Moosilauke 9/4/15

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:

3 Nocks. Pack Monadnock, Grand Monadnock, North Pack Monadnock 8/26/11

I had the day off today to do some volunteer work, but at the last minute the job was canceled due to the approaching storm (Hurricane Irene).  I didn’t have quite enough time to go up north today  and hit something I wanted to do in The Whites because I needed to be back home at 3:30, but I did have enough time to give the 3 Monadnocks in a day a try.  It was a hot day for hiking with temps in the 80’s even on the peaks, but it was a beautiful day to be hiking with clear blue skys and little puffy clouds.
Nock 1
I left my house around 9am and headed to Pack Monadnock.  I planned to hit this one early because I wanted to run up and down the auto-road before cars started to get busy on it, using the road I was up and down in about 46 minutes.  I was happy about my time because when I used to live right near here the fastest I ever made it up was 20 minutes car to summit, so I wasn’t too much slower today
My Tracks and stats:

Me at the summit

Looking towards my next peak of the day Grand Monadnock

Looking at my 3rd peak of the day North Pack Monadnock

While running up, last nights rain was evaporating through the rays of sun and it looked really cool.  When I saw this I had to stop and try to get the shot.  I think it came out pretty good.

Nock 2
When I got back to my car I headed strait to Mt Monadnock State Park.  I took the White Dot up and down.  This is not my favorite way up this hill that I’ve spent so much time on, but it is the quickest way for me. I was up and down Grand Monadnock in 1 hr 50 mins
My tracks and stats:

Me at the summit(not sure what the guy behind me was doing ??? )

Looking back at Pack Monadnock (done)and North Pack Monadnock (my next stop)

I left Monadnock and headed to Peterborough and stopped at Roys Market to grab some quick food, I came out of the market to see an elderly person who clearly should no longer have his license making numerous attempts trying to turn into the spot next to my car, and the market clerk telling me that he actually had hit my car already.  When I went to look if there was any damage the elderly driver started yelling at me that he didn’t hit my car.  It was apparent that he had but there was no damage so I didn’t make an issue of it.  Besides I had priorities, I still needed to bag one more nock today.
Nock 3
I got to the parking area  for North Pack Monadnock at 1:30.  Breathed in some of my potato salad I got at Roys and took off up the trail.  I didn’t have much time to waist because I needed to be back home by 3:30.  I made it up and down North Pack Monadnock in 1hr and 9mins.  It would have been faster but I messed up and got a little off track on a bushwhack short cut that I used to use all the time, but am apparently not so familiar with anymore  :( , FYI bushwhacking in spruce scrub with shorts on is not very comfortable.
My Tracks and Stats: (you can see my meander on my tracks)

Me at the summit:

Looking back at where I just was on Monadnock

On my way down I hit a view that never gets old.  The view looking north from North Pack Monadnock is one of my favorites in NH .  I took a few shots to try to get the feel of the view from the trail, but even my best shot does not do the view justice.  Even still, I am happy with how this shot came out
Back down to my car I chugged water for about 5 minutes because I was so thirsty from hiking in the heat all day, and then took off to make it home and take a shower in time for my appointment.   All in all it wasn’t a whole lot of mileage of hiking today  (8.92), but the vertical gain/drop was substantial (3838ft) I’ve never done a hike like this before where I was car hopping between mountains, it was fun and best of all it was fairly close to home.
The rest of my photos from the day:

My First Hike Ever. – Mt Olga Wilmington VT 8/6/11

Emily and I went to Wilmington Vermont this weekend for a little car camping.  We stayed at Molly Stark State Park.  Molly Stark is the nicest campground I’ve ever stayed at. 

Mt Olga is part of the State Park. Mt Olga is the first mountain I ever hiked. I lived about a mile away from this mountain for most of my child hood. I would hike this mountain with my parents regularly, and it’s where I learned to love hiking.  From the top of the Mountain you can clearly see the property I grew up at.

This is not a very big hike a little under 2 miles round trip.  My Stats and Tracks:
Sport   Hiking
Start Time   Aug 6, 2011 11:13 AM
Distance   1.77 miles
Duration   44m:48s
Avg Speed   2.4 mph
Max Speed   6.5 mph
Calories   189 kcal
Altitude   1779 ft / 2336 ft
Elevation   538 ft ↑ / 616 ft ↓

The trails on Mt Olga are real pretty with gentle grades. Trail conditions were dry and it was obvious that a lot of recent trimming back of under growth had been done

The summit sign:

On top of Mt Olga there is an old fire tower:

I’ve slept in this tower once on a winter night when it used to have most of its windows.  Most of its windows are missing their glass now, so it probably gets too filled with snow to sleep in these days.

Where I slept

The view from the tower is beautiful.   It always impresses me when I visit how Vermont is so much greener than New Hampshire

I love coming back here to visit and hope to come and stay here again with Emily and some friends in a couple of weeks.

The Uncanoonucs Loop

This is a Run/Hike I’ve wanted to do since I’ve moved here, but havent done it yet for some reason.  I live near goffstown village and have always thought it would be a fun race course to run up moutain road, over both North and South Uncanoonuc and then back to town on Mountain Base and Wallace Road. Today I finally got around to trying it. I’m not very fast, but I was still able to test the concept.  My primary reason for doing this today was to test my leg after recovering from a calf strain, too see if I was ready to start hiking in the Whites again.  But after doing this loop I think it may become a regular addition to my training schedule.  I really enjoyed this route, also for me this hike has a very small carbon footprint since I am able to start and end at home.
I used my Endomondo app to track this Hike: Endomondo Workout
It seems from my tracks that my GPS messed up around the 3 mile mark, but the trails I took to get from North Mountain to South Mountain are available on this Map
Heres my Tracks:

Distance 7.14 miles
Duration 2h:08m:12s
Avg Speed 3.3 mph
Max Speed 7.0 mph
Calories 762 kcal
Altitude 210 ft / 1254 ft
Elevation 1458 ft ↑ / 1444 ft ↓

Presidential Traverse Fail

All week I had been going back and forth on whether or not I was going to attempt the presidential traverse solo in a day this weekend, I’ve hiked all these peaks 3 time already but never all on the same day.  I was tentative because I was having a hard time trying to figure out the solution to car spotting solo.  On friday night at about 11pm after going out for a few beers with Emily and Clif and Vannesa I decided I’m just gonna go up there see what I can get done.  I woke up 4 hours later and headed up north.  I parked at the Webster Jackson Trail head and started walking and soliciting a ride from everyone I saw.

Success!  At the highland center I found a family who was spotting a car and they had room in the way back of there Honda CRV. I crawled in and they threw all there packs on top of me.  They were good people and I enjoyed the ride despite the discomfort.  We drove cross Mt Clinton Rd and Jefferson Notch and I was at Appalachia Trailhead at 8:30.  I thanked them and took off for my adventure.
While ascending the Valley Way Trail I passed a blind man hiking with his service dog. When I came up behind him and his dog we were on a tight sectiion of trail where I couldnt pass, for about 100 feet. When the trail opened up again, I then asked if I could pass, It totally suprised him. He said “wow you must be very stealthy”. I hike on my toes and, I get comments all the time from people that I’m very quiet and they didnt hear me coming. But coming from a blind guy with more perceptive hearing, I took that as a compliment. I later found out that the man was Randy Pierce and his dog Quinn and he is trying to climb all the 4K’s Check out his website. Cool Stuff.

I made it to Mt Madison summit at 11AM

Back down at the Madison Hut I ran into Greg who was hiking the traverse with a few friends, and  Johannes who was working at the hut. I am familiar with both these people through the Backcountry skiing community and it was neat to run into them in the mountains. (Greg’s crew and I leap frogged each other on the path a few times between Madison and Lake of the Clouds.)   Greg’s TR

It was sad to see that the Madison Hut had been remodeled and expanded over the past year.  It was my favorite hut, but now it is just fancy and boring, and designed more like a slope side condo than a mountain bothy.

I left the hut after some cookies and skirted around the top of King Ravine (I’ve snowboarded down this)

Mt Adams 12PM

I followed Gulfside from Thunderstorm Junction and got to Jefferson at 1:45

Next stop Mt Clay 2:45

The hike above Great Gulf on the Clay summit loop is one of my favorite views in the world (I’ve snowboarded down this too)

Between Jefferson and Clay I started to get a cramp in my right quad that really slowed me down. (This was the same muscle I tore pretty bad and was out of commision for the summer 3 years ago)   By the time I got to the summit of washington it was starting to spasm. Washington 4PM:

The summit was so mobbed that I couldnt even get a picture of me with the sign because there was a huge line. I went inside grabbed some food and drink and put my feet up for a bit to see if I could get my leg to feel better.  15 minutes later I left, and Made it to Mt Monroe at 5PM. (I’ve snowboarded down both sides of this)

At 6PM  I got to the Eisenhower col, and when I began to climb Eisenhower my leg started to spasm more than I could deal with, I could not climb any more.  I couldnt even force it and just peak bag the Summit of Ike!   Since I had been totally alone since I left Lake of the Clouds and it was getting late I figured it wasnt a good idea to push it too much. I was defeated. It killed me to quit, but I couldnt complain too much because it had been such a beautiful day to be in the mountains.
I shot this little vid clip before I went down.

I walked down the Edmunds Path and then down Mt Clinton Rd back to my car at the Webster Jackson Trailhead.  The total milage of doing this was just about as far as if I had finished the traverse, however this way was all downhill. Heres a link to my track stats:

Last year when I succesfully hiked the Pemi Loop in a single day I had trained by hiking Mt Uncanoonuc every day.  This year I’ve been mostly running and biking, which keeps me fit, but lacks in the specific strength training I needed for a hike like this. Which I think was the primary reason for cramping,  secondarily I’m sure going out to the Pub the night before coupled with the warmer than usual temps didn’t help me keep as hydrated as I could have been.  Im gonna hit Mt U pretty hard for a few weeks and then I will be back to complete this hike in a day before snow flies again!

Short Hikes on My Long Weekend.

Emily and I spent a long weekend with her family up in the North Conway area.  On Sunday my niece Jewlz and my brother in-law Jake and I took a short  ½ mile each way hike up to Diana’s Bath.  I hadn’t been up there for a while and forgot how pretty it was.

It was a pretty place to be but we didn’t hang out long because the mosquitoes were pretty brutal.

On Monday Jake and I took a hike up to see the snow in Tuckerman Ravine.  I didn’t have any gear with me, but I wish I did so I could have made a few turns. This would just be a hike to Tux.

On the way up we stopped to check out Crystal Cascade

From Hermit Lake you could see snow in Tux

After a little rest we continued up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail (Jake Hiking)

Then we got to the snow!

As much time as I’ve spent up here over the years I’ve never gone up under the snow. It wasn’t “The Snow Arch” but I went up under the snow and shot a little vid under the snow:


I have to admit I was pretty sketched out crawling around underneath the snow pack, but it was one of the neatest places I have ever been.

Cannon and Kinsmans 6/18/11

Saturday I met up with Clif and Lee at the Lafayette Place Campground Parking area and we hiked 12 miles and bagged N.  Kinsman, S. Kinsman, the Cannon Balls and Cannon.  I havent been on this ridge since 2007.  This is the third time I’ve hiked all these peaks and was only able to redline one new trail, but this area is always a nice place to be.
When we first started hiking it was pouring so we put our rain gear on, but it soon after stopped and for the rest of the day the fog and humidity slowly burned off, so that by the end of the day  views were nice. The trails we took were Lonesome Lake Trail, Fishin Jimmy Trail, Kinsman Ridge Trail, and Hi-Cannon Trail

On such a hot and humid day it was neat to see some ice under a rock on the side of the trail

N Kinsman

From the lookout:

S Kinsman

Cannon (from the tower on the summit)

Cannon’s summit was not as busy as usual, so we headed over to the tram station and got a couple of Cannon Ales from the Bar.  They were nice and cold and hit the spot. We then descended from cannon back to Lafayette Place via the Hi-Cannon trail this was the only section of the hike that was new to me.  I found a nice cliff to do my favorite trick on:

The Hi-Cannon trail was actually a pretty tough descent with steep grades, loose gravel, slick roots and lots of switchbacks.  One spot had a pretty sketchy deteriorated ladder you had to down climb. Near the bottom we missed the link on the trail that reconnects you to the lonesome lake trail and after starting to ascend again we realized the mistake and decided to bushwhack south using my GPS, since it showed we were only about 300 feet away from the lonesome lake trail instead of back tracking to find the link.  As we got back on the Lonesome Lake Trail for the final descent it the weather got bad again and it started raining and thunder drew close.  We were on the same section of trail we had last seen rain that day.  It was as if this was the only place it had ever rained all day.  Clif and Lee and I went separate ways when we got back to our cars.  They went home and I headed north to meet my wife and her family at Attitash where we would spend the weekend.

Our GPS Tracks

Monadnock 5/31/11

Monday is usually my favorite day of a long holiday weekend to go hiking because usually most of the crowds have started to head home by then.  My theory held true for a hike up Monadnock  on Memorial Day.   I had been planning to do some solo red lining of trails I needed in the whites on Monday because Emily had to work, but after having Alyssa and Sam over for Dinner on Sunday night I found they wanted to go for a hike also.  So we choose to do Monadnock because it’s closer to home. 
When we got to Jaffrey Monday morning you could not even see the Mountain because it was so foggy. The weather was in the 80’s and super humid.  I had choose for us to take the White Arrow trail because I like this side of the mountain better.   The hike up to the half way house site was pretty buggy and I was glad that Alyssa had brought bug spray.  The fog had started to burn off by this point but the summit was still in the clouds.
Halfway House Site.
Normally you can see the mountain in front of you from here

Moses Rock

The hike up the White Arrow below tree line was super wet and slick, but when we got to tree line the air started to feel drier, the rocks started to be drier, and the view started to clear up.  The views from up high were great, a little hazy but great.

Alyssa and Sam

Summit Jump Shot

My favorite trick near the summit.

This Lady sat with me for lunch, she was cute.

Pano Shots from the Summit:

In spite of the humidity it was a beautiful day for a hike. I love this time of year here because everything is so green it looks like its glowing in the right sunlight.  The right sunlight apparently is sunlight that is filtered through a humid atmosphere like it was on monday.

Hillmans Highway 4/22/11

Another Friday, and another Bluebird day on Mt Washington.  I knew it was going to be a good day when I saw the mountain from North Conway

When I arrived at Pinkham this morning it was already such a zoo. Cars had already filled the overflow lot by the bridge,and  I ended up parking in the lot accross the street.  I thought about Gulf of Slides for a little bit, but I really wanted to head towards tucks in spite of the crowds.  As I skinned up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail the amount of new snow on the ground increased. By the time I reached Hermit Lake shelters there was pretty good coverage of new snow.  The avalanche board showed most of the stuff on the right side of the Ravine to be rated at considerable, and there were a ton of people over there, and everything on the left side of the ravine was pretty wind scoured boiler plate.  I didnt really want to deal with inexperienced people and avalanche possibilities.  I’ve already once before been in the ravine on a day that that was a bad combination. 

I decided to hit Hillmans instead.  So I started skinning up towards Hillmans. On the way up I had an equipment failure, a few screws that hold my touring brackets in had gone missing.  So I strapped my splitboard to my backpack and headed up the old fashion way.

Hillmans was super wind loaded in spots with nice soft powder. 

The start zone at the top of the right fork was slabby on top but deep enough and unconsolidated enough for me to stick my ski pole into it up to the grip with little effort.  I was still about 100 feet below the top of the route, but I decided not to go any hire do to my concerns with stability.  I strapped my snowboard on and had a really nice powder run down.

Shot a little conditions report vid half way down:
 I was even able to find a few spots where I could link a few turns in untracked stuff.  Late April conditions were great.  Even the ride out on the Sherburne Trail was nice soft bumps top to bottom with no Portages making for a quick exit.

Gulf of Slides 4/15/11

Fot the last seven years I have gone up to Gulf of Slides on the same weekend that the inferno race is scheduled for Tuckerman Ravine and it is interesting to see how the conditions vary from year to year.  It was forecasted to be an unseasonably cold, but also a clear and sunny day Friday. I was happy to find unseasonably good snow pack as well.  I took my splitboard and skinned up the Gulf of Slides Ski Trail.  Everything was solid as a rock from the subfrezing tempertures on thursday night.  I followed the ski trail and used the bushwack shortcut. Everything was in great shape

I was happy to see that the whole ski trail was still covered and there were no portages needed.  I did not see anybody else between Pinkham and main gully and was stoked to be up in the Gulf of slides totally alone. I took a couple panoramic shots
Gully 2 Pano

Main Gully Pano

The gulf was perfect blurbird conditions, the only thing in the sky was this plane

I shot this little video when I got to the bottom of main gully
Everything in the Gulf seemed to still be a little hard from the warm day and cold night prior to my arrival, so I took my time converting my ride back to snowboard mode and lashing it to my pack for the climb up, so that the sun could do its work on softening the snow pack.  About 15 minutes after arriving,  two other snowboarders showed up. After chating for a bit I took off up the ascent.  The boot ladder that had been set was perfect, the step hight and steps were practically perfect.  It was almost as good as a chairlift

I shot this quick little video on the way up.
At the top I still wasnt convinced it was soft enough to be fun yet so I hung out and had a little snack. Then I strapped my snowboard on, and dropped in

The ride down was more fun than it sounded.  The freezing fog that came through the prior night had formed a coating of rime ice on everything making it sound really crusty. But the sun had softened it up enough to be edgeable and fun.  But not fun enough to want to climb up for another run.  So I decided to start making my way back down the ski trail toward Pinkham Notch.  The ski trail was rock hard in the shade, and creamy soft in the sun.  The descent was kind of fun, planning your turns on the sunny spots while straightlining the shadey spots. 

The ski trail was  still top to bottom coverage, for the first time on this “inferno race weekend” in about 5 years.
 I got back to Pinkham around 2:30 and headed home.  I hope I can take advantage of the great snow pack and get back up there again before the season is over.