Archive for hiking

Pierce and Eisenhower

I needed to get my Limmer boots attended to in Intervale on Friday and arranged to meet Richard Bissonette on Saturday morning at the AMC Highland Center for a hike to either Webster or up the Crawford Path to Mt Pierce and Mt Eisenhower. The four of us chose Pierce and Eisenhower with a loop return via Edmund’s Path and the access road (not a highlight!). Lots of people on the trails and a good time with return about 3:20.
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My idea to sleep in the car at the Crawford Path parking lot did not appeal to me when I arrived, so I splurged and booked a room at the AMC Highland Center for plush accommodations, dinner and breakfast, and a comfy start to the hike. After breakfast, Mike Willet, Jeff Pray, Richard Bissonette, and I started up Crawford Path at about 8:30. We donned our microspikes fairly soon and kept them on until near the road walk at the end. At the Mitzpah Cutoff junction, Jeff and I chose the shorter route to Pierce while Richard and Mike went to Mitzpah Hut and then up the steep part of the WebsterCliff Trail to Pierce. We found a few 1′-deep drifts on the way to Eisenhower, but it was easy hiking, almost no wind, and great vistas to Washington with undercast drifting across the col between Pierce and Eisenhower. Temps near 30. Even atop Eisenhower the breeze was gentle. Richard and Mike suggested returning via Edmund’s Path, which was new to me and had cushioning snow most of the way down. The final, 2.4-mile slog on the road was not exciting.

Good hike; we were of similar speeds. Jeff was the most stylish with color-coordinated pants and his versatile wool buff. Mike and Richard are fellow hikers and kayakers of many years. Jeff has joined their team; I’m a hanger-on. A very pleasant day.

Summary:
~10 miles, 3300′ rise, up to 6″ of powdery snow, under 7 hrs

Mt Moosilauke

At the Glencliff trailhead, there were six of us—Katherine Rosenfeld, Scott, Meg, Jasper, and Keith Stuart, and me—and, after getting to Mt Moosilauke in the clouds, we all got back together at the end. A good hike of about 6 hours but not up to my expectations for clear weather, snow-free trail, and temperatures in the low 20s. Instead, we got completely overcast skies, an ice layer with up to 4″ of snow on top, and temperatures near freezing. And I neglected to bring my microspikes! My scouting on the NWS web sites 2 days earlier led to the wrong conclusions. We had a good hike.
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Charlie Abert showed up at the Forbes Road rendezvous with a severe cold and begged off. We had my van and Staurt’s car and arrived close together around 8am and got going about 8:30. The trail is quite smooth rising slowly at first, then with two steeper sections and a flat section in between. Ice started at 2000′ and the snow got deeper as we reached the South Peak in about 2.5 hours. After a break, we decided on going to main peak instead of the circle down the Carriage Road and the Hurricane Trail. No views at the summit, but not too much wind either. See the pics.

On the way down, the boys and Katherine took the lead, and I lagged far behind, picking my way on rocks to avoid slipping. I took a few falls, but we gathered again at 3000′ at about 1:30. Below that elevation things got easier for me with very little ice. Then the skies cleared, and we could see the snow-capped peak against the blue sky—no doubt some nice views.

Summary:
7.8 miles, 3500′ elevation rise, 5:40, near book time.

Mt Katahdin

The highest point in Maine was my goal to climb and offered a good chance to test my knees again. My call to do a mid-week hike only got one taker, James Streitman. The hill did not disappoint: 10.4 miles, 4188′ vertical in just under 10 hrs. A grueling 10 hours for me, and James was kind enough to slow his pace to stay with me, especially on the descent. We took the Hunt Trail from Katahdin Stream Campground to the broad expanse near the summit. The Hunt Trail, which is the end of the Appalachian Trail, starts out gently but steepens dramatically, culminating in a boulder traverse of 700′ called the Hunt Spur, until you do the last 900′ in 1.6 miles on a broad plateau (Tableland). This is a final 5.2 miles of the Appalachian Trail, and we saw a number of joyful finishers near and at the top. What a culminating trail for the magnificent 2160-mile trek! To quote the Baxter State Park Planning Guide:

5.2 miles one-way Elevation gain 4,188 ft

The Hunt trail is one of the more popular trails to the summit of Katahdin. This is because of the outstanding features along the trail such as picturesque Katahdin Stream Falls, the Boulders on Hunt Spur, the traverse of the Tableland, and extensive views in all directions, as 2.4 miles of the trail is above tree line.
Difficulty level: Very Strenuous
Trailhead Parking lot: Katahdin Stream Campground

A few more pics are here, and James’ documenting pics are here, including a panorama documenting the wind and heights. I can take partial credit here, due to my struggle to ascend.

Here is the GPS track with stats from James’ watch.

Click on any of these thumbnails to get the larger versions. I like the left one, taken before we started our hike from the Katahdin Stream Campground.

After driving from Boston to Long Pond separately, we got up early from my camp on Long Pond to drive the 3 hours to reach the Togue Pond Gate near the opening time of 6am. After driving to the Katahdin Stream Campground, we started on flat terrain at 7am. There were a couple dicey places at the foot of the boulders on Hunt Spur. Finally when he reached the Tableland, we could see the summit, which we reached just shy of noon. The wind had picked on the Hunt Spur, and I donned my coat and converto leg bottoms to have some nourishment. Coming down Hunt Spur was easier than going up but still slow. Almost~ as slow for me was the long stretch down to Katahdin Stream Falls, after which the trail flattens. I was beat after getting back to the campground, where we had dinner and slept from dark to sunrise at tent site #24. Quite pleasant as I brought two sleeping bags for the cool night, 45 degrees in the morning. We headed home early, so James could beat the traffic in Boston and got to listen to the entire interview by Sam Harris on The Nature of Consciousness, A Conversation with Thomas Metzinger. Stopping at the camp was a good way to split the driving and hiking. Camping was fine. We saw lots of good colors on the drive back, which looked better in the daylight. The hike was indeed a slog for me, but my knees did well. The hike was exhilarating and exhausting; I am sore but happy to have done it—once.

Summary: 10.4 miles and 4188′ vertical rise in 10 hrs.

Mesa Trail

We weren’t prepared or adventurous enough to weather the new snow at the Continental Divide (or drive to Bear Lake where there is still 4′ of snow with a new 6″from last night and today), but it was a short drive to Chautauqua, where there was a manageable 6″ of new snow, and we had easy access to the Mesa Trail. After 8 weeks since my second knee surgery, I wanted to test my hiking ability on an easy trail. Mark and I had a 2-hour, 4.4-mile hike from Chautauqua to NCAR and back. The trail is even and slightly up hill for the first half, then pretty level; elevation gain is only ~600′.

Mark showed me Google pedometer, so I saved the route there.

A few more pics are here.

Summary: 4.4 miles, light snow, 2.25 hours, 600′ elevation gain.

FlumeSlide-LibertySpring

We organized Charlie’s desire to do the Flume Slide in winter. We did it in two groups, not the planned one group, when I parked in the wrong parking lot and we missed our connection with Richard and his buddy. They preceded us up the Flume Slide Trail and got back over an hour before us. We found out after the hike that the footprints we saw on the trail were theirs.

The 6 stream crossings were a challenge—after 3 days of record high temperatures. The pictures show the accomplished stream crossers in action. Remember to get fine detail with double clicks on the images.

It took about 5 hours to get to the top of Flume Slide, with the last 1500′ of elevation on the steepest trail I can remember. I was beat. Charlie arrived before Steve and I got up. At the top were 3 youngsters who had caught up to us. With a bit of relaxation, one of them headed off with Charlie while Steve and I recuperated. However, the other two youngsters waited until Steve and I were ready to head off—and they said they’d accompany us to the top of Mt Flume and over to Mt Liberty. What nice kids—Olin graduates.

Our final 2 hours was going down the Liberty Spring Trail. We got back at 5:20, saw the sunset against the Franconia Ridge, and drove home. I was pooped, but it was a good hike. That Flume Slide is a dilly.

On the way home, Charlie divulged his enlistment of the young hikers to protect his companions after their becoming exhausted on the Flume Slide. I can only say that we felt SO comforted by this support. Nobody should say The Beef is not a nice guy.

Summary: 9.6 miles, 3910′ elevation rise, 9:00 hrs, All pics

FallingWaters-FranconiaRidge-OldBridlePath

Under cloudy but mild conditions, I did the classic hike from the Falling Waters Trailhead, going up Falling Waters Trail, crossing the Franconia Ridge to Mt Lafayette, and then down Old Bridle Path. I started out alone at 7:40. Other similar hikes are here (9 hrs) and here (6 hrs). The Falling Waters Trail was superb, perfect with microspikes. At the treeline, I got ready to add layers for the ridge and discovered that my fleece was missing. Darn! I trudged back down a 100′ or so and found it hooked on a branch. Climbing back to the treeline, I met one guy who had just done the traverse—running! Then I met a couple who turned back because of the wind. I added my layers and started out, but I, too, turned back at the first col due to the wind. Returning to the top of Falling Waters, I met another guy, Richard, who thought the conditions weren’t that bad. Turns out Richard is a regular in the Whites, having hiked here for 30 years. I immediately asked if I could accompany him, and we agreed. Here’s Charlie Abert emerging from the same place on a bright, clear day. We got over the ridge traverse in about an hour, meeting one big group who had started out at 8am and were doing the reverse route. On the traverse, we were mostly in the clouds with some partial clearing. Still mostly foggy with 20-30 mph wind in places. Richard knows the route well.

After a respite at Mt Lafayette in that famous lee behind the summit—looking in the direction of Owl’s Head—we headed down to Greenleaf Hut and then back to the cars. I stayed with Richard all the way back. He’s a fine hiking companion.

Summary: 8.9 miles, 4154′ elevation rise, 6:30 (nominal time), All pics

Kinsman Overnight

Four of us, Steve Sawyer, Scott Stuart, Mike Pineault, and Fred Knight, did another overnight, this time to North and South Kinsman with a stay near the Kinsman Shelter. It was near 0 overnight, and the second day started with slightly warmer temperatures but a good breeze and lots of low clouds. Clearing occurred in the afternoon of the second day, after we came down from the Kinsman summits.

Three collections of photos. My photos are here. Steve’s photos are here. Scott’s photos are here.

Like some other excursions to Kinsman (e.g., overnights in early 2014, 2013, 2010, and 2009 and day hikes in 2012 and 2009.), we left from Lafayette Campground, hiked to Lonesome Pond Hut (1.6 mi), then up the Fishin’ Jimmie Trail (1.9 mi), to the shelter. I’d forgotten how steep the trail gets after a stretch of undulation. I was exhausted at the end. We had started late with the intention of spending the night and then doing North Kinsman (0.6 mi) and South Kinsman (another 0.9 mi) the next morning. I’m glad we followed that plan.

Following dinner, there was not much left to do besides get into sleeping accommodations: Fred in his bivvy, Scott in a solo tent, and Mike and Steve in a 2-person, 4-season tent. As soon as we arrived, I had used Mike’s shovel to produce my bivvy, which worked pretty well. The wind picked up during the night, luckily from the east which effectively closed my Tyvek ground sheet over me, enhancing the warmth. We all slept in to almost 8am, although I had 3 calls of nature during the night (after too much tea for dinner) and another call for ibuprofen to relieve some pains in my legs due to the too-tight toe box at the end of my bivvy. Each time I do one of these bivvies, I hope for perfection, but this one had some attributes (nice slide in with pads and good comfort with underneath snow) and some flaws (toe box that was too tight and hiking pole droop). However, the 12″ snow cover allowed what I got done—thanks to Mike’s shovel.

My photos are here. Steve’s photos are here. Scott’s photos are here.

After breakfast, where Scott and Mike provided lots of hot water, we got going to the peaks, 3 miles round trip. Lots of traffic on the well-broken trails. Still socked in when we reached South Kinsman, but clearing started as we looked back on where we’d been on the way back to camp. Then downhill to Lonesome Lake Hut again for a break and good view of Franconia Ridge, then quickly back to the car about 3:30pm.

We never needed our snowshoes. Too bad we lugged them to and from the shelter.

Summary: 10.5 miles RT from Lafayette campground to North and South Kinsman and back, with overnight at Kinsman Shelter.

Squam Range Again

Scott Stuart and I drove north on the day after Thanksgiving to hike Mt Morgan and Mt Percival, with an additional jaunt to West Rattlesnake at the end. We did the clockwise route in ~2-3″ of fresh snow; no need for traction. Pretty nice snowy landscape, but opaque clouds. No views due to hanging clouds; what we might have seen is here. After returning to the trailhead about 12:15, we walked up to West Rattlesnake, thinking that the lower elevation might afford us a view of Squam Lake. No joy. Then, as we were starting the drive home, we got a view from the car, confirming that the cloud ceiling was about 50′!

Summary:
~ 7.5 miles, Mt Morgan, Mt Percival, West Rattlesnake, no views due to LOW clouds, 5 hours

Another Monadnock Hike

Four of us, Steve Smith, Rachel Roley, Romain Fetick, and Fred Knight, got up early on a cool, cloudy Sunday and did Monadnock in a loop hike: up via Parker, Lost Farm, Cliff Walk, Amphitheater, and Smith Summit and down via Pumpelly, Red Spot, Cascade Link, and White Dot. See Steve’s Motion X track. Steve Smith took a raft of neat pics with enhanced colors. Romain took some good shots with colors as they were.

Summary:
About 6.2 miles, 1800′ elevation gain in 5:45. Lots of clouds, but we beat the rain.

Back in the Saddle!

Just less than one year ago, Charlie Abert and I did what was a fun hike to Mt Liberty and Mt Flume, on a warm May day with the remains of the epic winter’s snow underfoot at the upper elevations. However, that hike did something BAD to my left knee. Since then, I got a new left knee and have been getting ready for a return to the trail. Now, just one day over 13 weeks from the knee surgery, I’m back in the saddle with a successful test hike on Mt Monadnock, along with Charlie and another avid hiker Mark. See all the pics or click on one of these photos.
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The three of us took the trails that Matt Hansen and I did ~17 months ago, parking at the Rt 124 lot, heading up the road and up to the Half Way House site, then off to Monte Rosa knoll, then to the top via Smith Summit Trail. We took just over 2 hours to reach the crowded summit, ate lunch in the usual place, and headed down—very slowly for me—the steep part of the White Arrow Trail. I set a record slow pace, gingerly navigating the rocky path. Finally, just where we cut off to Monte Rosa and just above the Half Way House site, the trail got wide and smooth—a welcome treat for me.

I did fine. My knee seemed workable on the trail, with only a few stretches on the way up where I had to maneuver due to lack of agility. Coming down was a different story on the rocky and, for me, treacherous White Arrow Trail. On the first 2/3 of elevation drop in about half the distance, I made continued slow progress and longed for the less steep section. Mark and Charlie let me catch up a couple times. All together, the knee worked. Great! In fact, at home I felt fine after the drive back.

Summary: under 5 miles, 1600′ elevation rise, 4:25, nice trail via Monte Rosa and Smith Summit up to the crowded rocky peak, then down the steep White Arrow Trail.

Mt Liberty and Mt Flume

Charlie Abert (aka Beef) and Fred Knight (aka tarpy)


Panorama from View atop Mt Flume (click for higher resolution) (or all the pics)
(or a panorama movie)
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We were the only takers finally for a good hike with balmy temperatures and fantastic views.

After a not-so-Alpine start, an easy drive, a slight backtrack after an oops at the closed Exit 33 on I93, and finally reaching an almost-empty Cascade/Pemi Trail parking lot, we started at 10:10 on the 0.9-mile walk to the Liberty Spring Trailhead. We were only the third car in the parking lot, so we expected little traffic on the trail. We continued without any hint of snow past the Flume Slide Trail junction and across the major and minor stream crossings, until we finally got to the start of a monorail and snow, say above ~2800′ elevation. Donning microspikes (Fred) or crampons (Charlie), we continued up the Liberty Spring Trail for a total of ~2 hours to reach the Franconia Ridge Trail. On the way we greeted a couple other hikers, including one from Denmark—an avid hiker who came up Old Bridle Path, did the entire Franconia Ridge to Mt Flume and was coming down Liberty Spring Trail. (I was glad we hadn’t done Mt Lafayette, because the crowded parking lot indicated many hikers there.) It was just 0.3 miles to Mt Liberty and a 360-degree vista with gorgeously clear weather.

This Hike 16 March 2013

From both peaks we enjoyed superb vistas, warmth from the almost 60-degree temperatures and gentle breeze, relaxation, and some sitdowns. We could see all the Whites, including the fresh snow on Mts Lincoln and Lafayette, the Presidentials, and Mt Moosilauke. All our snow was old but solid enough not to need snowshoes, as long as we stayed on the monorail. Only a few postholes through the entire hike. We ate lunch on Mt Liberty and then did the 1.5 miles to Mt Flume, where we had another snack. We had the company of a few other hikers doing Osseo (RT) and Flume Slide (up or down). We briefly considered going down the Flume Slide Trail; that’s briefly, very briefly. At 2:38, we started back, reaching Mt Liberty in 45 minutes. Then it was back down Liberty Spring, finally reaching the car at 5:55. The entire day was clear, wonderfully warm but with stable snow—a very pleasant hike.


All the pics. and


Summary:

10.1 miles, 4270′ elevation gain in 7:45 on a warm day with lots of snow remaining.

Ammonoosuc Ravine to Crawford Path with Overnight

Fred Knight (2 days) and John Moores (1 day)

I wanted an end-of-the-snow-season overnight, and John wanted a good day hike. The scheme was to drive separately, park cars at both ends, and do the route that four of us aborted due to poor visibility, as it appears on the map (below) from that last outing. This time, the day was glorious. John and I made it to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut in 2.5 hours, where we ate lunch along with lots of other people. Then we did a somewhat off-trail, and at times steep but cushioned by snow, ascent of Mt Monroe.


0830Same location as 2012 hike.


Although the day started partly cloudy and below freezing, it was probably near 40 degrees with little wind and perfectly clear skies atop Mt Monroe. After some admiration of the views, John headed back, and I actually fell asleep in a cozy rock niche. About 2:30, I headed for the base of Mt Eisenhower, which took me a couple hours. On the way, I was passed by one solo guy doing the entire Presidential Traverse and then three more old geezers doing the same. They were magnificent! What stamina! I was wearing snowshoes, but the trail was bare in some spots. In addition, one tab on my microspike came apart on my left foot. The snowshoes did well because the snow was deep in protected spots and quite soft.

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All pics are here.


At the camp we used last summer for the second night of the Presidential Traverse, I made a snow bed, tarp-less but with my usual Tyvek shell in the snow with nested bags. Actually, I wasn’t sure of the exact spot where we camped last summer; it looked so different in the winter. The night was clear until close to morning. I watched the Big Dipper rotate around the North Star through the night. The clouds came in before sunrise, and the wind picked up to become a real force. When I got up, I packed things while remaining inside my bivvy, keeping pretty warm inside the Tyvek shell. The night had been completely cozy. The only difficulty was actually sleeping that long.

I got going at 6:45, started up Mt Eisenhower but aborted due to the increasing wind. However, I lost the base trail and had to bushwhack slowly through the scrub to get the other side of Mt. Eisenhower and pick up Crawford Path. The bushwhack took 1.3 hours. From there back took a little over 2 hours. I even aborted Mt Pierce due to the wind. I met 4 of the AMC crew on their way to Mitzpah Springs hut; they were carrying boards and equipment for repair, but most of their gear came in by helicopter on good days. Today was a no-fly day.

Summary:

John: Up to Mt Monroe and back on the sunny Sunday
Fred: ~10 miles over 2 days with a cozy overnight at the base of Mt Eisenhower.

North and South Hancock

Fred Knight, Mike Pineault, Steve Sawyer, Steve Smith

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From the list of possible hikes that I proposed, Mike chose the Hancocks to get two more peaks for his personal list. We had a good trek with a gentle up-hill trail, only 1300′ over 3.6 miles or 7% grade, until the loop with the peaks starting at the third junction. There, we chose the CW route with North peak first. That’s where the going got steep: 1200′ in under 0.7 miles, down 100′ then up 1100′—that’s steep, a ~40% grade. At the outlook from the North Peak, we stopped for lunch. Then we did the 1.4 miles to South Hancock, passing the only other group we saw; they had passed us at the loop junction and took the CCW route. There are two outlooks at the peaks, but the entire trip never gets above treeline. The way down off South Hancock was also steep, but the snow made it bouncy. I took twice as long as the others, a usual situation. The trip back was easy and quick. We arrived back at the trailhead after 6 hrs 7 minutes, just under book time according to the WMG (9.8 miles, 2600′).

The trail was well-traveled throughout—microspikes all the way—but 3 of us carried snowshoes. Tall Steve and I left our snowshoes at the loop junction; Mike kept his and never used them (except to catch overhead branches); Small (smart) Steve left his in the car! Temperatures in the 20s all day; little wind; skies with some high clouds and sun breaking through at nice moments; some haze; very pleasant all around.

Steve, Steve, and Mike drove home, but I stayed overnight at the Hancock Campground so I could drive to Limmer Boots the next morning to get my custom boots altered. Nobody else in the campground, but its roads and parking areas were well plowed. I shoveled a tent sitestart. The night was a cozy one with my triple nested sleeping bags, consisting of my 50-year-old Sears red bag on the outside, my down Marmot Never Summer down bag in the middle layer, and my parka/bag-bottom on the inside. When weight is not an issue, this is a delicious combo. Had Thai Chicken for dinner and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce in the morningstart. In between, 12 hours of blissful sleep (ahem, with one call of nature in between). Drove to Intervale in the morning, visited Limmer where I left my boots for alteration, then drove home.

Pics here.

Summary:

A brisk, 6-hr 10-mile jaunt on well-traveled trail. Mainly clear skies with some good views near the peaks.

Whiteface and Passaconaway


Fred Knight, Mike Pineault, Steve Sawyer, Scott Stuart

Panorama from View atop Mt Passaconaway (click for higher resolution) (or all the pics)
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After some planning and an evolving forecast for the high elevations, we decided on an 2-day hike to Mt Whiteface and Mt Passaconaway with tenting at the abandoned Camp Rich, just below the Mt Passaconaway summit. We had planned a hike from Crawford Notch to Marshfield Station with an overnight at the base of Mt Eisenhower. However, the forecast winds of up to 80 mph on Mt Washington and the exposed traverse at or above 4000′ from Mt Pierce to Lakes of the Clouds Hut argued for an alternative, with shelter from winds and still with challenges and good views of the southern Whites. A further potential complication was the expected snow in Boston, but we started just after it began and outdistanced the storm as we drove north.
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Our hike took the Blueberry Ledge Cutoff to Blueberry Ledges up the Mt Whiteface. There were a few sketchy locations on the ledges, but we got through them safely. Then we had the couple miles along the ridge from 4000′ down to 3500′ and over Dicey Mills Trail to the ascent to Mt Passaconaway. Just after we met the Dicey Mills Trail, we got to the location of Camp Rich, with a clearing but no shelter. The arrival was at 3:20, after 5 hours of hiking, and I welcomed the end of the day. We got down to setting up tents and getting dinner. A stream nearby provided water, and Scott and Steve got their stoves going to heat water for dinner. My Spaghetti with meat sauce from Mountian House freeze dried was pretty good, but I remembered my previous meal more fondly than I found this one. Still it was piping hot and good for 440 calories. Steve dined on macaroni and cheese; Mike on lasagne, and Scott on some of his varied menu, which included an evening adult beverage, shared to celebrate Burns Night.

We had two tents and my tarp arrangement. Everybody had a good, long night, after we turned in at 7:30. My new idea for piling snow on my bivvy did not work and was compromised more by the poor design than the lack of snow. The snow depth down to the icy crust layer was only 6″, so I settled for the uninsulated tarp over my Tyvex bivvy. The crossed tent poles holding up the tarp were insufficient to hold up the snow, so I settled for piling on the three sides and not on the top. As it was, I enjoyed a cozy night after I switched my sleeping bag to cover my head. Previously, I had wanted to keep it at my neck to allow free rotation of my head in my parka hood, but this proved too leaky. The new method was beautifully leak-proof, and I was very warm. (Mike’s suggestion!) The wind picked up during the night with some good gusts, but the forest around us provided good protection—much different than if we had been at the base of Mt Eisenhower where the wind would have been atrocious.

Our first day had high clouds, complete overcast, and some snow, just a dusting compared to the 5″ in Wayland. The second day was cooler, clear, and breezy—a super day in the Whites. We were back by 1pm and got a final view of Whiteface from the parking lot.

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Pics

See all the pics here.

Summary

A fun 2-day hike, ~13 miles, 3100′ rise, 2 peaks (Whiteface and Passaconaway), overnight at Camp Rich

Sandwich Dome

Steve Smith and Fred Knight

180-deg Panorama from ridge (click for higher resolution)
panoWith temperatures expected to stay in the single digits and with increasing wind expected, Steve and I got started at 8am from the Sandwich Mtn. Trailhead, located just before Waterville Valley. The morning light was still hitting the hills. The Sandwich Mtn Trail climbs steadily and then more steeply onto a ridge where we got our first view of the Whites. We got to the Daniels Brook Trail junction after 2 hrs and 2.5 miles, all with microspikes on a broken trail. With 1.3 miles to go for the Sandwich Dome summit, we soon switched to snowshoes due to deeper snow and an unbroken trail. We reached the summit at 11:20. The sky was almost cloudless, a gorgeous blue with 0 deg F temperature and not too much wind—simply a treat with good views toward all the Whites. Since our first view, clouds has gathered to the north, and Franconia Ridge and the southern end of the Presidentials were in clouds. We could see the nearby peaks is bright sunlight.

Pictures:

All the pics are here.
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On our return, we did the 0.2-mile excursion to Mt Jennings with a good view of the route to Sandwich Dome that we had just hiked. The return was back to microspikes. We met one solo hiker and a group coming up; otherwise no other hikers. Quite a pleasant trail, if less majestic than farther north. Definitely a good choice for the day.

Summary:

8 miles, 6 hrs, 2600′ rise, kmz file for 3-d view in google earth.
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Two Christmas hikes

Emily and Fred on Round Hill, 26 Dec 2014


The day after Christmas, Emily and I did the Round Hill loop in about 2.5 hours. We wore microspikes the whole way. Not as good a vista as I remember it last year from th spur off the Round Hill Loop.

Part way to Carter Dome, 30 Dec 2014


I drove from Maine to Pete Limmer & Sons to get my custom boots ordered. Then I parked at the Nineteen Mile Brook Trailhead and walked past the first junction to the second stream crossing, where I took a wrong turn. Bushwhacking got too tough, so I turned around. Getting back to the stream crossing, I saw the then-obvious left turn in the trail just past the stream. Too bad I missed it. I headed home. About 6 miles total.

Two Hikes at Squam Lake

Saturday Hikes to Red Hill and Mt Cotton

Tom Smith*, Larry Green, Fred Knight, Steve Smith, Scott Stuart, Ozzy Gunduz, Doug Anderson**


* could be over age 70
** way under age 30


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The temperature started near 10 and got to near freezing. The snow varied from a few inches to ~8″ deep. The trails ranged from trampled to unbroken. The skies were clear. The team (mostly) met their challenges. There were one balaclava, two separate hikes, three opinions on the best nationality making baklava, four trailheads visited, five hikers on Eagle Cliff, six hours of hiking, and seven intrepid hikers on the team. Good fun!

We all arrived at the appointed trail head (Red Hill) at the appointed time. After placing the van at the proposed destination down Eagle Cliff, we (right and left pics) headed up Red Hill to the Tower for the view down to Squam Lake (middle pic) and with the expanse of Lake Winnipesaukee to the south. At this point, Tom and Steve went back down Red Hill while the rest of us did Eagle Cliff to the Tee-Dee spur, requiring a 1/4-mile roadwalk to get the van. Arriving back via the two routes at the same time, we all met again at the Red Hill Trailhead. Scott, Doug, and Fred were eager for another hike, so we parted, dropped Ozzy in the hamlet of Holderness to fend for himself, and headed to the Cotton Mt. Trailhead. Cotton Mt is quite steep (see topo map)! With Fred’s energy flagging and being short on time, we omitted the 0.4-mile spur to Mt. Livermore but did the loop: Cotton Mt Trail, Crawford-Ridgepole Tr, Prescott Tr, and Old Highway S, which is mostly a creek bed and only a highway for squirrels.

Summary:

~9 miles, ~5.5 hours, two peaks, varying teams from 3 to 7 hikers.

Bigelow Range: Firewardens/Horn’s Pond Loop

Fred Knight, Sunday Hike in Maine

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I did a 13-mile loop in the Bigelow Range north of Sugarloaf Ski Area: up the Horn’s Pond Trail, on a section of the Appalachian Trail over two peaks, and down the Firewarden’s Trail. The temperature stayed near freezing; I wore my fleece on the ridge traverse; a few breezes in exposed areas. Good views from the ridge trail and the peaks.

I was surprised by the amount of snow, but I guess I should have expected some given last week’s storm.  All snow had melted at lower altitudes, but there were traces early on (say 2000′) and a couple inches on the ridge, so most of the hike had some snow cover.  Luckily traction was fine, with little ice and adequate footing with just my boots. Melting continued after Sunday.

I drove north from Long Pond about 1:20 and parked 1.4 miles down the Stratton Brook Pond Road, per the on-line directions.  A short second section of the road was blocked by a fallen tree (that was removed during my hike!), so I parked with a few other cars, including 2 vans from Unity College.

The hike had 5 sections per the map.  The video shows progress.  The trails were very nice, pretty smooth, lots of steps in the steep spots, fairly flat ridge, and okay traction even without microspikes, which I forgot to bring, thinking there would be no snow.

I met only one group, the students and 2 leaders from Unity College.  They were doing the loop over 3 days with overnights at Avery Campsite and Horn’s Pond.  They were traversing in the opposite direction from me, and we had a good conversation past South Horn on the ridge. Other than the Unity College group, I only saw trampled footsteps coming up and descending and only one other person’s footsteps on the ridge.

Summary:

13.6 miles (long one!), 7:25, South Horn (3850′) and West Peak (4100′), good time, big video, pics.

Mt Monadnock in the Clouds

Matt Hansen and I did Mt. Monadnock on what was expected to be a glorious day.matt

My maxim that a so-called alpine start, i.e., leaving before sunrise, is always best did not work too well for Matt and me. We entered the clouds on the way up and reached the shrouded summit at 9:40. We did indulge in the hand-carried summit beer in the chilly, damp, opaque environment, but we headed back down before any hint of clearing. By the time we got to the cut-off via the Amphitheater Trail at 2550 ft, there were intermittent views through the mist to the ground. By the time we reached the outlook at the junction of Pt. Surprise and the Cliff Walk Trails at 2200 ft, the sky was clear. By the time we got back to the car at 12:50, the sky was entirely blue. So much for views from the top! (I might start listening to Beef, who always calls for the alpine start and never quite makes it.)view

Wanting a new route to the top (see map), we parked at the Old Toll Road lot on Rt 124 and started hiking up the road at 8:03. We joined the White Arrow Trail momentarily at the end of the road and then headed to Monte Rosa and then up the Smith Summit Trail. The trail had a lot of granite slabs and was quite pleasant. On our way down, we reversed direction going down the Smith Summit Trail but crossed over to the White Arrow via the Amphitheater Trail. Unfortunately we missed our cutoff to the Side Foot Trail and continued down the rocky White Arrow all the way to the Half-way House (1860-1954). Then we took Pt. Surprise to Cliff Walk and out on the Parker Trail, getting back to the car a little before 1pm.

Summary: ~ 5 miles, 4:55, nice trail via Monte Rosa and Smith Summit up to the cloudy summit.

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David Kercher, Matt Kercher, Fred Knight, John Kuconis

25-27 Jul 2014
Mts. Madison-Adams-Jefferson-Washington-Monroe-Eisenhower-Pierce-Jackson

Sunrise on Day 3: 360-deg Panorama (click for higher resolution)
pano

Summary

John suggested the 3-day Presidential Traverse (pdf from wmgonline.org), spending the first night at Valley Way Campsite and the second night at his secret spot at the base of Eisenhower. After the drive up and situating the cars, we got started at 10am and reached the Valley Way Tent site about 12:30. Following setting up camp and dumping gear, three of us did Madison and Adams. After a sound 12-hour sleep, the second long day had us up early, up to the AT, up Jefferson, on to Washington, down to Lakes of the Clouds, up Monroe, and to the foot of Eisenhower. The second night had a gorgeously clear, moonless night with stupendous views of the Milky Way. The sunrise brought clouds—and a double rainbow, which we took as a warning. We all did Eisenhower and hoofed it to Pierce, then over to Mitzpah Hut by 9am. Here John went back via the Mitzpah Cutoff to Crawford Path and back to the car while Matt, David, and I took 50 minutes to get to Mt. Jackson and then about 2 hours (for me) down the Webster-Jackson Trail to John waiting at the trailhead with the car. Hallelujah! The rain held off until the last 30 minutes, but it was coming down hard when I reached the car. (Luckily John figured out how to operate a Prius.) All together ~23 hours of hiking, 25.6 miles, 11376′ elevation gain, and varied trails. I don’t know how hikers do this in one day, but we were passed by two women who were measuring their pace at 3 mph and going from Appalachia Trailhead to Mt Webster and out in the one day. Amazing!map

Photos

Fred’s and Matt’s and David’s pics: days 1 & 2 and day 3, and John’s pics

starteisenhower

Details

  • First Day We met at Crawford Path Trailhead and piled into Matt’s car for the drive to Appalachia Trailhead at the north end of the Presidentials. The hike up Valley Way was relentless as usual, but we got to the campsite, finding a wide choice of plots (no platforms; no caretaker). We spread out to pitch tents, left our sleeping gear, and slogged up to Madison Hut with light packs. It’s another 400′ up to Mt. Madison, which Matt, David, and I climbed. Arriving back at the Hut, we greeted John, and then went up the backside of Adams for peak #2. We got back to camp near 5pm; a total of 7.8 miles in just about book time (6:38).
  • starteisenhower

  • Second Day We got going about 6:45, up the Valley Way, past the Madison Hut, and on the way to Mt Jefferson. The trail is a boulder path, very rugged with slow going at times. Coming off Mt Jefferson, the Gulfside Trail goes all the way to Mt Washington, where masses of people milled about and the line to get your picture taken at the summit sign stretched almost down the mountainside. We got some hot food and finally resumed hiking down to Lakes of the Clouds, passing a destination wedding taking place on the edge of Observatory grounds in weather that was very marginal. After another rest outside the Hut, three us took off off up Mt Monroe, a short ascent. Then we caught up to John, who circled around, and headed for the base of Eisenhower and the secret camping site. We pitched tents in the confined space, ate dinner, and went to bed. The night was so warm I never got fully into my sleeping bag, but the sky was the brilliant wonder all night—no moon and completely clear with the Milky Way stretching across the sky. I kept my tent open all night (no bugs)! With the forecast of possible rain, the sky was a marvelous treat.
  • starteisenhower

  • Third Day Dawn was colorful as clouds formed; see the top photo. By the time we started out at 6:15, there was a slight drizzle, which faded as we climbed Eisenhower. Off Eisenhower, we reached Pierce and had to make a decision of simply going down Crawford Path to the car or doing Mt Jackson. We put off the decision by heading to Mitzpah Hut, with a final extremely steep descent at the end. At that point, John decided to head back to the car while the three of us did Mt. Jackson, which took 50 minutes to reach and over 2 hours to descend via the Webster-Jackson Trail—not a pretty ending. The rain that had held off started slowly but was really coming down by the time I reached the car, which John had driven to the trailhead. What a guy!
  • starteisenhower

  • Meals, Gear, and Miscellaneous I loved the Mountain House freeze-dried lasagna and pasta—and the pouch that I used to make my morning Ramen on the second day. I would have liked a second Ramen on the morning of the third day, but I had sufficient food. We got water at the huts, which turned out to be enough. I don’t know how John survived on his couple bagels. Matt and David had a variety of good stuff. We each had a tent; that worked fine. I am going to get some 4mm diameter cord like John’s. I needed gloves, and John had a second light pair, which he gave me as a 64th birthday present.

Fred’s Highlights

  1. Our fine team We did pretty well together. David is a fast hiker and had some significant waits at junctions until the oldsters arrived. Good cheer throughout the 3 days.
  2. Wedding on Mt. Washington See John’s photo #37 of the race to exit the ceremony; it was very cool and windy with clouds moving in and out.
  3. The 3-mph women passing us at Lakes of the Clouds They started at 7am at Appalachia Trailhead, passed us at 3pm at Lakes of the Clouds, were heading for Mt. Webster, and seemed completely fresh and happy. Sweet!
  4. Gulfside Trail Just a bear of a trail between Adams and Jefferson, where I had never hiked. Rock hopping all the way. Yikes!
  5. Mountain House meals 400+ calories. Hydrate with boliing water. Wait 9 minutes. Reusable foil packet. Expensive but lightweight and tasty. And given to me by Melanie Knight.
  6. Vitamin I. Multiple 3-tablet doses each day. Saved me.
  7. Moonless, clear skies on second night I watched the Milky Way and stars over 6 hours whenever I awoke. Perfect conditions. And the camp site is worthy of a revisit in the winter.
  8. Being picked up at the trailhead I certainly was elated when I saw the blue Prius waiting at the trailhead when I appeared amidst the heavy rain. John had driven from the parking spot (~ a mile away), had collected Matt and David who were in front of me, and was awaiting my appearance. Very nice.
  9. The Restaurant in Twin Mountain Quite a meal for us smelly hikers in the packed restaurant on Sunday at noon. It was John’s treat. Thanks, John.
  10. Again or never again? John is calling for a repeat next year. The hike was grueling; my knees and feet are still sore after three days. Doing the Presidential Traverse was a hiking goal for me. Doing it in 3 days with the stops we made was the way to go, but doing it again will require some fading memories. Maybe my Limmers will be ready by then.
  11. Overall assessment A beauty of a hike but really difficult for me. 25.6 miles, 23 hours of hiking over 3 days and well over the ~19-hr booktime, 11400′ elevation gain, some really difficult trails, and good companionship. Thanks, team.

Mt Lafayette

Charlie Abert (aka Beef Jerky or Beef the Jerk or Beef)

Fred Knight (aka Tarpy)


Panorama N-to-S from Mt Lafayette
Presidentials farthest away. I think: Adams, Jefferson, Clay, Washington, Monroe, Eisenhower
Foreground left-to-right: North and South Twin, Guyot, West Bond, Bond, and Bond Cliff (hard to see)
Dark and closest is Owl’s Head.
Click once to get full field; click again to get higher resolution and pan across image.
Panorama


Charlie responded to the invitation for a hike on what was forecast to be an idyllic day—and it was. The sky was perfectly clear and temperatures, starting in the 20s, rose to the 30s. As a result, the trail became mushy, with lots of slippery slopes—a little challenging but manageable with traction. We did not do the entire Old-Bridle Path-Franconia Ridge-Falling Waters loop like Steve and I did in January, but the conditions were much better—no ice to speak of, little wind even at the top, and smooth going. As a result, the hike was only five hours and twenty minutes, including a few breaks for eating and a good conversation with Pam, an avid 65-year-old hiker whom we met on the way down.

startsnowman

See all pictures here.

Here are the highlights.

  • Fred’s gentle cajoling to keep to our original plan of the loop did not convince Beef to abandon his commitment to a friend to hang cabinets at the end of the day. Hence, we just went up to Lafayette and back, omitting the ridge.
  • A calm summit after the 49-minute ascent from Greenleaf Hut. Views in every direction.
  • On the return on the Old Bridle Path, we met a solo hiker who was talkative. And what a hiker 65-year-old Pam was! Listen to this. 61 consecutive months with Presidential Traverses, including double traverses and bow ties (up Washington, north to Madison, south to Eisenhower, and back to Washington). Presidential traverses via moonlight. Up to 35 miles in one hike. 2:45 for Lafayette loop. Search and rescue volunteer. Her name is Pam from Thornton, NH. Wow!
  • Some of the conversation with Pam concerned Guy Waterman’s suicide in 2000 Feb, so I read this interesting account.
  • Fred did some butt sliding on the return when microspikes just wouldn’t hold. Lots of warmth from the sun in open areas.

Summary:

~7 miles, 5:20, 3600′ elevation gain, clear and warm Friday with perfect conditions; just a little short (says Fred)

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.

Kinsman Overnight (The annual?)

Fred Knight, solo

I wanted to hike North and South Kinsman with an overnight, just like last year and the one a few years ago with Chuck, Matt, Lea, and Ravi. It was another satisfying adventure with a few differences. Although there were similar snow conditions, it was colder (probably -10 deg F or colder at night). I avoided the hut and built a snow fort in the early afternoon and had my sleeping system down pat. I did North and South Kinsman on the first day and just hiked the 2.5 hours out in the morning. The evening meal was piping hot (Ramen and sausage, like Mike’s fare from last week), but the stove wouldn’t light in the morning (frozen orifice?). Luckily, I kept by egg tortilla in the sleeping bag, so it was at room temp—but not hot.

See pics here.

bivy in place
The night went pretty well, but I was not completely cozy. The snow fort kept almost all of me cozy warm, but the bag opening at the top was a little leaky. Stuffing my mittens at my shoulders helped, but I have to add a wider collar or use my Frostline bag, whose drawstring holds better, instead of the NeverSummer bag. I did fine and didn’t want to get up in the morning due to being pretty comfortable. The wind picked up in funny gusts during the night: perfect calm then a single blast many times over. The fort remained tight except my tarp came off so on my second call of nature I tied it to a tree. I’ll have to measure where the wind comes from and do a little more guying of the tarp. I might also make a longer fort to protect my head more or modify the bivy to close its opening or use a small tent (heavens!) inside the snow walls. I am thinking of these couple small improvements, but I really like the system. Tarpy likes it!

Summary:

~11 miles, two peaks (North and South Kinsman), overnight in snow fort.

Mt Garfield Overnight

Mike Fred

Mike Pineault, Fred Knight

We expected to find lots of new snow (pdf) with clear skies on at least the first day.  We were surprised to find a trail well packed, without the need for snow shoes most of the way, and clear skies both days!  The pics tell the story, and here is a commentary.

See the pics here.

map map

Wednesday’s snow brought an end to the icy conditions that Steve Smith and I experienced on Franconia Ridge four weeks earlier.  Mike and I wanted to do an overnight and chose Mt Garfield, with a stay at the Garfield Hut.  Depending on conditions, we’d do more or less, adding Garfield Ridge like last year’s trip if feasible.  With a mid-morning start, the trail was well-packed due to many hikers in front of us (18 cars in the parking lot!).  We carried all the gear and took ~4 hours to reach the Garfield/Garfield Ridge junction, with 1.2-mile road walk a total of 6 miles.  Dropping our packs (yes!), we took the climb up to the peak and got some clear-sky views of Franconia Ridge to the west and the Twins and Bonds to the east and south.  Back down to the packs, we hiked the steep downhill to the hut, to find its trail unbroken so we donned the snowshoes for the short walk to the hut.  Once there, we set up Mike’s tent.

The stay was cold but pleasant.  Two other gentlemen were in the hut.  Mike’s dinner of tomato soup and Ramen with sausage, and my chocolate hit the spot.  I got into my sleeping gear (underwear, socks, down booties, and shell of parka with sleeping bag zippered to it) before dinner and was cozy.  Wanting to satisfy any after-dinner calls of nature, I stayed up until well after 7pm!  Mike was already in his bag.  I slept soundly until 2am to satisfy a call of nature, which required significant extraction from the tent.  Mike weathered the interruption but got uninterrupted sleep only after 3am.  We traded snoring stories in the morning.  The night probably reached close to -10 deg F.  The tent works well, but I think my bivy might still be my accommodation of choice with its warmth due to surrounding snow in spite of the open mouth at my head.  The frost accumulation was not too significant inside the tent, but the open bivy with my parka hat does even better at eliminating moisture build up.  The hot water bottles are tremendous!  I also kept my mittens and our breakfast inside the out bag.  Mike has two sleeping pads, which might be good; my R5 pad is bulky but sufficient.  One other attribute of the bivy is its ability to keep the sleeping gear aligned—and to allow an fashioned sleeping pillow of snow underneath.  All-in-all a  pretty cozy night, although I felt the morning cold slightly.

The stove was somewhat slow, especially in the morning, but I got the egg-bacon-ham-veggy-ginger-tortilla wraps piping hot.  Mike stored the tent.  We took close to 3 hours to get going, and skies varied from cloudy to clear.  By the time we starting heading out on snowshoes for the climb back to the peak, it was unexpectedly clear.  We again dropped our packs at the junction, did the ascent back to Mt Garfield, found little wind and sunlit peaks, recorded poses for posterity, met the first arriving Sunday hikers, and got back to the junction for the trip down by 11am.  On the early part of the descent, we met a number of groups of hikers.  The temperature stayed in the teens I think all the way back.  I gave my map to a couple who looked lost at the trail head.  The road walk was a trudge.  We made it back by 1:45 and drove home happy.

Summary:

~13.6 miles, 3834′ elevation gain, ~9 hrs (1.5 hrs over book time) hiking over two days with overnight at the Garfield Hut, Mt Garfield summit twice.

Pawtuckaway State Park, NH

Lea and Matt Hansen, Dave Trumper, Fred Knight

summit
On Saturday, we had a fun outing, without the usual long drive to the Whites, over a loop in Pawtuckaway State Park, which is east of Manchester (and <1.5 hrs from my house!). Dave Trumper guided us on a loop walk with a few special excursions off the established trail to some nice vistas. The forest is quite open, so bushwhacking has very few bushes and no whacking. There are lots of rock climbing opportunities on the route, a couple of nice ponds---one with a large beaver dam, two peaks (South at 908' and North at 1011'), some brief uphill climbs, an easy trail, and at least one porcupine (who hurried away from us). We lunched above Boulder Trail and had a summit treat from Matt and Lea's private beer stock, which Lea was said to have carried "lady-like" so it was in good condition as shown in the final pic on North Peak. Conditions were very nice: temps in the 30s, little wind, okay traction with bare boots or microspikes, not quite enough snow but enough for wintery vistas, and easy trails throughout. We all arrived promptly, but not early, at the prescribed time off Reservation Rd at the north side of the Park. We saw few other groups and some ice fishers. See all the pics here. (no dualing Nikons (Matt’s D8000 vs Dave’s D800), only Fred’s Sony NEX-6)

Summary: ~7 miles, 5:15 including long lunch and afternoon treat,

Franconia Ridge
Steve Smith, Fred Knight
12 Jan 2014

null null
Steve and I had expectations of moderate temperatures, no deep snow, clearing skies, and lots of time to do the classic hike up Falling Waters, across Franconia Ridge from Mt Lincoln to Mt Lafayette, and back down Old Bridle Path. Instead, we were slowed by icy trails, endured a windy ridge with no views and granular snow, and arrived late back at the car, well past sunset. A thoroughly fun day! But ice on both ascent and descent. The ridge had almost no snow, either icy or bare ground with a few drifts in sheltered areas (not many of those!)

Map of the hike.
Full Report here.
movie of pics here.
A movie recorded on Mt Lincoln, before the Franconia Ridge walk.

Summary: 9.8 miles in 9 hours, ice everywhere on Falling Waters and Old Bridle Path and very little snow on the Franconia Ridge

Mt Monadnock

A 4-hour trip up Red Dot and Down White Dot
Steve Sawyer, Mike Gates, and Fred Knight

We took advantage of fresh snow, a broken trail, and clear skies and withstood wind at the top and temperatures starting near 0 deg F with warm gear for an enjoyable winter hike—up Red dot to Pempelly and then down via White Dot. Going was easy with microspikes all the way (and snowshoes and crampons remaining in our packs); trail was broken, even trampled most of the way down due to lots of traffic. Red Dot was fun with only a few hikers ahead of us, including a team of three that (they said) followed an errant early morning hiker off the Red Dot and back onto the trail further up. That excursion took us through some brush that was apparent to be classified “off trail” even in the snow. Other than the meander, the conditions were simply perfect. Wind and cold were completely manageable. Good times.

See pics here. (Editor’s note: only smartphone and pocket camera)

Summary: 4 hours, ~6 miles, up via Red Dot, then Pempelly to top, then down via White Dot.

One President on One Day
(Not the Planned 2-day Presidential Traverse)
Steve Sawyer, Steve Smith, James Streitman, Chuck Wynn, Fred Knight

See the Full Report.

Steve
map
Panorama

The response to the proposal for a 2-day Presidential Traverse was exhilarating. Day 1 of the hike as planned (yellow on map) was the start of a two-day traverse of the Presidentials with a camp at Sphinx Col, but the weather did not cooperate. We managed one peak, Mt Madison, and part of Mt Adams before rain and lightning forced a retreat (purple track on map). We ended back where we started, at Appalacia Trailhead (below), well into the evening.

As Steve put it on the drive home, “All ok. Glorious day. Driven off ridge by t-storm, hail, lightning. Retreat. En rt back to Boston now. Been hiking 9 to 9, completely exhausted. Long periods in torrential downpours, staying low. But before 1400, PERFECT weather, views. Lots of photos.”

Summary: ~10 miles over 11 hours, ~5000 elevation rise to Mt Madison and 3 of us most of Mt Adams.
–Fred (aka tarpman)

Lincoln Woods Hikes

On the Sunday before Memorial Day, I guided Andy Siegel on a hike in the Lincoln, MA conservation area near Walden Pond—similar to the one George Zogbi and I took a couple weeks ago—but this time we did not get lost. Andy appeared to be less concerned than George about the consequences of getting lost, but I still kept us on the trail after suffering some humiliation at George’s remarks that I did not really know the woods. They, George and Andy, seem to ready for more hiking. I took a few pictures and tried to get results from enhancements using shadow enhancement and sharpening. See what versions you like.


Three Lady Slipper Renderings
Click once to get full field; click again to
get higher resolution and pan across image.


LS
LS2 LS3

Three Walden Pond Renderings
Click once to get full field; click again to
get higher resolution and pan across image.


WP
WPE

Mts Tom Field Willey
Steve Sawyer, Fred Knight

Full Report

Abstract

mapmapThe hike was a monorail traverse of the three peaks with an ascent from Crawford Notch railroad station and a round trip return via the railroad bed. Lots of snow remaining at altitude; wore microspikes from just after start to just above the railroad tracks. (Left snowshoes in the car—a good choice.) We saw a moose on the drive near Twin Mountain and fed a Canadian jay on Mt Field.

The weather was pretty nice: clear skies all day with temperatures starting near freezing and rising to 43 at Mt Tom and 55 at Mt Willey for lunch in the sun. The trail was well packed, and we stuck to the monorail with only a few postholes. Soon breaking through will make it a challenge.

At Mt Willey, having enjoyed the trip so far and having made good time but not wanting to retrace our steps, Steve suggested returning via the railroad. We decended the steep (1500′) off Mt Willey, past the Ethan Pond Tr junction, to the Kedron Flume Trail. The Kedron Flume was a beauty with lots of water. Back at just before 3pm.

Summary: ~12.5 miles in 7.5 hours, 3900′ elevation rise to Mts Tom, Field, Willey, back via rail bed through Crawford Notch
–Fred (aka tarpman)

Mt Garfield With Gale River Overnight


See the Full Report.

mapThe hike was a return to Tarpy’s namesake and a repeat of a summer hike with my son-in-law Jason Shelkowitz. With a cozy overnight at the junction of the Garfield Ridge and Gale River Trails, the two-day hike had both easy and grueling parts. The hike up Garfield Trail was the easy part, as I reached the Garfield Ridge Trail after 3.5 hours, well under book time on a well-trampled trail. The grueling part was the up-and-down Garfield Ridge Trail—2.1 miles in about 2 hours—using a single previous hiker’s footsteps. Overall, it was a fun hike, with some other contrasts noted below.
Panorama

Summary: ~15 miles over 24 hours, 3600 elevation rise to Mt Garfield and then the up and down of Garfield Ridge, cozy sleepover at Garfield Ridge/Gale River junction
–Fred (aka tarpman)

Skookumchuck Trail To Mt Lafayette
Spring Solo Hike—With Snow

Panorama

See the Full Report.

Tidbits: I’d done Skookumchuck in Fall (after Thanksgiving) and in spring with lots of postholing (circa 2008). This time was very fun, with snowshoes needed to break trail above 2500′ elevation. I made it to the last leg before hitting Garfield Ridge in just over 3 hours and finally reached the summit at 4.5 hours, after bushwhacking to reach Garfield Ridge. Stupendously clear above treeline; windy but not too cold. The trail gets really closed in on the the upper parts, and I lost it a couple times. Breaking out at treeline, I headed up rather than diagonally to Garfield Ridge Trail. (Well, I didn’t actually see the trail at that point, but the objective was clear.) The summit views, with white peaks against blue sky, were tremendous.

map
Summary: 10.2 miles over 7.75 hours up and down Skookumchuck Trail to Mt Lafayette, 3927′ elevation gain (felt it!), a wonderful day

–Fred (aka tarpman)
Panorama

Mt Monadnock Solo

See the

Full Report

.
The day was near freezing and windy at the top. The ascent took 2.75 hours up a route I had not taken before: Cascade Link to Spellman to Pempelly. I was preceeded by a snowshoer and a barebooter in the fresh snow. Wore snowshoes most of the way. Some drifts up to mid thigh. Nearing the top the wind picked up but was manageable throughout.

I tried to find the Smith Summit Trail for the descent, but I ended up on White Arrow, which Mike Pineault and I did a few weeks ago. In fact the route down was very similar to that hike; wihtout Fairy Spring but with (an unintentional) excursion to Cliff Walk. Temperature increased to just above freezing on the way down.

Summary: ~6 miles over 5.75 hours at Mt Monadnock, up Cascade Link, Spellman, and Pempelly, down White Arrow, Thoreau, and Lost Farm.

–Fred (aka tarpman)

Mt Liberty and Mt Flume with Overnight on Franconia Ridge

See the

Full Report

.

map

I did a 2-day hike to the Mt Liberty and Mt Flume, with a cozy night at my in-snow camp at the Liberty Spring-Franconia Ridge junction. I started late, got to the camp site, built a snow fort, did Mt Liberty and Mt Flume, had dinner, spent a cozy night in my new Tyvek bivy, got up before sunrise, went back to Mt Liberty for the sunrise, broke camp, and hiked back down Liberty Spring Trail. Just about 24 hours.

Summary: 10.1 miles over 24 hours with sleepover on Franconia Ridge, 3660′ elevation gain, 2 peaks (Liberty (2x) and Flume).

Mt Washington


Mt Washington
Steve Sawyer, Steve Smith, Fred Knight
2013 Mar 10

map

We got an early start (4:40 am from Forbes Road) and were guided to a non-optimal route (10 min further thanks to Fred), but we got going up the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail at 8am sharp, made the total ascent, and had gorgeously clear blue skies, mild temperatures, and little wind.

The trail was nice: packed throughout; we used microspikes up to the steep section and crampons after that to the summit, which we reached 15 minutes ahead of book time in 4 hours. We started with a measured pace, which paid dividends for me through the rest of the hike. The steep section was “awesome,” according to Steve. It required the usual set of crampons and ice ax. Above treeline, we made continuous progress, but with some helpful stops, and added a wind layer above Lion’s Head. The day brought no significant cold or wind. The skies were bright. Lots of hikers. We did lunch in the lee of one of the buildings and met a guy doing the Presidential Traverse (6:30 into his hike). On the way down, conditions were pleasant and included some butt sliding under optimal butt-slidng conditions. The descent below treeline in the steep section was slow due to a group in front of us. The adventurous (Steve and Steve) chose a parallel bushwhack. We wore microspikes down to the steep part (again optimal for butt-sliding), but used crampons the rest of the way down. Did I mention the butt sliding in the snow fields above treeline?

Full Report

Steve brought his new Fuji X-E1 for its battle with Fred’s Sony NEX-6. The Sony pictures are below. Bright light meant good depth of field and shots should be nice. They are only 1200 pixels in the report.

Tina Fey reading her Bossypants provided entertainment on the way home. Steve’s new Jetta TDL was roomy and comfortable.

Summary: 8.2 miles to Mt Washington via Tuckerman’s Ravine and Lion’s Head, 4288′ elevation gain, 4 hrs up (15 min under book time!), Microspikes and crampons on well-packed trail with minimal wind above treeline.

–Fred (aka tarpman)

Passaconaway

Pictures here

map

My original plan was to make the long drive to Mt Washington Pinkham Notch for Lion’s Head, but I opted for the shorter drive and hike to Mt Passaconaway. My goal was to do Mt Whiteface as well, but the breaking trail took much more effort than I hoped. I wished that I had brought my snowshoe tails as well, as the fresh snow was soft.

Got up early for 2.75-hr drive and listened to Tina Fey read her Bossypants all the way. Left the trailhead at 7:05. (“Wow!” says Beef) Bare boots for about 1/2 mile along a skier’s track. Then switch to snowshoes. Snow depth increased throughout, and my pace slowed, requiring modifications of the expectations from two peaks (Passaconaway and Whiteface), to one peak (Passaconaway), to a required turnaround time of 5 hours. I finally said I’d turn around, even if I was below the summit, at noon. I was very close to the top, but I stuck to my plan, thinking I’d get back by 3pm. The descent was a breeze compared to the slog going up. The only person I met was another solo hiker coming up (enjoying my broken trail) about an hour from the peak as I was descending.

Summary: ~10 miles to Mt Passaconaway 3000′ elevation gain, 8 hrs. Snowshoes on unbroken trail; hazy bright. A fun hike. Started out slowly again, which helped endurance.

Kinsman Shelter, then North and South Kinsman

Fred Knight
Solo, 2-day hike with sleepover at Kinsman Shelter, and North and South Kinsman on Sunday morning.

headlampJust got back from overnight to North and South Kinsman. Spend night at Kinsman Shelter. Get this: started at 2pm on Saturday! Did peaks today with 4″ new snow. Glorious! Night was fine except I was not cozy warm, just warm enough with tarp hung inside shelter. Thinking of tent. I almost brought my Sierra Designs 9-pounder less fly, but I chickened out because it seemed too heavy. I think the tarp IN THE SNOW is still nice, but I chose the shelter when I reached it instead of sleeping outside in the snow. Now I am thinking of a Tyvek bivy bag—just need to find a piece of Tyvek.

trailSnowy all the time. I didn’t think that the snow would be early, but the trip up had flurries. Reached the Shelter after 1 hour to the Lonesome Lake Hut and then 2 hours up Fishin’ Jimmie Trail. Hung tarp. Cooked a great evening meal after getting warm in my parka and lower bag. Boil-in-a-bag meat and rice, previously cooked and heated in the tea. Used Mike Pineault’s suggestion of pouring the hot water in a nalgene bottle and placing it in the sleeping bag—stayed warm half the night. In the early am, awoke to get a couple interesting pictures, but they are blurry. I will need to use a tripod next time. Morning came, and I had a fine hot breakfast, keeping the food warm in my insulated Nalgene cover.

Started out on the fresh trail before 8am. Did North Kinsman and continued to South. Back to the shelter junction before 10am, then back down. I startled a young woman around a bend in the trail; she did NOT expect anybody!

Pics here. The camera worked fine. Love the tilt screen. Actually had it in my parka pocket all night, and didn’t even feel it. Battery did fine; down to about 60%. No effects of the cold.

Summary: ~11 miles, snowy on both days, 2pm start on Saturday, Sunday breaking trail to peaks. Simply gorgeous with new snow.

Mt Monadnock

Mike Pineault and Fred Knight
Up via Red Dot, Old Ski Trail, and White Dot. Breezy on top. Down via White Arrow—a great trail—with excursion to Monte Rosa—another fine out-and-back trail. Used microspikes except on the Monte Rosa, which was not broken out and taken to justify carrying our snowshoes. Monte Rosa had a great view of the summit and down. After the Half-way House we took Thoreau Trail to Lost Farm to Parker. See map.

Pics are here and are from my new Sony AEX-6. The battery only went down to ~65%, since I kept the camera off as much as possible. No problem with cold, but temperature was just under freezing.

Summary: ~6 miles, 5:20 total time.

Mt Lafayette via Greenleaf Trail
Steve Smith, Fred Knight

map

We took two cars to enable the hike up Greenleaf (parking at Cannon Mt skiing) and return via either Old Bridle Path or Falling Waters (preferred). The day started sunny and at 10 deg F (even though calling it an alpine start was questionable due to the lateness). Greenleaf is a very nice trail below the Greenleaf Hut—my first time on it. By the time we reached the summit at noon, the clouds had moved in. From conversations en route, we heard that Falling Waters stream crossings were dismal, so we headed back via Old Bridle Path. The inset shows the area where some Falling Waters hikers bushwhacked to avoid the lower two stream crossings. insetTrip time was well over book time of 5.75 hrs, although I wouldn’t call the pace leisurely. Must have been all those Fuji picture taking stops. Quite a fun day; never got out of the teens for temperture. When I got back to the car and Steve had headed home, the temperature was 15 deg F. With no nice plans for Sunday, I decided to abandon the sleepover at Lafayette Campground and return home. I kept thinking of possible routes to Kinsman, Passaconaway, or Squam Range for Sunday, but I wasn’t psyched. I am hoping for some two-day hikes on some of the next few weekends. And I’ll hope for some more snow!

Full Report here

inset

Summary: 7.8 miles to Mt Lafayette up via Greenleaf and down via Old Bridle Path, 3700′ elevation gain, 7 hrs (over book time!), Microspikes and crampons on well-packed trail with minimal wind above treeline.

–Fred (aka tarpman)

Mt Pierce and Mt Eisenhower
John Moores, Steve Bussolari, Fred Knight


Full Report here and Steve’s report here.

map

Our original plan was to make a second attempt (see first attempt here) at going up Ammonoosuc Trail to Mt Monroe, then across to Eisenhower and down Crawford Path to Crawford Notch. However, the predicted high winds made us decide to go the other way and determine if the ridge was hikable when we reached Mt Eisenhower. Then Fred and John were late getting to the start, so we just left both cars at Crawford Notch and headed up Crawford Path, starting at a definitely non-alpine 9am. The hike turned out to be a longer version of Steve Sawyer’s and my hike two weeks ago. And here’s a travelog, a somewhat longish movie of the entire hike.

Summary: 10.1 miles to Mt Pierce and over and around Mt Eisenhower, 2900′ elevation gain, 7 hrs (book time!). Microspikes and snowshoes on well-packed trail; predicted wind never came but temperature was decreasing in the pm. A fun hike; wish we could have done the entire planned hike but the circumstances precluded it.

–Fred (aka tarpman)

Cannon Mt and Lonesome Lake
Lea Johnson, Matt Hansen, Fred Knight


Full Report here

See Matt’s pics in their full glory here.

map

We estimated a short day, so we slept in and left from Forbes Road when the sun was ready to peak up. Arriving at Lafayette Campground at 8:45, we took off at a little before 9—definitely not an alpine start. A short bit up the Lonesome Lake Trail, we took off up Hi-Cannon. It appeared to be raining, but as the drops got bigger, we realized that the rain was actually melting ice dripping off the trees. We met two other guys later on the ascent, and they were wetter than we were. And, for a taste, look at this movie.Panorama.

Summary: ~6 miles to Cannon Mt and Lonesome Lake, 2200′ elevation gain, 6 hrs (over book time!). Microspikes on well-packed trail; always below treeline.

–Fred (aka tarpman)

Eisenhower, Steve Sawyer and Fred Knight, 2013-01-05

map

The wind forecast went up and down on Friday but, by Saturday morning, was predicting lots of wind in the Presidentials. The associated clearing was still in the forecast, so we went for the planned ascent of Mt Eisenhower—and the forecasts rang true. The conditions was great: temps in the 20s, well-packed trail all the way, partial clearing to see most of the peaks, views throughout, bearable wind, and some friendly interactions with fellow hikers. And, for a taste, look at this movie.

Round trip was about book time of 6.5 hrs. See pics in the

Full Report here.

.

Steve brought his new Nokia smartphone, which faired well until stopping due to the cold, and he took some great shots, the first six below. My Panasonic Lumix did fine as usual. As to gear, we came well prepared. We used micropikes on the lower trail and snowshoes for the upper reaches. Even on the mostly bare summit the snowshoes did well. There were only a few drifts as we went in and out of treeline on the ridge. I put on all my layers for the summit. Steve’s wrap-around scarfs did quite well. Goggles were sooo necessary; only one other hiker of the ~10 we met did not have them. Our lunch break on the way down had a great vista:Panorama.


Panorama near treeline: Mt Pierce, Mt Thom to west, Cabot Range to the north, and Mt Eisenhower, our destination.
Click once to get full field; click again to
get higher resolution and pan across image.
Panorama


The trail was perfect: packed throughout and well below the surrounding snow of up to 3′ depth. (Steve took official measurements using his poles periodically.) We got to the Mt Pierce junction in about 2 hours. The ascent starts with break outs from the trees where the wind was howling. At the worst spot, I balked. We turned around. I had second thoughts, donned another outer layer of my parka, and we made it to the summit by about noon (3.5 hrs). Other hikers, except one trio, all made it as well. We ate lunch back in the trees. Then we did the 0.1-mile excursion to Mt Pierce and returned to Crawford Path, which made an easy descent, part with snowshoes and then with microspikes. We reached the parking lot just before 3pm.

Summary: 9.2 miles to Mt Eisenhower and Mt Pierce, 3700′ elevation gain, 6.5 hrs (book time!), Microspikes and snowshoes on well-packed trail with lots of wind above treeline.

Squam Range: Mt Percival, Mt Morgan

map

Doug Anderson, Charlie Anderson, Fred Knight

At Charlie’s suggestion, we made the shortest drive possible to reach some peaks and did the Mt Percival-Mt Morgan loop CCW. The fresh snow was light, and we wore snowshoes. Only a couple places of difficulty approaching Mt Percival, where I chose the “Summit via caves” route, which was trickier. Temperatures were in the teens and early 20s, cooling and getting windier on the final leg coming down from Mt Morgan.

And in a special message—we send end-of-the-year greetings to all, especially to our loyal readers. See pics in the

Full Report here.

.

Summary: 5.4 miles to Mt Percival and Mt Morgan in Squam Range, 1700′ elevation gain, Snowshoes all the way in few inches of powdery, new snow.

–Fred (aka tarpman)

Tarpy Takes (Beaver Brook) Shelter


Brief Report


Beaver Brook Trail Vista
Click once to get full field; click again to
get higher resolution and pan across image.
Panorama


I took off to take advantage of the clear day before some predicted snow and did an overnight at the Beaver Brook Shelter. Gorgeous and contrasting conditions on the two days. Took a couple hours to reach the Shelter, where I dropped my main pack for the overnight, then continued to the top of Mt Moosilauke. See the movie here. Overnight in shelter

Full Report here.

Hike down the 1.5 miles was serene and beautiful. mapBack to car in close to 2 hours. Not sure why it took that long.

Summary: 8.6 miles, 3500′ elevation gain, Overnight Stay at Beaver Brook Shelter with 4 calls of nature in 13 hours.

–Fred (aka tarpman)

Franconia Ridge: up Old Bridle Path, down Liberty Spring

mapSteve Sawyer, Mike, and I left one car at my proposed destination (Flume Gorge Parking) and drove to Old Bridle Path/Falling Waters Trailhead. We got going at 07:55. I put on my fleece, the wind was blowing in the parking lot and the temperature was just under 30 deg. We were behind a large party that took the right onto the Falling Waters, while we did a leisurely pace up Old Bridle Path. The trail started almost bare of snow, but less than a mile up the ice got tricky, so we all donned microspikes. However, Mike’s were only SnowTracs, which were going to prove to be compromised by the ice flows on the trail. By the time we got up onto the ridge, Mike was behind. I decided to go on ahead, as I wanted to do a longer hike.

Full Report

4I made it to the Greenleaf Hut at 2:15 and continued a little ways before switching to crampons for the ascent up Mt Lafayette. Actually the ice just past the Hut was worst, just crusty snow on the top. I reached the top after 45 minutes, switched back to microspikes, and set out along the ridge. There was little wind, even less than predicted. The sky was cloudless. On the ridge, I met a stream if hikers who had come up Falling Waters, which I reached at ~12:15. Mt Liberty was 2.1 miles more; I had come 1.7 miles along the ridge. I made it by 1:20. The three hikers on the peak took my picture posed on the top. Then I hiked, slowly, down to the car. Book time is 8:15; I took 7:55. I wore microspikes until the last part past the creek before Flume Slide Tr joins.

Charlie Abert had called me before I left saying he was not coming. I left Steve and Mike to cope with the icy trail early on. I passed many small groups of hikers on the ridge. I met the large group who had started just in front of us at the top of Falling Waters. I met nobody after Falling Waters until Mt Liberty. Very little snow throughout. Icy conditions of up and down slopes required light traction, and crampons were better for me on the last part of the ascent. The weather was simply gorgeous: clear sky, temps in the late 20’s, and little wind.

Summary: 12 miles, 4612′ elevation gain, 0755-1550=7:55.

–Fred (aka tarpman)

Mt Monroe via Ammonoosuc Trail

0830

Report

Steve Smith, Steve Bussolari, Jonah Tower and Benny, and Fred Knight. Charlie Abert took one of the cars to Highland Lodge and did a solo hike to Eisenhower, making friends along the way. We had intended to end up there as well, but due to white-out conditions, decided to return from Mt Monroe along the Ammonoosuc Trail. See report from another group on conditions here.

0830Full report here. And here is a brief movie. See Steve Bussolari’s report here. Benny fell asleep before writing his report. Charlie’s report was thumbs up!

Summary: ~6 miles, RT on Ammonoosuc Trail then to Mt Monroe from Lakes of the Clouds Hut, 0840-1520=6:40

Squam Range Traverse

map

Report

I did a one-way trek on the Squam Range from Mt Livermore to Mt Morgan. I started by dropping my pack at the startig point, then driving to the ending point, where I mounted Melanie’s old kid’s bicycle. Then I rode the 3 miles to the starting point, where I left the bike for pick-up after the hike.

The hike was not a big climb. The temperature was about 28, and the wind was blowing. When I reached the top of Mt Livermore, 1.1 miles in, I got a great panorama over Squam Lake. Then I walked the ridge trail. The overlook commanded another good view, as shown in the movie. The last part of the movie was taken from the other end of the range at its highest point, Mt Morgan, where I ate lunch and enjoyed the captivating view of both Squam and Winnipesaukee. I left the peak at 12:10 and went down the marked trail. I got back to the car at 1:45, an elapsed hiking time of 5 hours—indicating that the terrain was pretty nice. Temperature reached 34 at the end of the hike, and the wind was less below the ridge. A gorgeous day.

mapSummary: 9.18 miles, Squam Range from Mt Livermore to Mt Percival.
Full report here.

Bonds via Zealand, Round Trip with Guyot Overnight

WMGonline map of the hikeI did a 2-day hike to the Bonds, with a balmy night at Guyot campsite in the shelter. The weather was so warm that I kept removing layers in the shelter (temperature actually rose over night) and got down to shorts on the muddy trip back. What snow there was either melted or turned to slush. My boot toes got wet both days. The skies started cloudy but opened up to blue at 11 on the first day and stayed mostly clear.

See a full report here. Here’s a movie from Mt Guyot taken just after the skies cleared.

Summary: 20.56 miles over 2 days, 4 peaks (Zealand, West Bond, Bond, Bondcliff).

MtMonroe MtWashington

Report

mapI took a one-day hike to Mt Washington, up via the Ammonoosuk Ravine Trail and down via Gulfside and Jewell Trails. I did Mt Monroe on the way up. Since Kris Cyr and I did this same route last Dec (except getting lost in the clouds between Lakes of the Clouds and the Mt Wash summit), I added some comparison shots from Dec 2011. Dec’s hike took 8.5 hours; this one was faster, just under 7 hours.

See the full report here.

Two-Day Hike Around Ethan Pond Loop, including Mt Tom, Mt Field, and Mt Willey

Ethan Pond site #5mapI took a moderate 2-day hike, starting and ending at the Crawford Notch AMC Highland Center, around the loop of the Avalon-Willey Range-Ethan Pond-A-to-Z Trails. See report here. I stayed at Ethan Pond Campsite #5. All ideal weather conditions with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, no rain, and breeze.

Summary: 2 days, ~20 miles, 5600′ elevation gain

–Fred (aka tarpman)

Trip Report for Pemi Loop

Ariel and Colin Taylor, Steve Bussolari, and Fred Knight

Trip Report for Pemi Loop, 26-28 May 2012

An adventure: The Pemigawasset Loop CCW, starting and ending at Lincoln Woods—3 days, 32+ miles, 10kft+ elevation gain. The four of us hiked the 8 peaks: Bondcliff, Bond, South Twin, Garfield, Lafayette, Lincoln, Liberty, and Flume. Ariel and Colin added West Bond. Steve added West Bond and Galehead.

Summary: ~32.6 miles over 3 days, 24 hours, 10,600′ elevation gain.

–Fred (aka tarpman)

 


North and South Kinsman

Fred Knight, Steve Bussolari, John Moores

North and South Kinsman, 20 May 2012. Here’s the route: mapThe three of us drove independently from Boston to Franconia Notch, did the hike from Lafayette Campground to South Kinsman together, then parted ways. The day warmed from the early 50s to the 60s under cloudless but hazy conditions. We met a young couple a few times on our way to Kinsman Hut, getting passed when we continued around Lonesome Lake through Fred’s misguidance. They were continuing on to Canon Mt after N/S Kinsman and finally a bike run back to the campground—big day.

Mt. Tecumseh Trail, My peak #48 of 48 of NH 4000’ers

Fred Knight, Steve Bussolari, Jerry Rubin
2012 May 6

mt tecumsehMy final peak of the 48 New Hampshire 4000’ers was a short hike (6.2 miles) to Mt. Tecumseh.

The three of us met at the northern trail head for Mt Tecumseh Trail off Tripoli Road. Temperatures in the 50s. Hike up along mostly dry trail took 1:45. View south toward Tripyramids from the top and a pleasant place for a rest. Saw WindRiverJohn and Pepper at the trail head, but they scurried off in front of us. Met the keepers of NewEnglandTrailConditions.com at the top and many other hikers coming up on our way down. I brought smoked salmon, cheese, and biscotti to celebrate. We stayed at the summit for 40 minutes. See Steve’s trail report.

Summary: 6.2 miles, 2400′ rise, 4:06, Mt Tecumseh #48.

 Yahoo!

Four Hiking Days in April 2012

Day 1(15 April) – Waumbek and up to Cabot
Night 1/2 – overnight in Cabot Cabin
Day 2(16 April) – Down Cabot and RT to Mt Moriah
Day 3(21 April) – Owl’s Head
Day 4(28 April) – Mt Isolation

Carter Range

Here’s a trip report for a 2-day hike to four peaks in the Carter Range. This page has it all: panoramas, movies, topo map, a monologue, and photos.

Mts. Adams & Madison

Mike Gates, Steve Bussolari, Fred Knight, 2012 Mar 10

Panoramic 180-degree view from Mt Adams: Mt Madison to Mt Washington.  The full report is here.

Mt. Jefferson 2012 Mar 4

Fred Knight and Mike Gates

We started early, found the trailhead behind the cog railway station, and did a great hike up to Mt Jefferson. The full report is here.

Summary: ~12 miles RT, ~8.25 hrs, 3800′ total elevation rise (incl. 1200′ up Mt Jefferson)

Wildcat (Sunday) & Washington (Monday)

Fred Knight (2 days), Steve Bussolari, James Streitman
2012 Feb 19-20

I did not make Wildcat (the peak) but got Wildcat D on Sunday. Then Steve Bussolari and James Streitman joined me on Monday, and we made it to Lion’s Head, about 1000′ below the Mt Washington summit—turned back due to winds.

Lunch smile
Up and down along ridge brought me to WIldcat B.

For full report, click on the image.

Mt Whiteface

Mt Whiteface
Mike Gates and Fred Knight
2012 Feb 11

Although Mike doubted my Sienna’s navigation skills, we found the trailhead on FernCroft Road and took a usual route in reverse. We hiked along a road for ~1/4 mile and took off on the Dicey’s Mill Trail, omitted the 750′ ascent of Mt Pasaconaway, continued on the Rollins Trail to Whiteface, and then went down the Blueberry Ledge Trail, which has a couple tricky rocks.

Below, Mike enjoying the view along the Rollins Trail. Mike also enjoyed the other hikers we met. We had some good chats. One woman was not only doing Passaconaway as well but thinking of adding a Tecumseh later in the day. Another, who emerged form the path to East Sleeper (one of 100 highest peaks in NE and a frequent add-on to this hike) met us during our lunch at the viewless peak and acompanied us part-way down the Blueberry Ledge Trail.

Summary: ~10 miles RT, ~6 hrs, 2900′ elevation rise

–Fred (aka tarpman)


Trail views.
Click once to get full field; click again to get higher resolution and pan across image.

wash skiers

Note: Photoshop worked on right panorama with Steve Smith’s method: Photoshop>File>Automate>PhotoMerge… Auto, Blend, Vignette Removal, Geometric Distortion Correction. Needed hugin for left but still has alignment problems even after manual addition of control points.


previous next Fred’s Home 4 images
On the Lacey Trail

On the Lacey Trail
Not sure why or where I took this

Mountain Man Mike

Mountain Man Mike
Hoofing it up hill

A great day for smiles

A great day for smiles
A great hiker; he’s on the move.

Gotta love that physique

Gotta love that physique
Can I claim the hip belt enhances the middle?

Mt Monadnock

Fred Knight, Mike Gates, Doug Anderson, Evan Carson
2012 Feb 4

We walked up Mt Monadnock on an icy trail, along with many others.

The day was mostly clear. We wore microspikes (Doug and Evan) or crampons (Fred and Mike) almost all the way.

Mike, my old swimming buddy Mike Gates, turned up at the parking lot just a few minutes after we arrived.

Summary: ~ 5 miles, 2200′ rise, 4:05, very icy, temps in 20s

Full report here.

Mt. Passaconaway

2012 Jan 28
Fred Knight

With no takers for hiking companions and a forecast for a very windy Presidential Ridge, I abandoned the planned Mt Jefferson ascent and selected Mt Passaconaway (4043′) for a solo hike. The drive up went well, so I made the sunrise on the Kancamagus Hwy, with some good views (see full report).

Falling Waters-Franconia Ridge-Old Bridle Path

Steve Bussolari, Charlie Abert, Fred Knight
2012 Jan 22

Gorgeous hike on a gorgeous day. Sunday was predicted to be beautiful, but we got a real treat with cloudless skies, little wind (none on Little Haystack), and easy going on the snow-padded trails. Charlie barebooted all the way; Steve and I wore microspikes; saw many snowshoed hikers on the ridge. Started out cool at 0815. The pictures tell the story.

Steve’s report and track on EveryTrail

Summary: ~9 miles, 3000′ rise, 6 hours total

Monadnock, 2012 Jan 15

Solo ascent of Monadnock on a cold day. Saw a wide range of people. Almost immediately after starting I met two solos and a pair all coming down at 0845. They had started out early. Two of them were hoofing it.Then I saw another old geezer (like me), a retired dairy farmer who lives nearby and comes almost daily to the hill. Later another runner passed me up and then down as he scampered over the spots I thought were tricky. Then more groups coming up near the time I was almost finished. Wide range of gear too, from nothing to full set of gear.   Full report. Temperature started near 0 deg F. Breezy on top; warmed up a bit.

Summary: ~5 miles, 3.75 hours, 2200′ elevation gain.

–Fred (aka tarpman)

Cannon Mt Via Kinsman Ridge Trail

Benny, Jonah Tower, Steve Bussolari, Fred Knight, 2011 Dec 26

Cannon Mt startThree of us, Jonah, Fred, and Benny, accepted Steve’s invitation for a Boxing Day hike. Although Squam Range was put forward, Cannon Mt won due to a scolding from Charlie Abert that required reaching 4000′. It was Benny’s first peak. Less wind and more clouds than expected. A gorgeous new snow of up to ~6″. It was a short hike (for Benny’s sake) and we arrived home before dark.  Full report.

Mt Monroe and Mt Washington via Ammonoosuc Trail

Kris Cyr and Fred Knight, 2011 Dec 17

We expected a strenuous hike and cold with clearing skies and light wind. We got a workout and the cold temperatures, but there were only a couple moments of the sun breaking through on Mt Washington and significant breeze atop Mt Monroe.  Full report.

Mt Liberty, 2011 Dec 3

Charlie Abert, Steve Bussolari, Fred Knight, Jonah Tower and Benny

2011 Dec 3

Early start for 6+-hour hike, slightly over book time for the 8-mile hike with 2900′ rise. All participants cooperated to make it an enjoyable day. Benny, the golden retriever, was on his first outing; master Jonah played him well.  Report and pictures here.

 

Moosilauke, 2011 Nov 27

Steve Bussolari, Jerry Rubin, Fred Knight

2011 Nov 27

Up to the White Mtns, up the Ravine Road to the Dartmouth Lodge, then up the Gorge Brook Trail to the Moosilauke summit, then down Gleencliff and Snapper, back to the Road. No other hikers except a party in the distance at the summit. Nice day with temperatures in the 30s.  Full report here.

Franconia Ridge, 2011 Nov 19

Steve Bussolari, Jonah Tower, Fred Knight 

We hiked up Falling Waters, across Franconia Ridge from Little Haystack to Lafayette, and then down Old Bridle Path. We took 8 hours, well above book time. Always a fun hike! My last time up here was in April when the snow was deep. Only a dusting today.  Here’s a full report.

Galehead Mtn + South Twin

Fred Knight and Steve Smith

2011 Nov 5

Steve Smith and Fred Knight made a day of the gorgeous weather on Saturday with a hike up the Gale River Trail to Galehead Mtn, and an extension to South Twin. Wanting some views of Franconia and the Presidentials, we added South Twin (and another 1200′ of elevation) for spectacular views of snow-covered peaks west and east. We returned back to the car by sunset as the 3/4 moon was rising. A thoroughly fun day.

Mt Carrigain

Fred Knight and Charlie Anderson

2011 Oct 22

Charlie Anderson and Fred Knight were so excited about the hike that they both woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep for awhile.

Mt Carrigain was my 29th 4000’er. Next is Galehead. Then we are into winter and fun with the snow. Everybody’s excited about that.

Summary: 14 miles (4 on road), 3200′ rise on trail plus 600′ on road to Mt Carrigain summit at 4700′, 8:25 start; 4:55 finish

Don’t forget to click on those photos and the map.

North Twin-South Twin-Guyot-Bond-Bondcliff-West Bond

Fred Knight and Mike Pineault

2011 Sep 24-25

Mike and I planned a two-day excursion to reach Bond, Bondcliff, and West Bond. Everything went according to plan. The first day was mostly in the clouds with few views. The night at Guyot Tentsite was very warm. The second day was partly cloudy with good views west but not much east toward the Presidentials.

Looking back to Bondcliff adorned with our Guyot caretaker
As we left Bondcliff, the caretaker, out for a jaunt, was shrouded in fog.

Full report.

 

East Osceola and Osceola, 2011 Apr 24

2011 Apr 24

East OsceolaAtop Mt Osceola looking north
The top is barren, cleared (I presume) due to there being a tower in the past with only footings remaining.

On the last day of the 12-week GetFit@MIT, I had a fine hike to East Osceola and Osceola. Starting at the Greeley Ponds Trailhead at 8am after an easy drive (with no traffic), I donned hat and light mittens but got down to shorts and shirt before the steep section up East Osceola. The day was in the 30s with variable clouds and light wind. The monorail on the trail was mostly intact but slippery, so I used microspikes, but I was glad to have crampons for the uphill part. There were a few dicey sections with ice but nothing impassable for me. At a couple points, I regretted leaving my ice ax in the car, although shortening my poles was sufficient.

North and South Hancock Hike

2011 Apr 2

Who: Matt Hansen, Fred Knight

Matt and I both forgot our cameras, which was the only downside to a fine day of hiking to North Hancock, elevation 4,420 feet and South Hancock, elevation 4,319 feet.  The day was partially clear with a mix of a few snow squalls in between intermittent times of blue sky.  We were aided by a Lone Snowshoer, who preceded us with enormous strides, and we still took almost 9 hours to complete the 10.4 miles.

The previous two days left 3-6″ of fresh snow, but we managed well with bare boots for the first two hours.  We followed the Lone Wolf’s tracks; he was our Wilderness Guide.  After the Hancock Loop junction, we used snowshoes and still followed the True Trailblazer up the steep (1100′ in 0.7 miles) part.  The uncanny Himalayan Hiker only went awry once, after keeping on trail at a myriad of bends and right-angle turns.  The Mystery Man met his match coming off North Hancock.  Our Chingachgook left crisscrossed tracks in aborted attempts to find the next blaze, but finally chose a lick of young spruce to bushwhack.  The Young Yeti got right back on the track!  On the approach to South Peak, the Yak Tracker amazed us again and again by his abrupt turns to meander up to the top.  We saw no other hikers—only the trail of Mountain Man With Long Strides.

Coming down South Peak was a glorious treat for Matt, whose balance allowed him a speedy descent.  I lagged…and lagged…down the 700′ snow-covered trail.  Luckily, the cushion of 6-8″ of snow made a soft landing for each step.  The trail of our Winter Wonder was obliterated, but his guidance led us well.

Summary: North and South Hancock, 10.4 miles, 8:45, bare boot and snowshoes, good snow, glorious views, leadership by Dramatic Deerslayer

Part Way up to Mt Washington

Mt Washington, 19 Mar 2011: Only got part way up Lion’s head, 3 of 8 in the team made it to the top.  I balked at going up Lion’s Head Winter Route.  No ice ax; first time with crampons.  Decided instead to explore at lower altitudes.  Saw Harvard Cabin, then Tuckerman’s Ravine.  Met up with the team at the end of the day.

Cannon Mt, Lafayette Camground, Falling Waters

2-day hikemap4-5 Mar 2011
Solo on 4 Mar up to Cannon Mt from Lafayette Campground, then with Charlie Abert and Jonah Tower up Falling Waters, only part way to the Franconia Ridge because I had to get home. As they reported later, very windy on top.

Earlier hikes, 2004-2011

There are other hike reports from earlier adventures in the White Mountains, the Squam Range, Glacier National Park, and the Rocky Mountains at the older web site.