Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mt. Jefferson - Spring Hiking

Elevation: 5,712ft
Trails: Jewell Trail, Gulfside Trail & Jefferson Loop
Elevation Gain: 3,215ft
Distance: 11 miles roundtrip
Duration: 8.5 hours
My 4000+ Peak #2
Listed 4000+: #3 
Difficulty:  Very Strenuous

Back in April I spent a couple hours at the Cog Railway at the base of Mt. Washington during a photo workshop. There was still snow on the ground and winter chill in the air. Today it was a bit warmer and the snow was all but gone. And the Cog ran its route, with early season riders aboard its colorful cars.

Our Meetup Group (4 Seasons - http://www.meetup.com/4-Seasons-Hiking-Group/) met up at the Cog Railway to start our ascent on the Jewell Trail. I was anxious to hike this mountain as this was the 3rd highest in New England behind Adams and Washington. We were instructed to bring more water than usual. Along with a headlamp, rain gear, first aid kit, food, snacks. Importantly was warm clothing as most of the hike would be above the tree line. This hike was billed as "slow" hike with short stops for water.

The Jewell Trail was 'buggy' for me and bug spray came in handy. We crossed several foot bridges before a  moderate ascent. As we ascended towards Mt Clay, we began to approach tree line. Once above tree line and in the scrub, the wind picked up. We stopped for a short break and I was able to get a video with the clouds blowing up, it was amazing!











A few minutes hiking into the scrub the ascent got steeper, I got really tired and started slowing down!  I had been anxious about this hike all week and was like a kid on the night before Christmas! I had a hard time sleeping for more than 5 hours each night leading up to the hike and with less than a mile to the summit I started to feel the results. I drank more water and kept snacking on my protein bars, but that was no help. The organizers of the hike swept behind me and just short of the summit I turned to John and told him that I didn't think I could make it. He looked at me like I was nuts. And then he started to push me. Both he and Robin pointed out the summit and when I realized how close we really were, I got a second wind.

At the base of the summit I put my backpack down and took my camera to climb the last few feet to the summit. It was foggy with not much of a view, but none the less, it was the summit! And I was too tired to realize at the time, but I had just bagged my first 5000+ footer standing atop 5,712ft Mount Jefferson! I took several photos of the summit as well as from the summit and remembered that I had forgotten my #2 sign! *sigh*

We spent about 20 minutes at the base for lunch and just as we got ready to make our descent, the wind picked up. I mean it really picked up! I expected windy conditions, but I didn't expect "whipping wind"! I know better now. Most of us donned our rain gear and I suddenly wished we could have spent more time at the summit.

On the descent I started to feel pain in my calves and thighs. We back-tracked on our descent  and as I got closer to the end of the trail the pain got worse! About half a mile to the trail end I ran out of water....my 2 liter Camelbak wasn't enough for this hike! Another hiking companion gave me a bottle of water.  After the hike, our group met at Fabyan's Station Restaurant for dinner. I was glad to sit! Needed to get some protein and fat back into me so I had the Fabyan Burger! Getting up from the dinner table was a bit painful. My entire lower part of my body ached, including my ass! I was glad that I carpooled with Chuck.

I learned several things from this hike. First and foremost, get plenty of sleep in the days that lead up to the hike. Bring lots of water, maybe even a protein drink. Since we can burn 500 calories per hour hiking to the summit, one of my hiking companions suggested eating cheese to replenish the fat loss. Stay on the trail by following the cairns. And use two trekking poles instead of one, lengthening the poles especially when hiking over boulders.

Thanks to 4 Seasons Meetup Organizers John and Robin for all their support and encouragement!


** Click on the photos to see a larger view 

At the Cog Railway - base of Mt. Washington 


On the Jewell Trail
 
 On the Gulfside Trail with 
Mt. Jefferson summit in the clouds

On the Gulfside Trail



At the summit!
Yes, that's my hand!


Jen and I at the summit of Mt. Jefferson!

Our group at the summit!




Saturday, May 14, 2011

Great Blue Hill

Great Blue Hill
Blue Hills Reservation
Difficulty:  Easy

Overcast the entire hike, but the rain held off, lucky us! This reservation is located just outside of Boston and didn't take long to get to. Our meetup group, Beginners & Intermediate Hikers Over 40/50, at http://www.meetup.com/Beginers-and-intermediate-hikers-over-40-50/, was supposed to meet at the Blue Hills Reservation Headquarters parking lot at Houghton Pond. But there was a detour on Hillside Street due to a bike race so not all of us could get to the parking lot via Hillside. Some of us ended up in the parking lot of Picnic Area 5 and were able to meet up with the rest of the group on the short half mile hike to the headquarters.

The Skyline Trail is originally a 9 mile hike. But we did the shorter version picking up the trail at the Reservation Headquarters, and looping around back to the Headquarters.  The trail is well marked with blue blazes and my favorite parts of the hike were....you guessed it! Scrambling over the rocks and boulders! The total hike took us 2 hours at a moderate pace also ascending Hancock, Hemmingway and Wolcott Hills before heading for Great Blue Hill (altitude 635 feet). We even had time for lunch at the summit as well as some photo ops from the tower. At the summit I was able to Facebook 'Check-In' with a strong cellphone signal.

All in all, it was a perfect day for a hike, not too hot nor cold. And for me, it was a change of scenery from the trails of the White Mountains.


** Click on the photos to see a larger view 
 


Cody came along with her mom Caroline!




Eliot Tower at the summit




Thursday, May 12, 2011

Extreme Perspectives by Alexandre Buisse

My favorite adventure photographer is at it again! Alexandre Buisse has come out with an eBook titled Extreme Perspectives on mountain photography! Beautifully laid out and contains more sweet tips on photography! Read about it on his blog at: http://www.alexandrebuisse.org/blog/Extreme-Perspectives,-a-new-ebook-on-mountain-photography 

Purchase and download his eBook Extreme Perspectives online at:
http://craftandvision.com/books/extreme-perspectives/

Monday, May 2, 2011

Stonehouse Pond - Rock Climbing

Perfect weather for rock climbing! One of my favorite places is Stonehouse Pond in Barrington, NH. This crag is just up the street from Kellie's Climbing Barn and where I did my first ice climb as well. It's also favorite to fishermen (Catch and Release) because of its well-stocked pond!  The parking lot was opened not too long ago with the Pond overall opening to the public about a year ago. In other words, you ain't gonna find any routes listed online anywhere. The routes are there, they just aren't officially named or graded. There are also a few spots for bouldering. I plan to get back to the pond later this month to do more photographing. 

The1/2 mile hike from the parking lot is flat until you get to the cliffs. From the cliffs the view is stunning and overlooks the pond and surrounding wooded area. We spotted two campfires, one of which was still smoldering! Campfires are prohibited in the pond, but there aren't any signage displayed or, worse yet, anyone patrolling to enforce the rule. 

Kellie setup anchor at the cliff top and then we both rappelled to the ledge below. I had bought a new Petzl Reverso a couple of months ago and got to try it out. I actually perfer it over an ATC for rappelling. I prefer and use a Petzl Grigri for belay as well as self-belay. Sorry for the blurriness and small sizes. Most of the photos were taken on my iPhone. At the clifftop I was able to Facebook 'Check-In' with a strong cellphone signal.

** Click on the photos to see a larger view 

The cliffs overlooking the pond at Stonehouse Pond 

The pond from the cliff top

That lone tree that sticks up above the rest is really
a cellphone tower that is made to look like a tree!
Couple other climbers below.
Their 'blue' rope is setup

Kellie setting up anchor
The two routes we climbed (2)


Ledge I was standing on


Someone forgot their gloves....

Win 'Remote Exposure' by Alexandre Buisse!

Enter Alpkit.com contest for a chance to win a signed copy of "Remote Exposure" or beautiful prints by my favorite adventure photographer Alexandre Buisse.Good luck!

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