Thursday, November 5, 2009

'Cross In The Glen- Cyclocross Series Week 2

Another great weekend of weather for some great cyclocross racing! Lots of new faces out on the course! See the results here!

Friday, October 30, 2009

'Cross in the Glen Week 1

Mud and cowbells...its cyclocross season and Great Glen Trails held their first race of a 3 part series this past Sunday. A great turnout, about 22 riders cranked out the circuit course while the sun shined and the wind whipped upon racers grueling faces. Check out the results here! Ages ranging from 10-59 years of age, the cyclocross series is great for all ages and all abilities. The best part is that you don't need a cyclocross bike to race, that's right, you can race on a mountain bike as well! A series perfect for beginners and seasoned pros alike! Interested? Then come out and see us for race #2 on Sunday, Nov. 1st! Visit our website for more
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall is here...

...and so are our Pumpkin People! Pumpkin People is an event of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. If you haven't checked this event out, prepare for a unique drive through the Mount Washington Valley! Get your map here and begin your Pumpkin People adventure at TD BankNorth in North Conway or at the Mount Washington Auto Road, Pinkham Notch (that's us)! And if viewing these unique creations is not enough then don't forget to vote! Ballots are located at each participating business and at the end of October awards will be given to People's Choice, Most Difficult, Overall Winner, etc. Enjoy your Pumpkin People adventure!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fourteenth Annual 24 Hours of Great Glen Ready to Squish, Squash and Roll

On August 8 & 9, Great Glen Trails will host the fourteenth annual 24 Hours of Great Glen, a twenty-four-hour mountain bike race, at the base of Mt. Washington. For 2009, Great Glen Trails has added $1,000 to the prize purse. Registration is still open, and volunteers are also needed.

The 24 Hours of Great Glen begins at noon on August 8 and runs until noon on August 9. Competitors race around the clock and may compete solo or in teams of 2, 4 or 5 for a total purse of more than $10,000 in cash and prizes. The goal is to ride as many laps of the 8.25-mile course as possible. Registration closes on Tuesday, August 4 at noon, and spaces are still available.

In 2009, Great Glen Trails has increased the prize purse by more than $1,000. The biggest increases are in the male and female solo categories. The winner of each of the 24-hour solo categories will pocket $500 this year.

For those not ready to tackle the full 24, a 12-hour division will also be offered this year. Designed to introduce more riders to endurance racing, in this division, competitors will race the same exact course and have the same starting time as the 24-hour competitors, but their race ends at midnight. The 12-hour version will offer solo, 2-person and 4-person divisions.

Also for the first time ever, the 24 Hours of Great Glen will be timed by RealTime™ Scoring. RealTime™ Scoring is the timing system of the premier 24-hour mountain bike event production company, Granny Gear Productions. The addition of RealTime™ Scoring will improve the flow of the event for all racers and provide accurate in-race stats and lap times.

Not just a mountain bike race, the 24 Hours of Great Glen features Festival 24, which is packed with contests and games for the whole family, including the 24 Minutes of Great Glen—a mountain bike race for the kids.

The race course is currently marked and open daily for racers to preview before race day. Due to the soggy weather this summer, many sections of the course are muddy—some too muddy to ride. Great Glen Trails will make the final determination of the exact course on race day, but some short singletrack sections may be eliminated. Course adjustments are not unprecedented, as last year, the heavy rains the day before the event forced the elimination of a quarter-mile section of the course. After riding for 24 hours, not a single rider complained about the shortened course.

One of the keys to the continued success of the 24 Hours of Great Glen is volunteers, and Great Glen Trails is in need of help again this year. Volunteers are needed for shifts around the clock to assist as course marshals, timers and other positions. All volunteers will receive lunch, t-shirt, a trail pass for Great Glen Trails and a pass for the Mt. Washington Auto Road. To volunteer for the 24 Hours of Great Glen, contact Kelly Evans,, or 603.466.2333.

To register, to learn more information about the course or Festival 24 or to view the race forum, visit

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trail Running Follies

Not that the ins and outs of my daily life are of particular interest to anyone, but I thought I'd used this space to talk about what I've spent most of the spring and this soggy summer doing, namely, trail running.

Being a lapsed runner, it's been great to get back into "serious" running over the last year and half or so. And, my quasi-resurgence has a lot to do with trail running. I've realized I really like to run, but I moderately dislike running on the road. But, I love running trails. Best of all, Great Glen Trails is one of best places around to trail run. Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but I really believe this. Every time I have the opportunity to personally introduce someone to the trail system, I jump at it. The mix of single track and carriage roads of flats and hills makes it a great place to train for any trail race around. But, I digress. Trail running is fun. Go do it.

Of course, I've been running in our Spring Trail Running Series. I haven't been racing the series, but weaving it into the training for other races. It's a great way to remind yourself to do some speed work. I don't have a stringently defined training program, so it helps even more. The first couple weeks of the series were right smack in my final preparations for the Pineland Farms Trail Challenge. I was attempting my first 50k. 50k translates to 31 miles, and I can say with certainty that it's a really long way. The race went very well. It was hard, and I suffered. But, I was very pleased with my result. Best of all, I was less sore following the race than I was after a 10-mile road race I ran earlier in the year. Ah, nice. Incidentally, Susan, whom many of you know, ran the 25k and also had a great race. I think training at Great Glen Trails has a lot to do with that...just throwing that out there. I also ran the Mt. Washington Road Race for the second time. And, while it's not a trail, it is contested on one rather large hill. This race didn't go quite as well for me, but anytime you run up Mt. Washington, you should be satisfied. On the other hand, our very own Sue had a great race despite a wonky toe and bear anxiety. She also trains mostly on trails. I don't think this is a coincidence.

More trail races planned for the summer for me, so that means lots more training on trails. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to race in the There's a Black Fly in My Eye, but I'll certainly be out training on the course this summer. Perhaps I'll even give it a real go one day just to see how fast I can go. In the meantime, the final week of the Spring Trail Running Series is coming up on Thursday. Hope to see you then. Or perhaps I'll see you out on the trails.

- Ryan

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nate Says: Go Paddling!

Great Glen Trails will be open 9:30 – 4:30 starting Saturday June 13 for all activities. The activity that I prefer is Paddling! Canoe or Kayak I’d love to have you on a trip this weekend or next. We can paddle flat water or white water. Don’t have any experience? Most people don’t that take our courses. We have all the equipment and staff to get you started in this sport the safe and fun way. You have paddled for years but need a buddy or guide to go out with you? That’s fine too. I do a lot of that.
You can go to our kayaking web page to learn about all the different programs we offer, but I’m here to tell you they are all great. Sue and I will be available for trips from here on out and Anders will be returning shortly too. Crosby is the “new guy” on staff and is excited to learn all our ins and outs about our trips and pass them on to you. Everyone on staff here at Great Glen has so much to offer, you should really come check us out. Maybe you have paddled here once years ago and now your kids are out of the house or grown up enough to paddle their own boat. Come try a different trip this time.
I think you get my point though. We are READY for summer. The wildlife is out there. Come paddle with us and improve your quality of living. Hope to see you soon.

-Nate Harvey
Paddling Director

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Turn for a Moose

I hope our blog followers have had a chance to read Howie’s blog about Uninvited Guests at the Trail Running Series. This Thursday was my turn to run into a moose on the course.

I started my run after 6:30 pm, having worked the Great Glen retail counter until 6. I thought I might see a moose on Dugway, since I heard a loud crack in the woods as I started up the hill. But . . . no. I continued on, feeling like I was the only one out on the trail system at that time of the evening.

I made the turn into the short singletrack off upper Libby Trace, the one we call Sven’s Chase. Right there in the middle of the singletrack, before it turns the corner, was a moose. I clapped my hands and called out “go, go, shoo, shoo”. The moose, which had been facing forward away from me, turned sideways to look at who was making all the fuss. I shook my hands in the air and called out “go, GO” again. I was stopped dead in my tracks.

A part of me really just wanted to stop and watch this big, wild creature. I always think it is a gift to get to see such animals in the wild. On the other hand, I was doing my trail race, and was very aware that the seconds were continuing to tick by.

I tried again to get it to move along. The moose had no interest in this. It actually took a step towards me, which made me a little more concerned. As docile as these creatures look, I know they can charge, and angering this moose was not in my best interest. I took what seemed the only reasonable option—retreat back to Libby Trace. I was willing to accept an asterisk after my name for running an altered path, rather than try to get by the moose.

I finished the course without further moose meetings. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the experience and I never regained my usual race focus. But it was quite a treat seeing the moose, and the trails belong to the animals at least as much as they do to me. I wonder who will experience the next moose sighting on their Thursday afternoon run?

~ Sue

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ready to Open This Weekend

Great Glen Trails will open for the summer season on Saturday, May 23 at 10:00am for paddling, biking, trail running, Nordic walking and bird watching. Great Glen Trails will be open weekends only through June 6.

The trail system will be open and the bike shop will have rentals available for adults and children, including trailers and trail-a-bikes, so the entire family can enjoy a day on the trails.

For those looking to get out on the water, paddling trips will also be available for the first time this season. Great Glen Trails’ guided paddling trips tour the Androscoggin River and offer fine wildlife viewing opportunities that often include moose, osprey and bald eagles. Both full day and half day trips will be available, please call ahead for reservations.

Great Glen Outfitters will also be open offering everything a family needs to enjoy a full day on the trails from energy bars and sunscreen to cycling apparel and backpacks.

Already underway is the Salomon Spring Trail Running Series presented by Smartwool. This weekly series is held on Thursdays with courses for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities.

Early season operating hours are in effect and Great Glen Trails will be open weekends only through June 6. Daily operations begin that day.

Click here for our operating schedule.

See you this weekend.

- Ryan

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Univited guests enter Spring Trail Running Series

I love the start of the spring trail running series at Great Glen. It provides a target to motivate me to get out and start running during the time when we're coming off the ski season and the weather isn't always all that inviting for trail running. Typically we start training by running the local roads while the trails dry out. But the opening afternoon of the Series usually means that many of the single tracks in the woods as well as all of the gravel trails at GGT are now ready.

So today was the opening day. And boy do I really love it when it's raining and windy and cold like it was this afternoon. No, really - I'd sooo much rather run in chilly temps than the heat. So this was the optimum conditions for me in my currently poor running condition. Eli has set up a particularly devious course for this spring. The first two miles are basically uphill, ok maybe not that bad but you do end up on top of Dugway at the two mile marker then have 1.5 miles left. It's a challenge for me to leave a little something so I'm not totally wiped out by the time I get to the "summit". Sue and I had reconned the course a couple of days ago and that helped.

But where I really lost time, and the reason I know I can do better next week, was on the last piece of single track coming back down onto Dragon Corridor. I'm paying a lot of attention to each footfall with all the roots you encounter here so when I looked up and saw the entire rear end of momma moose coming up fast I had to set the brakes hard! Neither she nor her little one in front had seen, heard or smelled me coming....yikes! "Hey Moosies!" I yell, yes, in northern NH the plural of moose is moosies. That got her to look around but not move. Damn. So I advanced on her and the little one takes off down to Dragon and the gravel surface, slowly followed by Mom. I cut down to the gravel while Mom continues down the single track that now parallels the gravel. Bad move. She senses that I'm about to pass her and move up on her little one, which I was of course - this is a race after all and they're holding me up. So she bolts along snorting with her ears back to cut me off then finally they both veer off into the woods. "See ya girls", and away I go.

Very cool beginning to the trail running season.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wood Ducks at Great Glen!

Please understand that these are my very favorite ducks. They (I’m speaking of the males really, who, like most birds, are the more colorful of the two sexes) are beautiful, with fine, distinctive white lines apportioning their heads into different sections. Their eyes are bright red, sides and tops of head shades of green and purple, a multicolored beak with red-orange, white and black. Dark blue is the color of one set of feathers that lay along their sides. (Yes, I’ve yet to learn the technical names for bird anatomy. . . .) Other colors on them include gray, rich brown and a buff white. They really are striking.

I’ve only seen one wood duck before. It was several years ago during a paddling trip with customers on the Magallaway River above Errol, NH. Our trip took us down a flatwater section of the river to Lake Umbagog, a common destination for Great Glen’s full day public paddling trips. (Most of our trips go in and out the Androscoggin River to Umbagog, but sometimes we can accommodate special requests for an alternative route.)
On that trip a few of us saw the pretty wood duck swimming close to the shoreline.

Despite reading their name on lists of birds I might see in a number of areas I’ve visited, and making numerous trips to the Umbagog Wildlife Refuge every summer, I haven’t seen another wood duck since. Until today! And at Great Glen, which in many ways, I think of as home.

I was finishing up a run on our trails. I was on the lower end of Dragon Corridor, where it passes by the Peabody River and a wetland area created by our busy beaver population. Some birds in the water caught my eye. I stopped. Wood ducks--a pair. The male made a little high-pitched call, and they took to the air. But I had gotten a clear enough view to be sure of their identification, and to enjoy their beauty.

Wonder what I’ll come across on the trails next time?

--Sue W

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hidden Gem in the Backyard

I discovered Cascade Falls today. I might feel a little embarrassed not to have seen the falls in my six or so years of living above Pinkham Notch, except that I’m sure there are plenty of Gorham and Berlin residents who haven’t seen them either. They are located between Gorham and Berlin, (actually by the settlement known as Cascade—imagine that!), off the power line. I came upon them on a mountain bike ride up the rail trail along the east side of the Androscoggin River. A little south of Berlin a dirt lane crossed the rail trail. Going west led me to an overview of the Cascade Dam on the Androscoggin. Turning east the lane led through the woods to the power line. Looking across the power line, which has recently been mowed, is this beautiful waterfall, on Cascade Alpine Brook. (I checked the NH Gazetteer for the name when I got home.)

There are two drops to the falls. The top is short and steep, a narrow thick foam of whitewater. As the flow continues, it spreads out over the broad rock below. The water hits many small ledges, some creating little air pockets. This section of the waterfall could easily and very accurately be called the bridal veil, as it resembles the trail of lace fanning out from a gown. Adding to the natural beauty and interest of the area are many cedar trees along the sides of the falls.

I imagine as summer nears and the snowmelt ends, the water will lessen. Right now (end of April), is a great time to see the falls. Now that I know they are there, I’m sure I’ll make some other trips out that way, to see them in different seasons.

--Sue W

Monday, April 27, 2009

maybe Spring's not so bad after all . . .

I’m beginning to like Spring! It’s taken me a long time. In the past, Spring has been somewhat of a downer for me—I love to cross country ski and Spring brings the end of my cross country skiing for another year. I used to think I was alone in my somewhat melancholic turn each March-April, but in talking with other skiers, I discovered others too experienced a big letdown when the snow started melting away. But . . . I am learning to appreciate, dare I say even like Spring! It has everything to do with getting out and observing nature.

Saturday morning Howie and I joined naturalists Lori Kinsey and Mike Cline on a Tin Mountain Conservation Center program. It was a walk to see Ephemeral Wildflowers—the earliest and fleeting blooming of certain wildflower species in our area. We explored the forested bowl below Humphrey’s Ledge off of Westside Road in Bartlett. Not two minutes into the walk, Lori pointed out a collection of trout lilies in bloom. I recognized their mottled green and brown leaves, which give the plant its name, but hadn’t really ever focused on its flower. Lori talked about its pollination strategy. Mike filled in with information about the soil in general in the area. Further into the woods we trooped and came upon our next point of interest: Dutchman’s Breeches. The delicate little white flowers hang in a group from their stem, looking like little pantaloons hung out to dry. We saw a whole collection of these on top of a boulder at the far point of our walk, thanks to Lori’s pre-program explorations. The woods were bursting with surprises to find, more wildflowers that included squirrel corn, trillium, hepatica, violets, spring beauty and bellwort. Some of the group spotted a wild turkey before it dashed away. The protected shelf below the shelter of a rock revealed porcupine quills. Howie and I discovered several gelatinous egg masses floating in the vernal pool. Mike said they were either frog or salamander eggs.

It was a wonderful morning. I delighted in the discoveries that nature revealed as I opened my eyes, ears and finally my mind to the glory Spring was providing.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Transition Time

It's April, and that means a time of transition here in Pinkham Notch. We watch the snow fade away and start thinking about summer.

But, there is still some snow hanging on in pockets out there on the trail system—a few remaining reminders of the great winter past. And, it was, indeed, a great winter. Sometimes it seems the snow is so deep, it will never melt. But, each spring we're reminded that it can melt just as quickly as it falls.

So what's on the horizon? In short, a lot.

Nate has already been out paddling a fair amount. He's always excited to see rain in the forecast because it means great whitewater gets even better. Susan has reluctantly put her skis away for the season, but I wouldn't be surprised the hear that Eli is still skiing on some hidden, super secret patch of snow that only he knows about. Personally, I'm making the transition to running in the mud. I've managed to run a fair amount this winter, so the transition has been less painful than in may years. But, it's always a fun change when you come home from a run covered in mud. It means that spring is here.

Of course, we're also getting the operation ready for the summer. Right now, we're staying off the trail system in order to let it dry out. Nate has been busy getting Great Glen Outfitters set up on the bottom floor, and soon our rental bike fleet will arrive. It seems that transition, too, is a busy time.

If your moving slowly in your own transition, it's time to get out there. The Spring Trail Running Series starts on May 14.

See you soon.
- Ryan

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A new Blog.....Finally

So it's been a great winter so far at Great Glen - so great that none of us can peel ourselves away from our skis long enough to blog apparently. So here goes.

Our 8 week Nordic Meister series concluded today so the pressure is off, I stayed ahead of Nate all season and can now relax and bask in the glory.

We really have been doing quite a bit of skiing and snowshoeing these past couple of months or so, it comes as a byproduct of being addicted to winter and the incredible human powered sports that a New England winter brings. Most days off are at least partly spent at neighboring resorts or in the neighborhood woods.

Here's Sue at the Peeko Fulsom Bridge on one of the Randolph Mountain Club trails in Randolph, NH near where we live - very cool to be able to snowshoe here from the house.

My daughter, Cory and I had a great day of alpine skiing at Wildcat. THE quintessential New England downhill ski area IMHO.

Sue and I tried skiing the trails of the Nansen Ski Club, the oldest ski club in America. They've newly relocated to the Milan Hill State Park where John Morton has laid out a very entertaining trail network. As you can see, we were in deep fresh snow and knowing they operate with volunteer grooming we weren't expecting freshly groomed trails. Beautiful little trail network that is destined to grow.

I think this yurt is part of the summer Milan Hill State Park operation.

Waterville Valley XC is always worth the drive, they seem to have stepped up the grooming and have some fabulous terrain with great and entertaining hills. So much for cell phone camera shots.

Mt Orford near Magog, Quebec is our favorite Canadian destination since it's only 3 hours away, has tons of snow and excellent trails and grooming. You really have to work at it if you want a soda!

But it's pretty cool being right here at Great Glen too - lots of options for snowshoeing and skiing.

And the scenery ain't half bad either!
- Howie

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Um...It's Kind Of Good.

In case you haven't noticed or been here recently, I need to let you know how sweet the skiing is right now. The snowshoeing? Perfect. We've got the stuff winter postcards are made out of right now. Yup, it's that good.

Now, I know that a ski area guy talking about snow conditions often has the same credibility as the Big Bad Wolf espousing the wonders of vegetarianism. But, trust me. It's awesome right now. Really.

- Ryan

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nordic Meisters - Week 2

I have to admit, my photography skills really shone through this week, which is to say, these photos aren't that great. But, they do show the action out on the trails, and that's what counts. Conditions were a little trickier for the racers this week (as well as the photographers), but everyone gave it their best.

BTW, have you been on the tubing hill, yet? It's open. Oh yeah, and it's bigger & better this year!

- Ryan

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

People Who Get It

“I like cross country skiing”, my husband, Brian whispered to me while we were sitting in the living room - which is good, seeing as how we are going to Mont Ste Anne this weekend with friends.
He was whispering because he was admitting I was right, when I kept telling him that he would like it. I already knew he did because he was skiing on his own, working on technique and going on the occasional ski trip with me, plus, he is a natural athlete and had a short learning curve. How could he not?
He says I am not aware of the getting used to it (working hard) part, since I started skiing early; everything feels easier when you’re a kid. My love for Nordic skiing is ingrained. My parents had my sister, Jen and me on skis pretty much shortly after we could walk. We went through the BKL in western Vermont (traveling out of town to do so) and then raced through High School. The towns we lived in, first in VT and then NH were more alpine proponents than cross country and didn’t really have youth nordic programs, and we didn’t alpine. So, our friends didn’t quite get it. Of course, the picture they had in their head was shuffling through a flat wind blown field, so yeah, that’s not much fun. That's not what we did, we skied the groomed ups and downs of Putney and Mountain Top, then Storrs Pond/Oak Hill. After college I moved to the Mt. Washington Valley, and was kind of floored with its’ 6(!) nordic areas, and the nordic programs in the schools. I started meeting a large number of people who… got it.
I get excited when people discover cross country for what we, dear blog reader, already know it is; so much freakin’ fun! Not to mention healthy, I feel great after a ski. Brian is a practical guy, he sees it as something we can do well into our later years…I hadn’t really thought about it that way. My sister and brother-in-law are thinking about getting skis for the atv/snowmobile trails behind their house on the coast of Maine and I am giddy giving them equipment recommendations. I want other people to love the sport as much as I do, and skiing with people who get it, makes it that much better!

Nordic Meisters - Week 1

Great snow was quite a treat for the first week of Nordic Meisters. We also all got to find out if we were in shape or not. (In my case, not so much.)

I didn't have a ton of time to snap photos, but I did get a couple.

Still plenty of time to sign up for next week.

Hope to see you out there.

- Ryan