DuBois — The alpine zone in bloom


Reuben and Gordon at the base of Tuckerman Ravine

By Gordon DuBois

When I reached the alpine region on the Boott Spur Link Trail, I was greeted by a beautiful display of alpine flowers, diapensia and lapland rosebay. With Reuben leading the way, I scrambled up to the higher reaches of the trail. I had forgotten that the alpine zone of the Presidential Range would be ablaze with the flower show of early June. I was overtaken by the brilliant display of these early alpine flowers. It is truly amazing that these beautiful flowers can thrive, let alone even exist in this harsh and extreme environment. Yet, throughout the alpine zone in the Presidential and Franconia Ranges of the White Mountains these amazing plants are in full Bloom: diapensia, Lapland rosebay, mountain avens, cinquefoil, harebell, mountain aster, bog bilberry and many more. During this period, one can witness a marvelous display of flowers that defies the extreme conditions where these plants flourish. A sign at an AMC hut reads, "Welcome to the Alpine Zone. Enjoy the fragile beauty. Be a caring Steward. Stay on the trail or walk on rocks. Help preserve the delicate balance of the Alpine Zone. It's a tough place to grow."

With this in mind, we continued on our journey, with the main objective: the summit of Boott Spur Peak. All along the trail, above tree line, we were accompanied by the flowering diapensia, which resembles a large pin cushion, and the pink flowers of Lapland rosebay. It reminded me of a domestic rock garden. However this garden was not made by man, but by the hand of nature. We were careful to stay on the trail and not trample the delicate plant life around us. Even Reuben was careful where he placed his paws. I always knew he was a smart dog.

We started our day at the Pinkham Notch AMC Visitor Center, hiking the Tuckerman Ravine trail for 2.4 miles. I met a few other early hikers, heading into the ravine to begin their climb of Mount Washington. At the Hermit Lake Shelters, I began my climb to Boott Spur Ridge via the Boott Spur Link trail. With Reuben in the lead, we climbed the steep ascent to Boott Spur trail which would lead us to the peak of Boott Spur (5,500 fet) The trail follows a prominent ridge running south from Mt. Washington, located on the east side of Tuckerman Ravine. The ridge was named for Dr. Francis Boott who was a member of the Bigelow scientific expedition to the White Mountains in 1816. Some speculate that this ridge was the probable route of the first ascent of Mt. Washington by Darby Field in 1642.

As we made our way along the trail, dark storm clouds were gathering to the south, and I became anxious about continuing my venture, knowing that I would be in danger if a storm hit when I was above tree line. I continued on, rushing to make my goal. As many know, the weather can turn quickly in the mountains. However, to my good fortune, the thick bank of clouds began to break up as they blew into Tuckerman and Huntington ravines and Mount Washington above. I was in luck, no storm today, just a minor weather system pulling through. I made the summit of Boott Spur and turned onto the Davis Path, which would lead me to the Tuckerman Ravine trail and back to the Hermit Lake Shelters.

The Davis Path is a 15 mile trail running from Crawford Notch and Rt. 302 to the summit of Mount Washington. It was built by Nathanial T.P. Davis, manager of the Crawford House, and son-in-law to Abel Crawford, patriarch of the region and premier trail builder (Crawford Path). The Davis Path was built as a bridle path to Mount Washington and completed in 1845. In the years following, the trail was used less frequently due to the popularity of the carriage road and the Cog Railroad, and reclaimed by the forest. In 1910 the trail was reopened by the AMC as a foot path to the summit of Mount Washington and now closely follows the route of the original bridal trail.

When I arrived at the junction of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, I considered continuing on to the summit of Mount Washington, but thought better of it, as I have been on the summit many times and it wasn't worth climbing another mile and over 600 feet in elevation. I began my descent into Tuckerman Ravine, excited to view the massive walls of the ravine and the spring runoff tumbling down over the headwall, 1,000 feet to the valley below. The ravine is a classic glacial cirque that was carved out of the southeast slope of Mount Washington during the ice ages. It was named for distinguished botanist Edward Tuckerman, who taught at Amherst College and studied alpine plants and lichens in the area during the 1830s and 40s. He is best known for categorizing botanical life zones in the Presidential Range. Tuckerman Ravine is famous for the huge amounts of snow that blow off Mt. Washington into the bowl-shaped cirque, providing challenging and unique opportunities for skiing enthusiasts. In 1939, at the Third American Inferno Ski Race, 19 year-old Austrian Toni Matt became a ski legend. Starting from the summit of Mt Washington, he hit the Tuckerman headwall and schussed (skied in a straight line) down the headwall close to 85 miles per hour, finishing at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center in just six minutes and 29 seconds.

Unlike Toni Matt, Reuben and I carefully made our way down the Tuckerman Ravine trail. We could see massive ice sheets still hanging on the cliffs. Snow fields lingered in the recesses of the ravine. Indian poke was beginning to unfurl its large deeply veined leaves from the side of trail. Soon they would be in bloom. The famous snow arch that is created by water flowing under many feet of snow had collapsed and was now just huge chunks of ice laying at the bottom of the ravine. I spent a good deal of time gazing at the raw beauty of this magnificent cirque, reluctant to leave. But I must, as darkness was setting in. I slowly hiked out of the ravine, occasionally looking back at the beauty behind me. I paused to eat a snack at the ranger station before beginning my final leg of the hike down to the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. As I was getting up to leave I met a couple from Norway who shared with me that they had returned to Tuckerman Ravine, drawn back to this very special place, to celebrate their wedding anniversary at this spot where they were married 40 years ago. Tuckerman Ravine and the alpine gardens have a magnetism that draws people from around the world to experience their majestic beauty. Take the opportunity now to visit Tuckerman Ravine and the alpine zone to view the spring flower show. You have one week left.

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 BRATTS (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.


Lapland rosebay

  • Category: Columns
  • Hits: 358

Pat Buchanan - Trump & the La Raza judge

Before the lynching of The Donald proceeds, what exactly was it he said about that Hispanic judge?

Stated succinctly, Donald Trump said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a class-action suit against Trump University, is sticking it to him. And the judge's bias is likely rooted in the fact that he is of Mexican descent.

Can there be any defense of a statement so horrific?

Just this. First, Trump has a perfect right to be angry about the judge's rulings and to question his motives. Second, there are grounds for believing Trump is right.

On May 27, Curiel, at the request of The Washington Post, made public plaintiff accusations against Trump University — that the whole thing was a scam. The Post, which Bob Woodward tells us has 20 reporters digging for dirt in Trump's past, had a field day.

And who is Curiel?

An appointee of President Obama, he has for years been associated with the La Raza Lawyers Association of San Diego, which supports pro-illegal immigrant organizations.

Set aside the folly of letting Clinton surrogates like the Post distract him from the message he should be delivering, what did Trump do to be smeared by a bipartisan media mob as a "racist?"

He attacked the independence of the judiciary, we are told.

But Presidents Jefferson and Jackson attacked the Supreme Court, and FDR, fed up with New Deal programs being struck down, tried to "pack the court" by raising the number of justices to 15 if necessary.

Abraham Lincoln leveled "that eminent tribunal" in his first inaugural, and once considered arresting Chief Justice Roger Taney.

The conservative movement was propelled by attacks on the Warren Court. In the '50s and '60s, "Impeach Earl Warren!" was plastered on billboards and bumper stickers all across God's country.

The judiciary is independent, but that does not mean that federal judges are exempt from the same robust criticism as presidents or members of Congress.

Obama himself attacked the Citizens United decision in a State of the Union address, with the justices sitting right in front of him.

But Trump's real hanging offense was that he brought up the judge's ancestry, as the son of Mexican immigrants, implying that he was something of a judicial version of Univision's Jorge Ramos.

Apparently, it is now not only politically incorrect, but, in Newt Gingrich's term, "inexcusable," to bring up the religious, racial or ethnic background of a judge, or suggest this might influence his actions on the bench.

But these things matter.

Does Newt think that when LBJ appointed Thurgood Marshall, ex-head of the NAACP, to the Supreme Court, he did not think Marshall would bring his unique experience as a black man and civil rights leader to the bench?

Surely, that was among the reasons Marshall was appointed.

When Obama named Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, a woman of Puerto Rican descent who went through college on affirmative action scholarships, did Obama think this would not influence her decision when it came to whether or not to abolish affirmative action?

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," Sotomayor said in a speech at Berkeley law school and in other forums.

Translation: Ethnicity matters, and my Latina background helps guide my decisions.

All of us are products of our family, faith, race and ethnic group. And the suggestion in these attacks on Trump that judges and justices always rise about such irrelevant considerations, and decide solely on the merits, is naive nonsense.

There are reasons why defense lawyers seek "changes of venue" and avoid the courtrooms of "hanging judges."

When Obama reflexively called Sgt. Crowley "stupid" after Crowley's 2009 encounter with that black professor at Harvard, and said of Trayvon Martin, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," was he not speaking as an African-American, as well as a president?

Pressed by John Dickerson on CBS, Trump said it's "possible" a Muslim judge might be biased against him as well.

Another "inexcusable" outrage.

But does anyone think that if Obama appointed a Muslim to the Supreme Court, the LGBT community would not be demanding of all Democratic senators that they receive assurances that the Muslim judge's religious views on homosexuality would never affect his court decisions, before they voted to put him on the bench?

When Richard Nixon appointed Judge Clement Haynsworth to the Supreme Court, it was partly because he was a distinguished jurist of South Carolina ancestry. And the Democrats who tore Haynsworth to pieces did so because they feared he would not repudiate his Southern heritage and any and all ideas and beliefs associated with it.

To many liberals, all white Southern males are citizens under eternal suspicion of being racists. The most depressing thing about this episode is to see Republicans rushing to stomp on Trump, to show the left how well they have mastered their liberal catechism.

(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.)

  • Category: Columns
  • Hits: 382

Bob Meade - Make the government compete with private enterprise

If a person starts a small business, and fails to meet a market need, it will not make a profit and will go bankrupt and be out of business. But, if the company does meet a market need, it can make a profit, stay in business, and perhaps grow and expand.

Our government structures are different as they do not require a department to effectively meet the market need for which they were established in order to continue. In fact, history has shown that quite often, when a bureaucratic department fails to meet the needs for which is was established, it simply demands more tax dollars to grow and expand . . . and that process is repeated time after time. That's how we get bureaucratic bullies who ignore the demands of our legislators.

President Franklin Roosevelt warned of having federal unions with bargaining rights. People didn't heed his warnings and now we have out of control bureaucrats who can't be fired, and when they do get "punished" for bad behavior, they are rewarded with an extended paid administrative leave.

Using education as an example, in 1977 President Carter established the Department of Education. In doing so, the federal government usurped a right that the Constitution left to the states. Since that time, billions and billions of dollars have been, and continue to be spent every year, in an attempt to provide our youth with the best, high-quality education that is possible. However, the results have been going the wrong way . . . the desired objectives are not being met.

The Programme for International Student Assessment, (PISA) has shown that we are not meeting our "market needs," but are showing mediocre results as compared to other developed nations even though our annual per pupil dollar investment is at the top of the list. For example, a recent PISA report showed that our performance is continuing to decline . . . we dropped from 24th to 29th in math, from 19th to 22nd in science, and from 10th to 20th in reading. How do we react to that? President Obama's FY 2017 Budget provides for $69.4 billion in discretionary funding and $139.7 billion in new mandatory funding for the U.S. Department of Education. Is that rewarding failure?

As part of that new mandatory spending the department is requesting new preschool programs for 4-year-olds with $1.3 billion in mandatory funding in 2017, and $75 billion over 10 years to pay for the president's "Preschool for All" proposal. This is somewhat alarming as it somewhat quickly follows mandatory kindergarten, which increased school teacher ranks by 8.3 percent. This new proposal would add another 7.7 percent to the teacher ranks; a 16 percent increase in teacher union membership during the current administration. According to the National Center for Education, our annual el-hi education cost is $621 billion, or $12,401 per pupil. A 16 percent increase could result in public school costs increasing by over $99 billion annually.

There should also be some serious concern over the "indoctrination" of the child at such impressionable young ages. At those young ages, the values to be taught should be in the hands of the parents.

Another serious concern is whether our children are being used as sop to the unions for their political support. Just think, what will a possible 16 percent increase in union dues "buy" our politicians?

Another issue concerning education is the high school dropout rates. Graduation rates had been running at about 70 percent nationwide, with a great number of urban areas only registering a 50-50 split between graduation and dropout numbers. The government is patting itself on the back for achieving an historic 81 percent graduation rate. However, it appears that the bureaucracies may have done some "cooking of the books" to achieve that number. A report by New Hampshire Public Radio turned up evidence that some schools don't report dropouts as dropouts, but classify them as having left the country, or as being home schooled. Others provided low credit "diplomas" that are not accepted as qualifying for entry into a state college, and another provided "appeals," granting diplomas to students who simply could not qualify academically. Sounds something like the Veteran's Administration scandal . . . if you can't meet the objectives honestly, just pretend that you did. After all, the headline still reads that an historic achievement had been reached. Here is the link to the NHNPR report: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/06/09/412939852/high-school-graduation-rates-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ambiguous

Consider setting uniform standards that "must" be met for both public and private schools, and then having a per pupil cost of 75 percent of the existing amount follow the pupil. If the parent's choose the public school, that school gets that amount. If the parent's opt for a private school, including parochial schools, those schools get that amount. We shouldn't be afraid to let "free enterprise" compete with our bureaucracies, both will perform at a higher level than they do now . . . and, the children will be the beneficiaries.

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

  • Category: Columns
  • Hits: 381

Froma Harrop - Trump presidency would sink all boats

Hello, investors. Come join the foreign policy experts in daily panic attacks over what a President Donald Trump would mean for your world. What does one do about a candidate whose tax plan would send America into the fiscal abyss — who flaps lips about not making good on the national debt?

Should we be investing in the makers of Xanax and Klonopin? And on the personal side, are there enough benzodiazepines to go around?

We're not talking just about the very rich. Anyone with a retirement account or a small portfolio has something to lose. The economic consensus is that a Trump presidency would sink all boats. And that certainly applies to Trump's own economically struggling followers in the least seaworthy craft.

"Most Rust Belt working-class Americans don't get it," Bob Deitrick, CEO of Polaris Financial Partners in Westerville, Ohio, told me. "The working class thinks he's going to stick it to the elites."

The facts: The Trump tax plan would deliver an average tax cut of $1.3 million to those with annual incomes exceeding $3.7 million. The lowest-income households would get $128. (No missing zeros here.)

Folks in the middle would see federal taxes reduced by about $2,700, which sounds nice but would come out of their own hide. Medicare and other programs that benefit the middle class would have to be slashed. So would spending on science research, infrastructure and services essential to the U.S. economy.

Or we could skip the very deep spending cuts and see the national debt balloon by nearly 80 percent of gross domestic product, calculation courtesy of the Tax Policy Center.

Some might think that Trump's tax plan — including the repeal of the federal tax on estates bigger than $5.43 million — would impress the income elite, but they would be wrong. In a recent poll of Fortune 500 executives, 58 percent of the respondents said they would support Hillary Clinton over Trump.

Most in this Republican-leaning group are undoubtedly asking themselves: What good is a fur-lined deck chair if the ship's going down?

Then there are the others.

"Do middle-class Americans have any idea what could happen to the economy or the stock market if our president ever vaguely suggested defaulting on the national debt?" Deitrick asked. (His clients tend to be upper-middle-class investors.)

He recalls the summer of 2011, when a congressional game of chicken over raising the federal debt ceiling led to the possibility of a default. The Dow lost 2,400 points in a single week. And taxpayers were hit with $1.3 billion in higher borrowing costs that year alone.

Trump said on CNN that he is the "king of debt," which in practice means he frequently doesn't honor it. That's why many major lenders shun him, talking of "Donald risk."

Speaking of, Trump famously said in a Trump University interview, "I sort of hope (the real estate market crashes), because then people like me would go in and buy."

But he also predicted that the real estate market would not tank — shortly before it did. Perhaps he never figured out there was a housing bubble. Or it was part of a clever scheme to peddle real estate courses with brochures asking, "How would you like to market-proof your financial future?"

Imagine a whole country taking on "Donald risk."

The business community runs on stability. It can't prosper under a showman who says crazy things and denies having said them moments later. A Trump presidency promises more chaos than a Marx Brothers movie — and you can believe it would be a lot less fun.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

  • Category: Columns
  • Hits: 368

Lakes Region Profiles — Become an island dweller (865)

by Mary O'Neill

Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group


"The island had come to seem one of the places seen from a train that belong to a life which we shall never take part." These words of author Arthur Ransome reflect the notion that living on an island is a sublime fantasy reserved for the fortunate few. However, the islands on Lake Winnipesaukee make this way of living a reality for thousands. Countless homes and camps dot the shoreline on many of the over 250 islands on the lake, from around 200 residences on the largest unbridged island (780-acre Bear Island) to Welcome Island, where, according to Winnipesaukee.com, its one home is said to cover 99.9865 percent of the island.

Winnipesaukee is New Hampshire's largest lake and covers 72 square miles. The number of islands it contains is a constant source of debate. Currently there are thought to be around 261. According to Bizer, a company that makes navigational maps of the lake, the combined shoreline length of all the islands is over 100 miles. The largest is Long Island, covering over 1,100 acres, and the smallest is Becky's Garden, which is only about 10 feet wide, though this varies with the water level. The other largest islands include Bear Island (780 acres and the only one with its own church), Cow Island (522 acres), Governors Island (504 acres), Rattlesnake Island (368 acres), Welch Island (187 acres), Little Bear Island (143 acres), Timber Island (136 acres), and Mark Island (102 acres). Six islands are connected to the mainland by bridges, including the largest (Long) and exclusive Governor's Island, which was a royal grant to Provincial Governor John Wentworth in 1772 (governorsislandclub.com). Rattlesnake Island has the highest elevation on the lake – the rocky summit is about 900 feet high (rattlesnakeisland.net). There are three Cove Islands, 3 Loon, 3 Rock, and 6 with the word "pine" in their name (winnipesaukee.info).

With titles like "Upper Shoe," "Gichigumi," "Little Whortleberry," and "Scavenger," one may wonder how some of these islands came to be called by their present name. Each probably has a story behind it, such as Horse Island. As the tale goes, many years back a summer resident of Center Harbor had to transport his horse by boat to the Weirs. A sudden storm came up and the craft sank. Unfortunately the man disappeared, but after days of searching the horse was found living happily on the island (Heald, 2001).

In the 1800s, Diamond Island featured the Diamond Island House, a popular destination for summer guests which included a restaurant and bowling alley. At a later date the structure was moved across the ice to the Weirs and became part of the Hotel Weirs (rocherealty.com). It is believed that Guernsey cows were first brought to America in the 1840s. According to reports, Cow Island received its name because it was used to quarantine this first herd of Guernsey cows. In fact, many of Winnipesaukee's islands were once used as safe pastureland for cows and sheep, including Mark, Bear, and Timber Islands (Hopper, 2011, thelaker.com).

Stonedam Island is a breathtaking 112-acre wildlife preserve protected by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. There is docking on the northeast shore, a beach, picnic areas, and a beautiful network of hiking trails. The island derived its name from an old stone causeway that at one time connected it to the mainland on Meredith Neck. The remains of the causeway are still visible when the water levels are low. Today the waters around the old causeway are known as Sally's Gut. It is a notoriously difficult area to navigate (lrct.org). Inevitably, the more you read about the history of the islands, each one begins to take on a personality.

On Winnipesaukee, there is an island property to appeal to anyone's idea of the idyllic island life. Large family compounds with bunkhouses supporting the main house provide an escape where family and extended family can gather to enjoy summer rituals. You can still find rambling, nostalgic residences that hearken back to old New Hampshire summers filled with simple pleasures. Many seasonal camps command stunning private shoreline on countless islands. Parcels of land are available and provide the perfect excuse to build a custom getaway exactly as you imagined. And then there are the private islands with only one residence – the ultimate retreat for those fortunate enough to own them. Winnipesaukee's variety of island homes is vast. Even tiny Becky's Garden has one minuscule New Englander, porch and all – literally only big enough to accommodate Barbie and Ken.

In his book, Lake Winnipesaukee, author Bruce Heald writes, "Winnipesaukee lacks nothing that pleases the eye of the outdoor devotee...in its glorious ensemble there is water, mountain, island, river, meadow, wilderness, cloud effect, and sunrise and sunset pictures – the most beautiful imaginable" (Heald, 2001). For those blessed to live on one of Winnipesaukee's many islands, this description is all the more significant. In the words of author M.T. Anderson, for island dwellers "life in all its operations seems unspeakably generous."

Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 603-366-6306.



  • Category: Columns
  • Hits: 507