Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vacation Pictures 2007

In yet another posting which sadistically taxes the blogger servers and casual readers with dial-up connections, here are some pictures from my recent family vacation in Elmore, VT. Well, most of them are actually from the Camel's Hump Mountain hiking trip that my parents planned with a group of my cousins. Unfortunately my parents weren't able to make it the whole way on account of bad shoes that my mother was wearing. The other seven of us made it to the top. Here's another lovely source of information on Camel's Hump.

Many of these pictures have a larger, more detailed view if you click them.

My young cousin K and I were the sole members of the 'advance group' on the way up... which basically means that we were the only ones insane enough to keep a suicide pace.

K and I made it to this site, just a few hundred feet below the summit, about an hour before everyone else. This is the wing of a World War Two era plane that crashed on the mountain while on a late-night, mid-winter run during WW2. Here is a clip from an internet message board summarizing the crash: "On October, 1944, a B-24J Liberator flying a training mission out of Westover Air Force Base crashed into the eastern side of Camel’s Hump just 100' below the summit. Of the ten crewmembers, there was only one survivor. The survivor, still a teenager I believe, spent two nights on the mountain and lost his hands and feet to frostbite. It snowed while he was up there. It's a bit of a mystery why the plane hit the mountain -- it was traveling at 4000 feet, half its standard cruising altitude. One theory holds that they were cold and were trying to stay low for warmth." The interesting (and exhaustive) full story of the plane crash can be found here.

A few interior shots of the plane wing.

My cousin R

Some beautiful and very tasty wild blueberries that were growing in the sparse cliff-top soils on top of Camel's Hump, I ate several handfuls. You can't get much more fresh or organic than wild-picked.

A picture of my brother and four of the cousins sitting on the edge of the cliff. The picture was taken from a ledge I climbed down to about twenty five feet below the cliff.

A view of the western face of Mt. Elmore, taken from a long distance away on top of Camel's Hump.

A view from the northeastern face of the mountain... Burlington, VT in the foreground against Lake Champlain in the background.

A cliff side, westward view of one of the many green valleys.

My little brother with two of the young cousins.

Group shot on top of the mountain.

At the base of the trail, just a stone's throw from a ranger's cabin is a unique little cemetary. Unique because it is the resting place of Will S. Monroe, "Teacher, Author, Trailbuilder, Companion and Lover of Dogs," according to the epitaph on his gravestone, it is also unique because he had gravestones made for each of his most beloved dogs. This picture shows his own gravestone and his sister's with one of their dogs in between. Take note of each of the inscriptions on the stone.

"Basque of Basquaerie" had the distinction of being the "first great pyrenees born in America". Interesting. I found Mr. Monroe's name also listed as one of the past presidents of the Great Pyrenees Club of America.

Mt. Elmore with a small, blown-up inset of the fire tower in the bottom right corner.

A white leghorn chicken who followed my sister and I for a short distance while we were hiking around the backside of Lake Elmore. He was very curious and very photogenic.

Completely unrelated to my vacation: I snapped this pic of a Monarch Caterpillar on my thumb while out on a wild blackberry picking hike yesterday morning with my buddy D.

At work: a red serpent starfish. Their legs are prehensile, much like the tails of some types of monkeys.

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