Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cannon

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.

Kinsmans

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.






video
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!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

North (#20) and South (#21) Twin

The Twins #20 and #21
August 3, 2009

We headed out from Waterville Valley in search of our next destination. We knew we wanted a fire road off of route 3. We thought from the map it should be the third one we came to but we were expecting signs. At first we went past it but then we saw the “You are now leaving the White Mountain National Forest” sign. So we turned around and turned into this road. There were some signs for camping but nothing to let you know this was the trailhead for North Twin. It wasn’t until we went the 2 miles to the little parking area that we could confirm we were in fact in the right place.

Stepping out of the car you could hear the Little River rushing. At first you kind of hike away from the river but soon enough you are hiking right along it. We had read that it was near impossible to do the first crossing in high water and that you could bushwhack to the third crossing. The water was defiantly too high but there was an obvious trail following along the river. The trail was very muddy though. If you are going to do this trail now I highly recommend having high waterproof boots. We got to the third crossing and pondered ways across. There were two trees that maybe could be used to shimmy across but I wasn’t high on that idea. We went up river a little bit and it appeared to have more exposed rocks to use. We defiantly had to step into the water but were able to find rocks that weren’t too deep. At one point some water splashed up onto my socks but nothing got down into the boot. This first part of the trail was only a very slight incline so now it was time to head up. Along the way we met Dave, the North Twin Spur trail maintenance man. He was happy to see we weren’t soaking wet. He had been up on the mountain for the last week doing work and was wondering what the river crossing was going to be like. We chatted for a few minutes and then parted ways. The trail up seemed fairly easy to me after my recent adventures in the Cascades.

There was nothing too exciting until we got to a clearing not too far from the top of North Twin. We stopped and snacked and then headed on. We took the short side path at the summit to have another view. The clouds were starting to melt away so the views weren’t that great yet. As we headed along the spur there was one small steep section but nothing too bad. On we went. The hike between the two was a lot easier then it looked when we were on North. We reached the bald summit of South Twin as more of the clouds were disappearing. It was a bit chilly and breezy at the top. I put my fleece on and sat up top to eat while dad sought protection among the rocks. We got our pictures and talked to two other groups before heading back down to check two more 4kers off our list.



video


Thoughts: No blisters with my new boots and socks!