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.