Archive for March 2014

Microspike Lost on Jewell Trail

Dropped above 3500′ elevation: one microspike, size medium

if found, please contact Fred Knight, fred@knightway.org.

See full report on hike to Mt Jefferson here.

Thanks

Mt Jefferson via Jewell Trail

Sierra Wynn (10),

Chuck Wynn (46, in his sweet spot),

Fred Knight (63, past his sweet spot*)

To start, click on the map. startWe managed a long hike (9 hours, >10 miles, >4000′ rise) with ideal weather (warm, sunny, calm) and some demanding snow conditions (many postholes, slush in parts, and some ice). A nice adventure with good performance by all ages.  Two of the team (Wynns) did Mt Clay as well.  Got back before any ugly weather set in and enjoyed the magnificent views above treeline.
startsnowman

Pictures with iphone (postholes below) and Panasonic pocket camera (above) and both (final pair way below).

See all pictures here.

Arriving at the cog railway parking lot around 8am just like I had last weekend, we set off on the Jewell Trail with a range of gear: boots duct-taped to snow pants with slightly too large microspikes (Sierra), microspikes with snow shoes ready (Fred), and plastic boots with crampons hanging on pack (Chuck).  With the temperature at 35, we anticipated a spongy trail—which is what we got.  After 45 minutes, I switched to snow shoes, as did Sierra soon after.  Her snow shoes required adjustment when she kept sliding without any traction, and the team realized that Dad had put them on with the toe strap under the shoe covering the cleat.  Proper installation complete, the trip to treeline was fine for the snow shoers, but young Chuck labored through many postholes.  Strong as an ox is young Chuck, still in his sweet spot.  And Sierra has the Wynn stamina, with an accompanying happy disposition.
startsnowman
The emergence above treeline (with movie) gave us tremendous views with blue sky, a snowy set of Presidential peaks, and clouds beneath, fading slowly away to reveal Franconia Ridge in the distance and eventually the whole valley back down to Marshfield Station and Bretton Woods.  After we set off to climb to the Gulfside Trail, Fred bushwhacked north while Sierra and Chuck kept to Jewell.  I waited where I joined the Gulfside, out of sight from the Wynn team, who finally emerged over the rise in the trail having done an excursion up to Mt Clay, which was above me.  We then took another hour or more to get to the top of Mt Jefferson, arriving there at 2pm.
startsnowman
The trip back took until 5:25 pm, exactly 9 hours after the start.  We reached treeline after 1:15 (at 3:30pm).  Chuck and Sierra built a snowman (see documentation), and we did the final 2.5 miles in ~1.5 hours.  Although it got cloudy, there was no rain (which we hit south of Manchester on the drive home). A tremendously fun hike with a superb team!

Summary:

~10 miles, ~4000′ elevation gain, 9 hours, great views with warm temperatures and little breeze

See all pictures here and movie here.


* The business about “sweet spot” has not been discussed previously in these reports. Rumor has it that being “past your sweet spot” does not disqualify you from doing these hikes, but recovery time is longer. Suffice it to say that young Chuck really didn’t need snowshoes because he could withstand the battering of numerous postholes while Fred required snowshoes to survive the hike. That is one distinguishing characteristic of being “in your sweet spot” versus being “past your sweet spot.”

Jewell Trail, to treeline (that’s all)

Fred Knight

I got going in the car a little after 5am, listened to Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent on the drive, and arrived just before 8 at the cog railway hikers’ parking lot, the second car.  The day looked promising with good views up to the peaks and Mt Jefferson, my goal, gleaming between the forested ridge and the cloudy sky.  I got going at 8:20, headed past the cog railway station to the Jewell Cutoff Trail, jumped the snow bank, and was on a fresh blanket of 3″ or so of new snow.  Microspikes seemed fine and one solo snowshoer had been on the trail yesterday.

After the cutoff joined the main trail, the snowshoer took off on a bushwhack loop back to the railway, and I was left with unbroken trail.  Very pleasant with two layers on plus hat and mitts.  At about 40 minutes, I shifted to snowshoes due to windblown drifts, just like Mike and I did two years ago.  The trail had a good base, but breaking trail kept my pace slow
.  The new snow depth increased over the next couple miles.  I broke out on the exposed parts of the ridge to see views of north and south along the Presidentials.  It was apparent that the wind was going to be a challenge farther up, and the forecast predicted increasing winds.  My expectations of getting to Mt Jefferson were low.  The trail is a beauty, the woods were laden with new snow, and conditions other than the wind were perfect.

Two hours later, as I was approaching treeline, I added layers.  Having donned my goggles for the final turn into the open, it was obvious the wind was atrocious.  Wild, in fact. What a maelstrom. I turned back at 11am.  Coming back down the trail, the wind had completely obliterated my tracks, and snow started to fall.  Passing through the exposed areas of the trail, it was obvious that conditions had deteriorated.  Still, I enjoyed the trip up and down tremendously.  Nobody else was on this beauty of a trail.  Too bad I couldn’t go farther.  An enjoyable morning. Back to parking lot by 12:51. At least 15 cars, all for hikers on the Ammonoosuk, I guess.

One composite overview of the hike (pdf).

Summary:

~5 miles in 4.5 hours, snowshoes after initial 40 minutes with microspikes.  New snow untouched but good base on trail.  Wind picked up, especially on the way back.  Turned around at treeline due to howling wind.   Conditions worsened on the return: snow and wind.  Fun day.

Two hikes: Welch-Dickey and Squam

Steve Sawyer and Fred Knight

On our way up to the Whites, we decided to add Welch-Dickey near Waterville (Exit 28) before going to the Squam Range.  We had scuttled our previous plan of Mt Jefferson, thinking that staying south would give us easier hiking due to the advertised large amount of snow (20+ inches) and wind, but conditions on Mt Eisenhower look fine. However, Sunday was too windy; see this one from Mt Washington.  As it was, the new snow was at most a few inches where we hiked.  Not sure about farther north.  The day was calm and warm, and the footing was decent with a great cushion of soft snow on a solid base.  All told, ~10 miles in about 6 hours.  See pics here.map

Hike #1: Welch-Dickey

The loop over the two peaks is 4.4 miles and can be treacherous withe bare ice falls.  The new snow made footing great.  The sky was overcast but clouds were high, so we got good views.  The trail, which Steve had done before, was quite smooth with some sweet passages in rocks and with open slabs to cross.

Summary: 4.4 miles in 2.75 hours, 1900′ rise

Hike #2: Mt Morgan and Mt Percival

steveWe drove to the Mt Morgan Trail parking lot and started up at 11am. The hike is the reverse of the one that Charlie and Doug Anderson and I did 15 months ago. I omitted taking my snowshoes, given the small amount of snow that we encountered on the first hike. We both used microspikes throughout. The snow got a little deeper, but the base was stable with only a few postholes. We had a bit of blue sky, but it was mostly overcast with great views of Squam and Winnepausaukee and the surrounding hills. Only slight bother was snow falling from trees and some sleet at the end of the hike.

Summary: 5.4 miles in 3:20, 1700′ rise, perfect conditions.

Two weekends on and around Long Pond

Fred Knight, 3 and 7 Mar 2014

I did a series of hikes on Long Pond, French Mt., Sanders Hill Loop, Roundhill Loop, and Blueberry Hill. Starting and ending point was the house at 236 Beaver Brook Estates, Rome, ME.

3 Mar 2014

For Monday’s start of getfit@mit, I did Fawn Point up to RoundHill and discovered the snowmobile tracks along Kennebec Highlands Trail.  I came back to Blueberry Hill and did a bushwhack down the slope to Long Pond and back along the shore to the house.  270 minutes

7 Mar 2014

Back up to the house for electrical work, I took snowshoes across Long Pond, bushwhacked up to French Mt., then to Sanders Hill Loop and along Kennebec Highlands Trail to Roundhill Loop.  Then a short road walk uphill to Blueberry Hill.and did the same bushwhack down the slope to Long Pond and back along the shore to the house.  360 minutes

8 Mar 2014

Annual Town Meeting of Rome, ME at 10am.  I arrived late to find two greeters, the moderator and another man, on the front porch of the town building.  They gave me a warm welcome because they were searching for a quorum to start the town meeting.  Even though I objected that I was ineligible due to still being a resident of MA, they said I counted (indeed I was needed) to start the meeting.  They needed 53 people.  I was number 52, and Barbara arrived just after I entered the building.  I sat across th aisle from Pete Kallin, former head of BRCA.  The meeting took over three hours and was an event to remember, with all the ingredients of an entertaining event.

Then, in the afternoon, I shoveled a path along the garage through piled snow and ice so that the septic line up to the leaching field might unfreeze sooner in the spring. Only one more snow occurred and we might be able to use the house come early spring. We’ll see.