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December 8, 2011
I didn't know what it was, but even in my sleep I seemed to know that something was up. Then, sometime around 5:30 or so, my consciousness rose from deep sleep into a doze and I could hear that the wind was in a state. As the sun started to poke over the cliff, I rolled over and tried unsuccessfully to oak myself back into deeper sleep. I would just start to drift off when the wind would give out a moan and bring me back to the surface of awareness. Finally I opened my eyes to check the time, and almost on cue there was a loud BANG on the sliding glass door that leads from our bedroom to the upper back deck. Now that was enough to bring me out of dreamland and into full awareness!
Looking at the clock it was 7AM, time to get up in any event. I rolled myself out of bed and went over to the slider to see what had hit the window. A small tree branch had apparently broken off one of the surrounding pine trees, and flown 150' across the yard and struck the window. Fortunately it didn't break anything. I guess that's one of the reasons we sprung for the Anderson doors! [wry grin] I looked around for the dog, but he was nowhere to be seen. He usually sleeps by the bed, but he was in the hallway away from the noise. By now the kiddo was even awake. I guess he was disturbed by the ferocity of the wind as well.
I went downstairs, put on my morning tea water and looked out into the back yard from the window over the kitchen sink. The huge pines along the edge of the yard were bending more than I'd ever seen them. Their sails were catching the wind and bending them almost like bows. On the far side of the yard where we store our canoe and kayak, the canoe had been flipped over and was about 10' from where I had put it 3 weeks before! Now THIS was something special. The wind force would rise and fall over and over again, in unpredictable patterns. The only thing I could tell for sure was that it was getting stronger. I was surprised that the power was still on and commented to the kiddo that there was no snow and that YES, school would likely start on time.
As I poured the boiling water into my teacup, I looked outside again just in time to see the compost container go flying across the yard. When Irene came through last summer I went through and made sure that all things in the yard that could move, were secured. We had no idea that we'd be getting this much wind and there were definitely things that could fly around so I pulled on my jacked and rushed outside to fix that problem. I stuffed the compost container behind the shed where it couldn't move around and went over to the edge of the yard by the canoe. The strength of the wind reminded me of the windstorm on a winter Presi Traverse I did with my friend Jim Gagne, both strong enough to move me around. This was far more wind than we had during Irene and reminded me of some of the hurricanes that I weathered when I was growing up in Florida.
As I pushed the canoe over to a more protected location in the woods, a huge gust came through. It seemed to last a very long time and I could hear trees creaking and groaning. Then, at what seemed like the very peak of the gust, there was a very loud CRACK that seemed to be only a few yards away. I looked over to the biggest trees nearby and they were swaying back and forth and really bending, almost from their bases. I had an unusual twinge of real fear, and thought; "This is not good." I headed back inside where I felt a lot more secure. At least I wouldn't have the possibility of getting hit by random objects flying around.
As I was making breakfast I noticed although there were big peaks and lows, the wind never totally died down. Just before 7AM there was a long series of gusts that kept getting stronger and stronger. Then it died down for a long period, maybe as long as 10 minutes, until just before 7:30 it started to rise again. As series of gusts came through, getting louder and more violent with each gust until one was really really intense. I ran into the office where I have the weather station controller to see what it read. There were still gusts coming through as much as 32mph, but the big one seemed as if it was more. I opened the software on my server and checked the stored data for the morning. The peak gust recorded at about 7:20 was 40 mph and is one of the strongest gusts I've seen here in a long time.
When I walked the kiddo down to the bus stop at 8:15 it was still windy, but not all that bad. There was debris all over the roads and in all the neighbor's yards and a branch had come down in the front of our house, taking out one of the slats in the wooden fence. More yard work to do. [sigh] A couple of doors down the top of a large pine had snapped off, landing in the middle of their yard. Still, considering the intensity of the storm, it wasn't that bad. And surprisingly enough in spite of the rain and wind, there was NO SNOW. They got it further west and north, but here in the Valley we didn't get a speck. Now if it would just get C O L D!
When I read a posting by Sarah Garlick on NEClimbs a day or two ago about the fact that someone had put graffiti on both Cathedral and Whitehorse I was really disgusted. Why anyone does that kind of thing is pretty much beyond me. Cathedral may be one thinning, but on Whitehorse??? Here's Sarah's original post:
Fortunately she was able to quickly put together a posse who got up there in the rain on Wednesday and took care of Cathedral. I'm bummed that I had meetings and had to work all day, yes I know it's unusual, but I'm hoping the Whitehorse issue will done be when I'm off. Here's a link to some pix on Facebook of the process:
A BIG hats-off to Sarah who put things together, and to all who participated.
Well here we are one more week into the annual Fundraiser. Thanks so much to those of you who have contributed so far. I should be able to get around to posting your names on the donors list in the next day or two.
The White Mountain Report has been put out consistently since 1998. As I mentioned last week, I have almost all of the Reports archived from as far back as September of 1999! The current traffic on NEClimbs.com is about 1,300 unique visits a day, has over 1.2 million monthly "hits" and this funky little newsletter goes weekly out to over 1,200 subscribers.
I'm hoping that you feel that the value of the Report and web site are enough to get you to make a $20 annual donation. That's certainly less than half of your Cable bill, to put it more in perspective, less than the cost of a single ice screw! [wry grin] Please take just a minute to support NEClimbs and The White Mountain Report. You can do with ease ON LINE via PayPal. It's easy & painless and you can use pretty much any credit card. Simply click the link below to make your contribution.
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Up on one of the Mount Washington Valley's finest crags and want to know what that climb you're looking at is? Or maybe you're on your way up from Boston and want to check out the Ice Report for your upcoming weekend plans. Or more likely, you're at work just want to daydream about your next adventure. Well if you have a smart phone handy, you can get to NEClimbs from anywhere you have cell service. While it doesn't offer every single feature of the site and it's not an "app", in mobile form, it does do a whole lot and is very useful. Here is the live link to the mobile version of NEClimbs:
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Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|This is a group of people I used to go walking with. (long pause) That's me on the left. (even longer pause) On the right is the woman I married, Audrey. (very long pause, speaker looks at shoes) Which just goes to show that danger lurks where you least expect it.|
|Don Whillans commenting on a B&W slide showing a group of smiling hikers|