Chad and I hiked Mt Eisenhower on the 4th of July. I expected it to be a busy hiking day since it was a holiday and the weather was forecasted to be beautiful, but it was not too busy on the trails or summit. As we approached the West Side of the Presidential Range you could see that everything above 4000 feet was still in the clouds. We started hiking at 8 am with hopes that by the time we reached the summit the clouds would have moved out or burned off. Bunchberry Flowers were in full bloom along The Edmond’s Path which was pretty and pretty wet and muddy for most of the trail. This was Chad’s second 4000 footer so we took our time on the way up. On the way up I asked someone descending if the summit had cleared out yet and they said no. When we reached the alpine zone it was about 50 degrees the wind was in the 40-50 mph range and overcast but fortunately the cloud ceiling had lifted to above the height of the summit. When we reached the summit the winds were steady in 50 mph range but the views below were clear. The views of the higher peaks to the north were obscured by the clouds. We descended by looping around the south side of the peak to the Crawford Path and back to the col where we rejoined the Edmund’s Path. As we descended the clouds dropped again and it started to sprinkle rain for a bit. It seems like we had caught the best weather window of the day for our time above treeline.
On The Way Up
Wind Blown Chad Arriving At The Summit
Last Friday was my 580th Summit of North Uncanoonuc since I started keeping track in 2007. It was also my first time hiking with my 4 month old daughter Acadia. I had to go fast to keep the mosquitoes from landing on her because there was very little wind and it was warm and muggy. At least I was able to keep an eye on things with her in the front pack, and keep them off her. This method will have to do until she gets a little bigger and I can put her in the Kelty pack which has bug netting. We headed up the red dot trail and returned on the blue trail. It was so muggy that the rocks were sweating and wet so i had to watch my footing on the way down so as not to slip with my precious cargo.
On The Trail
As I packed my backpack for an overnighter on Moosilauke I thought to myself, wow you don’t need much stuff for summer backpacking. Its been a while since I did an overnighter that I wasn’t carrying winter gear, or winter gear plus backcountry skiing gear. I got so caught up in doing big mileage days that I just pack light for, that its been a while since I just took a day to enjoy a mountain and spend the night in its woods.
I took my time getting out the door friday morning and got up to the trailhead for Beaver Brook at about 10:30 friday morning. I hiked up to the shelter and dropped off my pad and sleeping bag. There were a couple of north bound thru hikers hanging out and a southbounder who had spent the night there. I ended up talking with them for a bit before heading off to the summit. On the way up to the summit I heard someone ask me “ hey, are you Jan?” as I passed by. It was Rodney, a highschool clasmate from 20 years ago, he and his two sons were out for a hike. I hung out with Rod for a little bit before heading to the top. I hung out on the top for quite a while, the views were absolutely amazing, the weather was warm and there was no wind. It was fun to be there on such a nice day and watch thruhikers reach the top and get their first real view of The Whites, none of them were dissapointed with the view of friday.
Beaver Brook Trail
As I left the summit I experienced a little natural phenomenon that was really cool. Even though there was no wind I could here the grass blowing really loud, I looked off the side of the trail and about 50 feet away there was spot about 20 feet in diameter that there was a mini twister going on. I walked over to it, and I stepped into it. The winds instantly felt like they were in the 40mph range, I was able step out of it and watch it slowly move away. I now wish I had thought to video it, I could have sent it to Ginger Zee
I hiked down to the shelter and took it easy for the rest of the day and did some reading. To my surprise no one else showed up and the only company I had for the night was a little brown mouse. Everytime I saw him I would quote the Gruffalo and say “Where are you going to little brown mouse?”
Beaver Brook Shelter
“Where are you going to, little brown mouse?
Come for a feast in my logpile house.”
With no wind being alone in the woods get a little creepy, but also beautiful because you can hear every little twig break and every little animal scurry. The night never got as cold as was forecasted which was a little unfortunate because the mosquitos never went away, in fact they got worse to the point that at about 3AM I got sick of being bit and packed up. I headed down in the dark, and then slept in the back of my car until 6:30. Then I went to Pegs for Breakfast.
But before I left Kinsman Notch I took a little stroll over to the beaver pond to see if there was any wildlife around, unfortunately the only wildlife was a group of camping bikers. But the view of the mountain reflecting off the Pond was amazing, I just took this with my phone, I wished I had a better Camera with me for this one:
Saturday Jeremy and I headed up Mt Monadnock. Trail conditions were much different than they were a few weeks ago when I was up here. Most of the snow was melted and the trails had a lot of water ice on them.
We decided to take the long way up and stop at Café Pumpelly for breakfast. When we first got there a party was just leaving. I had brought some supplies to make cooking our breakfast a little more homey.
After extinguishing our fire and doing a little maintenance we headed back to the trail and toward the summit.
Many sections of trail on the ridge looked like this:
We both had microspikes on but as we hiked I was noticing Jeremy’s with only about 20 miles on them were getting much better traction than mine which have about 700 miles on them now. I had just been bragging about how long mine were lasting with no issues, but after today I realized I should start to think about updating mine. I really can’t complain though, pound for pound and dollar for dollar my microspikes are probably the most useful piece of gear I own, and I own a lot of gear.
After making our way across the ridge we arrived at a pretty busy and windy summit. We spent most of our time on the summit hiding from the wind. This was officially my 80th Mt Monadnock Summit.
We Descended the White Dot Trail back to the State Park. I fell once on the way down and and hit my elbow pretty hard on the ice, it’s still bruised and hurts but it should be fine. Back at our vehicle we headed over to Harlows in Peterborough for some Pub fare.
Conditions right now are really pretty perfect for putting down some really fast times in the Whites. After the Christmas Eve rain storm and refreeze, the trails that had snowshoe tracks are like firm side walks. I was able to make really good time up the Kinsman’s Friday. Even though this is actually my 4th time on these peak and don’t need them for any list except my December Grid I thought it might be fun to take a walk up there on Friday because Clif had invited me to stay up at the shelter that evening, I couldn’t stay overnight due to some prior engagements but I thought it would be nice to stop in and see him . I left the parking area at Lafayette Place at 8am and was at Lonesome Lake at 8:45 I stopped at the hut and signed in.
The hut guy ( I refuse to ever call them croo) said he had come down the Fishin Jimmy a couple days earlier in the rain and some of the river crossings were a little sketchy from the rain. I thanked him for the heads up and headed up the Fishin Jimmy Trail. Apparently I was the first one on this trail since the rains because there were no other tracks ahead of me. In fact there were no tracks all the way out and back to the summits until I met up with a couple of guys ascending half way back down the Fishin Jimmy Trail. I think it always makes it a little more fun when you know your that far out and all alone. I could see evidence of the blown-out stream crossings but they were no longer a hazard. Only the glaze from water ice on the boulders made them treacherous now.
I hit the top of of S. Kinsman at 10:30. From the look out you could see the cloud ceiling was dropping, I watched as the clear line of clouds slowly descended over the Franconia ridge.
As I headed off to South peak the clouds had engulfed the Kinsman Ridge and I was in a pretty good squall. Having dressed a little lighter than normal for winter hiking due to the mild forecast, I kind of had to make quick work of getting to the south summit and back to keep from getting too cold from the stiff wind and white-out conditions. When I returned to Kinsman Pond I walked out to the shelter to see if my friends were there yet. They weren’t.
Kinsman Pond Shelter (yes, that brown spot in front of it is human poop… who are these people?)
Frozen Kinsman Pond
I headed back down the Fishin Jimmy Trail making as fast of a pace as possible with out being to careless on some of the steep icy sections. I was kind of pushing the limits of my microspikes at a few points. About halfway down I met a party of 2 who were the first people I had seen since leaving Lonesome Lake. 10 minutes later I ran into Clif on his way up at 12:00 near the big stream crossing. It was nice to say hi and chat for a bit.
By the time I got back to Lonesome Lake it was nearly 40 and sunny.
The nice weather had brought out the masses. It was good to see so many families enjoying the outdoors together heading up the Lonesome Lake trail. The scene was a sharp contrast from the squall I had been in just an hour ago. I got back to my car at 12:45. I was pretty happy with my time of 4:45 out and back to the Kinsman’s but the real reason I was rushing was my parents were coming to visit their grandson at 2:30. I got back home to Goffstown just in time.