Monday, August 31, 2015

Mt. Success summit - Nobo 1901

This post is from August 31, 2015.  The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

I failed to make it to Maine today as I hoped as I am still 1.7 miles from the border. This was due to a very late 11:40am start which was due to leaving Eliot late due to taking care of farm animals this morning. It was also due to the Mahoosic trail being hard. Not as hard as Wildcat and the Carters the previous day on the trail but hard. My total miles for this short day was 14.

I could not reach the official campsite which had been my goal for the reasons just stated so I found myself hunting for a stealth campsite starting about an hour before dark. I ended iup summiting Mt. Success with very gusty winds and still found no place to stick my little tent. It was essentially dark out when I found this little hole in the trees and pitched the tent by headlamp;

Friday, August 28, 2015

US Rte 2, Shelburne, NH - Nobo 1887

This post is from August 28, 2015.  GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Hiked 22 challenging miles today over 5 official NH 4000 footers (Wildcat D, Wildcat, Carter Dome, South Carter, Middle Carter) , plus some more 4000 footers that aren't on the list due to being too close to those.
The going was particularly steep on the ascents and descents the first 60% of today.  These descents provided me with some of my slowest per-mile average times of the 1800+ miles I have done so far.   I need to be **so** careful of not having any kind of a fall due to my artificial ankle.  If I fell even one meter and landed wrong on that sawed-off tibia the results could be disastrous and the doctors might never be able to fix it right.  So, I don't take any chances of a fall, which means I slow to a crawl on these light-weight rock climbing descents.   This made for a 12+ hour 22 mile day.  A lot more exhausting than 22 miles should feel.

As of right now, under 300 miles to go!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pinkham Notch - Nobo 1865

This post is from August 27, 2015. GPS data from today's hike can be found at: 

Mount Washington did its thing today. When I boarded the stagecoach van at 9 AM for the ride to the summit it was a beautiful summer day down in Pinkham  notch. When I exited the van over 4000 feet higher up at the summit I had to run to the visitor center and don my tights and Gore-Tex jacket, just to venture out and start my hike. Here are a couple of shots showing what conditions were like about 10 minutes after starting, a few hundred vertical feet down from the summit (beautiful August day, eh?):

Things got worse from there as it rained pretty hard on me in the elevation zone between 5000 and 6000 feet which I was at for a few hours. Then finally we descended from the clouds and it began to dry out and warm up.  This is a view as I descended on the Parapet Trail and broke out of the clouds:

I think the year was 1995 Jenny was about 12 and Peter was about 10 and we did our first backpacking trip together right after I did the Wild man Biathlon the morning of the first day of the 3 day trip. We hiked up the Rocky branch Trail and camps near the Mount Isolation trail.

The next day we hiked over at the summit of Mount Washington and ascended into the great gulf wilderness. Much of the hike on the final day was on the great gulf Trail. I can remember when we reached the intersection of the great gulf Trail and the AT.  I. think I said to my children "kids this is the Appalachian Trail this is a big thing it's a trail that goes all the way from Georgia to Maine." This is a photo of me at that very intersection today.  Sweet memory for me.

This is the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center, end of today and the start of tomorrow:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mt. Washington Summit - Nobo 1852

This post is from August 23, 2015.  The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at:

I hiked 13 miles today almost all uphill from Crawford Notch to the summit of Mt. Washington.

I started, of course, exactly where Helen and I left off yesterday:

(Note the remaining mileage to Mt. Katahdin.)

Traversing the Webster cliffs overlooking the notch was dramatic:

I then bagged another of my missing NH 4000 footers Mt. Jackson:

And another, Mt. Pierce:

Exactly two years ago today I was in a tuxedo in that white structure (Mt. Washington hotel)  in the following picture for the wedding of my son Peter to his lovely bride Rachel.

 Last night we were together at our Loon condo and had a nice anniversary celebration dinner at the Common Man restaurant in Lincoln.  I can remember that day, two years ago, and I was limping so badly with arthritis in my right ankle I could barely walk my designated bridesmaid up to the front of the ceremony.  Two years and one artificial ankle later not one hiker passed me in today's 13 miles and I passed scores.  I smiled for many reasons.

Happy Anniversary, Peter and Rachel!!.

This is the Lake of the Clouds hut just before the final push to the summit of Washington and the warning immediately following:

Here are some shots around the summit of Washington:

This is the shot of the sign where I left the trail and will need to resume when I return in 2-3 days:

Note the remaining miles to Katahdin.  I guess the 13 miles I hiked today added up to zero. :-)

We had made arrangements for Helen to drive up the auto road and meet me at 4:30 to drive me down.  I will return in a couple of days and take the 'stagecoach' (van) up and continue my hike down to Pinkham notch.    There was a female southbound section hiker 'Amy' that had just finished her Katahdin to Washington section and needed to get back to civilization so we gave her a ride back to the C&J terminal in Dover, NH and she took a bus from there to Logan.  That was a good deed on our part.   I have been the recipient of many similar good deeds from others between Georgia and New Hampshire so I was glad to help.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Crawford Notch - Nobo 1839

This post is from August 22, 2015. The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at:

Helen and I did the motorcycle/truck self shuttle thing between Crawford notch and Zealand Trail.  After leaving the bike at the trailhead for Zealand trail, we hiked 2.5 NON AT miles to rejoin the AT where I left it last Wednesday night.  The photo below is a shot of Helen at this spot:

The actual AT miles today were only 7+, but it was a good little section to do with Helen, especially as it had the 2.5 mile pigtail of Zealand Falls that had to be done just to get back onto the AT.  The shot below is of Paul at a very visually dramatic section of the hike where the old railroad bed that is the AT here cuts across a tremendous slide plummeting a deep valley:

After leaving that valley, the Wilderness Trail, that Ray, I and Peter have all trail run at different times vectors off to the south heading towards Lincoln Woods about 14 miles distant.  In only .1 miles from the intersection of the Ethan Pond Trail (the AT) and the Wilderness trail lies the beautiful Thoreau Falls.  So, we decided to walk over there and take a breath:

The shot below is of the end of this day.  I will resume the ascent and traverse of Mt. Washington here as soon as the danger of thunderstorms subsides.  Note the remaining distance to Katahdin  - 332 miles.  Getting there!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Zealand Falls Hut - Nobo 1832

This post is from August 19, 2015. The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at:
I hiked 20 miles of the AT starting at the Liberty Springs trailhead near route 93. 

This was the precise spot where I left the trail last November 13 after hiking from Kinsman Notch to Franconia Notch. That required micro-spikes (easy-on crampons) and winter clothing during all the time at higher altitudes. Not sotoday as you can see from these summit shots of




South Twin:

I had to hike one mile from my motorcycle to get to the trailhead this morning and 2 1/2 from my AT end

to the truck so today was actually 23 1/2. I realized I had walked by Galehead hut too late and thus missed my water fill up as planned. I ran dry at mile 15 and those last 5 miles to Zealand hit were parched ones.

This was the elevation profile from today:

There was over 7,000 feet of elevation gain.

Franconia Notch - Nobo 1812

This post is from November 13, 2014. The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at:

Today's 17 miles started off as a brisk late fall hike in the Whites but inevitably ended up as a bitter winter-conditions slog at higher elevations.  The short amount of daylight made it take essentially all the hours of daylight to accomplish those 17 miles, including the summitting of two 4000 footers, South and North Kinsman, with crampons for several hours up high.

Here are some photos of that day:

I reached, this sign, the end of today's hike after about an hour of hiking in the dark with a headlamp.
I will need to pick up my northward progress at this sign at some point within my 12 month Thru hike window.  I wonder when it will be....

Kinsman Notch, NH - Nobo 1795

This post is from December 27, 2014. The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at:

Today Jenny, Glenn and I did the Moosilaukee traverse.  We ascended from NH 25 to the west, up, over the summit and down the steep Beaver Brook trail down to Kinsman Notch.  There was quite a bit of snow even at low elevations but the day was unseasonably warm for December 27 until close to the top where it suddenly and dramatically changed to bitter winter conditions.  Well before that transition we had to don our crampons as the trail got too slick and icy for mere plastic boots.  Also notable is the fact that today's hike was Glenn's very first foray into the use of plastic boots and crampons for winter climbing. He did very well but the bitter winds and temperatures at the top and the long, steep descent took their toll on everyone.

The 11 miles of the AT we accomplished today does not sound like much but they were tough miles under sometimes tough conditions.

NH 25 Oliverian Brook - Nobo 1786

This post is from December 26, 2014.  The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at:

This short 4.6 mile hike I did with Ray and his girlfriend Kig.   We were all getting ready to leave for Helen and my 40 anniversary wedding celebration at St. Lucia with 22 friends and family.  After celebrating Christmas in Eliot we went up to our Loon condo for some winter sports before leaving for the tropics.

Kig had never seen snow before.  So, we thought the most appropriate thing to do with someone who has never *seen* snow before was to do a 6 mile hike in the snow along the AT in NH.  It got dark.  We had 3 headlamps, 1.5 of which were working.

A grand time was hand by all!

NH 25C - Nobo 1782

This post is from June 16, 2015.   The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at: 

I left our Loon condo at 5:30am on the Honda rebel and got myself to the NH 25a trailhead by 6:20am.  I was hiking by 6:35am.  This 6 mile segment was only memorable for being extremely wet.  There were a lot of bogs but even when I was up on hills the trail seemed unduly muddy.  I reached NH 25C at 8:30am and Helen was already waiting for me with the pickup truck and she took me back to the spot where I left the motorcycle in the morning.

NH 25A - Nobo 1776

This post is from June 8, 2014.   The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at: 

Did 16 miles today and summited Smarts Mountain and Mt. Cube.  It was raining fairly hard the first half of the day which made the Smarts Mt. ascent unpleasant.  Helen had dropped me off at AT mile 1760.7  at 10am (we had spent the night at our Loon Mt. ski condo) and we had agreed that she would meet me on the Rte. 25B trailhead 16 AT miles later at 5pm.  The summits of both Smarts Mt. and Mt. Cube consist of huge expanses of smooth ledge.  In particular, Mt. Cube was the most polished stone I have ever seen outside a jewelry shop.  This made the extensive climbing over these rocks very fall-prone so I had to go quite slowly over those sections.  The skies cleared somewhat between Smarts and Cube but the rocks were still wet as I went over Mt. Cube and I had my 2 slowest miles of the day (34 minutes/mile) going over the top of Cube.  I made it to our rendezvous at 4:50 just as Helen was pulling in 10 minutes early!

Dorchester-Lyme Road, NH - Nobo 1760

This post is from June 15, 2015.  The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at: 

This was my first try with my idea of self-shuttling between trailheads using the pickup truck with my new small Honda Rebel 250 on a motorcycle carrier on the back.  This is what happened:

We delayed the start of our 9 mile AT hike to try to squeeze it in between the morning and evening rains.  We were largely successful in that endeavor.
This was also the first time ever we were trying out my scheme of dropping the new small motorcycle and the end of the day and driving the truck to the beginning of the day and then driving the bike back to the truck at the end.
The hike went well; one of Helen's knees got a little sore as the terrain was inevitably rough - this is not VA or NC where Helen last hiked with me, but nothing one Vitamin I (Ibuprofen) couldn't handle.

When we got to the end of day trailhead I looked in the distance for the motorcycle and did not see it.  I did not panic as I was sure that it was simply a matter of me seeing from the wrong angle.  Wrong.  It was gone.
Along with our two helmets with the base of our radio setup, and our two expensive BMW waterproof suits.  Truly gone.  I was flabbergasted.  We were also stranded 17 miles from our truck in a very rural area. I had no cell coverage but Helen thought maybe a 911 call might get through to the police.
It did not.  So, we began the 4 mile walk to Lyme, NH.  We came to a house and Helen suggested that we knock on their door and ask for help.  That turned out to be a brilliant idea (which I initially discouraged, but boy was I wrong). These people let us use their phone to call the police to report the theft.  It was no theft.  Someone had torn off our temporary plates and when the police saw this motorcycle in the middle of nowhere with
no plates they thought it was abandoned so had it towed.   That was a HUGE
relief as there was a lot of money and trouble invested in that equipment, which we had not yet insured, BTW.  Then we had to deal with the logistical problem that we were 7 miles from the towing company that had our bike and they wanted $150 cash to get it out of hock.  The nice people who let us use their phone also happened to be the proprietors of the Lyme General store (and via the store next door neighbors to the McCutcheons, our former across the street neighbors in Eliot,BTW!!!), then offered to drive us to towing place.  That was a HUGE help.  When we got there, we did not have $150 in cash, but the owner let me leave my license with him while we drove the bike back to our truck and our money.  That all worked out and has turned into a great story, but.... WOW.

I am attaching a couple of shots of how we looked when we finally got the bike back to the starting trailhead where we had left the pickup truck: