The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was too short and frantic for many of us. The pre-Christmas season was filled with many memorable events: Tamworth Community Nurse Association’s gala at The Preserve, craft fairs, the town Christmas tree lighting, Remick Farm and Museum’s Christmas celebration, and Cook Memorial Library’s well-attended Christmas potluck, followed by a concert by The Pot Luck Singers, The Brett School Choir and a hilarious story based on “The 12 Days of Christmas” by Tamworth’s own favorite storyteller Marion Posner. All the events took place against a background of snow and seasonally low temperatures. Thanks to everyone who decorated their homes and trees with lights still illuminating the dark nights.

If you have a few minutes, check out Chocorua Conservancy’s beautiful website. It has a mission statement, stunning pictures, descriptions of recent events, and a narrative of the Legend of Chief Chocorua, who reportedly leapt from the mountain summit after a tragic event involving the accidental poisoning of his son and the ensuing murder of the family who was caring for him at the time.

I also particularly enjoyed the article on loons by Harry Vogel, executive director of the Loon Preservation Committee. Loons are among the most primitive birds on earth, more closely related to penguins than ducks. Beloved denizens of local lakes, including Chocorua, they are in danger from the ingestion of dietary toxins and lead sinkers, habitat loss and climate change.

Thanks so much, Juno Lamb, for the work you do to publicize the work of the conservancy. During the last year, I became a member and attended a couple of social gatherings, the annual meeting and participated in the recent winter-themed lantern-making session at Cook Memorial Library, preceded by a talk on how animals prepare for winter by Stewardship Director and Naturalist Lynn Flaccus.

The next event is an owl prowl, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9. Join Flaccus for an evening owl prowl. The winter months are a perfect time to hear these nighttime hunters, as local owls are setting up territories and can be quite vocal. Meet at the Hammond Trail Parking Area at the end of Scott Road, for a snowshoe hike, toward Heron Pond, calling and listening. Along the way, there will be discussions about owl adaptations, and which owls might live in our backyards and enjoy their nocturnal habitat.

On Sunday, Jan. 19, come along to one of the most popular and enjoyable events of the winter. Sponsored by the Chocorua Community Association, “Light The Night” starts at 4 p.m. with hot drinks at The Preserve in Chocorua, served by Kimball and Neysa Packard. A bonfire of now unwanted Christmas trees will be lit at 5 p.m. at the nearby Chocorua Dam. The third phase of the event is a potluck supper at nearby Runnells Hall. Contributions of food are welcome, but not necessary, and everyone is welcome. The event is bring-your-own beverage.

Other events coming up this month include the iconic dog sled races on Lake Chocorua, scheduled for Jan. 25 and 26. This event, dating back to the 1930s, is one of the longest sprint races in the world.

When we first moved to Tamworth, I was on Gardner Hill Road near our house and noticed that the road hadn’t been plowed. A team of dogs was coming toward me at breakneck speed, in a cloud of snow. The dogs passed me by and disappeared into our neighbor’s yard. Apparently, I missed the memo that the sled dog race was coming by our house that day.

The dog sled races are sponsored and organized by the Tamworth Outing Club, who provide a wonderful aromatic barbecued lunch. This is a very scenic event, with many photographic opportunities, especially to capture the dog sled teams with Mount Chocorua in the background, an amazing sight.

A word about Chinook: Like many other famous stars he had only one name, but never wrote a book, sang a song or even uttered a single word. In his heyday, he was the most famous dog in the world, bred by Arthur Treadwell Walden in Wonalancet. In the early 1900s, Walden set about breeding an all purpose sled dog combining the speed of racing dogs with the power of those used for freight. Walden and Chinook are important in our town’s history. Walden is remembered as a Klondike Gold Rush adventurer, dog sled driver, and participant in the first of Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic expeditions. The Chinook breed is New Hampshire’s state dog.

If you are befuddled about the change of the Tamworth Exchange from a Yahoo Group to a Google Group, go on Cook Memorial Library’s website at tamworthlibrary.org and click on the helpful articles indicating how to make the changes. Library Director Mary Cronin will be happy to help.

Send items for this column to annmcgarity@yahoo.com.

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