Whiteface & Passaconaway Hike 11/27/09

Clif texted me tuesday, and asked if I wanted to do Whiteface and Passaconaway on Friday?  After checking the weather I texted back:  “Q: How do you know its time to go Hikiing? A: Its raining.”  Because every hike this year we’ve done has been in pouring rain and friday was no different.

This is the 3rd time I’ve done these two peaks, and we picked a good day to get out.  While every body else was trampling people at walmart, I was with good friends dodging raindrops and making foot prints in snow.

The rest of the crew: Paul who has his list 10 times over and was on his 11th trip up here, Clif who only has 2 peaks left for his list, and his 2nd trip to these peaks, and Tim who needed these peaks for his 3/4 complete list. and Ian who has only a few peaks, but has begun working on the 48 4k list.  It was a great cross section of experience to be with in bad weather.
The crew minus me:

We took the Dicey’s Mill Trail to Passaconaway, the Rollins Trail to Whiteface, then took the Blueberry ledge trail, to the Wiggins trail, which I had’nt hiked before so I was at least able to color in one more trail on my map.

me in the Rain

Cliff and Ian on Viewless Summit of Passaconaway

Tim and Paul near the Summit of Whiteface

Me self portrait on Whiteface

Both the Blueberry ledge and Wiggins Trails were pretty steep descents, and not recomended in slick conditions.

On the way back, about 1 1/2 miles from the trail head, Clifs boot started to fall apart.  The soul seperated from the leather upper.  We were glad this didnt happen when we were descending the cliffs up higher.

about 1mile from the road, and inspite of efforts to keep it attached, Clifton lost his soul,  his boot soul that is.
The make shift grocery bag “liner/soul only helped so much and he had a pretty cold foot by the time we got back to the car.

the remains of the boot:

We were originally going to camp, but were all kind of sick of being wet, and when Paul suggested we go back to his place, where he had recently built an AMC style lean-to in his back woods of his house, it sounded alot more fun than setting up tents in the rain.
Ian filling out the Log in Pauls Homemade shelter ( pretty cool huh?):

Tim went home, and the shelter slept the remaining 4 of us very comfortably.

Hiking Waumbek 11/14/09

Sick of sitting around getting fatter while waiting for the snow to fall, I was happy to have been invited hiking by some old friends today.  I went with My brother in law Jeremy, my friend Clif and Clif’s father, as well as my friend, Paul. 
The original plan was to hike mt cabot today.  Jeremy and Clif still needed it for there 48 4000′ list and it had been a long time for me since I had been up there with out snow. Paul was my best friends dad growing up, and the person that instilled in me outdoor ideals that so much make me who I am today. He was out on a 4k for the first time this season since an injury last winter and following operations over the spring and summer.  He said this is the longest hes ever went between 4k hikes.  Paul now has 10 complete circuits of the 48 4k list and is working on his 11th!!!
When we got to Heaths Gate at the head of the Mount Cabot Trail there was a whole bunch of new signs posting the trail as closed, no tresspassing, keep out, violators will be prosecuted.  As you know I’ve been using this closed trail for years, but it seems that the land owner had now stepped up his efforts to keep people out. If it were me alone I would have said screw it and gone, but there were just to many of us in broad daylight to take the chance of legal action.  With waumbek being only a few miles away we decided to climb that instead.  Jeremy still needed it for his list, and we didnt want to push Paul to much with him being only 5 weeks away from his last surgery. 
It was crazy to be that far north this late in the season and not have any snow above 4000 feet yet.We all had rain gear, but hardly had to use it.  The heavy rains did not reach that far north until just about the time we were done our hike.
Hiking up Waumbek:

Wildlife on the way:
Spruce Grouse:

Grey Jay:

When we were near the top of Starr King Paul showed us a secret bench he and his other son built a few years back when they were staying up here.  Its has a really nice view from it.

We continued on to the summit of Waumbek. It was now starting to rain a little and we noticed it was actually getting warmer the higher we went..

This is only the second time I’ve been up here, but theres a few little novelty things I’m doing for my second circuit, one is I’m taking a self portrait, and the other is I’m picking up a small flat rock and writing the summit name on it with a Sharpie and taking it home.  I Think it will be neat to maybe make a coffee table or something when I have all 48 rocks.
Summit Self portrait:

We had left home around for this trip at 4:30 am so, we got back to the car pretty early and made it back home to southern NH before dark.  It really was nice to get out with such good friends and have nice laid back hike.  This falls been pretty crappy for me and the mental health day was much needed and appreciated.
Its amazing how something so simple as just puting one foot in front of the other until you reach a tangible goal can make you feel so much better.