Monday, July 31, 2023



"In sailing, a halyard or halliard is a line (rope) that is used to hoist a ladder, sail, flag or yard. The term 'halyard' derives from the Middle English halier ('rope to haul with'), with the last syllable altered by association with the English unit of measure 'yard'. Halyards, like most other parts of the running rigging, were classically made of natural fibre like manila or hemp." -- Wikipedia

Sunday, July 30, 2023



"The replica Virginia was commissioned by the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation and built, with about $5 million in state and federal funding, by Tri-Coastal Marine in Norfolk, Virginia. She was completed in 2005. She is a gaff rigged knockabout schooner, meaning she lacks a bowsprit; her headsails can be handled and furled from the deck." -- Wikipedia

Saturday, July 29, 2023



Have you ever been to Yorktown, Virginia? I don't mean the battlefield where Cornwallis famously surrendered his forces to George Washington. I'm referring to the town and, even more specifically, to its wharf. Actually, it had been a long time since I visited there, but I recently got news that the Schooner Virginia was going to be docked there for a couple of days and so I made sure I was there as soon as it dropped its gangway.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Thursday, July 27, 2023



Had about an hour layover in Philadelphia before heading home to Virginia, my first visit to that city's international airport. No time, though, for one of its iconic cheesesteaks or even a hoagie. Another time, maybe. :-)

Wednesday, July 26, 2023



Logan International Airport (BOS)

Boston Harbor

Approaching Philadelphia (PHL)

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Back to the Future


Well, that was it for my Massachusetts hiking adventures. Now it was time to head back to Virginia by way of Philadelphia. Fortunately, most flights were on time on this particular Friday, including mine. Woohoo!

Monday, July 24, 2023



Clearly it has been a while since people hiked the White Pine Trail, since much of what is left of the trail has been obscured by tall ferns. Also, what trail markers might have once been in place are now long gone. At times, in fact, I had to resort to my compass to figure out where I was. No cell service here! 

Still, as often is the case, I made a new discovery traipsing through this part of the Mount Toby Forest. I discovered what a "regeneration system" is. According to one source I consulted, "Forest regeneration is the process by which new tree seedlings become established after forest trees have been harvested or have died from fire, insects, or disease. Regeneration is key to sustainable forestry and can be accomplished through two basic approaches:

1) natural regeneration, which occurs when new seedlings or sprouts are produced by trees left on or near the site (as with aspen) 

2) artificial regeneration, more commonly known as tree planting

Sunday, July 23, 2023

White Pine


I have this strange penchant for taking the road or, in this case, the trail less traveled. Sometimes this results in my seeing some pretty interesting things. At other times, it gets me into trouble. This was one of those that nearly got me into trouble.

It started after I left the Cranberry Pond Trail, hung a right onto a fire road, then decided to take the so-called White Pine Trail, which appears on some maps but not on others. As it turns out, the White Pine Trail is very poorly marked. Heck! The last honest-to-goodness marker I saw was the one shown above . . .

Saturday, July 22, 2023

South End


Here's the view from the southern end of Cranberry Pond looking north. According to the Secret Reel, this is "a small, 27-acre, cold water pond . . . characterized by clear watercolor and has a transparency of 15 feet. The mean and maximum depths are four feet and 26 feet respectively. The 1.1 miles of shoreline are undeveloped and emergent aquatic vegetation covers about ten percent of the surface area." 

Friday, July 21, 2023


This was an unusually hot and humid day in western Massachusetts.And the warning about bringing plenty of bug spray, for once, was NOT an exaggeration. My sometimes perversely contrarian spirit, however, insisted that I could do without. Fortunately, I did wear a wide brim hat, which helped at least keep the bugs out of my hair and face. A bottle of water might have been a great help, too, considering the amount of perspiration involved. 

Sounds like a nightmare, huh? Well, it wasn't. Coming from Tidewater, Virginia . . . I'm used to hot, humid, and buggy conditions. Nothing new here! Also, there were these cooling views of Cranberry Pond all along the way.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Mount Toby Forest


So my next hiking adventure took me to the Mount Toby Forest where I planned to hike the Cranberry Pond Trail. Here's what the University of Massachusetts has to say about this area: 

"Department of Natural Resources Conservation at UMass-Amherst has responsibility for managing the 755-acre Mt. Toby Demonstration forest for teaching, research and demonstration. We also try to coordinate with recreational users of the Forest, as well as the Mass. DCR (who operate the fire tower at the summit), and other organizations. The Forest is topographically diverse. To the south are three hills, the highest being Mount Toby (1269 feet). Slopes are steep with small cliffs and ledges to the east and west. There is a deep valley between two of the hills – Roaring Mountain to the south and Ox Hill to the north – with a brook that drops in a waterfall near the eastern border of the Forest. Most, but not all of it, has been logged more than once, but some areas are so inaccessible that they were never logged. Today, UMass students and faculty use the forest for teaching, field exercises, and forestry research activities. Mount Toby is used heavily by the general public for a variety of recreational activities. These are allowed so long as they conform with the University Trustees guidelines for use of the Forest and do not interfere with teaching and research activities."

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Trail's End

Clubmoss above and Golden Trumpet mushrooms below as seen on the Buffam Falls Trail near Pelham, Massachusetts

Monday, July 17, 2023

Sunday, July 16, 2023



"A trip to Buffam Falls includes a relatively flat and peaceful walk to three main sets of cascades and slides. No more than ten feet in height apiece, Buffam Falls is small, but still worth the visit, mainly because of the lowermost falls, a fanning slide about 7 feet in height. Buffam Brook takes its last major drop at this fanning slide before connecting with Amethyst Brook a few feet downstream." --

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Buffam Falls

Trailheads are not always easy to find in Massachusetts. I think it has something do to with how these so-called "conservation areas" are created through public-private initiatives. In any case, I had to stop and ask a very kind lady, who was out hiking herself, for directions.

Friday, July 14, 2023



Had I stayed in Boston, I guess I could have attended this live. As it was, though, I watched it on television instead. I was lot drier and more comfortable than if I had been there in person, I'd say. How did you celebrate the Fourth? Or what is your country's equivalent?

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Congregational Church

I've passed by this church many times before and admired what appears to me to be its quintessential New England architecture. This time, on the Fourth of July, I finally stopped to take a couple of photographs.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023



It may be known as Common Yellow Wood Sorrel to some, but it appeared quite uncommon to me as I ambled along the Norwottuck Rail Trail last week. I thought at first that it must be a kind of shamrock. Then I read this on

"Wood sorrel is also often confused with shamrocks—another plant in the clover family. Sorrel is sometimes called 'false shamrock,' and during St. Patrick's Day season, it's common to find yellow wood sorrel misbranded and sold as shamrock." 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023



My old friend, the Norwottuck Rail Trail Bridge. The rail bed was "acquired by the state in 1985 and developed into the trail in 1993, as its current name. The name of 'Norwottuck' was the result of a suggestion by the Hadley Historical Commission, who believed that the name corresponded to the local Native American tribe, the Norwottucks. It was also the term for the entire area." -- Wikipedia

Monday, July 10, 2023



Again, I was very surprised at how few travelers there were July 3. When I've arrived at these counters before, the "mouse mazes" have been chock full with people dragging their carryon and checkin bags behind them. Not this time

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Final Approach

My direct flight from Richmond to Boston on this day before the Fourth of July was smooth and on time. There were no delays at all, which, again, was surprising considering all the warnings that had begun to appear about this being the most heavily travelled week of the year.

In the photo above, I was, as I recall, cruising at somewhere near 34,000 feet at a leisurely 550 mph! 

In these next two photos, I was making my final approach into Logan International Airport with Boston Harbor down below and central Boston off in the distance.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Holiday Travel


My trip to Massachusetts began as usual in Richmond where I hopped aboard this Embraer 190 (shown below) bound for Boston. Having braced myself for holiday delays, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were almost no queues. Where was everybody? Had they already left? Did they never leave? I'm not sure. In any case, it was an enjoyable trip. I look forward to sharing more of it with you.

Monday, July 3, 2023


I'm traveling again, so I will not be posting for several days. Hope to be able to catch a few photos along the way. So stay safe, stay cool, and avoid the smoke from our neighbors up north, if you can. :-) See you soon.