Local Thicketeering 1/21/08

Crust is the hardest terrain to negotiate for me on a snowboard, and I was eager to try some of Tommy T’s recomended technique.  Thicket touring is a term, and practice I’ve adopted from Luddite on T4T, and I have really come to enjoy it.  It consists of touring on slopes that have not been prepared for skiing at all.  Sometimes its just the simple pleasure of linking a few turns together in  a technical section of slope.  This is really a niche best suited for Tele, but I really like taking my splitboard.  The hill of choice today was an area my Mountain Bike Friends and I call Mt. Verizon because of the cell tower on top.  We usually ride up the maintenance road in the summer to access this area, but I knew of a logging trail that was to erroded to bike on that descended all the way down to the valley.  I decided to just boot today, because the snow pack was pretty consolidated with a crust.
Loggging road:

the logging road ascended for about a 1/2 mile to a power line for the cell tower.  The power line had a fun looking slope:

I left the power line where I knew the single track went towards the summit.  The powerline would have been an easier walk due to a snowmobile trail that was well packed, but it was ugly.
On the single track I found a few places to link some turns:(flat light photo)

After working on crust turning technique for a bit I proceeded to the summit.  Looking across the the valley to the east I saw a curious looking clearing that I need to explore further:

Looking to the west, my playground: North and South Uncanoonuc

Below the summit I found this sweet little section that took me back to the power line.

The power line had a lot of pricker bush making for true thicketeering.

On the way back to where I had parked I found a gully that ran parallel to the logging rd.  I originally wanted to ride down the logging rd but I had noticed on the way up it was loaded with death cookies(rocks, Ice bulges, stumps).  The brush was kind of thick in the gully to get any speed but it was still fun.  In all the tour took about 3 hours, and the temp stayed around 10 degrees.  I felt like I picked up a bunch of skill, and even tried some different binding positions.  Front foot at 50 seemed a little too extreme for me, but 25 made the legs burn less.  Different areas with different sun exposures had very different crust.  In the area with the thickest crust the technique I found worked best was similar to how I ride Moguls, except my weight was on my back half of my boards edges, instead of the front half of the edges.  In the thick crust making quick and constant turns worked well, instead of long arched turns, which worked better in the thin crust areas.

Local Powerline Turns 1/16/08

I drive by these powerlines on my way home from work everyday.

This year, the power company came through and cut all the underbrush, making it look more like a ski slope.  For some reason the base we had before the thaw, melted everywhere that there was woods, but did not melt-off on open slopes, and fields.  So unlike the gladed areas I usually enjoy this spot still had a base under mondays fresh (and still fluffy) pow.
I caught a cold and was sick today, but fueled by cough syrup I dragged myself up for a run.  This is the first time I’ve slid up here, I’ll definetly go back when I feel better.

Theres even a perfect spot to build a kicker where it flattens out, and then drops off again.

at the bottom of the second steeper section

Pats Peak 1/14/08 Storm

So. NH got a foot of fresh fluff so I called in to work for the storm yesterday, and then called my friends.  Normally on storm days we go to Guidos, but I had a stack of free weekday tix to Pats so we decided to ride the lifts.  The quantity of lift service turns just cant beat the quality of Backcountry Skiing, even though it was really good we still found ourselves asking repeatedly: “I wonder what Guidos is like today?” .

Sorry for the poor quality, the pics are snapped from digivid.

New Years Fun In The Whites 2008- Annual Mt. Cabot Trip + Cannon.

Yup, another January 1st waking up in the Mt. Cabot Cabin.  Matt and I have continued this tradition unbroken since the turn of the century.  We usually preface the after dark hike in, by Ice climbing in Champney, but this years snowfall and the 12/31 storm we got here in NH led us to Cannon Mtn Instead.  Conditions at Cannon were good, lots of fresh. The light was flat all day with snowfalling and fog, so visibility was very difficult at times.  By far our favorite runs of the day were poached on the Kinsman Glade which was open earlier in the day, but closed all afternoon.  The Kinsman Glade is awesome!  Very steep, very tight, with fresh tracks still left to be had.  I had hiked up it last summer and seen that the trail had lots of stumps and slash on it, these hazards were still poking out of the snow in many places , and sometimes hidden in light powder .
Hiking to Mitti:

Kinsman Glade:

We left Cannon at closing time and headed toward Cabot, we stopped in Whitefield at a Tavern.  When the guy at the bar next to us asked us where we were staying that night, I simply said Mt. Cabot.  He said he didn’t know where that Resort was.  I said; no, we are hiking up Mt. Cabot and camping in an old forest rangers cabin.  He said; oh I’ve heard about those AMC huts.
I said; No its not a hut, its just a little cabin with no crew, food, or heat.  He told us he was pretty sure we wouldn’t last the night in those condition.  I just left it at that, and he wished us luck.
In fact we did last the night, and it was the most peaceful night we had ever spent up there.  The calm before the storm.

We started the Hike in at about 7:30 and made it to the Cabin just before 10pm.  the hike in took just under 2.5 hours.  The trail had been previously packed by snowshoers with about 6″ of fresh fluffy untracked powder on top.  We decided to leave the snowshoes behind, and it was a good choice.  Post holes were uncommon, only where the path was drifted in, making the snowshoe track invisible, did we step off the track and posthole.
Snow fell lightly and there was little celestial light, making headlamps a must.  The last two years we had been able to turn our lamps off for the whole trip up, but this year you could not see your hand in front of your face with out the light on.
The last two years had also been very windy, in fact I can’t remember it ever not being windy up there, at times on past trips, as the cabin shuddered in the wind, I was reminded of the wizard of Oz when the whole house picks up and blows off to Oz . This year it was almost dead calm all the way to the cabin, and all night long.  The cabins interior thermometer read 12 degrees all night long.

I snapped some pictures of the interior of the Cabin.  There are two rooms. The Front room has a Table, a bookshelf, and a counter top (and a big gap where the wood stove used to be )
Left side:(looking in from the front door)

Right side:

The Back room is a Bunk Room. This is the right side, the side I always sleep on.  I call it “the GORP side” because there used to to be a Ghetto like tag graffitied above it that said GORP.

The left side is a mirror Image, except without the drafty window.  We call that side “the 3some side”, because it used to have “I had a threesome in this bunk” graffitied on the head board.  The graffiti was painted over about three years ago, but we still always laugh about his bunk being alot more exciting then mine.

This is an Exterior shot of the Cabin, with the great cornholio standing on the Deck.

The cabin is a forest green color normally, as you can see it was well coated with rime.

When I woke up on 1/1/08 and opened the door, this was my first View of the New Year…  Not a bad start to 08.

a better view after stepping out on the Porch:

This year we did not actually summit.  The view less summit is about a 1/2 mile past the cabin,  A major storm was forecasted so we decided to head down because my friend had to be at the Airport to Fly off to Cabo San Lucas, later that day.  Huh, Cabot to Cabo in under 24 hours .

The trail looks much like this all the way down to the jct with the Killkenny Ridge Trail:

About a 1/2 mile down from the Cabin There is a spur trail that leads to a very nice view.  I love this picture Matt took of me.  Notice the red sunrise.  Yup, sailors take warning.

The Mt. Cabot trail crosses a stream drainage shortly after the Killkenny ridge trail, and then follows an old carriage road that looks like this much of the way down:

Last I knew the Mt Cabot Trail was closed, I discussed this issue last year in this report.  The good news is that all the “no trespassing” signs we have been walking by for years were no longer there, and there was no signs of the problematic land owner around.  The bad news is the carriage road between Heaths Gate, and the York Pond trail has been heavily logged, and looks like it may be being developed,  The jct with the York Pond Trail was completely non existent, and the forest service jct. sign was gone.  I don’t know the current legal status of these two trails.
Here is a pic from the area of the former trail junction.  Last year this area was heavily forested, with no view of the Mountain.  I aimed the camera high, so as not to have a Bull Dozer in the shot, but this area is now about a 5 acre field of stumps.

The predicted snow storm began shortly after we got back to our car, we stopped in Gorham for breakfast, and headed home.  The ride home was very long and slow with accidents everywhere.  Bumper to bumper traffic spanned from Campton to Concord.  It took 7 hours from Gorham to Goffstown.  Normally its about a 2 hour drive.