September recap


Hanging Rock Tower Hawkwatch, WV

Hanging Rock Tower Hawkwatch, WV

A number of folks have asked for me to give more regular updates, with details on route etc. The intermittent communication is a function of a packed schedule. I will try to catch up in Nashville, where I will be taking a few days off.

Stats to date:

Average mileage – about 33 miles per day.

Highest mileage – 7o something miles.

Hawkwatch sites visited:

  • Pack Monadnock, NH
  • Shawangunks, NY
  • Lehigh Gap, PA
  • Hawk Mountain, PA
  • Second Mountain, PA
  • Waggoners Gap, PA
  • Snicker’s Gap, VA
  • Rockfish Gap, VA
  • Hanging Rock Tower, WV

Following the tracks of: Sadie and Rosalie in particular (now in Guatemala).

Today is Thursday October 6th, exactly one month to the day since I left Hancock New Hampshire. I am staying at Willow Bend Bed & Breakfast in Union WV, which was my base for Hanging Rock Tower Hawkwatch. Two nights here, but charged only for one. The kindness of strangers is becoming a recurring theme of this trip. I highly recommend this B&B – I had a great time.

Hanging Rock Tower hawkwatch is easily one of the most scenic hawkwatch sites that I have visited to date – a stunning vista, but rather challenging to reach. All hawkwatch sites are different. Each has  its own culture, and each functions best according to local conditions. The counters must have known something, because the site was unmanned yesterday despite clear conditions. I spent two hours, with low numbers of hawks observed, though a few sharpies came in to take a pass at the owl, giving great views. Nearly every hawkwatch has its own decoy owl. Passing raptors, especially merlins and sharp-shinned hawks seem unable to resist taking a strafing run at the decoy. Hawk Mountain had the best one yet, a fully feathered facsimile.

Hawk Mountain's decoy Great Horned Owl

Hawk Mountain’s decoy Great Horned Owl

You can follow my progress at the ESRI story map page that Jeff Normandin is updating here. Jeff won’t let me plug his business, but I have to publicly thank him for all he is doing to help me with the technology side of the trip. He is a wiz with geographic information systems and I am very grateful. Thank you Jeff.

You can also check my whereabouts on Spot, which is a gps device that my wife insisted I take, especially for the Central and South American part of the journey. It gives realtime location information, and has several buttons,which you can program with prerecorded text messages. One button I press every night sends out a text “arrived safely at location” to preloaded email addresses. Another button sends out a text that says I need help, which my wife knows to interpret as a broken bike or something similar. She will know exactly where I am to send a taxi to get me. The last button sends out an SOS, which goes to an underground bunker somewhere in the midwest. This button is to be used in cases of life or death.

Tonight I head south to Woods Hole Hostel and Mountain Retreat. I have been staying in quite a few hostels because they are relatively inexpensive and a great place to meet fellow travelers, where I can pick up tips for the journey ahead. The weather tomorrow is lousy, and I might stay over at the hostel. I am headed for Big Bald hawkwatch in TN, and then to Nashville where I will spend a few days with my wife. After that, its a straight shot to Corpus Christi in Texas via Birmingham AL. I am going to try and up my mileage for this stretch to claw back some time. More later.

6 Responses to “September recap”

  1. Todd Bauman October 18, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    Hey Eric! Your making miles…Good luck and I will keep checking in on your progress!

    • Eric Masterson October 25, 2016 at 3:38 am #

      Thanks Todd. Off again for Alabama after a week in Nashville seeing my wife and taking care of business (replaced my first tire). Hope you are well.

  2. Leslie Smith October 27, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    I just read the article (and saw the pic of you riding out from Willow Bend B&B) in The Monroe Watchmsn about you following the Hawks! Hope all is well with you and hope to keep following you!

    • Eric Masterson November 2, 2016 at 12:11 am #

      Hi Leslie. Do you have a link for that article by chance? Hope you are well.

  3. Tony Marquis February 15, 2017 at 4:34 pm #


    Where are you at now?

Leave a Reply