31 May 2017

Weather and northern lights

Two things are necessary to see the Northern Lights:

Clear weather and atmospheric activity.

The University of Alaska offers this prediction information.  And for the picture in Iceland, I used the website for Aurora Forecasts.  On that evening, the forecast looked like this:

So the green means the probability of Aurora activity, and the skies were clear.

On the evening this was shot, the skies were clear enough to take this 30 second exposure.  It appeard silver to us on the ground but the photo shows green!

So what will be the chance tonight?  Check out NOAA.

30 May 2017

Timber Line

As you hike up mountains, sometimes it gets high enough that the temperature (and climate) gets cold, as if you traveled poleward away from the equator.  This elevation is called timberline or treeline.  Think Mt Washington, or Baldy Mountain.

Much of the Knife Edge Trail in Baxter State Park is above the treeline.

29 May 2017

Heating Degree Days

Chilly today.  And this is Memorial Day, the unofficial first day of summer.  Well not today.  56 degree F....brrrr.

I know something is wrong when I hear the furnace fire up.


That brings me to the subject of Heating Degree Days, and for normally this time of the year, Cooling Degree Days.  For a formal definition try this link.

28 May 2017


Can't make it to the UK to see the solstice next month at Stonehenge?  Try NYC this year on May 29th at 8:13 PM or May 30th at 8:12 pm according to the NY Times. For more info on this unique opportunity, see the page.

It is all about the earth's tilt with respect to the sun.  Cool stuff.  See Sunpath diagrams to to find how to track sun movement across our skies.

25 May 2017

May is Preservation Month in Massachusetts

Sorry I just found out about this.  But it is now Preservation Month 2017.  Still time to enjoy it though by taking a hike (or drive) to Bascom Lodge on Mt Greylock.  So check out:

Mount Greylock State Reservation, Visitor Center, 30 Rockwell Rd, Lanesboro, 413-499-4262
For information call 413-499-4262. Visitors can drive or hike to the summit of Mount Greylock, a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Summit includes the Commonwealth’s official War Memorial Tower, Bascom Lodge, Thunderbolt Shelter and a recreational landscape, all fine examples of the rustic design and craftsmanship of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The 90 foot tall tower is topped with a beacon that shines in remembrance of the state’s fallen soldiers. Visitors can snack, stay or dine at Bascom Lodge (www.bascomlodge.net).

Bascom Lodge Saturday, May 27th, 12pm-6pm. Doors Open

Celebrate the season’s opening weekend with events and programs including live performances and demonstrations. Visit www.bascomlodge.net for more information. Parking fees apply.

Visitor Center at 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough. Open Daily 9am – 4pm

Most Excellent Majesty exhibits and orientation film. Before driving to the Summit, stop at the Visitor Center to enjoy interactive exhibits and a short film highlighting the splendors of Greylock.

War Memorial Tower Sunday, May 28th, 1pm-2pm.

Join DCR staff for a walk around the Greylock Summit to learn about the history of the War Memorial Tower, the Commonwealth’s tribute to veterans of war. A two-year rehabilitation of the Tower will be nearing completion at the end of May--a major effort to preserve its unique architectural character and protect it from the elements. The program will include the reading of excerpts from the original 1933 dedication, and details on some of the innovative aspects of the recent construction work. Meet at the summit. The walk is a 60 minute, easy stroll along paved pathways with frequent stops. Bring water and sunscreen.

22 May 2017

United States projected to lose $1.3 billion in travel-related expenditures in 2017

Well, that is what is reported here.

"Using first quarter ticketing data from the Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC), publicly available travel data and GBTA’s economic research and models, GBTA developed an ‘uncertainty forecast’ for 2017 showing the impact this mounting geopolitical uncertainty is having on the economy. There is no question that uncertainty is bad for business travel and bad for the global economy. - See more at: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/united-states-projected-to-lose-13-billion-in-travel-related-expenditures-in-2017#sthash.OXI7MNHH.dpuf"

Time will tell so you might want to check out the info from Global Business Travel Association GBTA.

18 May 2017

Commencement Tourism

If your college commencement is this weekend, good luck trying to find a decent hotel nearby.  For our graduation you can check this link for places to crash.  Or try the local state parks?

14 May 2017

Fun in the Woods

Here is another blog on Blogspot that might be of interest to you hikers that want to know how you can help manage the Appalachian Trail.

The mission?  A blog about volunteer trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts.

11 May 2017


One of my neighbors decided to dine at my neighbors' bird feeder the other night.  (S)he finally ran off when I disturbed the meal.  Oh well.

Oh yeah, the US Postal Food Drive is this Saturday.  Donate to help others (and not bird seed)!

09 May 2017


A fitting close to Travel and Tourism Planning at Westfield State.  Let us all celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week!

Check out the factsheet.

250 Billion for Food?

08 May 2017

Westfield River Fish Ladder

Tour the Westfield River fish ladder Sunday, May 21 this year, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Sponsored by the Westfield River Watershed Association  this annual event is fun for all.

07 May 2017

Connecticut River fish Ladder Open in Holyoke

The annual migration of the Atlantic Salmon can be observed at the Robert E. Barrett Fishway in Holyoke MA.  Open to the public and free the viewing continues until 11 June 2017.  Tours are available weekends at 1:30 PM.  For more info visit the Holyoke GE site.

02 May 2017

Abraj Kudai, the largest hotel in the World?

With 10,000 rooms (yes 10k), this hotel is expected to open this year and will have 70 restaurants and five helipads.  Ten of the towers are intended to provide four-star accommodation while the remaining two will offer luxurious five-star amenities. Catering to the needs of tourists, the city receives around 2 million pilgrims for the annual Hajj. And another 20 million the rest of the year.

Seems since these tourists are not permitted to enter the US, tourism in Saudi Arabia will boom!