Thursday, December 31, 2009

#24 Mt. Waumbek

I love how the fact that this was two days short of the official start of winter made this a fall hike. It certainly didn’t feel that way. On the drive in the car thermometer showed as low as –11 degrees. At the start it was –6 degrees, the coldest start I have had. There was plenty of snow on the ground but alas I was NOT walking in a winter wonderland.

This time dad and I were not alone. Dave was joining us for the hike. I warned him we weren’t fast hikers and today I really wasn’t. I was starting to get a cold, which caused me to drag my wagon. I also was wearing my plastic boots to get use to them and that slowed me down some. We parked right next to a gas station in an alternative parking lot. The trailhead lot was closed but this only added maybe a half-mile to our round trip. The trail was not difficult. This was good again cause I wasn’t on my A game. At the beginning of the Starr King trail the snow was fairly packed and we weren’t post holing. As we climbed though the snow started becoming more powder and less packed down by others. This caused more post holing. Dad was getting really annoyed. It didn’t bother me too much probably because I am lighter and don’t post hole as much.

When we got to the top of Starr King we took a bit of a lunch break. Dave found a nice rock to sit on and dad and I sat by the random fireplace. We decided that we were going to leave our bags here and go lighter to get to Waumbek. Dad decided to put his snowshoes on but Dave and I stayed in boots. It was a lot better having less weight on your shoulders for the hike over. There were a few little viewpoints but not too much. When we got to the top of Waumbek there wasn’t any view, urg. I plopped down and decided to do a snow angel. We took some pictures and headed back with some speed. See a blizzard was brewing down in NY/NJ and we wanted to get home before it hit CT.

Going down I was doing better. I had some energy from my food and the whole using gravity helped. I was slipping a bunch because of the plastic boot bottom but did well. I was very happy to get back to the car and sit down. Thank goodness this wasn’t a more difficult hike because my body was having a hard time. I kept telling myself “I can do all things” and I made it.

Next up, a “real” winter hike. LOL

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Carrigan #23 for number 23

This is not so much a trip report but a tribute. The Saturday before Thanksgiving during a JV football game Matty B. of Ledyard collapsed on the field of an aneurysm and was rushed to the hospital. Things took a turn for the worse on Sunday and he was transferred to CT Children’s Medical Center. There it was determined that he was brain dead. His parents decided to keep him on life support so friends and family could say their good byes. They also kept him on so that they could donate his organs. A few months before when he got his license he signed up to be an organ donor and his parents granted his wish. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving he was taken off life support and passed away. I headed up to New Hampshire with my parents and uncle right after finding out he had passed. I sat in the back with a heavy heart. Many of my soccer players were friends with him and were devastated on Sunday at a vigil. The gasps you heard when the superintendent said he wasn’t going to make it, the boys crying, it was a hard time. One girl asked me why this had a happen and she expected a response. I told her that he did not suffer and he went out doing something he loved, football. I also told her that in his dying he would save many others. His lungs were to go to a 12 year old.

So here I am going to one of the best views in New Hampshire yet we are completely engulfed in clouds. Off we went. Again I don’t remember much about the hike, I just kept thinking about Matty. His football number was 23 and this was my 23rd 4000footer. What I do remember was a nice ridge before the top, well it seemed like it would be anyway, all I saw was cloud.

The top was very windy and wet.

We stayed for a little while to have a snack and then headed down. My uncle runs marathons so he took off. Soon after I got a surge of energy and took off myself. I just got into this great rhythm and was practically running. Actually, after the last stream crossing I did run to the end. I have never felt that good after a 10mile hike. It was as if I had extra energy. I beat the book time by almost an hour and a half. My uncle had waited for my dad and they came along 20min later.

So Matty B. this hike is for you. One may die so others may live. You are a true hero.
“I can do all things”

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Flume #22

The Flume
September 5, 2009

As always, when I miss a Waterville week I am bummed. It is always for a good reason but just the thought of not doing a 4ker is sad. In this case I had soccer tryouts (I am a JV soccer coach in the town I teach in) and a friend’s wedding shower. So when I found out we were not having soccer practice over Labor Day weekend I was insistent we go on a hike. I had suggested going to NY or VT but Dad is determined to get all the NH 4kers done before he turns 61 (he is 58) so we decided on NH. I suggested we camp at Waterville. We are members of the pool in town so we could use that to shower and we can eat in town instead of cooking at the campsite. The plan was to leave CT before 6am Saturday, drive to WV, get a campsite, then head to Flume to hike. Somehow on Labor Day weekend our planned worked. There was one campsite available for Saturday night and Saturday night only. We paid, put chairs out, and headed to the trail. After reading Trish and Alex’s blog dad decided we were going to go the back way up and thus avoid the slide. He didn’t want to be hiking up an exposed slide with the sun baring down on us. When we got to the Lincoln Woods parking area again I was surprised with a long weekend and great weather we had no problems with getting parking.

We headed out across the suspension bridge and onto the Wilderness Trail. Here you encounter casual bike riders and walkers. One man passed us that looked ready to hike, otherwise it was all casual families. This part is super easy and we commented on how much work someone put into this trail with what looked like railroad ties along the way. We got to the Osseo trail and headed out away from the casuals. At first this trail is also really easy with only mild grades. Of course this is always a bit scary because you know at some point you will have some serious up hill if it is otherwise this easy. On we went. We encountered a few groups coming down but otherwise it wasn’t very crowded. The trail did eventually start going up at a more steady pace with some switch backs thrown in. Then the moment we had been waiting for…. the stairway to heaven. At least that’s what came to mind seeing all the wooden ladders. They were nice. You could tell your claves would be much happier in the morning since your feet got to stay flat going up. Once at the top of the ladders there was still more uphill. I was not feeling in top shape. Could have been the 4 hour car ride that morning or the starting to play soccer again, who knows. I just wanted to get to the top and be done. At the junction with the Flume Slide trail we met a couple that had just come up it and said it was miserable. They looked hot and tired. We chatted a few minutes and then headed up to the top. From there it is only .1 miles to the top so very quickly we got to the open views from the ledges. Dad wanted to stop and take a break along the ledge before getting to the tippy top he too was struggling today. We got some pictures and dad was ready to move to the real summit. Here we rested and I had a Pop-tart. It tasted so good after a long hike up. We talked to the couple that we met at the Flume Slide trail. The guy had done Kilimanjaro a while back and was telling me about it. I was extremely jealous, I would love one day to do Kili. Our visit to the top was a bit longer then usual. I think we were both pretty tired and wanted to enjoy a nice view.

We decided though to not wait too long because we wanted to get back and set our tents up before it got dark. So down we went. As usual down seems to take forever, especially the places that are relatively flat. You feel like they went by so quickly when you were going up. Well, maybe they do because you have more energy. It is always interesting to me that at the end of any hike my feet are tired and I just want to be done. This was a little over 11 miles so that’s understandable but even the shorter 6 or 7 mile hikes I get the same way. This makes me think that it is totally a mental thing.

Thoughts: Not my favorite mountain. There were good views but it wouldn’t be one I would recommended to people looking for a hike. Camping at WV was fun. It got down into the 30’s overnight and I slept great in my 20 degree bag.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Backtracking #16 Cannon
May 9, 2009

Without further ado… I am finally up to date with my 4kers. Due to Amy and Scott’s wedding we did not go up in April. Well dad wouldn’t have been able to hike anyway because he got to spend a few days in the hospital with a strep infection in his leg. It is believed to have gotten into him from the blisters he was not taking care of properly. At the beginning of April I also sprained my foot in our school’s charity basketball game (teachers vs. 6th graders). Taking those factors into account and the fact that there was some snow and ice still around we decided to go easy and do Cannon.

Two months before we were in the same parking lot and heading up the Lonesome Lake trail. Boy did I miss the snow covering the roots and rocks on the trail. There was some mud but not too bad. The trail wasn’t too muddy and there wasn’t any snow until right before Lonesome Lake. It was nice seeing water this time instead of ice. We continued along Lonesome Lake Trail until we met up with Kinsman Ridge. There was a fair amount of snow at the intersection and it was fun to feel the temperature change when we dropped down a few feet. I put my Yaktrax on now because things were getting slippery. We took our snowshoes not knowing what the trail would be like but they were defiantly not necessary. Although the trail to Cannon was relatively short it had some steep sections with some rock scrambling.

Once at the top we made our way to the observation tower. We went up for some pictures but it was windy and cooler up there so we didn’t stay there for lunch. Instead we walked over to the top of the tramway. Along the way we came across a section of snow that was still three feet deep. I just had to play in the snow. We sat at picnic tables that were sheltered from the wind for lunch. It was weird to be up there with no other people (the tramway wasn’t running).

We decided to continue taking the Kinsman Ridge trail back down to the tramway parking lot. There was a lot less snow on this trail and at times it was also fairly steep. At one point we came out to what looked like it was a ski trail. At the same time I couldn’t imagine anyone skiing on it. It was narrow, there were a ton of 3-4ft tree stumps, and no snow guns. I guess you really have to wait for a lot of natural snow before hitting this trail. We made it to the bottom and then had a 2-mile walk along the Pemi Trail to get to the car. The skies looked threatening but we managed to not get wet.

Thoughts: I miss the snow already. If only I could have longer daylight and snow. I guess I need to head to Alaska in the summer. They have a lot of daylight and snow.


Backtracking # 14 North Kinsman and #15 South Kinsman
March 7, 2009

Well I was a little disappointed that there didn’t seem to be as much snow this year as last but there was still plenty. It was suppose to be in the 40s today so I didn’t even bring a winter coat. Just a Nike cold weather top, a Nike fleece, and my raincoat for wind protection.

We parked at Lafayette Place Campground in one of the last spots and suited up. As we headed up Lonesome Lake trail we followed a group of men. I liked their pace but soon they split and the ones that had fallen behind let us pace. This is a nice trail because it is sort of gradual up the side and not straight up like I feared. We met up with the other guys in the group waiting for the ones behind us. They were going to Cannon so we said bye and headed out along the ice on Lonesome Lake. It was still overcast at the time and I was disappointed we couldn’t get good views yet. Once we got to the lake we then found Fishin’ Jimmy trail. I was surprised at the beginning of the trail. It dropped down at first and then had a somewhat flat section before heading up. We were bare booting at this point and I wasn’t having too much of a problem. Dad on the other hand was starting to posthole some. Once we got onto Kinsman Ridge trail there the clouds were lifting and we started to get better views. Things got a bit chilly right before reaching the top of North Kinsman so I had to add the fleece that had been in my bag. We got to the top and found a little flat open area to sit and have some lunch.

After a brief rest we headed out. We came across another viewpoint and I felt to take a picture when I heard my dad shout behind me. He had made a posthole the entire length of his leg. I of course had to take a picture of him before pulling him out. He decided at this point he needed snowshoes. I was still holding out in putting mine on. We caught a glimpse of South Kinsman and it looked like it was going to be steep getting to the top. Looks can be very deceiving. It wasn’t that bad getting there. The top of South is more exposed and provided nice views. By this time the sky had cleared nicely and we were able to get some nice shots of Franconia Notch. There was a bunch of other people along the trails today, probably because of the nice weather. We had another break and then headed back the way we came.

Along the trail back I wore my snowshoes. I could tell as the day went on the weather was really warming up and I didn’t want to do a big posthole like dad. On our way back we passed a few people in shorts (with gaiters) and even a guy hiking shirtless. Now I wasn’t that warm, but it was a really nice day.

Thoughts: I want plastic boots. I have seen a ton of people with them this winter. My winter boots are bulky in my crampons and snowshoes. Plus I can’t wear them the next day because they are usually still wet.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pierce and Eisenhower

Backtracking - #12 Pierce and #13 Eisenhower
February 7, 2009

So when we got to Waterville Kim and John were already there. They told us that some people walked into the condo saying they were renting it. Kim informed them we were the owners and we were here that night. So the people left and we thought that was the last of it. Until 12:30am when I am sleeping on the pullout couch and some people come in the front door. Scare me to death. I get up and there are like there are people in here. They leave but every noise now makes me think someone is coming in. This means I do not get a lot of sleep. Never a good thing.

I am less then pleased when it is time to get up. I get myself in gear and we head out to park at the lot on Mt. Clinton road. From here we head to Crawford path. It was a struggle for me at first. I am not a morning person and really do need my sleep. At least along the way we encountered a giant snow face on a tree. There are defiantly more people on the trail then the last two hikes. This could be because it is suppose to be near 30 for a high. Wow, it’s like tropical weather compared to those hikes. I don’t remember too much of the trail other then it wasn’t that bad. Had I gotten proper sleep that is, for me on that day it was not so fun. I pushed on. We started to get glimpses of other mountains peering through the trees. This always helps my spirit. When we reached the cut off for Mt. Pierce there was an AMC group that had just come down and were on their way to Eisenhower. Dad and I went up to Pierce, got a few pictures and quickly left. This was just a stop off. The real mountain of the day was Eisenhower so that’s where we wanted to be.

We had been bare booting thus far with no problems. The col between Pierce and Eisenhower had some deeper snow and some icy spots. About half way along after we had a snack break I decided to put my crampons on and dad decided to put his snowshoes on. This was my first time on ice with my crampons and it was fun. We got to the steep section at the summit cone and there were people coming down so I sat down and decided to watch them. Dad was lagging behind a bit anyway. The people were concerned I was hiking along because they couldn’t see dad around the corner taking his snowshoes off. For some reason he thought it would be easier to do this without snowshoes on. That might have been true but crampons really helped. I even used my ice ax to help get up. So I got up quickly and then had to wait again for dad who wasn’t enjoying this little section as much. He got up the steep part and then it wasn’t too bad to the top. Here there was a group of three men enjoy the views of the presidentials. It wasn’t beautiful blue skis but the clouds were so high you could still see all around. We took our pictures and video and then headed out.

We like to go in loops so we decided to head down toward Edmands path. I still had on my crampons, smart move. Dad still didn’t put them on, bad move. I got down the steep, icy back side without a problem. In fact I would have been pretty terrified had I not had some traction on. Dad eventually had to sit down and slide on the ice because it was getting a bit hairy. Finally we got off the cone and things leveled out. Dad decided it was time to put the crampons on. We head out around Eisenhower on Edmands only for it to go from ice to post holing down 2 feet into powder. Off the crampons went and on to snowshoes. This trail was not as broken out as Crawford path and there was some deep snow, even with crampons. No boot sliding today. This trail wasn’t bad at all. It eventually led out to the closed part of Mt. Clinton Road which is used by snowmobiles. We didn’t see any but it seemed to take forever to get back to the car.

Thoughts: Even though I enjoy snow hiking it is harder. You carry more weight and going through snow and ice can be difficult. Oh well, better then hiking in 90 degrees with 90% humidity.

Mt Liberty

Backtracking #11: Mt. Liberty
January 10, 2009

In honor of the fact that it has been very hot and humid here along the CT coast I think it is appropriate to think of a much cooler time.

So the month before I experienced some really cold weather hiking up Mt. Jackson. It was enjoyable and very difficult at the same time. When I heard that the high for our proposed hike was going to be 10 degrees with little wind I was very excited, much warmer then the week before. We set out for the Basin parking lot. It was decided that the walk along the snowmobile (bike) trail was a little shorter from the Basin then the Flume lot. We did not encounter any snowmobiles as we made our way to the Liberty Springs trail. At first Liberty Springs trail goes up but soon enough it almost flattens out.

We made good time but could see that it would be getting steep soon. I may have been going a little too fast on the flats because the up hill was about to lay a hurtin on. Once we started going up consistently we decided to put the snowshoes on. Up until this point we were bare booting. I especially wanted to put my snowshoes on because I had recently gotten a pair of MSR Denali Ascents with the heel bar. I wanted to see if raising the bar would in fact help make going up a little easier. They did in fact help. Most of the trail at this point was up but there were a few short sections that flattened out a little and I felt like I had high heels on. The heel bar is good if you are going up for long periods (like on this trail). It could get annoying if the trail had more flats and some downs. It wasn’t until we got to the Liberty Springs Camping area that we encountered our first people. There were two men coming down. We took a nice long break here and dad wasn’t sure if he could go on. After examining the map it seemed that there wasn’t that much more of this up hill until we reached the junction with the Franconia Ridge trail. So we powered on.

Once we intersected with Franconia Ridge we went to the right to toward the summit. I took off at a faster pace because I knew we were close and I couldn’t wait to see the view. When I popped up out of the trees it was amazing. Way off to the south there were some clouds but every other direction it was crystal clear blue sky. I took my snowshoes off because they were becoming annoying on the rock and headed to the summit. I could hear dad shouting with joy when he popped out. I was concerned that if anyone was around and heard us they would think he was in trouble when in fact he just thought the view was so amazing.

At the top we took our usual pictures and dad called mom to say we were in fact at the top. We stayed on a bit longer then we usually do because it was so beautiful. There was a little wind so we decided to head off the summit to snack and have some hot chocolate. As we were heading down we encountered our only other person of the day. It was a guy coming up alone. He had on t-shirt (I wasn’t that warm) and a wool hat that said Patrick. We spoke briefly and then continued down. I decided it would be fun to boot slide down. So I would run a few steps and slide. Repeat. Sure I fell a few times but boy did we get down real quick. We trudged along the flat section of the trail and out to the snowmobile trail. Now there were snowmobiles coming by. This part seemed so much longer going back. It was slightly up hill and I was pretty tired.

Thoughts: I love winter hiking. The views were absolutely amazing. Plus you get crisp, clear air that you can’t get in the summer. 10 degrees isn’t that bad to hike in.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Monadnock in the Summer

Mt. Monadnock in the summer

What better way to introduce some friends to hiking up a mountain then to take them to Mt. Monadnock. It’s a relatively short hike with some rock scrambling. Which I guess I failed to tell them. Hahaha, my bad. Somehow I convinced Stephanie to be at my house at 6:30am. I was extremely tired, to say the least. I had been at the New England Country Fest the night before in Foxboro and didn’t get home until the wee hours of the morning. I think this is the only reason she agreed to come along since I wasn’t going to be on my A game. At a little after 7 we met Michelle and Ryan in Plainfield. Luckily Ryan said he would drive the rest of the way. Up we went.

The parking lot wasn’t crowded yet when we got there. I thought it was because it was suppose to be so warm but later when we got back it was packed so I guess others were just getting a late start. We got our backpacks ready and put on the bug spray. I used my Ben’s with DEET and the other three used Green Irene 100% natural bug spray. No one got bites so it appears that Green Irene survived the first test. We may have to put her to the test some more. Off we went, and the sweat started pouring down. Goodness was it hazy, hot, and humid. We went the same way as last time, White Dot to Cascade Link to Red Dot. When we got to Red Dot things started heading up more. This is when I started to hear it from some unnamed individuals. They were not quite ready to be doing some rock scrambling. Although there was some whining they did a good job and were scrambling along without a problem. A little before the top all parties agreed this would be a nicer hike if it was cooler and less hazy (hopefully a fall trip back). When we got to the top we encountered the crowds. I was pretty surprised how many people were up there on such a hot day. The top was rather comfortable though with a breeze. We found a slab to sit on and enjoy some snacks and get some pictures.

After a nice little stay it was time to head down. We went the White Cross. There were a few times the ladies needed to scoot down on their bums because they weren’t feeling confident in their balance. This was rather amusing to me but hey, they got down and didn’t get hurt. We got down and everyone was very happy to take off their shoes. I was really proud of everyone, even though there was some whining, they did a good job and kept a decent pace. Good Work Steph, Michelle, and Ryan!