Filed under: Uncategorized
By Kate Bussell
When we’re not working in the field, swimming in the Saco, or trying to cook dinner for 20+ people, everyone around here is out being active. On the weekends, that means dayhikes. One of my favorite things about living in Bartlett is that we are surrounded by too many great hikes to even conquer in one summer. This is an ongoing blog about great hikes that you must tackle while you’re here!
1. Mt. Washington via Tuckerman’s Ravine
Elevation: 6,288 ft.
Distance: 4.2 miles from Pinkham Notch to the summit via Tuckerman’s; 4.1 miles down from the summit via Lion’s Head trail
Vertical gain: 4,250 ft.
The day we hiked Mt. Washington we were lucky enough to have perfect weather. The mountain is known as “home of the world’s worst weather”, but our crew experienced plenty of sunshine and zero rain—which is super rare! The hike is strenuous, but totally worth it. The views from Lion’s Head are some of the best in the region. Views from the summit are limited since it’s generally cloudy up top.
This was a bizarre experience: everyone has to wait in line to get their picture taken with this sign due to all the people who get to the top by train or car.
Panoramic view from Lion’s Head.
2. Frankenstein Cliff/Arethusa Falls
Distance: 5 miles round trip via Arethusa Falls Trail, Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail, and Frankenstein Cliff Trail
Vertical gain: 1400 ft.
This is a great moderate hike to do on a weekend. It’s only about 20 minutes from Bartlett and takes a few hours to hike. It offers some great views for less effort than Washington, but it’s still challenging enough to feel like you worked for it.
Arethusa Falls is the second tallest waterfall in New Hampshire.
3. Zealand Falls
Distance: 2.8 miles each way via Zealand Trail
Vertical gain: 650ft.
This is another moderate hike that can be done in an afternoon. Zealand recreational area is actually quite a drive away from the White House, but it’s totally worth it. The hike offers views of Zealand pond, you can visit an Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Hut, and the view from the top of the falls is spectacular. This is definitely on the top of my list of hikes, but I’m biased because I was the leader of this expedition!
Zealand Pond. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see any beavers, just their dams!
4. Sabbaday Falls
Distance: .5 miles each way
Sabbaday falls is right off the Kancamagus Highway. It’s the easiest “hike” we’ve done. The waterfall is not a typical waterfall and is awesome to see. The day we went there were TONS of “poop butterflies” (so named because that’s what they eat).
5. Mt. Willard
Distance: 3.2 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 900 ft.
This is a easy hike that I did by myself one day. It only takes a couple of hours, including drive time (depending on your pace—I went pretty quickly). Because this is an easy hike with spectacular views of Crawford Notch, there were quite a few people so I recommend going early. This is another hike that’s too easy and too pretty to not do while you’re here!
All of these pictures don’t do the views justice. Not only because a camera can’t capture the beauty like your eyes can, but because the view is ten times better when you’re sweaty and you’ve just busted your butt climbing a mountain. Also, it’s really cool to be able to look at Mt. Washington and say “I was up there!” All of these hikes can be found in the AMC Trail guide. Have fun and be careful!
Filed under: Uncategorized
Posted by Craig
I can’t believe it’s been over 6 months since we were all packed into that strange and beautiful ecological compound we call BEF. Is half a year too soon to be nostalgic? It was a summer full of hiking, swimming, camp firing, Frisbee throwing, bridge jumping, firespinning*, crossword puzzling, shower mushrooming**, and field researching. Who could ask for more?
At the peak of the summer we numbered 17, which is a lot of people to have in one place. That we managed not only to avoid any weird, Lord of the Flies-esque scenarios, but even had fun is a testament to our collective awesomeness. I’ll take a little credit for the recruiting too…
Here they are folks (in no particular order): the much anticipated 2012 MELNHE crew awards!!
Best Mouse Catcher: Kikang
Kikang kept the spring rodent population in our plots at bay with her ingenious minirhizotron pitfall traps. Her method of retrieval was equally creative. Most of us didn’t even know they made extendable barbeque forks…
Best Crossword Guesser, Best Soil Corer: Clarissa
Clarissa’s ability to repeatedly pound PVC into the ground, apparently without tiring, was matched only by her ability to guess the names of 1950’s sitcom stars, many of whom died before she was born.
Best Navigator, Most Improved Eater: Kate
Many people (myself included) get easily turned around in our colorful grids of PVC, flagging and Viburnum. Kate always seemed to know where she was in the plots, even the ones she had never been to before. She also likes tacos now.
Best Public Relations, Best Shot: Hannah
With her congenial smile and professional demeanor, Hannah was able to convince dozens of strangers to allow us to remove chunks of their yard in the name of science. People go door to door making strange requests all the time, but a 90% success rate takes finesse. I have also heard tell of her deadly marksmanship while sampling tree leaves with a 12 gauge.
Best Story Teller: Kelsey
Kelsey had the ability to make people smile, even during the longest days of fieldwork. Her stories of hamsters, lawn fires, and port-a-potties remain the stuff of legend. After her early departure she was greatly missed both in the field and around the campfire.
Hardest Worker, Most Improved Swimmer: Hyun Jun
Cumulatively, Hyun Jun probably spent more time in the field than anybody this summer. She was an important part of the soil flux/rhizotron crew, and her contribution to the MELNHE crew as a whole cannot be overstated. She may also hold a record for the quickest anyone has ever learned to swim, especially in the Saco River.
Constant Composure Award: Alannie
Doing research can be tough. Alannie (along with Kate) was the first to arrive, and was subjected to a week of nonstop rain. Then came the bugs. During these low points (and others) Alannie always had a sense of calm about her, and often even a smile. Throughout the course of the summer, Alannie would always volunteer to help out where needed, and without complaint. This is an invaluable character trait in this line of work.
Best Chronosequencer: Adam
I can’t remember how or when in the summer “chronosquencing” became a verb, but Adam was undoubtedly the best at everything the act entails. Adam led the effort to inventory seventeen stands this summer, but his contributions to the crew went far beyond that. The MELNHE crew smoothly accomplished everything it set out to do in 2012 largely due to Adam’s work ethic and attention to detail.
Coolest Hobby, Encyclopedic Mycorrhizal Knowledge Award: Franklin
Franklin’s fire spinning and unbridled enthusiasm for the world of mycology enriched everyone’s summer experience. He brought out the inner-pyromaniac in all of us, and everyone walked away with a better understanding of the world below our feet.
Best Detangler, Best Musician: Tyler
Tyler was the final addition to our summer crew, and dove into the resin strip project headfirst. In her first week, she assisted Shinjini by fearlessly taking on a tangle of knots that would make even the most seasoned fisherman cringe. Her musical stylings around the campfire consistently wowed everyone present.
Most Enthusiastic Fertilizer, Best Haircut: Austin
Austin was present for both rounds of fertilization, and was one of the most enthusiastic workers. He maintained a delicate balance of speed and grace, expertly weaving ropes through jungles of beech saplings and sprinkling phosphorus from his P cup. Then, towards the end of his tenure with the crew he shocked everyone by going from handsome to handsomer in a single day.
Biggest smile award: Yang Yang
Yang joined the crew just in time for the Hubbard Brook meeting, and was in a perpetual good mood for the rest of the summer. Showing up late is never easy, but Yang sure made it look that way. From his first day he cheerfully offered help wherever it was needed.
Best dog wrangler: Tony
I didn’t see it happen, but I heard it was epic. Tony was also an integral part of the carbonflux/minirhizotron team. What a guy!
Best organizer (for handling the litter samples and leaving them in an organized fashion): Daisy
I know from personal experience that weighing leaves is not the most glamorous job. This doesn’t mean it’s not important. Thank you Daisy.
Best quality control, Best cook: Shinjini
Where would we be without quality control? Drowning our p-values in measurement error . . . that’s where. Thankfully, we had Shinjini to make sure things were being done properly in the lab and the field. Oh yeah, and she makes way better food than that Indian place off 302 in Conway.
The Tao of labwork award: Russell
This guy! There were days that he was in the lab from sun-up to sun-down. When others looked bleary-eyed and frazzled, you would have thought Russell was on a beach sipping a pina colada.
Best New Collaborator Award: Rick
At times it can seem like being a good scientist and being a good teacher are mutually exclusive. Anybody who talks to Rick can see how invested he is in his students. He is also clearly invested in research, as evidenced by his willingness to store hundreds of pounds of ammonium nitrate in his garage in the name of science. Thank you for that Rick, your involvement has been a huge boon to the project, and we sincerely hope you didn’t end up on some government watch-list because of it.
Omniscience Award: Matt
Despite the fact that he wasn’t based in Bartlett this summer, everyone can agree we would be lost without Matt. He visited frequently, and every time he arrived he was barraged with questions ranging from fieldwork plans to advice on summer projects. He is receiving the omniscience award for the second year in a row for being, well, omniscient.
*If anyone feels like editing this, perhaps “crossword puzzling” should not directly follow “fire spinning.”
**For those readers not in the know: ”shower mushrooming” is not nearly as cool as what you’re picturing…
Filed under: Recreation
With much joy I can report there are no black-flies or mosquitoes out in the stands today. Of course it was a bit windy, gusting over 2o and a bit cold, somewhere around -10C. Such conditions will deter even the mightiest of pesky biting bugs or so I have heard. After spending so much time through summer and fall my curiosity got the best of me. I had to see at least some of the MELNHE stands under cover of snow.
A solo trip would not be a good idea so I recruited Sean, volunteer on the leaf litter decomposition experiment and assistant emptier of baskets for the fall basket collection. Somehow, he hasn’t learned yet that I have a few crazy ideas and agreed to join the expedition.
Skiing up Bear Notch Rd. in winter was rather pleasant. Most often the gusts were above us as the road cuts across the terrain. Local snowmobile enthusiasts groom the road so the snow was in near perfect condition. With all the blowing and some falling snow, there was little to look at along the way save for the trees at hand. I did notice a number of areas still exposed bare from the previous melting events, now frozen solid.
Given all the melting from rain and warm weather recently I was surprised at the overall depth of the snow in the woods. Nearly one meter in places. The snowpack left by the Nor’easter last weekend had added some good depth. The result was that no corner posts were visible. Ok, we didn’t look that hard, but the obvious ones were buried and the plot signs were at about DBH or lower. Skiing in the woods is always fun and I love the open spaces between big trees. Skiing through tight trees is also fun (read “hair-raising”) but I had never experienced young stand skiing before, glad I had eye protection on!
Skiing down the road was pleasant although less so then the trip up. The exertion of the climb had kept me warm earlier, not so for the downhill. Each stop along the way I had to shake my hands out to get the blood back but that is typical for the Whites this time of year. Getting out into the woods in winter means cold fingers and toes. But since I can type this out I guess I recovered just fine!
Filed under: Litter Sorting
While the summer has now passed us by it is important to remember that life (and senescence) goes on out in the stands. Researchers and graduate students may not be out daily but there is still a bustle of activity even now as fall seems to be rapidly closing. I have twice seen other researchers out in the woods and twice just missed others by a day or hours.
Right now there are two major projects centered around litterfall occurring in the Shoestring stands. Since one of them is mine I would like to tell you a little about what we are doing and who is really doing it.
Picture if you will a lab space, aptly named “The Leaf Lab”. Now add shelves and fill these with leaf litter filled brown bags. Now add 100 7th and 8th grade students spread throughout the day and you begin to get the idea.
I am a middle school science teacher at A. Crosby Kennett Middle School. This past summer I had the opportunity to join the shoestring crew in Bartlett as an RET. My goal was to design and conduct a publishable study while involving my students. That project is now underway with about 100 middle school lab techs. Their goal: to learn how scientists conduct research, and to understand what factors may control nutrient cycling in the forests of their surrounding valley. We will meet these goals by conducting a leaf litter decomposition experiment in some of the MELNHE plots. You can check later posts for more detailed information on the experiment as I hope to get some students writing here soon.
Filed under: Foliage
Adam: “Hi I’m a researcher with the State University of New York college of Environmental Science and Forestry, and I was calling to let you know we’d be shooting leaves with a shotgun today in compartment…”
Saco Ranger: “hmm. Okay….shooting leaves??”
Adam: “Well, our other option is trained monkeys, so for now we’re using guns to get the leaves down from the canopy. If you think of a better way to do it, let us know…”
And so commenced the gathering of canopy leaves in our plots.
Gun aimed almost straight up, we shot at small canopy branches and then watched the leaves fall to the ground, or in some cases, watched as they got stuck in the canopy of another tree instead of floating down to our feet. Having successfully shot down a small branch, we collected the freshly fallen leaves, put them in labeled bags, and stored them in a cooler and then did this for the most abundant tree species present in the calcium plots. And yes, we were amused that instead of hugging these trees to measure their DBHs, we were aspiring young ecologists taking a gun to trees and shooting them.
Adam shooting in a young stand
The goal of collecting these leaves is to measure the stomatal densities of various canopy leaves. After being collected, the leaves were taken to the lab for processing. To look at stomatal densities requires hours of microscopy, and first, hours of slide preparation. Using nail polish and tape, we mounted three samples per leaf onto each slide. These slides were then examined under microscope and photographed. The next stage of the project is to examine these photographs and count stomata.
Filed under: Cooking in the white house
After long days of fieldwork, dinner is a much-anticipated event at White House every night.
Every Shoestring crewmember pays $6 a day for food and someone is assigned cooking duty each night. This is no small task; cooks usually spend about two hours in the tiny White House kitchen to make dinner for our seventeen-person crew. At the beginning of the summer, when the Shoestring crew numbered a mere four people, we could eat at the kitchen table comfortably, but now that we are in the midst of the busiest part of the field season, the crew has swelled to almost twenty people and we eat in the living/dining room, where seats at the table are first-come-first-serve and many stand or eat sitting on the couch. However, dinner is always full of laughs and talk about things that happened in the field and lab that day. Dinner is also Yukon’s (Craig’s dog) favorite part of the day and a dinner at the White House wouldn’t be complete without him under the table, begging for scraps.
With so many Shoestring crew members from different parts of the country and from around the world, there is never a shortage of exciting new food cuisines. So far this summer, we have had Korean, Hawaiian, Indian, Chinese, Tex-mex, and Southern dishes. Everyone agrees that some of this summer’s dinner highlights have been Craig’s curry, Kikang’s Korean dishes, the Kalua cake, Adam’s kabobs, and Hannah’s enchiladas.
Filed under: Hubbard Brook Meetings
After the 49 years of successive sharing of scientific news I finally attended the annual Hubbard Brook Cooperators Meeting. Of course, I missed the first few because I wasn’t born yet. Since then however, I have had little excuse and realize that in missing the goings on described in the many talks I have missed out on the development of one of the most significant data sets available today!
To be honest I hadn’t heard of the Cooperators Meeting until sometime in the past few years, although I had know about Hubbard Brook and some of the ground-breaking work conducted during the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Experiment.
Because the Cooperators meeting is a place-based meeting there is a broad diversity in the areas of research presented. For me this was a great opportunity to learn about work in some areas very different than my background. It was also evident the benefit of this cross-disciplinary meeting had for the many scientists present. To be able to ask questions in such a well described system and have the people there who can look at work from so many different angles can only lead to better results.
The Shoestringers kicked off the talks describing recent data, mostly from the Bartlett MELNHE sites. Each did a great job and I learned a great deal more than what I had had an opportunity to glean from papers and conversations. Great job Shoestringers!
Beyond the Shoestring presentations I began to learn about hydrology for the first time in my life. Admittedly some of this went over my head (not just the evapotranspirationJ) but I now have a better appreciation for how hydrology fits into the biological systems I am used to thinking about. There was great session on species effects in ecosystems including indirect interactions between birds and moose, landscape level effects mediated by beavers, inverted biomass pyramids in a tree, caterpillar bird food chain and a look at the litter fauna at Hubbard Brook.
All in all it was a great time full of good conversations and a lot of learning. I am looking forward to next year and hopefully I will be able to present too!