Wednesday, June 22, 2011

#13, #14 Mt. Field (and Willey)




#13, #14 Mts. Field and Willey via Avalon, Willey Range and A-Z trails, May 25, 2009


Mileage: 8.4 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3,050

Trailhead: Crawford Depot (next to Highland Center on Route 302) 

Lessons learned:
    -  If your group decides to split up, have a plan B that everyone knows. 
    -  Know what the summit looks like - research where it is so there is no doubt. (See "Year of the Hike 2" entry.)


Today I hiked with Rich, Sue, Pam, Charlotte and Sandy.  Charlotte had blisters on her feet and did not make it to Mt. Willey.  The weather was cool but clear and there was still quite a bit of snow cover close to the summit, which made going slow. 

Avalon trail was shorter than A-Z to Willey Range, but steep and rocky.
We chose the Avalon and Willey trails up because it was shorter but the Avalon trail was very steep and rocky so we did not save any time by hiking this route.  We did not bring traction so footing was slippery and we decided not to take the spur up to the top of Avalon. We all had lunch at the summit of Mt. Field and when we were done, we headed to Mt. Willey.  
Mt. Field's summit. Not very spectacular.

Sue, Pam and Charlotte started later and fell far behind us; they decided to turn back and head for the car. We had not discussed this scenario before the hike and wondered where they went.  We heard them yelling to us but could not understand what they were saying.  I was concerned but assumed given Charlotte's blisters, that they headed back.
 Sandy, Rich and I got to where we thought the summit of Mt. Willey was but it was only marked with a rock with a small arrow. The GPS beeped and we were where we felt the top was.  

View on the Willey Range trail headed toward Mt. Willey
   
At the summit of Mt. Willey (or were we?)
We took photos and went back to Mt. Field.  We returned via the Willey Range –A-Z trail.  
Not knowing if we actually reached the summit that day bothered me for over a year, until I hiked it again in the fall of 2010, this time via the Willey Range trail from Ethan Pond trail.  I retraced my steps from the 2009 hike to find that we had found the summit; that same area was now marked with a cairn.

#5,#6 Mt. Eisenhower (and Pierce)

#5, 6. Mts. Eisenhower (4780') and Pierce (4310') June 1, 2008 via Edmands Path to Crawford Path.
Mileage:  6.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 2750'

Trailhead: Clinton Road parking area (diagonally across from Highland Center).

Lesson learned: Stop and put bug repellent on!

Hiked with Rich Eileen, Art, Charlotte, Marie, and David. Went the Edmands Path, Loop and Crawford Path trails. Weather was sunny and comfortable with a gray cloud here and there.

Toward the top there were a few patches of snow.  It was cold at the top but clear with beautiful views. 
Snow close to Mt. Eisenhower's summit
Beautiful views.
Skies were threatening and we hiked to Pierce (Clinton), seeing some alpine flowers.  

Hiking poles on Mt. Pierce
Heading down Crawford Path back to the Highland Center we were inundated with black flies.

#36, #37 Middle and South Carters

#36, 37 Middle (4610') and South Carter (4430') July 4,2010.  South Imp trail to Carter Moriah trail to Carter Dome trail to 19 mile brook trail (traverse). 

Mileage: 10.8 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3500'

Trailhead: South Imp trail is located on Route 16 several miles north of Pinkham Notch Visitors Center. Heading north, go past Nineteen Mile Brook Trail and you will see a parking area on your right as you round the corner.  (You can walk from one trailhead to the other).
Lesson learned:  It is particularly rewarding when you schedule to meet friends hiking from another direction and you meet exactly when and where you thought you would!
Hiked with Rich and Eileen on this beautiful but hot day. The trail was very moderate and Carter Moriah ridge was beautiful, particularly between Middle and South Carters. 


Rich's 30th NH 4K - Middle Carter is an unexciting peak

Spectacular view of Mt. Washington from the Carter-Moriah trail ridge.
After we summitted Middle Carter we met Norm and Charlotte at South Carter for lunch.  They were hiking 19 Mile Brook trail up to South Carter. Timing was perfect.
South Carter


#38 Carter Dome

#38 Carter Dome (4832'), July 11, 2010.

Mileage: 10 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3250'

Trailhead: Nineteen Mile Brook trail is located on Route 16 several miles north of Pinkham Notch Visitors Center. 
Lesson learned: There's often a direct correlation between steep and beautiful.

Hiked with Marie, Dave, Rich and Eileen on a hot but beautiful day. We took Nineteen Mile Brook trail to Carter Dome trail to Carter-Moriah Ridge trail to the summit.  We continued to Carter Notch hut, returning to the trailhead via Nineteen Mile Brook trail.  This route is sometimes called the "lollipop loop."  Ascent had good footing and consistent grade.  We met a young hiker who turned out to be the son of a woman who would hike the Bonds with me (Louise).

Summit of Carter Dome. Never could find a USGS marker.
The trail from Carter Dome summit to Carter Notch hut was very steep with nice views.

Marie getting ready to head down to Carter Notch hut. Notch (and Wildcat) are in the background.
Hung out at Carter Notch hut for a bit before heading up the trail .  There is a cool lake at the hut and a rock slide pile called the ramparts.  This is a hike I would do again, though next time I will climb Mt. Hight as well.

#26 Mt. Carrigain

26. Mt. Carrigain (4700') via Signal Ridge Trail, July 11, 2009 (with update October 27, 2012).  

Miles:  10 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3200' elevation gain. 

Trailhead: 2 miles down Sawyer River Road, which is off Route 302 north of Bartlett, NH. Note: this road is gated in the winter.

Lesson learned:  Some days we just move slower and lack that spring in our steps.


Got a bit of a late start for this hike!
 Hiked with Rich and Sandy on a warm, humid day.
Rain, perhaps heavy, was predicted for the evening but the sky was blue and temps moderate when we started out.   Started up at 10 a.m. and was down at the car by .  The trail was very flat for the first 1.5 miles with quite a few water crossings that were fairly high.  Rich and I toughed it out and Sandy used her sandals on some. 
Trail got steeper and soon we had some views. 


The summit observation deck is waaaay up there!
Got to the false summit and saw the observation deck way beyond where we were. Eileen had warned me about this and told me that the trip to the deck (which is the summit) was not as far as it seemed. She was right, we headed along an exposed ridge with spectacular views, then passed a campground (uninhabited), before we ascended one last time to the deck. Rich did climb the deck and we had lunch.  Found the USGS summit marker, took some pictures and headed back down. 


Rich on the observation deck.
 Saw about 15 people on this hike. The humidity made us all seem sluggish and discouraged for a good part of this hike, not at all like us. Sandy fell once on the way up, and on the way down Rich fell on the trail hard, hurting his hand and tailbone.    Had dinner at The Moat.
Such a beautiful hike and I would like to revisit Carrigain when we all have more energy!

Update: Carrigain hike October 27, 2012. 



Hurricane Irene hit this area hard in August of 2011, destroying much of the road and the beginning of the Signal Ridge trail.  In fact, the Sawyer River Road remained closed for over a year, reopening just several weeks before this hike.  Signal Ridge trail has been rerouted and some of the changes are mentioned below:


Change in miles:  10.4 miles RT

Change in elevation gain: 3629'  This was according to our GPS. I doubt the change in the trail resulted in a 400' gain from our 2009 trip.

Trailhead: The Sawyer River Road is rebuilt and well graded. Heading in toward the trailhead parking is less harrowing than heading out as the northbound "lane" has places where there is no room for the driver to move over - no guardrails or trees and the side of the road ends abruptly with a steep down to the river below.  I met a car coming in when I was going out and there was nowhere I could go to give them room to continue, so they pulled right so I could continue. 

The entrance to the trailhead has changed and parts of the trail have been rerouted high up on the left bank of the river. 


The entrance to the trail is no longer near this kiosk but on the other side of the bridge.
Blown down trees and washed away areas where the trail use to be.
The trail has been rerouted up above the river, with bog bridges to protect the trail.













Monday, June 20, 2011

#27 Cannon Mountain

27. Cannon Mountain via Hi-Cannon trail, July 14, 2009.
Elevation: 4100'
Mileage: 5.9 miles
Elevation gain: 2300'

Trailhead:  This hike starts at Lafayette Campground off of Interstate 93 in Franconia Notch State Park.
The Hi-Cannon trail is listed on the Terrifying 25 (a list I am not working on but you may be!).

Hiked with Sandy and Jen.  The weather was cloudy but clear, although it did rain on the way down (about ). 
Hiked Hi-Cannon trail to Kinsman Ridge trail to the summit lookout and then took Kinsman Ridge to the tram, where we had lunch in the cafeteria.   Took Kinsman Ridge to Lonesome Lake trail back down to the Lafayette campground. 
The Hi-Cannon trail was steep but not bad; the 15 foot ladder was sturdy but the transition on to the cliff was tricky, especially with a big pack (a rock just at the transition makes for a low ceiling). 

Sandy at the top of the ladder.  Duck as you transition to the rocks!
The views were spectacular at the summit, with Lafayette, Liberty on one side, the Kinsmans on the other.  The USGS summit marker is located under the lookout deck.  A guy from Colorado was up there and asked us how the people in flip flops were able to hike up (Cannon has a gondola!) 
Look under the lookout deck for the USGS summit marker.
Hiked from 9-3 with a long lunch in between.  No bugs or wind, even at the top.
I hiked this peak again on Columbus Day with Rich, Sandy and Joe. Same trail, same fun time - however the Kinsman Ridge to Lonesome Lake trail down was exceptionally steep, guess I had not noticed on the earlier hike. 


Girls On The Lookout!

#31 Mt. Cabot

#31 Mt. Cabot via York Pond to Bunnell Notch to Kilkenny Ridge to Mt. Cabot trails, September,12 2009. 

Distance: 9.6 miles RT

Elevation gain: 2400'

Trailhead:  Past the Berlin Fish Hatchery on York Pond Road, Berlin.  Go through the hatchery gates and trailhead is just past the complex. 

Lesson learned:  Check on access.  It is not unusual to have roads closed for repairs, closed routinely early in the season, and for private property to become inaccessible.  Respect this and prepare
Hiked with Rich, Eileen, and Sandy.   Weather was cloudy and it did rain for a few minutes near the peak.  Hiked York Pond Trail (from the Berlin Fish Hatchery- we talked to a fish and game employee sporting a huge wad of chew) to Bunnell Notch Trail to Kilkenny Ridge Trail to Mt. Cabot trail (summit). 
A few weeks prior to our hike, I called the Berlin Fish Hatchery to check on their hours because I heard they closed at 4 p.m. When they're not open, the gate is across the road to the trailhead.  They were very accommodating and assured me that in the summer they tend to open the gate early and leave it open late.
Trail started out on a very grassy logging road (tall grass and some small stream crossings) and then began a very gradual ascent.  A few views here and there but the trail and summit were in the woods.  Looked in a cabin maintained by the boy scouts – they removed the stove for safety, only to toss it on the front lawn of the cabin in pieces. 



Nice view from the Boy Scout cabin.

This handsome hiker is at the true summit of Cabot.
There is a false summit (where the sign is) but about 30 yards beyond is a higher point where a small carved marker is attached to a tree. 

Easy up and down: started on trailhead about 8 and we were down about 2:30.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Year of the Hike - Part 2

Spring 2009.  So, my hiking calendar scheduled Mts. Field and Willey for mid-May.  Sandy joined me, along with Rich, Charlotte, Susan and Pam. We were so pumped to get out there and start checking those NH 4ks off our lists!  We took the Avalon trail up, thinking it was shorter so it must be easier. Given the 6 or so inches of snow still left on the ground, it proved to be steep and slippery. Mt. Field's summit, a little field in the woods (aptly named) was our lunch spot and we soon headed out to the summit of Mt. Willey.  When we got to a high point on the trail, Rich's GPS beeped and we started high-fiving and taking photos. 

Hey. Wait.  Shouldn't there be a cairn or USGS marker or something?  We looked all around and found nothing. We looked ahead of us and the path descended and turned, no view of anything to indicate a summit.  In the meantime, Charlotte, Sue and Pam who had fallen back a bit were not coming up behind us. 

My hike - I planned it.  I am responsible for my group.  We turned around and headed back toward Mt. Field's summit.  No Charlotte, no Sue, no Pam.  We got down to the trailhead to find them waiting. They decided to turn back shortly after Mt. Field's summit, but since we did not have a contingency plan, I did not know that.

Until I "resummitted" Mt. Willey in 2010, I wondered (sometimes obsessively) if I had actually found the summit that day in May, or if the GPS was off.  My second hike up Mt. Willey was up the ladders (stairs, really) on the Willey Range trail (via Ethan Pond trail), whose highpoint is a magnificent lookout on the top of Willey. The true highpoint is in the woods behind the cairn and after some exploring, I found our initial summit spot, just yards from the true summit.  

Lessons learned on that day: shorter trails don't necessarily mean easier trails, don't trust the GPS (know what the summit looks like), and most of all, have a Plan B with your group should you split up.

Sandy now has 24 peaks and I now have 14 (I hiked Mt. Tom a few days before Field and Willey).  Rich has started to notice a spike in his fitness level and decides that hiking is not such a bad thing after all. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

#41,# 42,# 43 The Bonds

#41, 42 and 43 The Bonds - Mt. Bond, Bondcliff, West Bond via Twinway, Bondcliff and West Bond trails July 24, 2010.

Mileage: 11.5 miles RT

Elevation gain: 4,492'


Trailhead:  Gale River Loop Rd - Turn off NH Rt 3 opposite the intersection with Trudeau Road at Five Corners. Follow the Gale River Loop Rd 1.6 miles until you reach the parking area on your left. You will need a WMNF parking sticker and the road is gated in winter.

Lessons learned: 

1. Make sure everyone has enough water and never EVER let anyone pour their water out thinking they will not need it. There are no water sources on this hike. 

2. Know your fellow hikers. It could be the difference between a prepared and enjoyable hike, and a day spent trying to lug one of your companions out of the woods.
3. Use poles, especially when you are tired and there are mudpuddles!

4. Check the weather before trekking up Bondcliff.  If t-storms threaten, save that hike for another time.

Peaks bagged were South Twin (twice), Bond (twice), Bondcliff and West Bond.

#41 Mount Bond  via Twinway July 24, 2010.  Hiked with Sandy, Joe, Rich and Louise. Twinway from Galehead Hut to Bondcliff trail.  The hike over South Twin to Mt. Bond was socked in with fog but the weather was improving when we summitted Mt. Bond.     


Weather started out foggy on South Twin.

A stone wall was built close to the Mt. Bond summit and I found a pickax in the bushes – I guess someone was maintaining the trail. Amazing view of the Bondcliff trail up to Bondcliff, and a very steep descent down to that trail (and very steep ascent when heading back).

View of Bondcliff from Bond. Weather was clearing.

#42 Bondcliff, July 24, 2010 via Bondcliff trail. Weather cleared giving way to a breathtaking 360° view.  Many people were up there, drinking vodka and sunning themselves. We think they were staying at Guyot campground.

When at the summit of Bondcliff, get someone to take a photo of you standing on the cliff.

#43 West Bond July 24. 2010 via Bondcliff trail to West Bond trail. Seemed long and unexciting after the thrill of Bondcliff, though the view was beautiful. We were tired and wanting to get back for dinner at the hut.
When I climb these peaks again I will most likely hut hop, one night at Zealand hut and a traverse over to Galehead hut, rather than hiking to and from Galehead hut.  The stay at Galehead was wonderful but hiking there out to Bondcliff and back is more elevation gain and mileage than a point-to-point. This is definitely a hike I would do again!

#28 Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams (5,799) #28 via Airline, Gulfside, Scar and Valley Way trails, July 28, 2009.

Mileage: 8.6 miles RT

Elevation gain: 4500'


Trailhead: Appalachia.  Trailhead is on Route 2, approximately one mile east of Lowe's Store.  Access to Airline, Valley Way and many other trails.  A WMNF parking pass is not needed here.

Lesson learned: Mt. Adams summit is worth the hard work and annoying glacial boulders. 

Some say Mt. Adams is the hardest hike in the Whites  with impressive elevation gain, a rough, steep trail and even rougher summit cone. I would not argue that. The Airline trail hike is listed on the Terrifying 25 (a list I am not working on but you may be!).


Hiked with Eileen and Norm and we met a hiker, Joe, on top, who hiked down with us and joined us for dinner at Mr. Pizza in Gorham.  Weather was warm with clear blue skies.  Hiked Airline trail to the summit, then Airline, Scar (which was mossy and buggy) and Valley trails down to the car, about 9 miles total.  

There was a small knife edge portion of the trail and many steep ravines nearby.
 



Norm and Eileen hiking the "knife edge" of the Airline trail. Piece of cake!


Airline trail was steep in places but very doable, especially when compared to the rocky cone summit.  This hike was very much like the Mt. Madison hike (done a few weeks ago, the mountains are separated by a col that has the Madison Spring Hut nestled in it).  The rocks are big and rough and difficult to navigate around.  Mt. Adams seemed to have more of a trail to the summit than Madison.  Summit contained a sign – did not see a USGS marker (did not really look).  Views were breathtaking.
Mt. Adams summit cone
I learned much later that Mt. Adams is one of only a handful of places on earth with healing spiritual energy (see The Aetherius Society).  I hiked Mt. Adams again July 2011 (see later posting).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hiking the NH 4ks

This is the first post of my Summit Hiking in New England Blog. 

I'd hiked Mt. Monadnock in southwestern New Hampshire several times as a teenager; it was close by.  In 1993 I bagged my first New Hampshire four thousand footer (4K) with my family: Mt. Lafayette.  We were sweaty and cranky on the ascent but made it. I didn't care if I ever hiked again.

It wasn't until summitting Mt. Katahdin in 2006 via the Hunt trail that I appreciated the effort the task commanded, the challenge and commitment, and the afterglow of accomplishing what I still believe is the hardest thing I've ever done. 

I was lost in life and looking for inspiration, something to "grab" me. After Katahdin, I hiked a summit here and there: the Osceolas, Mt. Whiteface, Mts. Eisenhower and Pierce. It wasn't until I climbed Mt. Washington (much easier than Katahdin) that I thought, " this is my thing."

++++

In February 2009 I quit my full time job.  This was the first time in my life I drew unemployment and after several weeks of State checks, I  landed a part-time job at UNH.   The position was temporary but it held me until I found my current job.  And, since it was part-time I could arrange my schedule to hike on weekdays.

Work before unemployment had been stressful but on weekends I found pleasure planning the year's hikes.  At the time, I had just 11 NH 4ks under my belt, with 37 to go to complete the New Hampshire Four Thousand Footer list.  I designed a calendar and had a newsletter of sorts going to various hiking groups, my cherished hiking buds, and a few new acquaintances. 

At one point my husband, an avid cyclist, looked at the hiking calendar and declared the schedule to be a "relationship breaker."  No way was he going to tie up each weekend to pound the car up to the Whites to be rained on, bitten by bugs and hypothermic. 

So we started slowly (Not. I just put that in - really I was so obsessed I would have gone without him!).

Spring brought training hikes.  In May I met Sandy while I was hiking on Mt. Major (a popular peak near Lake Winnipesauke). Ironically, Sandy lived about two miles from my house in Stratham. We immediately became friends. 


It became clear that she was as determined as I to finish the NH 4Ks; she was on 22.  We felt a need to knock these peaks off our lists!

+++

Spring 2009.  So, my hiking calendar scheduled Mts. Field and Willey for mid-May.  Sandy joined me, along with Rich, Charlotte, Susan and Pam. We were so pumped to get out there and start checking those NH 4ks off our lists! 

We took the Avalon trail up, thinking it was shorter so it must be easier. Given the 6 or so inches of snow still left on the ground, it proved to be steep and slippery. Mt. Field's summit, a little field in the woods (aptly named) was our lunch spot and we soon headed out to the summit of Mt. Willey.  When we got to a high point on the trail, Rich's GPS beeped and we started high-fiving and taking photos. 

Hey. Wait. 

Shouldn't there be a cairn or USGS marker or something?  We looked all around and found nothing. head of us the path descended and turned, no view of anything to indicate a summit.  In the meantime, Charlotte, Sue and Pam who had fallen back a bit were not coming up behind us. 

My hike - I planned it.  I am responsible for my group.  We turned around and headed back toward Mt. Field's summit.  No Charlotte, no Sue, no Pam.  We got down to the trailhead to find them waiting. They decided to turn back shortly after Mt. Field's summit, but since we did not have a contingency plan, I did not know that.

Until I "resummitted" Mt. Willey in 2010, I wondered (sometimes obsessively) if I had actually found the summit that day in May, or if the GPS was off.  My second hike up Mt. Willey was up the ladders (stairs, really) on the Willey Range trail (via Ethan Pond trail), whose highpoint is a magnificent lookout on the top of Willey. The true highpoint is in the woods behind the cairn and after some exploring, I found our initial summit spot, just yards from the true summit.  

Lessons learned on that day: shorter trails don't necessarily mean easier trails, don't trust the GPS (know what the summit looks like), and most of all, have a Plan B with your group should you split up.

Sandy now has 24 peaks and I now have 14 (I hiked Mt. Tom a few days before Field and Willey).  Rich has started to notice a spike in his fitness level and decides that hiking is not such a bad thing after all.