Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mounts Lafayette & Lincoln - Solo Hiking


Mt. Lafayette (5,260ft)
Elevation Gain: 3,550ft
Mt. Lincoln (5,089ft)
Elevation Gain: 300ft

Total Elevation Gain: 3,850ft
Trails: Old Bridle Path, Greenleaf and Franconia Ridge Trail/Appalachian Trail
Hut: Greenleaf
Distance: 11.0 miles roundtrip
Duration: 9.0 hrs (includes stops for breaks along the trail, and at the summit)

My 4000+ Peaks #9 & #10 respectively
Listed 4000+: #6 &7 respectively
Difficulty: Very Strenuous

This hike was strenuous indeed, but I had a great time. Even though the trails were crowded and both summits packed, the views and the experience were certainly worth the trip. Originally I was going to solo hike Mt. Jackson, but I was worried that with a farther ride, I would not start early like I would have liked to. With the hikes to Mounts Lafayette and Lincoln, I was pretty sure that the parking lot would not be full by the time I arrived. I had also been reading trail reports prior to this hike and all said not to expect any solitude on these trails especially on summer weekends. So with the hike distance and my pace, there were many others on the trails I was certain I'd come in contact with. As with my previous solo hikes, I left instructions with my family members, packed cold weather clothing and took along 3L of water, Vitamin water and doubled my food supply.

Let me just start by saying that I can usually keep count as to the number of hikers I cross on the trails, but on this particular hike, I stopped counting when I reached 50! And as for dogs, there had to be close to 2 dozen that I saw on the trails. But only 4, I noted, that were leashed/tethered to their owners. I'll never forget the pack of 5 beautiful silver and white Huskies I passed while descending Mt. Lincoln. I wondered if they'd be in front of a sled if it was snowing. At both summits there were so many people, the only folks I do remember were a family of 16 that had ascended via the Falling Waters Trail and were staying at the Greenleaf Hut for the night.

I took the Old Bridle Path trail which starts at the Lafayette Place parking lot. About 0.2miles there is a junction and the Falling Waters trail veers sharply to the right and immediately crosses the Walker Brook on a bridge. I continued along the Old Bridle Path trail to the left. 

Hazy morning looking at Walker Ravine from the Old Bridle Path trail
 First of two pitches of the steep and slippery Basalt dike
Couple more photos taken from/along the Old Bridle Path trail

Greenleaf Hut at 4,220ft.
 From the Greenleaf Hut to the summits are all above treeline. Greenleaf Hut
taken from the Old Bridle Path trail with Mt. Lafayette in the background
This was my very first AMC hut I've ever been too!! 
It's so rustic, I didn't wanna leave!


Unlike the toilet at the Old Bridle Path trailhead, the toilets in the
Greenleaf Hut ladies restroom DO NOT SMELL! Yaaay!

 Some photos I took from the ladies restroom
Not sure where those water hoses are hooked up to.
 Sign in each bathroom stall
Mt. Lafayette from the Greenleaf Hut with the shallow
tarn, Eagle Lakes, in the foreground
 On the Greenleaf Trail towards Mt. Lafayette
looking back at the Greenleaf Hut

Some photos from the Mt. Lafayette summit






Walker Ravine
Looking back at Mt. Lafayette
Looking to Mt. Lincoln
At the summit of Mt. Lincoln


 On my descent from Mt. Lafayette to the Greenleaf Hut a glider made its third run.
It was mesmerizing to watch it as it caught the updrafts of the Lafayette.
On my way back down I stopped at the Greenleaf Hut again to use the restroom, get a drink and buy a Greenleaf Hut logo shirt. The hut was crowded and that family of 16 staying overnight had arrived just as I was leaving.

As I headed down to the trailhead, the temps started to cool off. I stopped for just a bit at the lookouts to take in the views for the last time. I passed 3 hikers who were on their way up with large packs on their backs...the hut croo with more supplies.

I have to admit I love elevation gain, but the descent sure is tough on my body! At the 9th hour, every inch of my body started to ache! I was close to the trailhead and remember commenting to myself that I wanted this hike to end now! But as I write this, I'm looking forward to yet another weekend hiking the White Mountains!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Redrock - Rock Climbing

This is the first time I've been to this crag and its Main wall is pure fun! The dirt parking lot for this rock climbing area isn't difficult to find at all. It's located just beside a storage facility off of route 128 in Gloucester, MA. My granddaughter Ann and I waited for Kellie, Felipe and Cass to show up and then we hiked up to the Main crag. The hike was about a tenth of a mile with a gradual elevation gain. There were green bushes with small vertical stems of tiny white fragrant flowers. How I wished I got photos of them! Their fragrance was a cross between a floral and spearmint and they lined the trail just past the parking lot.

Views from the top of Main Crag!


 Slabby top
Bob & Fellipe setting up anchor on "Steps"
Gear
Kev on the "Zipper"
A great crowd!
Since I like to photog rock climbers from the wall or the top of the cliff, I self-blayed up "High Me" and anchored myself at the tree to photo a couple climbers on "Steps".
Dave on the inside corner
Alex on the inside corner
My view of the top of "Toe Jams". No I did not jam my toes in those cracks! 
This is my rope set up on this route. Kellie taught me how to set up anchor
for this route so I got to use it for the very first time! WOOT!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mt. Tecumseh - 2nd Solo Hike

Mt Tecumseh (4,003ft)
Elevation Gain: 2,200ft
Trail: Mt. Tecumseh
Distance: 5.0 miles roundtrip
Duration: 4.25 hrs
My 4000+ Peak #8
Listed 4000+: #48
Difficulty: Moderate

I was totally stoked because this was my 2nd solo hike! As with my 1st solo hike, I left detailed instructions with a family member. And I promised to Facebook "Check-In" along the trail taking photos as well. I had just purchased a Mophie Juice Pack  Air for my iPhone 4 the day before and put it to the test on this hike. 

Although it got sunnier on my drive up, I had packed extra clothes for rain as the weather forecast was for cloudiness with rain. The parking lot was easy to find and I was the second one there. Found the trailhead pretty quickly considering it's tucked in under the trees and easy to drive by it. There were two guys already heading out and two more guys had just come down the trail. I hurried just in case it started to rain. 

Instead of crossing the brook to continue up the trail, I went beyond the birch branches (gasp, I went off-trail!) that were laid across the trail and headed for the ski slope. Darn, I didn't get a photo of it but there is a huge pink bra hanging on a branch that marks an opening (former trail?) at the ski slope. I took a couple of photos here although not much for views.

I back-tracked onto the trail and a father and his two teen children had already started up ahead of me. I hurried as not to pass them, but to get to the summit as I knew the trail would be getting crowded.





A little over a mile the trail descended and re-crossed the brook

A slight climb took me to the old trail left of the open ski slope. The father and his two teen children were here resting and I stopped for a couple of minutes for water, beef jerky and photos.

After resting I continued up the trail which continued to climb moderately. It was rocky but easy to navigate! 

A little over 2 miles I got to the junction of the Sosman/Tecumseh Trail. If you take the left here, the Sosman Trail will take you to the top of the ski area.



Another 120 yards I reached another Sosman/Tecumseh junction. The Tecumseh trail forks right leading to the summit from the north.

While the Sosman Trail forks left leading to the summit from the west. I went left! :)

I reached the summit in 2.5 hours and shared it with the father and his two teen children. As I reached the summit, I felt a sense of accomplishment, something I didn't feel until I was back at the trailhead on my 1st solo hike to Cannon Mountain.

A cairn marks the summit which is mostly wooded but there are some views over and between the trees. I "Check-In" into my Facebook account, called my daughter and spent the next 30 minutes relaxing, eating lunch and taking photos. Just before I left, a solo hiker showed up. 


I descended the summit on the Tecumseh trail and found it to be much more steeper and mossier than the Sosman trail. There also weren't any good views worth photographing. It started getting warmer and humid on my descent and I was sure glad I had started earlier. On my descent I passed several other hikers (13) making their way up to the summit, including a pit bull making her first hike; another female solo hiker and several trail runners. 

Back at the trailhead my left knee was in pain! In November 2010 I bruised my left knee when I fell on it while roller skating (blog entry here). Had it x-rayed and was told to stay off it for at least two weeks. Well, my left knee started bothering me on the descent. Whenever I bent it deeply, it would hurt. I think I better start wearing a brace on it for my next hike/rock climb.

The Mophie proved to be worth the money. During the hike, I took/uploaded photos to my Facebook wall, checked Facebook News Feed, ran the GPS Kit app, made a call, and checked/responded to my emails. I still had power on it and my iPhone was still fully charged. 

So I've checked off another summit/bagged another peak! The views weren't plentiful on this summit, but the trail is pretty and I hope to hike it one day during the winter!