Srikanth Perinkulam

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Mt. Moosilauke Backpacking

Photo taken at: Mount Moosilauke

First backpacking trip in recent years. Had a 27 pound backpack on and felt every ounce of it on my spine as we hiked up Moosilauke on Day 1. With a thunder shower forecast for the weekend, we had one person drop out from the team just the night before the trip. After the initial meet at the Appalachian Trailhead on NH-25A, eight of us packed in two cars head towards the Beaver Brook Trailhead at Kinsman Notch on  NH 112. Started the hike at around 09:30hrs up the Beaver Brook trail.

Wasn’t quite feeling too well as we made the initial push. With about 3000 ft of elevation gain in the first two miles, I already had some serious second thoughts on this trip. Decided to take it slow on the way up and take a call once I reach the summit.  Plan B was to make my way back to Beaver Brook shelter and rest there while the rest of the team traverses the Appalachian trail and make their way down south towards the Gilmans corner AT trailhead on NH 25A.

Skirting around Mt. Blue we reached the Mt. Moosilauke summit at around 13:30hrs. Lucked out on the weather and had some beautiful 360 degree views. Some pretty good views of Franconia notch, Mt. Washington and several other peaks! Eventually decided to head below tree line and make our way down on the AT towards Jefferson Shelter. Incessant rain and the steep down gradient took a good toll on the knees. Reached the shelter at around 17:15 dripping wet. Setup the tent in the rain and was totally knocked out in a few minutes.

Met Chief and Doc – two septuagenarians, one with Parkinsons and the other a veteran who’ve been hiking the AT together every year for the last 40 years! Some great trail talk and we leave the next day morning south bound. My knees weren’t doing that great and I decided to bail out once we reach NH 25C, about 5 miles from the shelter. Urged the rest of the team to continue on the trail for the next five miles. After about a 3 mile downhill run on route 25C, an elderly gentleman stops by the side and agrees to shuttle me to the start point. Hitchhiked for the first time ever in the U.S and was an interesting car ride! A french teacher in a school in NYC who’s settled in Warren. His wife runs a shop up in Loon Mountain and someday when I get there, I’ll make sure to check and connect the dots. Quickly change in the car and rush back on the trail north bound to meet the rest of the team. They apparently met a trail angel who was serving hot omelettes and muffins!

A great weekend in the whites. I should get back to this sometime soon once I square out a few things.

Kayaking in Walden Pond

Photo taken at: Walden Pond State Reservation

Absolutely spell-bound. This is one place I would love to go back to!

 

3 on the Charles!

Photo taken at: Charles River, Newton, Massachusetts

  1. That sums it all up. Psyched!

 

Mount Garfield Hike

Photo taken at: Mount Garfield

First hike with the AMC. Four hours climb up to the summit with icy conditions in the last 1000ft. Microspikes saved the day! Under tree line pretty much all the way till the end. The peak does open up to a 360 degree view. Could spot quite a few other 4000 footers from the top. Franconia Ridge looked pretty tiny from here! A quick 2.5 hour hike got us back to the trailhead. Good pace, good work-out and first ‘technical’ winter/early spring hike!

 

AMC Embers SLT

Photo taken at: Camp Lyndon

Appalachian Mountain Club, Spring Leadership Training – 2018

The sky captain’s school

As we enter Lugazi on route A109 towards Jinja, Google Maps suggests we take an unpaved dirt road on the left. The red slushy path meanders through small shops and houses and an eerie sense of awareness creeps in as villagers notice the Toyota Rav4 rolling into their ‘area’. I read last night that the 10km stretch to the Griffin falls camp area would be dirt roads winding through sugar-cane plantations. Last night’s rain and the incessant drizzle seem to have worsened the roads. Thankfully, the Rav4 handled the conditions insanely well.

A few kilometers in, direction signs to the camp lead us to the camp site. Looks like we’re the only two folks who’d be zip-lining today. Setup by Aaron Blanchard a US Peace Corps volunteer in 2014, the Mabira forest canopy super skyway is a phenomenal way to explore one of Central Uganda’s rainforests. After a short 15 minute walk in the woods from the campsite, the ‘Sky Captains’ guide you up a ~40 ft tree from where you zip-line across the forest on five zips with the last one being a controlled repel between two 115 foot trees across the river Musamya. I’ve zip-lined a few times before, but never in a forest this high. Richard and Gerald – Our Sky captains did a terrific job showing us around and securely navigating us on the trees. Once off the zip system, Gerald led us to Griffin falls and then back to the campsite.

River Musamya is heavily polluted by the Sugar factories upstream. Mabira forest by itself is on the cusp of heavy deforestation. The Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) – Jointly owned by the Government of Uganda and The Mehta Group apparently planned to clear one-third of the forest area to create sugarcane plantations in 2007. With resistance from local non-profits and environment groups the government is seemingly caving in. Very recently, it announced to buy-out the mabira forest residents. With all things environmental, politics and business we’d never really know where this balance is going to tilt.

On our way back, a guy from a village asked us to pull-over and checked if we could give him a ride to Lugazi. We were neutral but politely said we couldn’t. One of those times where you never really know what’s the right thing to do in a foreign place…Also, there apparently has been an underlying racial tension against Asians here since the Mehta group is an Indian firm and the Chinese too do seem to have a strong presence in the Sugar business.

On the drive back to Kampala, It struck me why I really like travelling or doing things outdoors. It’s just not about the activity that you end up doing, It’s the broader awareness that you get when you’re exposed to the framework that has led to the creation of that event.

Bear’s view

Photo taken at: Bear Mountain State Park

First hike of the year/season! Quite a lot of post-holing but was absolutely worth it! I ran the Bear mountain half a few years back. This hike brought back some good memories of that treacherous run!

 

WFA Certified

Over the last 12 or so years that I’ve been hiking now, I’ve learnt a ton from my goof-ups. I believe in taking calculated risks and am reasonably okay with ‘winging’ a hike as long as I have the right gear and know what the game-plan is. Still, every hike that I’ve been on and the deeper I’ve been into the wilderness, I’ve always pondered what would happen if either me or someone in the group needed medical attention.

Last year, I joined the REI co-op and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and through them heard about a slew of courses one could take part in to be better prepared while out there in the wilderness. The first-aid course did get my attention. One of those things that I’ve been wanting to do for quite sometime now but never got around taking the time and effort to work on.

Well, not anymore! Early this month I attended a wilderness first-aid (WFA) certification course organized by NOLS. It was a short yet extremely insightful course on responding to different situations one might encounter while deep in the wilderness. The course was more aligned to situational leadership and had several elements on training your mind to work on a methodical and well thought through set of actions [The SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment and Plan) approach apparently pretty commonly used in the medical field]. We were also introduced to regular first-aid skills for patient care and some basic wilderness survival do’s and dont’s.

With day long sessions and several practical scenario try-outs this was one long rewarding weekend. I’ll need to make sure I practice those skills intermittently just so I don’t forget them. To delve deeper, I’ll possibly sign up for the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course sometime later this year. Winter is almost on its way out and I eagerly look forward to spring and summer to get some good long hikes in this year!

No morning blues!

Decided to come over to Florida for the long weekend. On of those slightly impromptu plans. This visit was long overdue. Been here at Aparna’s place a few time before over the last five years. But then it’s mostly been for a celebration or event, when the family is already pre-occupied with arrangements and everything that comes with having people over. This trip was just to spend some time with them when everyone has some ‘down-time’. It’s already been three days’ in and we’d have to head back tomorrow. At times you just wished you lived closer and/or together.

Went to Silver Springs State Park for some Kayaking with Raaghav and Divyaa. Ended up doing two loops (about 5ish miles) of the Fort King Paddling trail downstream and the Silver river upstream for about two hours. These springs had some mesmerizing crystal clear water! Once back home I crashed on the couch only to wake up after a sound sleep few hours later.

Yesterday we drove over to Daytona and Ormond Beach. Just about an hour from home. Pretty foggy weather as we drove into the city which eventually cleared out in a bit. Dhruv absolutely enjoyed playing around on the sand. Lunch at Mille’s and we head back home later in the evening. Quite some traffic right outside Daytona racetrack thanks to Daytona500.

Early today morning Divyaa joined us for another kayaking bout in Rainbow Springs. Today’s two hour session was much more demanding. Maneuvering the kayak in the waters was pretty taxing upstream. Let’s call that painful fun! I’d probably rate this second to the Silver springs experience. From here we head to Sholom Park for a nice stroll and head back home.

Tomorrow we head back to the colder frontiers!

The Elwha River

A few weeks back I heard Outside/In’s Powerline podcast – A four part series on Hydro-Quebec and the Northern Pass. For the longest time I’ve only heard all good about Hydro electricity. This series helped dissect the effects of such projects through various angles and brought up some pretty interesting facts. One of those must-listen-to series…

Today while catching-up on some Nautil.us reading I came across this wonderful post on the removal of the Elwha dam. Supremely surprised and intrigued! Thinking about it, I’ve never heard or imagined a dam being brought down intentionally. I’ve always thought, once something huge is built, it lasts for a long long time until it sees its natural end…the push to bring it down would be so miniscule. The podcast series and this article in tandem build a strong case on the converse. That said, Can only imagine the insane amount of effort that would have gone into seeing this to fruition!

Videos and articles such as this prove that all is still not lost and if anything, the urgency is only higher for more people to be engaged in reviving what we truly care for…

The commerce clause

Commerce clause, the 14th amendment and quite some over-reach…

Podcast: More Perfect – One Nation, Under Money

An unassuming string of 16 words tucked into the Constitution grants Congress extensive power to make laws that impact the entire nation. The Commerce Clause has allowed Congress to intervene in all kinds of situations — from penalizing one man for growing too much wheat on his farm, to enforcing the end of racial segregation nationwide. That is, if the federal government can make an economic case for it. This seemingly all-powerful tool has the potential to unite the 50 states into one nation and protect the civil liberties of all. But it also challenges us to consider: when we make everything about money, what does it cost us?

Human Error in volatile situations

During times when we’re so focused on building walls and closing ourselves out, It doesn’t take much to bring all hell down. Even Unknowingly! Oh, Humans!
Adding Eric Schlosser’s Command and Control to my reading list.

Podcast: Human Error in Volatile Situations

In 1980, deep in a nuclear missile silo in Arkansas, a simple human error nearly caused the destruction of a giant portion of the Midwest…

Oh, the colours

Miss Me’s first puzzle of 2018. She finished it in about 10 hours staying awake till about 3 am!

The colors and not to mention the underlying theme totally drew me to it. Looking forward to what we make out of 2018!

Row, row, row your boat…

Can’t wait to get this into the water! Ever since our poconos rafting trip in July last year I’ve had my eyes on getting a kayak for myself. One of my relatives thoroughly surprised me with this as a birthday gift last December. Later when we met, he mentioned that he swapped the single carrier kayak that he bought initially, for this dual person version to make sure the Mrs. gets me back safe on shore If I decide to go astray in my often impromptu escapades. A bit unsure how I should read that statement, However I’m absolutely floored and immensely thankful!

With this latest procurement, I’m even more excited to attend the 2018 AMC Annual summit that Miss Me signed me up for last weekend. The intro to sea kayaking seemed particularly interesting!

I was more than excited to inflate the kayak yesterday on the last day of the vacation. Currently temperature has breached the negative Fahrenheit frontiers (Surprising for this time of the year!) and It’ll be time before it actually hits the waters but I’ve decided to leave it inflated indoors as a fun reminder to get outdoors more frequently. 2018 summer looks to be even more promising!

Happy New Year!

32 and onwards!

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.

Last birthday, we went for an indoor diving class, six months later we started ashtanga and now this! Loving the trend!