white, powdery stretches of paradise, a haven that all of us seek for peace and tranquility. Now let's stay closer to home and imagine a gorgeous stretch of sugar-sand beach with unbelievable mountain views in the distance. It's right here at Misty Harbor, located on the exclusive Barefoot Beach in Saunders Bay in Gilford on Lake Winnipesaukee. I've been practicing real estate for 40 years in the Lakes Region and I've seen many fine beaches but this will always remain one of my favorites.
Misty Harbor is a very unique condominium complex located on Route 11B/Weirs Road in Gilford. The resort operates as a condominium hotel where owners can place their condo in the rental pool and have the onsite management take care of all rental matters from their lobby reception area. If, on the other hand, a unit owner wants to utilize their condominium purely as a second home vacation property without renting it, it works out favorably because of all the wonderful amenities.
Misty Harbor was developed by Bob Harding, who also purchased the Meadowbrook Farm located behind the resort and eventually turned it into one of New England's finest music venues. Mr. Harding set up the temporary stage in 1996 and by 2002 the pavilion roof and stadium seating were added, the rest is history. Everyone in the Lakes Region is so proud of what he accomplished. Mr. Harding's foresight brought some of the music world's top artists to the Lakes Region by bringing the Beach Boys, Moody Blues, Keith Urban and so many other fine artists to our area. Just like he did at Meadowbrook (now known as the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion), he accomplished so much at Misty Harbor.
Not only does Misty Harbor have its own private 335-foot sandy beach area, it also has so many amenities. Indoor heated pool, hot tub, locker rooms with their own saunas, lobby/reservation area, café and function area that can accommodate up to 150 guests with 50 seats. Among the grounds you'll find an outdoor pool with deck area perfect for sunbathing, canoe and kayak racks, jet ski spots for owners, a lighted tennis court, picnic and barbecue areas alongside the lake. The community itself is ideally located in the central part of Lake Winnipesaukee and is only an eight-minute drive to Gunstock Mountain Resort and Recreation Area, ten minutes to major golf courses, five minutes from shopping and restaurants, and at least five marinas and boat launches are within walking distance.
There are more than 90 individual condo units, 25 of them are located on the lakeside, each of those include two bedrooms, fully-applianced kitchens, one bath and either balconies or decks overlooking the beach. All of the buildings are three stories. The buildings on the opposite side range from expansive motel suites to one-bedroom suites which include private decks or balconies. On this side of the community is surplus parking for owners' boats and trailers.
It's pretty amazing when you see a community like this, where you can take advantage of so many year-round amenities packaged together at such an affordable price. One bedroom suites start out in the lower $60,000 and the two bedrooms on the lakeside (right on the beach) have been selling from $115,000 to $135,000 over the past year.
We've had a large number of sales at Misty Harbor during the past couple of years because of the affordability of the community on "The Big Lake". If you're out there looking for good waterfront value on Lake Winnipesaukee, where you can enjoy the four seasons of the Lakes Region, this is a community I would highly recommend. Take a look on Google.com and search "find condos for sale at Misty Harbor" – RocheRealty.com shows up first and directs you to the Misty Harbor community page on our website showing all available properties. Or check out MistyHarbor.com, the community's website for more information and photographs of this fine community.
On Tripadvisor.com, a vacationer from Vermont commented, "Misty Harbor is a wonderful family vacation" and another user from Maine said, "it has a beautiful beach and scenery and a wonderful condominium unit," a vacationer from Indiana thought, "It's family friendly and on the lake," a couple from Massachusetts, "Excellent! Best beach at a Gilford resort!" A Connecticut lady on Expedia.com commented, "Great place on the lake!" and a couple from Maine commented, "Misty Harbor is THE place to stay!"
Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Frank Roche is president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 279-7046.

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Sanborn — What's not hot...

Last week we explored what is hot in the real estate world as far as desirable home features. Now, for WNHW. That's not a radio station, that's "What's not hot, Willie!" or things you might want to change if you can before you try to sell your home. Obviously, some things can't be fixed, like the fact that you live next to a junkyard, but some things can. So do your best.
The biggest challenge is always dated interiors. The minute someone walks into a home that is cosmetically outdated, even if it is in good shape, they usually have an urge to run out the door. If you've got wallpaper with flowers, sailboats, windmills, or cowboys and Indians, get out the steamer and see if you can remove it. But, there are other things that date a house as well, like:
1. Popcorn Ceilings. Nothing says the 70s and 80s more than popcorn ceilings. The only place you want popcorn is in the bowl on your lap while you are watching tips on TV about how to get it off your ceiling. It ain't rocket science but I guarantee you, your neck, back, and arms will be sore by the time you finish.

2. While many people still like wall to wall carpet in bedrooms, it doesn't go well in bathrooms and kitchens. Oh, you don't think there are houses like that? There are! And the color choices of the 80s and early 90s are passé as well. Go with neutral colors. And cheap laminate flooring looks like, well, it looks like cheap flooring. Use the good stuff and the buyers won't wonder what else you skimped on around the old fort.

3. Hollow core doors. I had a 1970 Ford Maverick and when I slammed the door it sounded like tin on tin because that's what it was. Slam the door on a new Caddy or BMW and you get that rewarding solid clunk. I like the doors in a house to clunk, too. Hollow core doors leave you feeling a little hollow. You know what I mean?

4. Old appliances. Yup, we still see a few harvest gold and avocado appliances around, but we are more likely to see dated early Jenn Air stoves or some old GE stoves with digital clocks where the numbers printed on cards mechanically flip over as time passes you by. You've gotta have black, white, or stainless appliances to be in vogue and even stainless might be on its way out.

5. Mauve, pink, gold, blue and yellow bathtubs, sinks, and showers are definitely undesirable. Luckily, you can have them refinished and save a bunch of money. Don't expect that the buyer wants to hear that, though.

6. Jacuzzi tubs are also out, especially, if they are sitting out in your bedroom instead of the bathroom. I've seen plenty of them like that. They might have seemed like a romantic idea at the time, but hardly anyone uses them anymore.

7. Shiny brass bathroom fixtures. Why shiny brass fixtures are no longer in style is a mystery as big as where they buried Jimmy Hoffa. Shiny brass is, well... it is shiny. Chrome, nickel, and stainless are shiny, too. So who was the guy that decided shiny brass is no good anymore?? Antique brass seems to be acceptable. I bet shiny brass will come back just about the time everyone removes all those faucets. So, save yours, they may be worth their weight in...brass, I guess, down the road.

8. Choppy room floor plans. Lots of older (and even some newer) houses have some pretty funky floor plans. Sometimes houses have been expanded seemingly one room at a time. We call those "expansion mansions." Some older homes were laid out funny to start with. One good example is when you have to go through one bedroom to get to another. Having a bathroom right off the dining or living room really doesn't work, either.

9. Florescent lighting is not really attractive or desirable and the buzzing noise some of those old round kitchen ceiling fixtures make can drive you nuts. I'm not a big fan of them in suspended ceilings either.

10. I know we live in the wilderness, but dead animals mounted on the walls tend not to be popular with some buyers. I guess how many are hung up might also be a factor unless the buyer's wife belongs to the NRA. A whole herd on the wall can be a little disconcerting. I went to one house least year and there was a dead horse in the yard by the driveway. I know that's an extreme case, but get rid of partial or whole dead animals unless you plan on staying where you are.

I could go on, but these are some of the main issues. So, if you have a house with popcorn ceilings, a kitchen with avocado appliances and worn linoleum floors, pink toilets and shag carpet in the bathrooms, a wild boar's head over the fireplace, and oh yeah, I forgot, dented aluminum siding, you have a bit of updating to do...maybe your dad would like to move in there?

There were 843 single family homes on the market as of April Fool's Day, 2016 in the twelve communities covered by this report. The average asking price was $527,853 while the median price point was $259,900. This represents about eight and a half months supply of inventory on the market.
Pl​ease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 4/1/16. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 677-7012

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