Monadnock 11/29/2014

After a stressful week it was time to return to my true identity as a hiker/climber/ backcountry skier, we received 10 inches of snow on Thanksgiving Day and the mountains were calling.  Most of the snow was still caught up in the trees of our local backcountry, so skiing wasn’t the best option.  I headed over to Mount Monadnock and enjoyed a much needed and absolutely beautiful winter hiking experience.
This was my 79th summit of Mount Monadnock.  And several times I have climbed this mountain on Thanksgiving weekend. But this was the most winter I have ever seen here  this time of year.  The snow was dry the air was cold the sky was blue and the views were great.
Lots of snow for November

Softshell top and bottom and Microspikes with Low Gaters. Good call for today


Neat to see open water on the lake with winter conditions

My obligatory attempt at being artsy with the camera:

I made good time car to car in under 2 1/2 hours and had a splendid hike.  Then I stopped in Peterborough and got a coffee at Twelve Pine on my way home that tasted amazing.  All in all it was a much needed and great day!


I haven’t  posted much lately but not because I haven’t been outdoors.  In fact I have been outdoors a bunch, but I have been hunting.  I make the assumption that most people who follow my blog are hikers and although hunters do a lot of hiking, most hikers don’t hunt.  I consider my self a small “h” hunter, not “A Hunter”.  I am very sensitive to animals being mistreated so my family only buys organic humanly raised meat from a local farm.  In the words of the Duck Dynasty guys: ” I dont trust meat from the grocery store.”  I have recently come to the realization that there is nothing more organic than a wild raised deer, and that no one can be sure that the animal was harvested in a “humane as possible” way as me. So not wanting to be an ignorant carnivore who is disconnected with where my food comes I feel as if I should be able to accept the full consequences of where meat comes from.

I have not got a deer yet, but I have spent some beautiful time in the woods and have come to the realization that hunting and hiking although sharing similar venues  have very little in common for me.
The tree stand that I have sat in and watched the squirrels from for hours:

View from the stand

I’m not very good at hunting yet, but I have gotten very good at sitting in the woods until I am nearly hypothermic.

Climbing With Lee 9/16/14

Monday my younger sister Lee came for a visit and we went climbing over at Rattlesnake.  Lee led the Dinosaur Route up to the crux and then descended.

I didn’t really want to top rope up to that point, and then lead the rest of the route, so I pulled the rope down and lead climbed up using the protection she left behind.

I climbed past her protection and finished leading the rest of the route. I tied off to the eye bolts at the top and set up a top rope going through both anchors.  This set up isn’t optimal because it has a lot of friction, but it saves hiking up later to retrieve gear. After going back on belay I cleaned the route on the way down.  Lee made another ascent this time on top rope all the way to the top.
Lee wanted to work on learning how to lead a little more, and a better place to do that was Paul’s wall.  So we packed up and headed to Brookline.
Paul’s Wall

Lee was able to practice leading, this time with a much better teacher.  Lee lead to the top of the wall.  Paul showed her some techniques as well as how to place other anchors using slings.
Then I climbed up to the top of the wall in just my sneakers, and belayed her up. I showed Lee how to repel, and kept her on belay as she repelled down. Then I repelled down.

After training time it was fun time and we went back to sport climbing some of the established routes on the wall.  We both found that the 5.8’s on Pauls wall are much harder than what you find at a climbing gym.  I’m guessing Paul’s 5.8 equals Vertical Dream’s 5.10.
We both learned a ton climbing with Paul there and it was a fun time at both the real crag and the fake one.

Weare Hike 2014 -North Pack Monadnock

I have wanted to get a group of local friends together for a hike for a while.  Originally we were going to hike Monadnock, but Saturdays forecast was for rain in the afternoon.  So we scaled it down a little and hiked Pack Monadnock in Greenfield NH instead.  There ended up being about 16 of us who went and we were able to get up and down before the rain moved in.
Pack Monadnock was a great choice for a large party with varying abilities, we were all able to hike at our own pace without getting too separated.  Maybe Weare Hike 2015 will work out for Monadnock or something more north.
Going up the steep part.  (Me with Jake in the Kelty Pack)

Us taking over the Summit.

Monadnock via Dublin Trail 9/31/14

I went up the Dublin Trail to the summit for my 78th Mt Monadnock Summit today.   The upper 200 feet of elevation was in the clouds. Trail conditions were dry until I reached the clouds. Being alone I enjoyed setting a challenging pace for myself and I made it the 2 1/2 miles from car to summit in 51 minutes.  I hung out at the top for about 10 minutes and then made it back to my car 42 minutes later.  This way is a great way to go and has about 10% of the traffic that the state park trails have.

Mt Moosilauke 8/2/14

Mt Moosilauke with Marky  (That rhymes if you pronounce the name of the mountain right) 

Saturday’s weather called for clouds and showers, but we were going hiking anyways.  My Brother Mark picked me up at 6:30am and we headed up north.  I was super excited about going hiking with Mark because we had not been peak bagging together for a long while. When we got to the trailhead for the Beaver Brook Trail it wasn’t raining but the ground was wet and the air was thick as pea soup with fog.  We headed up the steep and very slick trail enjoying the views of the cascades

We stopped at the shelter to check it out and no one was around

By the time we got to the ridge the air was feeling much dryer and when we got to tree line the clouds were starting to lift

The thing I love about Moosilauke the most is the grassy meadows at the top

The thing I love least about Moosilauke is the crowds.  Everytime I’ve been up here it’s been busy, even in the winter. But at least it was easy to find someone to get a picture of us together

We had some PB&J’s and beef jerky near the top and headed down.  The trail had dried out a little for the hike down but the rocks were still very slick.  Well selected foot placements were essential for the steep descent. Especially on the wood steps

When we got back to the car it was partly sunny still in the valley and a little cooler.  We wanted to hit up a swimming hole, but with both of us having babies now we needed to head home.  It was a great hike and a great time being with Mark.

Paddling with Jake

We finally found a life jacket that will fit Jake. Hes 11 months old now and about 25 pounds.  so it was tricky finding one that fit well.
Now that he would be safe we went for a paddle.  I towed Emily and Jake behind my kayak around Mountain Base Lake

As you can see by the look on his face he wasn’t to sure how he felt about kayaking yet.

Presidential Traverse 6/28/14

Saturday I headed up north to attempt to set a personal best time for the Presidential Traverse.  I actually have done the traverse in different versions 4 times before, but never successfully in one day (death march style as I call it) and I’ve never done it going north.  I attempted a north to south in a day a few years ago but cramped up really bad at Eisenhower and dropped off.
The decision to go north was actually made for me by the fact that my friend Clifton was doing a 3 day backpacking trip over the traverse heading south. The plan was to get his car keys from him when we passed and return to Crawford Notch with his car. I didn’t want to use the huts or state park for food at all so I carried 3 PB&J sandwiches with me and 2 Water bottles.  Next time I do this I am going  to source my own water too so I can do it with no AMC Hut support at all.
I left the parking lot and headed up the Crawford Path at 6:43am.
I made it to Mizpah Hut at 7:55am. I signed the log and filled my water bottles and made it to the summit of Pierce in 20 minutes
Pierce 8:15am.

The weather at 4000 feet was perfect for making good time. Temps were in the 50s and it was just partly cloudy enough to have nice views but not get sunbaked.  There was practically no wind at all, and the winds were calm all day long at all elevations.  The only downside of the weather was that the lack of wind made the fly’s pretty bad.  It seemed like I was fishing a bug out of my eye every 5 minutes or so.
Between Pierce and Eisenhower I made it summit to summit in 38 minutes.  I ate my 1st PB&J on Ike
Eisenhower: 8:53am

Between Eisenhower and Monroe I made a little mistake that cost me some time.  I missed the Monroe Loop South Junction and didn’t notice until it was too late.  But on the plus side I have always taken the loop and never the Crawford path for this little section so I was able to add this section of the Crawford Path to my redlining map. I made it to the Lake of the Clouds side of the loop at 9:45am dropped my pack and headed up Monroe. I made it to the summit of Monroe in 12 minutes.
Monroe Summit 9:57am

I was back down to Lake of the Clouds Hut in 13 minutes at 10:10.  I signed in and filled one bottle of water and headed for The Rock Pile. 43 minutes later I arrived at the summit of Mt Washington.
Washington 10:53am

At the summit of Washington I filled my water bottles and mixed in Gatorade  and had my second  PB&J while I watched the Climb to the Clouds rally cars fly up the auto road for about a half of an hour.   I’m a big fan of Travis Pastrana and was pretty stoked when I noticed that he was walking around the summit area right after making a practice run up the road.  I asked him if I could get a picture with him and he was really nice.  His wife even took the picture.

I looked around the Summit to make sure Clif wasn’t there and then took off down the Gulfside Trail at 11:20am.  I met up with Clif and his crew coming the opposite way at the northern end of the Clay Loop at 12:15pm.  We joked a bit and I was able to get keys for my ride back from Appalachia to Crawford.  If I had not found Clif by Mt Jefferson I was going to abort the traverse and head down Caps Ridge so as not to be too far from my car to walk back on the road if need be. A little relieved that the car key hand off worked and that we didn’t somehow miss each other on the trail I was now committed to finish the complete traverse as I headed off toward Mt Jefferson.  The flies on the summit of Jefferson were the worst I had seen all day so I didn’t linger to enjoy the view at all.
Jefferson 12:48pm

As always, the trek between Jefferson and Adams took longer than it looks like it should on the map.  I’ve done this section of trail 7 times now 3 times heading north and 4 times heading south.  I’ve found that for some reason it goes a lot easier and faster heading south than north for me and I can’t figure out why.  It took me 73 minutes summit to summit.  I had a little chance to brag while on the summit of Adams when an older couple who appeared to have lost their bearings asked me which way I had come up in hopes of getting some directions back. I smugly smirked and said “The long way…I started in Crawford notch 7 hours ago.” After they told me they came up the Lowes Path I pointed them in the direction of Thunderstorm Junction and told them they would see the sign when they got there.
Adams 2:01pm

Heading down Adams towards Madison Hut I passed a lady with a dog who both had 4000 patches and she said the dog was on her second round.  Even though I’m opposed to ever getting a patch for myself despite 3 + circuits, I’m always impressed when I see a dog with one.  I made it down to Madison Hut in 33 minutes and grabbed my 3rd PB&J out of my pack and headed up Madison.  I for the first time of the day felt like I was hitting a little bit of a wall on my way up Madison and it took me 18 minutes from hut to summit.
Madison 2:52pm

Instead of taking Watson Path down I returned to The Hut in 19 minutes. I’m not sure if I would have been able to shave a little time off if I had taken Watson Path down to Valley Way instead, but I liked being able to drop my pack at the hut  and hike without it for 40 minutes.  Back at the Hut I signed in and ½ filled a water bottle for the descent.  I noticed there wasn’t a sign at the hut for Valley Way and several people were confused on which way to go down, even on my way down as I passed people 3 separate parties asked me if they were on Valley Way because they didn’t see a sign. My descent down Valley Way took 1 hour 41 minutes with temperatures getting much warmer as I descended.  It was 85 degrees when I arrived at Appalachia at exactly 5:00pm.

Having no idea what car or where in the lot it was; I located my ride using the keyless entry looking for which vehicle’s lights flashed.  I found I would be driving a Jeep back. Perfect for a drive up Jefferson Notch Rd!  I headed back to Crawford Notch and did not see any other vehicles for the whole length of Jefferson Notch and Mt Clinton Rd.  I was glad I didn’t have to hitch hike back to my car it would have been tough with no traffic.

I know this TR is a little selfie heavy so here are a few nice views that don’t include me :) Thank You for reading.

On a side note I have a picture from almost exactly a year ago wearing the same gear.  What a difference a year of better eating and lunch breaks at Planet Fitness made.

Mt Washington 6/21/2014

I volunteered to work at the 2014 Mount Washington Road Race this year.  I was working at the summit so I decided to go for a downhill hike after I was done. I got to the base of the auto road Saturday morning at 6am and hopped into an auto road van with a bunch of other volunteers and race staff.

Patty was our excellent and very experienced driver. Since the road was still closed and we were the only vehicle on the road between the base and summit she drove pretty fast hitting every turn at its apex, it was almost as exciting as I imagine riding up with Travis Pastrana might be.  First I worked parking at the summit with a bunch of great people including the wife of the runner wearing #1 (last year’s winner).  We packed the cars into the summit lots like sardines and then we waited for about an hour for the runners to start arriving at the summit.
It was about 30 degrees and clear at first but then the clouds and wind moved in for the rest of my time I was at the summit. It was pretty chilly even with my insulation layer and a storm shell on.

I worked at the finish line and got to watch Joe Gray win.  I was routing for the New Englander Eric Blake, but it was nice to see Joe win. He had been so close to winning the past few years and this year he won with a big lead.
I shot this with my cell phone so its a little shaky.

I took my hiking stuff with me so I could hike down after the race. Since I couldn’t count any summits towards peak bagging I decided to clean up a few sections of trails that I needed for my redlining map.  I took off down the Crawford Path  and dropped below the clouds at about 5500 ft.

I then took the Davis Path down to The Lawn.  I needed this little section of trail between Crawford Path and Camel Trail.  The Lawn is always a great place for pictures walking along with the Dalek looking Cairns.

The Davis Path from the Camel Trail to Isolation I had done before, but I needed to pick up the section of Glen Boulder between Davis and the Boulder.  I turned around at the boulder last time I was on this trail. So I descended that way.

The views into Gulf of Slides from the ridge were great.  I ski here every year, and it looks so much different without snow.

I passed quite a few hikers on Glen Boulder trail that were heading towards isolation to bag it for their list. I’m surprised that this has become a popular way to bag Isolation for first timers.  The Davis Path between Isolation and Glen Boulder Trail used to be a fairly quiet trail. I remember hiking it back in the 90’s and it being overgrown in spots from little use. I wonder if all the reports of people losing their way on Rocky Branch have made people think that this might be a better alternative?  It’s definitely not an easier route.
Back at the boulder I was on familiar trail again.

I descended towards the road until I came to the Direttissima Trail. I needed to redline this too. So I followed it back to Pinkham Notch.  The Direttissma was not peaceful due to it being close to the road and it being Bike Week here in New Hampshire, but it had some nice views from crags that were above the road, and it beat walking back on the road.  Once at Pinkham I asked around and quickly found a ride back to the Auto Road for my car.
This was the second year in a row I was on Washington for the first day of summer.  It wasn’t exactly a conventional hiking trip today but it was a lot of fun and the views were amazing.

Mt William Pond Paddling with Emily

My Parents came up and watched Jakey so Emily and I could get a little time off.  We headed up to Mt William Pond with our Kayaks, and I took my fishing pole too.  The Pond was nice and quiet as motor boats are not allowed.
We Paddled around and I did some fishing


I caught a nice trout on a trout magnet lure.

When we got home I fired up some charcoal and cooked him up.  Fresh trout cooked over hot coals is the best! Even my Patterdale Terrier thought so.