Just so you know about Lake Winnipesaukee

  1. Situated near the center of New Hampshire, it’s the state’s largest lake and the third largest in New England.
  2. It stretches about 21 miles and varies in width up to nine miles, covering about 71 square miles.
  3. The lake contains at least 264 islands and has 288 miles of shoreline.
  4. Maximum depth is 180 feet, augmented by a dam at Lakeport.
  5. The center part of the lake is called the Broads.
  6. The outflow joins with the Pemigewasset River to form the Merrimack, which heads south into Massachusetts before turning east to the Atlantic. Its waters powered many of the industrial mills along its way, including Manchester, Nashua, Lowell, and Lawrence.
  7. The Native name translates as either “smile of the Great Spirit” or “beautiful water in a high place.”
  8. Officially, it’s not a lake but a “great pond,” which the General Court has defined as a natural lake of more than ten acres. The state owns the beds of all the great ponds, making the surface public water.
  9. Ice-out is a popular measure of the end of winter in the Granite State. It’s declared when the ice on the lake breaks up sufficiently for the Mount Washington cruise vessel to make it to every one of its five ports: Center Harbor, Wolfeboro (“the Oldest Summer Resort in America”), Alton, Weirs Beach, and Meredith. It’s also considered the beginning of boating season. The date has varied from March 16 to May 12.
  10. It’s hard to spell. That’s why it’s often known as Lake Winni.

Come dance to Kokopelli

Somehow, this hunchbacked flute player has become the most widely recognized Native symbol around. Maybe because there’s something playful in his step. He even became a character in one of my novellas in The Secret Side of Jaya.

Here are some facts about him.

  1. He’s often shown with feathers or antenna-like protrusions on his head. They often make him look like an insect.
  2. He may have originally been a representation of Aztec traders who brought their goods in sacks slung over their backs. His first appearance, however, is on pottery dated to 750 to 850 CE, before the Aztec empire.
  3. He represents the spirit of music and has roles related to fertility. He’s also fluent in languages and an enchanting storyteller.
  4. He appears on ancient petroglyphs and pictographs as far back as the Anasazi cliff dwellers. Guess that makes him the first rock star.
  5. In these representations, he’s often accompanied by animal companions or an apprentice. Well, he does preside over the reproduction of game animals.
  6. He’s venerated in some Native cultures in the Southwest, where he chases away winter and brings on spring as well as rain. But watch out, he is a trickster deity.
  7. The popularized image of today usually omits the phallus.
  8. Among the Hopi, it is said that he carries unborn children on his back and distributes them to children. For that reason, young girls often fear him. He also participates in marriage rituals. The Zuni also have stories.
  9. He’s seen on the changing moon, much like the “man” on the moon.
  10. He was a noisy visitor, bringing welcome news from afar and leading to a night of revelry.

True facts about New Hampshire’s Mount Washington

  1. At 6,288 feet elevation, it’s the tallest point in the Northeast U.S. and part of the Presidential Range in the White Mountains.
  2. Access to the summit is by the Mount Washington Cog Railway on the western slope or by the Mount Washington Auto Road on the east, in addition to hiking. The Appalachian trail crosses the crest.
  3. The mountain is known for its record-making weather. Scientists spending a residency in the winter at the Mount Washington Observatory near the summit have wild tales to tell.
  4. Several storm tracks converge on the mountain, making forecasting difficult.
  5. Hurricane-force gusts are observed there an average 110 days a year.
  6. Tuckerman Ravine, with 50-degree slopes, is snow-covered for much of the year and notorious for its avalanches. Care to ski in June?
  7. The Alpine Garden and Bigelow Lawn plateaus above tree line feature many plants otherwise found in the Arctic.
  8. The first European to record the mountain was Giovanni da Verrazzano, viewing it from the Atlantic Ocean in 1524. The first ascent was claimed in 1642 by Darby Field.
  9. A race up the mountain every June attracts hundreds of seasoned runners. The Mount Washington Bicycle Hillclimb retraces the route in August for top-flight cyclists.
  10. No, the state’s iconic emblem, the Old Man of the Mountain, wasn’t attached to Washington but rather Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch to the west before finally succumbing to gravity in 2003.