5 May 2021: Walker Ranch Loop. South Boulder Creek movie1 and movie2 and gaiaGPS trip report. Mark Ostrom drove us to the trailhead. Starting at 8:40 after a near-freezing morning, we took the CCW route. After passing one group, we neared the roaring South Boulder Creek. Quite a torrent! (movie1 at Tom Davis Gulch) The trail was smooth and hilly. Before our half-way point we passed the lady with her two dogs; she took CW route had the faster pace. The second half of the hike was slower, with nicely-made stairs leading back down to the Creek (movie2 at Martin Gulch), which we had skirted on higher ground, partially treed. Before the final fairly-level path, we took a less-used short-cut of three switchbacks that you can see on the map between Harmon Gulch and the Trailhead. I was glad we saved some distance, even if it was less traveled and steep.
I started out with my winter boots, gaiters, and long pants while Mark was in shorts. I carried my Oboz sneakers in the pack and changed into them during the hike. No snow to be seen, even though the NOAA website had predicted some.
In summary, 7.5 miles in 3:37 on easy trail but with some ascents and descents.
7 May 2021: Glacier Gorge out of Glacier Gorge Junction in RMNP.
Mark and I did most of the Glacier Gorge Trail, from its start at the Bear Lake Road to Lake of Glass below the final Sky Pond. We balked at doing the final leg across the pond and up about 800′ and 0.7 miles because it looked untraveled and we were tired. At our stopping point, we met another hiker, Danica Lamb, who was experienced, so we all decided to return down the trail together. Coming down, the snow was mushy, and we met numerous hikers coming up—with all sorts of attire. GaiaGPS report is here.
I thought that we were doing the most gorgeous route, but my memory failed. The most gorgeous is Mills Lake to Black Lake to Green Lake, which starts where we started but follows the left fork, not the right fork we took. So be it.
The weather was balmy. We wore one layer on top and microspikes on the bottom. It must have been in the 50s or 60s. I am glad we started out early and returned between 11:30 and 1; the warm day made the snow mushy on the way down. Those going up late were going to slip.
Lots of great views from the trail, including the view of the CD from Lake of Glass, which was well frozen like The Loch, which I crossed on both ways. Danica and Mark used the trail, which skirted The Loch.
In summary, 8 miles, 1400′ elevation gain, and warm weather with well-trodden trail all the way.
21-22 Jan 2021: Mt Liberty and Mt Flume
26 Jan 2021: Long Pond, French’s Mtn, and bushwhack
28 Jan 2021: Blueberry Hill and overnight on the deck
30-31 Jan 2021: overnight on patio in Wayland; see below.
I have improved my sleeping system and have done Mt Liberty and Mt Flume as a test, with follow-up local overnight tests in Maine and Wayland, MA.
I love the nest of 1) interior parka zipped to sleeping bag bottom and 2) outer Frostline kits sleeping bag enlarged with down panels in circumference and at head end. I have made additions to improve its warmth. Celia did the intricate sewing. Thanks, Ceil.
On the morning of 31 Jan 2021, it’s 3 deg F, and I am up at 7am after a 10-hour, warm sleep outside; see pic.
Not much of a hike out the back door. A few details for you interested correspondents.
assembly inside the warm house, I dragged the sleeping setup outside.
Only a few inches of snow; 15 deg F at start of sleep. Inserting myself
and doing two zippers got me comfortable. Quite convenient. The down
booties kept my feet toasty, while the head end was airtight due to my
adjustable down collar that also lengthens the bag. 9pm lights out. Oh
yes, I incorporated a couple bed pillows instead of the under-bag snow
for elevating my head—a treat.
- Slept well—not like two nights ago on my porch in Maine where it was 25 deg F, and I was boiling hot.
- I had a call of nature at 4:30am but went back for the remainder of the night. I was cozy.
- One zipper issue that I need to fix, but otherwise quite nice. The increased girth of my outer bag adds 2 pounds of down, but increases warmth and comfort with added space. The new head-end zipper on Tyvek provides added warmth and is adjustable; it’s a good addition.
- Getting in and out works fine; just a bit of an effort in my parka/bag combo, which requires zipping up the bottom bag, unzipping and sliding into the outer bag, and final zipping—in that order.
- During the night, a little condensation on the inside of the Tyvek produced a few drops on my head, but manageable.
- In deeper snow, I will use my shovel to hollow out a pit to give me additional warmth.
my set of compression sacks, all the sleeping gear fits into my Kelty
pack, which is a bit weighty for me but doesn’t require the ancient sled
that ancient Beef needed in the ancient Adirondacks with ancient gear.
The modern gear is tremendous. The overhead of unpacking and repacking
just takes time.
I am ready for another overnight in the Whites.
Over the past week plus, I’ve done local hikes of 9, 10, 8, 7, and 9.5 miles. Here are write-ups on gaiaGPS.com.
26 Mar 2020 on Paine Estate, including new trails I’ve never been on
27 Mar 2020 on Millbrook and Weston woods, back along Rail Trail
28 Mar 2020 east on Aquaduct, Weston trails, Wayland Hills, and Mainstone
30 Mar 2020 to Lincoln woods from Rte 117 and circling Walden Pond
4 Apr 2020 to Weston woods and back along Rail Trail
And more at gaiaGPS.com on many dates, e.g., 7 Apr 2020’s hike
Mike Willett, Richard Bissonnette, Fred Knight
See the pics here.
A superb day with temperatures in the teens and 20s and lots of sun. The trail was well broken and the wind was manageable, even on Mt Eisenhower where we stayed only briefly. Met and passed lots of hikers, out and back. Approx. book time, but it’s getting harder to equal book time. The trail was superbly cushioned with snow. Used microspikes through out, but Richard tried (and abandoned) snowshoes on the ascent of Eisenhower. A thoroughly fun hike.
Summary: 8.9 miles, 3200′ elevation gain, 6 hours (~book time)
After two weeks, I finally installed the photos to the web. Previously they were confined to the iphone due to a gaiaGPS error. I am downloading a replacement version of gaiaGPS on the iphone to attempt to correct this.
Steve Sawyer, Richard Bissonnette, Mike Willett, Mike Pineault, Scott Stuart, and Fred Knight
We did a 23-hour hike up and down the Liberty Spring Trail with sleep in between at our campsite near the junction with Franconia Ridge Trail. We camped just below the Mt. Liberty Summit to allow easy access to good views of the sunset at 5:24pm and the sunrise at 6:33 am. Everybody made it to the sunset after setting up camp and to the sunrise after arising early. The long sleep in between was warm for all, with temperatures in 20s.
|Hikers Posing (click on pic for better view; click again for enlargement)|
|Mike P||Mike W||Steve||Scott||Richard||Fred|
We established an itinerary that did not require very early departure. After drives north, we met at Annie’s Overflow in Plymouth, NH at 9am. Everybody, except Mike W. who had the kilbasa special, ordered some variety of Eggs Benedict. After a short drive, we got going at 11am. The under-4hr hike to the campsite was a drain for me. We all made it.
I took a video of the campsite during the morning breakdown. We had 3 tents and 3 bivvies.
The sunrise was against a few low lying clouds.
Summary: 2 days, 8.2 miles, 3300′ elevation rise, overnight near Mt Liberty
Celia Knight, Jason Shelkowitz, and Fred Knight
When we turned around, we were shy by 0.3 miles of the summit of Cranberry Mountain in the Bigelow Range. We stopped for lunch after an uphill slog of 2.75 hours, had a great view of frozen Flagstaff Lake, and were tired even though we’d done only 2.6 miles. We had a calm day in the teens for temperature. There was enough new snow, up to a few inches at the top, to make the leader have a tougher time than the followers—and we traded the lead. I was satisfied with a view of the summit.
We had traveled by car 90 minutes from the homestead on Long Pond, past Sugerloaf Ski Area, and into Stratton, Maine where we luckily found the turn-off on Currie Road. The parking was just up the road. The trail looked packed, so we left our snowshoes in the car. The trail was packed all the way up, and microspikes did fine. I made a movie from our turn-around spot. The trail was gradual starting out for the first mile, then steep from 1800′ to 3000′, then gradual again, but up and down with a gradual slope up on the side of the mountain. We got intermittent views of Flagstaff Lake to the north after the steep section. Then we finally saw the peak , but there was a dip before the final 100′ climb to the top. I balked. We ate lunch and headed back down the trail. See the gaiaGPS map for details.
The hike down was fast, with only a couple butt slides. The topcoat of snow cushioned my steps. Again, microspikes were perfect. We got back in 1:10, while the trek up took 2:45.
Summary: not quite to Cranberry Mountain in Bigelow Range, Maine, 5.6 miles, 1800′ elevation gain, just under 5 hours.
For today, I decided to do Mt Monadnock in order to test my stamina, which had been waning. The solo hike was a RT via White Dot-Cascade Link-Red Spot-Pempelly. It was only 5+ miles and 1740′ elevation gain, about half of the Falling Waters-Franconia Ridge-Greenleaf-Old Bridle Path loop, but I felt fine on the hike. Weather was in the teens and twenties and got completely overcast with light snow at the end. The trees were covered in ice; even the drive out had great scenery. Only a little snow on a well-trampled trail, but lots of ice on the top of the snow and on rocks near the top. Microspikes did fine, but I saw a couple people with crampons.
Summary: 5.15 miles, 1743′ elevation gain, 4+ hours, well-trampled trail, little snow with icy crust
In other news, my daughter Celia did my sleeping bag repair to enlarge it as a outer cocoon for winter camping. Details forthcoming on another post. I will be ready for the Mt Liberty overnight come the end of February. As Scott says, we can choose according to weather among the last two weekends in February 2020 (22-23 or 29-1Mar). I’ll be in Maine next weekend (15-17 Feb 2020), and we might do the Bigelow Range.
Team: Chris and Hazel Cyr, Jeff Grace, Pierre and Yolin DuBois, Scott Stuart, Fred Knight
We met at the Mt Morgan Trailhead but failed to recognize each other for a bit. After introductions, we decided on a route to allow a split for either a shorter hike (~ 5 miles) or a longer one including part of the Squam Range ridge walk. We reached Mt Percival (2.3 miles) in under 2 hours. The views of Squam Lake were partially obscured by haze but still gorgeous. Likewise at Mt Morgan, the haze was still present. After descent to the trail junction with the ridge walk to Mt Livermore, we all decided to do part of the unbroken ridge trail with two snowshoers in the lead. We reached Mt Webster without any further vistas and turned back. The remainder of the hike took 1.5 hours to backtrack and descend.
gaiaGPS report is here.
Scott’s photos are here.
Summary: 5 hours and a little more than 7 miles with 1600′ ascent. Nice hike with a fun team.
See the GaiaGPS track of this grueling hike by Richard and Fred on the shortest day of the year (winter solstice at 11:19 am).
This hike was a repeat from the 2018 Flume Slide hike with Scott and Steve. This time I made it to the top 15 minutes faster, but we still hiked in the dark at the end. Quite a slog in 9:40. The Flume Slide was again arduous. Getting to the close-over section gave me a little boost, but the final push was again difficult. Changing back to microspikes at the top of the slide, I had a pole malfunction and took almost a half hour getting one pole back together. Happily, I had the right tool. Coming down took almost 4 hours. The path down from Mt. Flume seems endless, and then the steep ascent to Mt Liberty is so grueling that I stopped a couple times. The snow wasn’t more than 8″ at the top, so I carried my snowshoes all the way. Richard kept his in the car—the superior choice. Breakfast at Flapjack’s was again a good idea, but I still wanted snacks and warm tea during the hike.
A few details on the Flume Slide ascent. We got to the steep section without issue, except the blue blazes stopped. I knew we were following last year’s path on the gaiaGPS app. As we did the changeover to crampons, two youngsters passed us. They were planning on doing the whole Franconia Ridge to Mt Lafayette. Wow! For me, the going was tough all the way to the top, which took over 2.5 hours. The speed was so slow that the gaiaGPS app called it stopped. The crossover bit is at 3600′. After that is still almost 500′ ascent, and I kept hoping to reach the top.
At the end, I concluded this was my last winter Flume Slide ascent, an indication of how tough it was. The next morning, I questioned that conclusion. We’ll see how I feel next year.
Summary: 9.6 miles and 3500′ ascent in 9:40, so it was an average of ~1 mile/hour. The Flume Slide was again grueling.
Annual post-Thanksgiving hike: Full Report
The annual post-Thanksgiving Hike had an awesome group and saw a wide range of conditions on the hill. The hike took longer than I anticipated due to poor navigation on the way down. I thought we had started down White Cross, not White Arrow, which required a road walk on the Parker Trail at the end. The Spellman Trail on the way up got a little dicey, but donning microspikes (per Celia’s recommendation) was a good call in the middle of the steep part (see map). We ate lunch at the junction of Spellman and Pumpelly—a cold spot without a view. The peak was blustery and cold; I used my full mittens, balaclava, and goggles. Some chemical hand warmers aided others on the team. The way down on White Arrow had multiple steep sections with boulders but was not too icy. We reached Half-Way House location near 3pm and then slogged back another 2 miles in mild. uninspiring conditions.
Thanks to Grammy for minding Shelly and Olive and to Emily for a swimming event at Beede.
Summary: ~6 miles, 1700′ ascent, gorgeous clear day, high level of camaraderie. Great team.
Took a well-traveled route in reverse: up Fawn Point and then bushwhack up Blueberry Hill, then along the road to Roundtop Trail, then back down via bushwhack along Beaver Brook, where I happened to meet Ann in the car, so I got a ride back down to camp.
Nice day near freezing with little snow on the trail. Snow is expected tomorrow, about 3″. Today was clear; barebooted the whole way; not too slippery. Crossed the Beaver Brook at the abandoned beaver dam, which is better than hopping on rocks.
Entire gaiaGPS log is here.
Summary: 3.5-hrs, 1100′ ascent.
Richard convinced me at breakfast that the Osseo Trial was long and the ladders would be dangerous, so we opted for Liberty Spring to Mt Liberty and over to Mt Flume with RT. The hike went well. The skies were clear—a gorgeous day. The temperature was 10 deg F at start (8:00) and rose to 30 deg F at the end (3:20). Except for initial roadwalk, I used microspikes the whole way. We met a few coming up Osseo, so the ladders were doable. Great views to all the Whites from the two peaks. We got to Mt Liberty in 2.5 hours and to Mt Flume in 4 hours. Total trip of 7:24 was over book time of 6:45.
My method of keeping the soles of my feet elevated from the boots by placing mole skin around the edges worked pretty well at keeping the blisters down. Richard even suggested cutting holes in my socks to further elevate the area where the blisters occur.
Summary: great day
Richard and Fred started on Crawford Path and did Mt Pierce and Mt Eisenhower in ideal conditions: temperature in the 20s, a few inches of snow and lots of thin ice on the trails, and mostly clear skies with little wind and lots of bright sun. Here’s the link:
|Mt. Lafayette above treeline (Scan from Greenleaf Hut to peak)|
Charles Abert, Frederick Knight, Richard Bissonnette (up Falling Waters)
This is essentially the write-up from the gaiaGPS post. (Click for map and pics)
Charlie and I met at Forbes Road, stopped at McDonalds at Exit 20 per Charlie’s request, missed Richard by 30 minutes, and chose to avoid Falling Waters Trail due to Charlie’s expectation of swollen streams. Richard took Falling Waters and was ahead of us. The temperature was rising through the hike, but the the trail was quite good, no post-holes, good monorail. After Greenleaf Hut, the melting above tree line allowed us to skirt most of the remaining icy patches. Microspikes worked fine all the way, although I carried both snowshoes and crampons. At the Lafayette summit we met hikers who came up Falling Waters without issue. However, Charlie wanted to avoid it going down, so we headed back down to the hut from the summit. The peak was socked in, but clearing was evident on the descent to the hut. Richard caught up to us in the descent above the hut, and we were essentially together on the way down. By the time we reached the parking lot, the temperature was in the late 60s. The day cleared to bright sun, with the ridge open—quite a change from our stay (see pics). A good hike, just above book time..
Summary: ~7.5 miles, RT on Old Bridle Path to Mt Lafayette, 5.75 hrs, 3300′ elevation rise.
Jay Bearfield, Scott Stuart, and I (trailing the leaders) had a good hike up Beaver Brook (once we found the trail), past Mt. Blue, and up to windy Mt. Moosilauke. Once we broke treeline, the wind and cold were not inviting, but until the end the wind was not a factor. The day started well above freezing, but the temperature dropped during the day. We got less than an inch of snow. Hiking conditions were superb; footing okay with microspikes (used throughout); skies mostly cloudy. Saw a few other hikers; some with snowshoes. No crampons necessary. We forgave Jay for leading us astray at the beginning. Luckily Scott and Jay waited for me periodically. Jean-Marc and Richard did the same on Sunday. Good luck, guys. From Richard’s message, sounds like they had similar conditions:
Jean-Marc and I did the same hike on Sunday. A couple short stops at the beginning to access where someone went off trail the day before. Could that have been?
Starting temp. was below freezing and got worse. Good firm monorail. Snow pack high (too high for me with those pesky tree branches). Just over half way, Dally got sick (Jean-Marc’s dog) and they had to descend. I pushed on to the summit meeting up with a guy we met in the parking lot as he just dropped below tree line. Full battle gear was required on the ridge. The wind and cold was brutal even for me. The idea of shooting for south peak vanished as the wind gusts knocked me around. Looking forward for another hike next weekend. Regards,
Here’s a trip report. Oh yes, my external battery kept my phone charged. Good.
Summary: ~7.6 miles, 6 hours, 3033′ elevation gain
|Scott, on his 48th birthday, and Fred did Cannon Mtn., up via Hi-Cannon and Kinsman Ridge Trails, then down to Lonesome Lake. The weather was as predicted: cool and stupendously clear. We used snow shoes most of the way up and snowshoes and butt slides on the way down to Lonesome Lake. The steepest section of Kinsman Ridge Trail below Cannon was quick; I was not on my feet. After the sliding, the trail got manageable with snowshoes again. Then, after Lonesome Lake junction, we used microspikes back to car. Fuller report at gaiaGPS.com.|
I managed to get my aux battery to recharge my phone on the hike by keeping the battery warm next to my leg and the phone connected. At first, with the battery cooler, it did NOT charge. Formula is keep the battery warm and the phone plugged in to the battery via a long cord. Thus, I recorded the entire hike and still had significant charge. I did remember to enter Airplane mode, which also helped.
Eric and I did a 2-hr hike starting and ending at our Wayland house. About 5.5 miles per the gaiagps track, we walked along the Weston Aquaduct and then crossed Old Connecticut Path and did a circle in the Mainstone Hills, returning again on the Aquaduct.
Celia, Jay, and I did a 4-hr hike from the Long Pond camp, up Beaver Brook, across Watson Pond Road, through the woods on snowshoes, and then up the Round Top Trail to the lookout for a snack. We returned via the same route. The snow in the woods was 2-3′ deep, so the leader (which we cycled through) got a good workout. Coming back, we literally retraced our snowshoe steps, which was much easier. The gaiaGPS track gives the stats.
Richard Bissonette, Scott Stuart, and I started from the Lafayette Camp Ground and did North and South Kinsman. The day was cool (single digits) and windy (lots of early gusts but good protection), but the conditions throughout the hike were gorgeous. We had clear skies, and wind on top was not even an issue. A few tidbits.
- After the drive north, we had a hearty breakfast at Flapjack’s in Lincoln per Richard’s formula. I also ate oatmeal at home, so I was well fortified.
- The parking was almost full, and we got going at 8:22. Lots of wind, so we expected even more on top. The direction from the west meant that the hike up was well protected.
- We crossed Lonesome Lake and joined the Fishin’ Jimmie Trail. There are three steep sections to get us up to the Kinsman Pond shelter. We kept going to North Kinsman and then decided to continue on the South Kinsman, which we reached about 12:30.
- On the way back to North Kinsman, I needed some energy, so we stopped for food and drink. We had passed two large groups and many pairs and trios. Lots of hikers. The trail was trampled everywhere, and Scott and I used microspikes throughout. Richard put on his crampons for the Fishin’ Jimmie Trail. Very slow going for me coming down those steep sections.
- We stopped at Lonesome Pond Hut on the way back. Scott was 15 minutes ahead by then. Quite a crowd inside the Hut.
- On the way down to the trailhead, my knees really hurt—not good. Scott suggested some ibuprofen, which helped, but I had a glacial pace on the way down from Lonesome Lake. Rats!
- My gaiagps only captured part of the hike because my phone ran out of juice. I forgot to turn on airplane mode, but I thought the spare battery would recharge, as it had in my room-temperature tests at home. No dice. However, I left the external battery attached and the phone was 80% charged when we reached the trailhead. Hmm?
Summary: ~10 miles, ~3500′ elevation, 7 hours, clear and cool, easy trail
I did an overnight at the top of Liberty Springs Trail, at the same location of 2013. Richard and I had breakfast together, before I realized I had forgotten my boots. After doing an extra round trip to Wayland and back because I forgot my boots, I started at 12:38. The hike up took 3+ hours, and I passed many people coming down on my trip up. One adventurous couple had parked at the Basin, come up Falling Waters, slogged across the ridge, and then hiked down Liberty Springs. Ridge was a bear they said. I just tramped through a little snow at the top to find a place to dig a tent hole. There was 4′ of snow. Using my new shovel, I dug down to near the ground, put the tarp over held by lines and snow, and ran out of light. I realized afterward that I could have made a 2.5′ high tunnel, which would have eliminated the need for the blue tarp. I made a bed and got into my inner parka and bag bottom. Not hungry, so just got into bed. Cool in the first part of the night. Then I made sure the Tyvek was really covering me and got warmer. Slept continuously from 11-4:30. Finally got up at 5:30 and tramped up the hill to Mt Liberty for the sunrise. Came back to camp, cooked breakfast of MountainHouse spaghetti, repacked, and took 2.5 hours back to the car.
|Day 1 (Sunday, 13 Jan 2019): See first day’s adventure on gaiagps, ending with snow shoveling.|
|Day 2: See the Second Day Pics, including these panoramas before and at sunrise from Mt Liberty.|
|Before Sunrise (from Franconia Ridge around 180 degrees)|
Summary: ~7 miles, overnight just below Mt Liberty
I decided to stay close to home and save driving time, but I also got flat terrain. Drove to Rte 117 parking lot. Did Mt Misery for starters. Then a typical route to Walden Pond. Then headed to the new area around Lincoln’s water reservoir called Flint’s or Sandy Pond. Got lost a couple times on the way back and was aided by a friendly pair of hikers. Skirted some private property on the final leg, but I would have been better off sticking to the meadow walk to reach the woods near Mt Misery again. A good pace due to flat ground and level paths.
Track at gaiagps.com site.
Summary: 10.5 miles, level ground, track via gaiagps.com site
I bushwhacked up to Blueberry Hill from our camp on Long Pond. Then I did a walk on Watson Pond Road to the parking lot at the Round Top Trail Head. It was a 1.8 miles to the Round Top summit, then a short distance to the vista overlooking the ponds. Up to 10″ of snow and microspikes worked fine all the way. After descent to the Kennebec Highlands Trail, I did another bushwhack thinking that I would end up near the Beaver Brook Estates entrance, as I had done a number of other times. Instead, I veered south and intersected the path that comes back onto Watson Pond Road just north of Blueberry Hill. I continued back down Fawn Point Estates road and got back home a little after 1pm. The entire route was sort of the reverse of a previous hike.
Summary: ~6 miles, 4+ hours
Itinerary: Pemi Loop Trail, road walk, lower part of Liberty Spring, Flume Slide, Mt Flume, Mt Liberty, Liberty Spring, road walk, Pemi Loop (Map and gaiaGPS Map You have to zoom in due to my including part of our trip home in the MB. Oops!)
Hikers: Steve Sawyer, Scott Stuart, Richard Bissonette (to just below slide), Fred Knight
Photo sets: Photos from Steve and Scott; Selected images from all 3 cameras.
|Selfie with Franconia Ridge||The Man||The Old Man|
|Trail Breaker #2||Trail Breaker #1||Trail Follower|
For a hearty start, we three met Richard for breakfast at Flapjack’s in Lincoln, NH after a nice ride in Steve’s MB E350. Our first mistake was not bringing snow shoes, as the new snow was a few inches deep even at the trail head. We got going at 8:15 with squishy snow and microspikes. About 45 minutes later, by the time we got to the trail fork, the snow was deeper and NOBODY had been up the Flume Slide Trail since the last snow. Steve and Scott shared the trail breaking as the snow got deeper. When we reached the lower end of the flume slide, Richard decided to turn back. I thought I could go the remaining 1200′ elevation gain to the top. Scott led the way—a lifesaver for me as the new snow was close to a foot with another 10-15″ base. Also, my pack strap gave way, which required a repair. Well, I reached the top after 6 hours and 8 minutes. Steve and Scott were waiting for me. Yikes! So it was 2:25 pm, and we had 5 miles to go. As Steve put it while still on the Slide, we were going to end in the dark going forward or back. My second mistake was no time for recovery.
On top of Mt Flume, the views were stupendous: undercast with snowy peaks sticking out, clear blue sky, only freezing temperatures, and rime ice everywhere. I managed to mount Mt. Flume—just! I was bushed.
The trek to Mt. Liberty was a real slog for me, with Steve and Scott way ahead. When I reached Mt. Liberty, they had finished photographing the sights. With the sun getting low near the horizon, it was gorgeous—the fading light, the undercast, the protruding white peaks, the rocks on Liberty, no wind, clear skies, and sunset approaching. My third mistake was forgetting my headlamp. Luckily Steve and Scott had theirs.
We reached the Liberty Spring junction at 4:15. I removed my crampons, opting for microspikes for the descent. Steve gave me his headlamp at 4:45, a lifesaver for me as I was having trouble navigating the trail. However, the trail was perfect with snowy base and good traction with microspikes.
Steve and Scott waited for me at the Flume-LibertySpring junction, the road, and the Pemi Loop. I made it back to the car at about 5:45. Exhausted and wet. My boots had actually made my socks wet; my pants were wet as well. Hadn’t seen that before. A grueling hike but a good one.
Oh yes, I managed to record the hike with gaiaGPS. Now I just have to figure how to upload it for archiving.
Summary: ~9 miles, 9.5 hrs (6 hrs to top of Flume Slide-Wow!), ended in the dark
Mt Cotton to (almost) Mt Morgan
Jasper, Heath, Scott Stuart, John Moores, Fred Knight
|Mt. Livermore||Mt. Livermore|
We had two cars and managed to communicate with intermittent cell phone coverage to orchestrate a one-way traverse of the Squam Range from SW to NE, similar to my previous one where I biked to Mt Livermore after leaving a car at Rattlesnake. After parking at the Cotton Trail head lot, we did Mt. Cotton at the start. The snow was a few inches deep, perfect for microspikes. After 5 hours, we unanimously decided to omit the jaunt up to Mt Morgan at the end. In between, we got great views of Squam. Everybody had microspikes, but the snow got to be a foot deep for the last couple miles, so the trail breakers (JD and Scott) got a workout. The sky was cloudless initially with temperatures starting at 5 deg F but rising to the balmy 20s.
Scott took some pictures as well.
~9 miles in 5.5 hours, clear skies and up to 12″ snow on the ground
Mt Audubon out of Ward, CO, Mark Ostrom and Fred Knight
Mark and I got up early, started hiking at 6:15 am before 6:30 sunrise, and reached the peak a little after 9am. My highest hike in CO, 13,200′.
|Map||Mark on the top|
A few more pics here. The sun wasn’t out and the peak had temperatures in the early 40s, so we sat in one of the wind shelters on top. After lunch, we hiked back. A few good vistas but not like the lower elevation hikes in RMNP out of Bear Lake. Even though it’s a longer drive to Bear Lake, the hikes starting there offer gorgeous views of lakes and mountains.
Summary: 7.7 miles, 2700′ elevation gain, 5.5 hours
Richard Bissonnette, Mike Willett, Jeff Pray, Fred Knight
|Fred, Mike, Richard||Jeff|
Using my new maxim of eating two breakfasts, I ate at home and drove to Flapjack’s to meet Richard, Mike, and Jeff for the second breakfast. We headed to the Marshfield Station Road, which was mostly bare and paid the $10/car to park right at the station. Getting going around 8:40, we immediately aborted and returned to the cars to get our snowshoes, as the trail was obviously soft with still 3′ to 4′ of snow. We wore the snowshoes throughout the hike. The Jewell Trail (previous to Mt Jefferson and in 2012 also to Mt Jefferson) was nice for snowshoes and has the gentle slope after rising from the station and crossing the footbridge. We reached treeline about noon and then meandered our way up the Gulfside Trail. The views were their usual spectacular above treeline until we got into clouds. It was apparent that either Washington or Jefferson would not afford any views. I had been challenged enough. Coming back down was slow until we reached treeline again. The temperature held near freezing, and the few sunny areas had a crust with very pleasant walking all the way. Mike and Jeff enhanced our recall with nice pics.
See all Mike’s and Jeff’s pics here—lots of smiles, good vistas, selfies, and kissing the Blarney Cairn.
Summary: 6:20 hours, ~7 miles, 2900′ elevation rise, all snowshoes
Jeff’s Pics: Just click twice for more detail.
Ross Allen, Steve Smith, Charlie “Beef” Abert and Fred “Tarpy” Knight
Up via White Dot, Cascade Link, Red Spot, and Pumpelly
Down via White Dot
Pics: Just click twice for more detail.
|Heading Up||Steve, Charlie, Ross posing||Upper Red Spot|
|Upper Red Spot||Upper Red Spot||Steve Ascending|
|Steve and Summit||Charlie toward summit||Pumpelly Vista|
We chose a 5:30am rendezvous at Forbes Road and started from the Poole Rd parking lot at a little after 7am. My plea for the route we took got us into once-traveled trail, so Ross and I switched to snowshoes. Steve was on skis, and Charlie stayed with bare boots. The Red Spot tracks ended in the middle, so we headed up through a couple feet of powder along with two other dudes who took the lead. Gorgeous snow-covered trees, completely blue sky, and shelter from wind—exhilarating conditions. The wind picked up on Pumpelly and was really blowing the snow as we reached the summit after ~3 hrs. Quickly we scampered down to shelter. At the White Cross-White Dot junction Steve chose the unbroken White Cross for skiing. At the bottom I waited for Steve to appear, but he came ambling down with skis on his pack, having aborted the White Cross downhill ski.
Summary: 4+ hours, ~6 miles,
Charlie “Beef” Abert and Fred “Tarpy” Knight
Round trip via White Cross Trail
Pics: Just click twice for more detail.
|Fred in Action||Charlie posing||Fred posing|
|White Cross Vista||Charlie on White Cross||Charlie at summit|
|Charlie still posing||Fred still posing||Fred still posing more|
We chose an 8am rendezvous at Forbes Road and started from the Poole Rd parking lot at 9:45am. We reached the summit after 2.25 hrs. The trail had very little ice; going was easy. I used microspikes from start to finish, but Charlie changed to crampons partway up on White Cross. The wind increased after the junction with White Dot and got ferocious near the summit. Our estimates were 35 mph, but other hikers thought that was an underestimate. Blowing snow was quite nasty in a couple places near the summit. Our estimates of wind speed increased after we got back down, indicating our desire to exaggerate the actual conditions. Then there was the playing of the Mt Everest Story on the way to and from the peak that resulted in Beef’s final characterization of the challenging conditions:
My data as per our climb today as follows (just downloaded)
Climbers: Tarpy & Beef
Elevation gain from sea level trek inland from Indian Ocean: 8000 meters +
Oxygen systems utilized: Not needed due to vast lung capacity
Route: Abruzzi Spur
Rope utilized: Not needed due to skill
Food utilized: MRE’s (Chicken with rice) Liquid: Guinness
ET: From sea level to summit and return to ship (via Baltoro Glacier) 3 hours
Gear: Shirt, jacket, wind pants, goggles, gloves, hat. Crampons not needed therefore MicroSpikes utilized.
Wind speed @ summit: Approx 229 MPH (a bit below Mount Washington record)
Actual Summary: 3.5 hours, ~5 miles
A repeat of last year’s identical hike. This year: Richard Bissonnette, Charlie Abert, Bryan Barnett, and Fred Knight. And Mike Pineault, starting at the same time, doing Liberty Spring up and down with a full overnight pack.
|On Flume Trail||Charlie exiting Flume Slide||Richard Near Liberty|
The big news for me: a confirmation of last week’s inkling that a big breakfast (or maybe two big breakfasts) with lots of carbs is key to surviving a hike. “Well, duh!” was the response from Richard and the Beef. Everybody knows that. Well, I finally am believing what everybody knows: trying to fill your glycogen storage (“to maximise the storage of glycogen (or energy) in the muscles and liver.” as wiki puts it.) is important for a long, sustained hike. And the way to do that is eat as much as you can within the few hours before a hike and, according to Charlie, load up on carbs even days before the hike.
So Charlie was fed initially at home, then added more at Burger King at Exit 24. Richard and I stocked up at Flapjack’s in Lincoln, NH. And I should have eaten more earlier when I woke up. Also, what I have traditionally done is cook for eating during the hike, which is not the way to go—you have to stock up on the glycogen before the hike.
Well, the two large pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, toast, and hash browns that I ate at Flapjack’s at 7:30 am helped me get to the top of Flume Slide and not feel exhausted like last year.
Overall, the hike went well, with warm temperatures, easy brook crossings, a Flume Slide with less ice and pretty good snow covering, not too much wind except at Mt. Flume, and a fine meal after the hike.
|Exiting Flume||Exiting Liberty||Cascade Brook|
A few tidbits.
- We had an 8:30 start from the trailhead. Richard Bissonnette, Charlie Abert, Bryan Barnett, and Fred Knight were doing the Flume Slide-Mt Flume-Mt Liberty-Liberty Spring loop, and Mike Pinaeult was going up and down Liberty Spring to test his new gear.
- The streams were indeed easy to cross. Last week’s inflated creeks from the warm temperatures had abated.
- We split up into pairs on the slide. Richard and I reached the top in 4 hours; Charlie and Bryan were well ahead of us. The slide was again agonizingly long for me, and Richard’s incorrect announcement that we were near the top at the jog didn’t help any, but I was doing fine at the top. I used my ice ax and crampons on the Slide but used microspikes otherwise.
- The only significant wind was on Mt Flume, where it was blowing.
- The crossover from Flume to Liberty took an hour. Snow conditions all day were packed; the trails were padded and well worn.
- The temperature stayed just below freezing; the skies were gorgeous. The sun was out for a good portion of the hike. Slightly above freezing near the bottom of Liberty Spring with some ice balling under microspikes, but I kept mine on. Seemed to go below freezing again near the bottom.
- We all got back by 4:00—Richard and I well behind Bryan and Charlie. Good post-hike dinner at Truants Tavern.
Distance 9.76 mi
Time 7:30, book time: 6 hr 50 min
Elev Gain +3909 ft
A cold day (5 deg F), an aborted attempt at Falling Waters, and Old Bridle Path to the summit with clear skies, an icy trail, and manageable wind. That’s the story for Richard and me.
Richard Bissonnette and I met at Flapjacks in Lincoln, NH, where Richard suggested we get a good breakfast–an admiral idea. We started hiking at 8:17 from the parking lot and planned to do Falling Waters up, but, just up the trail, we met a couple on snow shoes and with wet feet after they tried to get across the stream crossings on Falling Waters Trail. We still thought we’d try Falling Waters, but it was apparent at the bridge that the warm previous 3 days had swollen the streams into gushing torrents (see pic below). We, too, aborted at the first crossing and met others who had the same opinion. Almost everybody (and there were numerous groups) went up Old Bridle Path.
The trail was in superb condition with little ice and a good monorail. We got to Greenleaf Hut after 2.5 hours. I exchanged my microspikes for my crampons. We reached the summit around 12:15, stayed briefly, and got back to the Hut at 1:30. The icy conditions did not persist below the Hut. It was a good pace for me all the way back to the trailhead, by 3:50. The temperature had risen to 8 deg F!
Summary: 8 miles, 3589′ elevation gain, 7:30 (5:45 book time)
I did a hike up to Round Top with a bushwhack through the upper Beaver Brook—and ended up exactly where the Round Top Trail hits Kennebec Highlands Trail for perfect ascent rendezvous.
Left camp, up Beaver Brook, bushwhack with snowshoes to Kennebec Highlands Trail, then up Round Top, and finally road walk to Fawn Point, and back to camp. All microspikes except bushwhack, ~ 1 foot snow.
Summary: ~6 miles, max temp ~8 deg F.
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.
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.
~10 miles, 3300′ rise, up to 6″ of powdery snow, under 7 hrs
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.
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.
7.8 miles, 3500′ elevation rise, 5:40, near book time.
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
Here is the GPS track with stats from James’ watch.
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.
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′.
A few more pics are here.
Summary: 4.4 miles, light snow, 2.25 hours, 600′ elevation gain.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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′!
~ 7.5 miles, Mt Morgan, Mt Percival, West Rattlesnake, no views due to LOW clouds, 5 hours
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.
About 6.2 miles, 1800′ elevation gain in 5:45. Lots of clouds, but we beat the rain.
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.
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.
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)
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
10.1 miles, 4270′ elevation gain in 7:45 on a warm day with lots of snow remaining.
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.
Same 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.
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.
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.
Fred Knight, Mike Pineault, Steve Sawyer, Steve Smith
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 site. 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 morning. 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.
A brisk, 6-hr 10-mile jaunt on well-traveled trail. Mainly clear skies with some good views near the peaks.
Fred Knight, Mike Pineault, Steve Sawyer, Scott Stuart
Panorama from View atop Mt Passaconaway (click for higher resolution) (or all the pics)
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.
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.
See all the pics here.
A fun 2-day hike, ~13 miles, 3100′ rise, 2 peaks (Whiteface and Passaconaway), overnight at Camp Rich
Steve Smith and Fred Knight
180-deg Panorama from ridge (click for higher resolution)
With 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.
All the pics are here.
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.
8 miles, 6 hrs, 2600′ rise, kmz file for 3-d view in google earth.
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.
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
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.
~9 miles, ~5.5 hours, two peaks, varying teams from 3 to 7 hikers.
Fred Knight, Sunday Hike in Maine
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.
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.)
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.
David Kercher, Matt Kercher, Fred Knight, John Kuconis
25-27 Jul 2014
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!
Fred’s and Matt’s and David’s pics: days 1 & 2 and day 3, and John’s pics
- 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).
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Gulfside Trail Just a bear of a trail between Adams and Jefferson, where I had never hiked. Rock hopping all the way. Yikes!
- 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.
- Vitamin I. Multiple 3-tablet doses each day. Saved me.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
~7 miles, 5:20, 3600′ elevation gain, clear and warm Friday with perfect conditions; just a little short (says Fred)
Dropped above 3500′ elevation: one microspike, size medium
if found, please contact Fred Knight, firstname.lastname@example.org.
See full report on hike to Mt Jefferson here.
Sierra Wynn (10),
Chuck Wynn (46, in his sweet spot),
Fred Knight (63, past his sweet spot*)
To start, click on the map. We 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.
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.
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.
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!
~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.”
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.
~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.
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.
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
We 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.
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.
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.
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!
~11 miles, two peaks (North and South Kinsman), overnight in snow fort.
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.
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.
~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.
Lea and Matt Hansen, Dave Trumper, Fred Knight
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,
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!)
Summary: 9.8 miles in 9 hours, ice everywhere on Falling Waters and Old Bridle Path and very little snow on the Franconia Ridge
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.
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)
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.
Three Walden Pond Renderings
Click once to get full field; click again to
get higher resolution and pan across image.
The 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)
See the Full Report.
The 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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
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).
Steve Sawyer, Steve Smith, Fred Knight
2013 Mar 10
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?
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)
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.
Solo, 2-day hike with sleepover at Kinsman Shelter, and North and South Kinsman on Sunday morning.
Just 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.
Snowy 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.
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.
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. Trip 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!
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)
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)
See Matt’s pics in their full glory here.
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..
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)
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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)
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
Summary: 8.6 miles, 3500′ elevation gain, Overnight Stay at Beaver Brook Shelter with 4 calls of nature in 13 hours.
–Fred (aka tarpman)
Steve 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.
I 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)
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.
Summary: ~6 miles, RT on Ammonoosuc Trail then to Mt Monroe from Lakes of the Clouds Hut, 0840-1520=6:40
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.
Summary: 9.18 miles, Squam Range from Mt Livermore to Mt Percival.
Full report here.
I 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.
Summary: 20.56 miles over 2 days, 4 peaks (Zealand, West Bond, Bond, Bondcliff).
We, Jonah Tower, Benny Tower, and Fred Knight, did a Benny-size hike to Mt Tecumseh. See the pictures here.
Summary: 6.2 miles. All three participants did well.
Matt Hansen, James Streitman, and Fred Knight tried for the Tripyramids via the Sabbaday Brook Trail, but aborted due to high water and went on to the Osceolas. See full report here.
I had a vigorous hike to the two Hancock peaks on a rainy day at the peak of colors. Full report is here.
We took an afternoon hike on a gorgeous day that was cool at the top where we joined a horde of others. Full report is here.
I 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.
I 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)
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)
Fred Knight, Steve Bussolari, John Moores
North and South Kinsman, 20 May 2012. Here’s the route: The 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.
Fred Knight, Steve Bussolari, Jerry Rubin
2012 May 6
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.
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.
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.
Up and down along ridge brought me to WIldcat B.
For full report, click on the image.
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)
Click once to get full field; click again to get higher resolution and pan across image.
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.
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On the Lacey Trail
Mountain Man Mike
A great day for smiles
Gotta love that physique