Meghan McCarthy McPhaul

Published Works

NH Magazine - Saved by Poetry (October 2019)
When I say The Frost Place saved my life, it’s mostly in a figurative sense. I went to work there, at the small 19th-century Franconia farmhouse-turned-museum-and-poetry-center, a few months after becoming a mother.

Before we even reached our campsite, we’d spotted a trio of bald eagles, three loons and a deer grazing along the shoreline of Umbagog Lake. As our boat pulled into the remote site we’d be calling home for the next two nights, the boys, who’d arrived just ahead of us, shouted excitedly that they’d found some garter snakes sunning themselves on the large boulder at the edge of the water.

A light layer of new snow has brightened the mountain to dazzling white. Beyond, the mid-April sky is an impossibly deep blue. The sun is shining, and the temperature hovers just above freezing. It’s the kind of day that draws skiers to this backcountry mecca in droves.

By the time they hefted their wooden packboards by the leather straps and hoisted heavy loads onto strong shoulders at the top of Mount Washington last July, the trail workers were in woods shape.

Northern Woodlands - The Herbs Around Us (Spring 2018)
As a longtime resident of Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, Holly Hayward has an intimate knowledge of the landscape here. And she comes from a long line of foragers. She remembers gathering dandelion greens as a girl with her grandmother by the five-gallon bucketful, then blanching and freezing this first nutritious wild food of the spring. She knows which trees’ bark has medicinal properties and which common “weeds” can ease the itch of summer bug bites.
- AT skiing brings backcountry enthusiasts, newcomers together (March 2018)
The parking lot is about half full when I pull into Black Mountain in Jackson, New Hampshire, just before 6 o'clock. The lifts stopped spinning a couple hours ago, and the late-winter sky is fully dark. But the no-frills base lodge is bustling with mellow energy, as skiers gear up for Friday Night Lights, a weekly uphill-downhill series that is more social than competitive.

Union Leader
House of Skis: Man's home is also his custom ski factory (March 2, 2018)
Kevin St. Gelais had an epiphany driving to work one day several years ago. He was living in the Coos County town of Milan back then and working at Wildcat Mountain, where he's still a full-time ski patroller. His morning commute took him past the shuttered mills in Berlin..."My daughter and I were talking about how America doesn't really make anything anymore. I look up, and there's the northern Presidentials shining white in the sun. And I thought, 'We've got to make skis!' Being a ski bum, it seemed like a good idea."

Union Leader
- Kanc Classic is tradition for North Country High School skiers (Jan. 21, 2018)

Fat snowflakes are falling at the Kanc Recreation Area, illuminated by the lights lining the slalom course. The high school skiers are doing their pre-race inspection, and the lodge at the bottom of the small hill is bustling with activity: racers getting ready, kids milling about the snack bar, and parents and community members starting to gather outside....This is not your typical ski race.

Union Leader - Ice Climbing in the Mount Washington Valley (January 19, 2018)

I’m staring at the ice a few inches from my face, trying to determine my next move. Will that small pocket a couple feet above me hold the pick of my ice axe? Can I reach it? If I move this way, will I be able to kick my crampon-clad boot into that tiny notch in the ice? How high off the ground am I, anyway?

The Outside Story (Northern Woodlands) - Bears Make Their Beds (October 2017)
"The fields around our home are something of a bear buffet from mid-summer through fall: wild blueberries in July followed by blackberries, then apples come September, with beechnuts falling from the trees skirting the mown area. In our 13 years here, we’ve seen a mother bear noshing on fallen apples while her cubs scampered around in the tree above her, heard bears climbing and snapping the occasional apple branch while we lay in tents 20 yards away during a backyard campout, and even witnessed two cubs playing in our kids’ sandbox..."

The Outside Story (Northern Woodlands)
- Chirp, Click, Buzz (October 2017)
"This time of year, I keep the windows cracked open on even marginally warm nights, savoring the sweet air that sifts through the screens. On that air comes the sound of others relishing the last bit of warmth before frost settles in: namely, crickets and katydids..."

Union Leader
- Flag Raised on Cannon Mountain for 9/11 (Sept. 12, 2017)
"A waning moon hung in the still-dark sky above Cannon Mountain Monday morning as a crew of five hikers started uphill to complete what has become an annual mission...In his pack, Jon Sykes carried a large American flag. The group’s destination: the granite ledge just above where the Old Man of the Mountain once watched over Franconia Notch..."

The Outside Story (Northern Woodlands) - Summer House Guest (July 2017)
"Perhaps the phoebe selected her nesting spot during the few days my family was away from home at the end of April. Otherwise, I can’t quite figure her decision to build a nest atop the back porch light, right next to a doorway used regularly by three children and a rambunctious puppy..."

Union Leader
- Small Town, Big Cheese: The Cheddar Arrives at Harman's (June 2017)
"The tractor-trailer truck parked beside the road Wednesday morning in what constitutes downtown Sugar Hill could only mean one thing: This was the day of the annual unloading of the cheddar at Harman's Cheese & Country Store..."

The Outside Story (Northern Woodlands)
Foxes Active in Late Winter (March 2017)
"The first time I saw the fox last February, I did a double take. It was late morning when I glanced out the window on my way from one task to the next. The unexpected flash of red made me stop and forget about the morning’s to-do list..."
- How to Stay Warm on the Ice Coast (February 2017)
"... Yes, there is a difference between 30 below in Colorado, and 30 below (with a side of 30-mile-per-hour winds blowing graupel sideways) in New England. Yankees—and Eastern skiers—didn’t earn their stoic, tougher-than-nails reputation for nothing. We have feelings, too; it’s just that you can’t see them through our facemasks. Here, a guide to staying warm on the slopes—East Coast style..."

Winter Notes column, Union Leader
- SnowCoach Tour up Mt. Washington (February 2017)
"A bright blue sky was the backdrop for the brilliant white peaks of the northern Presidential Range early this week, the perfect winter day to take a ride up to the home of the world’s worst weather...." - John Egan's Sugarbush (January 2017)
"Generations of ski film fans know John Egan as a hard-charging skier who chases big lines. He’s appeared in 17 Warren Miller movies, is an original member of the North Face Extreme Team, and has skied all over the world. In 1976, two years before his movie debut, the teenaged Egan moved to Vermont’s famed Mad River Valley. Forty years later, and as passionate about skiing as ever, he’s still here and has earned the official title of Chief Recreation Officer at Sugarbush..."

The Outside Story (Northern Woodlands)
- Mink in the Middle (January 2017)
"If the river otter is the most aquatic member of the mustelid family, and weasels represent the terrestrial branch of the clan, the American mink is the adept middle child, taking advantage of its adaptations both in the water and on land to make a living...."
- Where to Drink Beer in New Hampshire (January 2017)
"Combine the Mount Washington Valley’s half-dozen ski areas with its three breweries, and you end up with an après scene that is robustly local. Nothing tastes so good at the end of a day of skiing as a finely crafted beer, and there are plenty of brews to choose from in these mountains. What to drink when you’re skiing the Valley? Here’s a primer..." -
The World Cup Returns to the East (November 2016)
"...The return of the White Circus has been a long time coming, and we Easterners are all fired up. There is animated discussion among the 8- to 10-year-old set in my house of watching the World Cuppers careen down the hill in front of their very eyes. My daughter hopes to get Mikaela Shiffrin's autograph - Shiffrin is my daughter's Tamara. And we're not the only ones eagerly anticipating the Killington races...."

Powder magazine -
SALT: The Snowmaker (October 2016)
"Alan Wheeler splits his time and profession by the seasons: summer as a trap fisherman off the tip of Rhode Island; winter in the mountains of New Hampshire, where he makes snow full-time and skis the backcountry any chance he gets. His co-workers and ski companions, often a few decades younger, have to push to keep up, but he’s everything you could ask for in a work mate or ski buddy. 'He can fix anything and he can ski anything,' says John DeVivo, Cannon Mountain’s general manager and Wheeler’s ski partner. 'He’s a tough old bastard with a great heart.'"

Powder magazine - Building a Better Monoski (September 2016)
"Cam Shaw-Doran’s job combines a skier’s passion, a tinkerer’s joy, and a philanthropic mission that strikes an intimately personal chord. As the director of development for the Turtle Ridge Foundation—a nonprofit started by his childhood pal, Bode Miller—Shaw-Doran spends his days building custom monoskis and driving around the country to give them away to adaptive programs and individual skiers."

Northern Woodlands - Garland Mill: Harnessing the Power of Water (May 2016)
"When Garland Mill began operations in 1856 – five years before the start of the Civil War – there were more than 600 water-powered sawmills in New Hampshire. One hundred-sixty years later, the Lancaster mill is one of only three water-powered sawmills still in operation in the state." -
Crossing the Line (March 2016)
"The kids
stopped at the sign announcing SKI AREA BOUNDARY, paused for a photo, then gleefully ducked the orange rope, passing into unchartered ski territory. I’d crossed this line for the first time 30 years ago, in this very spot, with the same excitement. And I know once the line is crossed there’s no turning back."

Northern Woodlands - Thoreau's Cabin in the North Woods (January 2016)
"On a warm, sunny day last spring, just a few weeks before the end of the school year, professional timber framer Makaio Maher stood in a small clearing in a stand of red pine trees in Newport, Vermont, calling out instructions to two dozen high school students wearing white and red hardhats. 'We need more pegs over here. Hold up, hold up – that side has to go in last. Take it up slowly.'"

The Liberty Project
- 5 reasons to go skiing with just the girls (Jan. 2016)
"Kim Reichhelm has never had a problem keeping up with the boys – on snow or off. But skiing’s original Queen of Extreme has long seen the benefit of keeping some ski days girls-only. For more than 25 years, Reichhelm has led women’s ski camps, currently in Vail and Alta. And she’s not the only female skiing hotshot leading the all-women charge..." 
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