La Fin des Jours

18 Aug

The weather this year has been crazy.

First we have one of the snowiest winters in over a hundred years. Then a drought in the springtime, which fortunately prevented any flooding from the snowmelt, but unfortunately led to a few forest fires. And now we’ve had one of the rainiest summers I can remember, with some of the most extreme storms ever seen in this part of the country. Tornadoes, flooding, hailstorms… they may be normal for the Midwest, but not here.

I’ve only experienced hail three times in my life that I can remember. The first was when I was in 3rd grade or so in Mansfield, and got pelted by hail heading to the bus after school. The second time was last month during a passing thunderstorm that dumped a thick layer of hail on our deck. But on Saturday, I witnessed a hailstorm much stronger than the previous two, lasting a good 15 minutes. I could describe it, but I think these videos would help you visualize it much more clearly:

Hailstorm in the driveway

Hailstorm in the backyard

After the storm was over, our driveway looked like this:

Come to think of it, the weather has been pretty crazy for the past few years. Winter 2003-2004 was one of the coldest we’ve ever had with consistent subzero windchills, winter 2005-2006 was bizarrely warm (I remember there being hardly any snow on the ground when I came home in February!), and winter 2006-2007 saw temperatures hit the 70s in January, followed by blizzards in mid-April. And of course, we’ve now had flooding incidents for the past four years in a row, in fall 2005, spring 2006, spring 2007, and summer 2008, with the worst being spring ’06. Good thing there are lots of hills here.

Despite the generally crappy weather this summer, I have had pretty good weather for most of my trips and excursions. I made the annual trip to visit my grandparents in Bristol, Maine… one of my favourite places on Earth. My dad and I also hiked Mt. Megunticook in Camden, although we took the long way around and it turned out to be a pretty strenuous hike. However, the view from the top is *so* worth it:

To see Part I of my photos from Maine, click here (includes: Mt. Washington and Glen Ellis Falls in NH, shots along the route through western Maine, photos from Bristol, Boothbay, Friendship, and all along the Mid-Coast up to Camden and our hike there). For Part II, click here (includes photos from Tenants Harbor, Port Clyde, St. George, Thomaston, Damariscotta, Wiscasset, Bath, and our drive home).

My next day out was a very pleasant day at the beach with my friends. We drove along 1A to admire all of the ridiculous seaside mansions on our way to Hampton. Unfortunately, there was an unusually high amount of seaweed in the ocean, so swimming wasn’t as fun as it could have been. However, we did go up to Portsmouth for a very nice walk around (and picture-taking). It’s such a quaint little city. I could easily see myself living there.

To see all of my photos from the seacoast, click here.

I’ve also had a few good geocaching runs this summer, including a hike of Stinson Mountain in Rumney, Red Hill in Moultonborough (where I inadvertently nabbed 3 first-to-finds!), and the Mt. Morgan – Mt. Percival loop in Holderness. This last hike was one of the most fun and technically challenging I’ve done in a long time. The path was drenched due to all the rain, but hopping across stones over the mud was extra fun, and all the brooks were babbling like crazy. We took the hard way up Morgan, climbing a series of very spooky ladders up a cliff face, which led into a narrow cave. Exiting the cave led us to a dangerous ledge full of crevasses, after which we had to ascend a steep granite cliff to the summit.

The view of Squam Lake from Mt. Morgan:

The hike to the Percival summit involved lots of rock scrambling, and the hike down was pretty nerve-wracking at points. But it was definitely worth it. And we barely avoided a huge thunderstorm that dumped tons of rain on the area.

You can see all of my geocaching photos from this spring and summer in Part I and Part II.

Last but certainly not least in my summer travels was a final trip to Quebec City with my friends this weekend. The weather turned out to be fantastic and we had a lot of fun, although I still didn’t get to eat my poutine. Arrgh.

To see Part I of my Quebec photos, click here. For Part II, click here.

Sadly, my summer vacation is coming to a close. Hopefully my friends and I will have one last get-together this week, at the drive-in to see The Dark Knight (the second time for me, since the movie is absolutely awesome). I leave for LA on Friday. Part of me is looking forward to being slightly more active and productive overall, but mostly I’m dreading being back in Hell-A.

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