Miss Me gifted me a months rock climbing pass for my birthday. Been at it for a few weeks now and we’re thoroughly loving it! Something that we’ve been wanting to do for a while now and I’m psyched we got to start it on my birthday.
We try and make it to the gym almost every day. After a long day at work it’s amazing how just entering that space helps clear your mind altogether! An hour in and though you’re physically tired, you walk out with so much more energy. Goes without saying, it also aligns with one of my resolutions this year to work on my upper body strength.
Back in India, about eight years ago a colleague of mine sent out out an e-mail blast to the company bulletin board checking to see if anyone was a marrow donor. His son needed a transplant and the odd’s weren’t in his favor. I had no clue what that entailed and read up a bit on it. Later that evening as I tried registering on to the Be the match portal, I realized they didn’t have the support framework to sign-on users outside the U.S. It didn’t take a minute for me to close the tab and get back to what I was doing. A couple weeks later I learnt the kid died and somewhere deep in my heart I regretted not trying harder to sign-up or figure a way around. But again with all things good and bad, that moment passed and I moved on.
A few months back a good old friend shared a post seeking marrow donors. I had no excuses this time around. I immediately signed up online and received the swab kit in a few days. Sent that out just before we flew to India for a short trip and late last month I received my donor card. It’s highly unlikely I’ll be called in for a match. But I’m psyched! If not anything, I’ve incremented the list of very short Indian origin donors by one. Given the lack of pro-activeness in such issues I see within the Indian society (even within my own family), there’s a long way to go. This has to change! We need more people in the pool for this to work and just cannot wait until a close family member falls sick to realize the monstrosity of the problem.
One of my goals over the next few months is to coax more of my family members to sign-up. It all starts in your home!
Grey sky, howling winds and low 40s. Perfect weather for a good long run by the agitated waters. David organized a fun run and food drive for the Pebble street food pantry. Decided to head to the 0730 Ashtanga led class since we’d missed most of last week and then head to Portland later after breakfast. Was a bit of a drive from Boston but was absolutely worth it.
There’s something just so mystical about these waters
Mystical blue waters allured us to this spot as we were driving into the peninsula. Terrific gusts of freezing wind literally consuming us in whole. We were struggling to hold our footing. The ranger mentioned what we were witnessing was a labrador cold front from Canada and this was supposed to subside by the evening. Beyond doubt the strongest gale forces I’ve ever experienced so far.
We were so close to NOT coming over to the peninsula. So glad we decided otherwise!
Those few moments experiencing nature in its raw form will remain etched in memory for a long time now. Chance encounters!
Finally got around procuring a pi3 and setup the Nextcloud Box! Getting this up and running was super fun and pretty straight forward.
The OS Image that was delivered with the box was built for the pi2. So I had to format the drive with Gparted and flashed the pi3 image with Etcher (One nifty piece of software!). Once the hardware was fired up, it just took care of itself. The web install was a 1-click setup.
Early this year as I initiated taking more control over my data, I also setup a Nextcloud server on the cloud. It’s been about eight months now and am thoroughly impressed with it. With the incredible iOS and android apps and the nifty client for linux I’m more than convinced the take this a step further and setup my personal home server.
Over the next few weeks as I tinker more with this, I need to make this a more robust setup and make full use of the snappy Ubuntu core.
Having heard about it way back in 2015 during a serendipitous visit to the campus, we were pretty excited to be here. With autumn just kicking in and absolutely no traffic, the drive up north from Boston should have been a cue to what the night had in store for us. As dusk set in and the temperatures dropped, the lamps already laid out on the Dartmouth Greens were lit. The National Anthem from the bell tower was a pleasant surprise. Darkness, fire, light and celebrations. Today was just so magical!
A glimpse of sunrise at the tip of the Indian subcontinent, where the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal meet the Indian Ocean. Tourists throng to this overlook, right behind the Bagvathi Amman temple at the break of dawn (and the onset of dusk).
The Vivekananda memorial continues to be one of those few locations to be maintained sparking clean. Nothing much seems to have changed since my last visit to this place seven years ago. The shrouded Thiruvalluvar statue that’s to the far right talks volumes of the current political situation in the state. The ferry no longer stops at the statue.
Appa’s 81st birthday (official). He had that sparkle in his eye’s when he was looking up to the sun rise above the horizon. Despite this being such a rushed trip, I’m so glad we could get him here. Climbing up one of the stairs on the Vivekananda memorial he mentioned this would probably be his last visit. Was quite disturbing to see him struggle through something that’s always been second nature. With old age his mobility seems to be drastically reducing. Hope over the next few years, we’re able to find better means of taking him to more places outdoors.
Early on friday morning on the way to the T station, it suddenly struck us that we could actually hike overnight to catch sunrise on the ridge. With the full moon just starting to wane out, it was going to be a beautiful bright night. I was psyched, Miss Me was almost convinced, and now all that was left to alter the plan was to check with Keshav and Chaitra. A few hours later the weather report predicts thunderstorms and with that our overnight hike plans go kaput. We decide to stick with the original plan to head out of Boston at 0400 the next day morning. Chaitra decides to take a rain-check on the hike, so Miss Me and I head over to Keshav’s place late that night.
We hit the road by 04:15 next day morning. With dense fog, most likely because of last nights’ thunderstorm, the drive up to NH is starkly different from last time. Around 06:40 we start on the Falling waters trail. I anticipate reaching the first switch-back in around 45 minutes but I’m pleasantly surprised that we come across it in just about 20 minutes. As we slowly trudge up the falls and across the streams, Meena and I are reminded of the time we spent here in July; pitch darkness with just two headlamps trying to find the path back to the start point. It’s incredible how the mind’s able to connect situations so lucidly… We soon cross the horse’s tail waterfalls and from here, as expected, the trail gains elevation pretty quickly. At about 10:00 we reach little haystack.
The ridge looked so fierce, yet so welcoming. Dense fog considerably reduces the vision and we could barely see a few feet ahead. The intermittent heavy wind gusts made the ridge walk even more enticing. As we phase in and out of the clouds, an elderly couple tag along. Some fun exchanges and they recommend we hike Mt. Carrigain and the Owl’s head. Taking a mental note we head on towards Mt. Lincoln and then Mt. Lafayette.
This time around the climb up Mt. Lafayette felt much shorter. I don’t quite remember it being this easy while scaling down the peak last time we were here. Must be the weather! Just as we’re summiting the peak, a lady and her son mention that a group was hoisting the flag up on Lafayette. We’re just in time! Up on the peak we learn apparently it’s a tradition now and a flag is hoisted on all 48 4000 footers in New Hamsphire on the weekend close to September 11th. We’re lucky we got to be up here just around the right time!
Pretty soon we decide to head down the peak to the AMC Greenleaf hut. Devour some ridiculously tasty hot soup and make our way down the Old briddle path to the parking lot by 1530.
Having done this loop from both directions, I feel the OBT->FWT direction was definitely more challenging. Today’s hike however was a totally different experience when compared to the one we did in July. Was it the weather, Was it just our pace? Or was it just the whites? The lure of these mountains is just so irresistible!
Nik turns 10 and we decided to spend the day outdoors. Head to Cunningham falls for a hike instead of Shenandoah. The falls by itself wasn’t any impressive. Took less than 30 minutes to reach the tiny cascade standing all of probably 80ft. Was expecting Maryland’s highest falls to be much higher than this!
Looped back to the parking lot on a slightly longer trail. Miss shey totally killed it! This 2 year old hiked the whole stretch with absolutely no complaints!
Rented a canoe because why not? Nancy fluttered in the front while Nik and I paddled the canoe for about 30 minutes. First time ever handling a canoe in a large water body. Felt eerily good! Should take to the waters more frequently…
A quick weekend trip to Chicago to meet Neeraj and Kanu. Took this opportunity to explore Chicago a bit.
Chicago downtown felt like an eclectic mix of Boston and NYC. Spent some time walking around the city on Saturday covering the regular spots leading up to Navy pier and back. Totally mesmerized by the greenish-blue waters of Lake Michigan! Headed over to Native foods cafe (finally!) for dinner. Elizabeth joins us and later we decide to head to Hopewell Brewing company. Grab some drinks and dive into some interesting board games with live music in the background. Played a slew of bananagram rounds and decide to head back to the hotel.
Plans to bike the Lake shore trail on Sunday fell through because of the Triathlon. Oh well! Decide to head up the Willis Tower. Not quite impressed. Head over to Chiya Chai for lunch. Absolutely blown over by the food! I’m sure we’ll be back here during our next visit. Packed some food for the flight back to Boston and we’re home by 9ish.
So glad we could make this trip. Some real good time catching up with Neeraj and Kanu after five long years. Time flies!
Torn between the Baldface trail and the Ferry crossing beach State Park, we decided to head to the latter. Proximity to water made it an easy decision. A short 2 hour drive from home and we reached the state park around 09:00am.
The trails turned out to be much shorter than anticipated. Covered the whole state park in about an hour. Pretty well maintained. Humid conditions were a great recipe for the bugs though! Having covered the trails we head out to the beach. Pretty calm with just the morning walkers.
Spent a few minutes here and we decide to head back to the car. Since it was only around 10:30, the restless me offered to drive to the White Mountains to hike the Falling waters trail. Would have been a splendid choice but for the drive time. We had to head west for about two hours, and then another two hours south to head home. Decided against it and navigated to Green Elephant for lunch. Splendid food, as always!
As we decide to head home, David responds to a text I sent earlier in the day. Checks if we would be interested in a ‘breath session, followed by Sauna and Jacuzzi’ meet. Only he could come up with something like this! We instantaneously take up the offer and decide to meet at the Regency hotel in Portland. With about a couple of hours to kill we decide to head to the East End beach. As we’re walking by the East end promenade, we notice a bunch of kayakers heading to a fort. One look at Miss Me and she understands what’s reeling in my mind. We head to the boat rentals and check if we could rent a kayak. Figuring we didn’t have much time we book a sunset tour at 05:30pm instead. Spend the remaining hour just sitting by the water.
Zoom in and you’d notice this grand old man kayaking in an inflatable. Was a treat to see his wobbly body pivot into the boat, losing and eventually gaining balance. As he slowly head into the waters, the satisfaction of avoiding a flip brimming in his eyes, gets etched into my memory. Freedom.
It’s 14:00 hrs. We decide to head to the hotel to meet David. He’s right in time. Apparently this is his daily regimen. Works out in his Gym and fits this in before he heads back for another workout. We head straight to the Jacuzzi, then the Sauna followed by a cold shower and then repeat it thrice all over. The hot-cold shocks apparently flushes the body and the mind. I’m jealous he gets to do this EVERYDAY! It’s always so inspiring talking to David. Totally one of a kind! A quick stop at a gelato place and we head back to the East end promenade just in time for the Sunset tour.
We have a decently big group. Henry, our guide does a wonderful job showing us around. He’s moved all the way from Wyoming for his bachelors in economy and arts. Apparently got into Kayaking a few months back to make some income while he works on setting up an art studio with a few other friends.
Looped around these awesome Osprey nests and head back towards the start point for some sunset views.
Back on land, Henry suggests we visit Kettle Cove, Mackworth Island and Morse Mountain if we end up in this area some point in time. Given today’s experience, It’s highly likely we will get back here pretty soon. We head back to Portland downtown and decide to dine at Boda, Green Elephant’s sister restaurant. Oh so very Thai and delicious! Two hours down southish and we’re home.
Came across this ‘freshly’ made trail in Skyline Park yesterday. I’ve been to this small park quite a few times but never quite spotted this ‘extension’. Should get back here sometime soon to explore further!
Yet another find off the blue that makes me love Boston all the more!