Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Hancocks - Solo Winter Hiking

Mt. Hancock North Peak (4,420ft)
South Hancock (4,319ft)
Total Elevation Gain: 2,700ft
Trails: Hancock Notch Trail, Cedar Brook Trail, Hancock Loop Trail
Distance: 11.0 miles roundtrip
Duration: 7.5 hours (includes breaks along the trail and stops at both summits)
My 4000+ Peaks #21 & #22 
Listed 4000+: #26 & #21
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

I should know better. Seriously.  I.should.know.better. When I took the SOLO Wilderness First Aid Course last May, one of the things John Kascenska (of Kingdom Adventures Mountain Guides) stressed was; you should nourish your body before, during and after every hike. Well I had no problems with breakfast. And as usual, on my drive up I ate a protein bar and a banana. But I had a major brain fart and through the entire hike the only thing I had to eat was a granola bar (I pack with me a large ziplock bag of dried fruit, chocolate, beef jerky, granola bars and trail mix). 

I know, I know. What the heck was I thinking? Well apparently, I wasn’t! By the time I got back to my truck at the trailhead I was famished, tired and grumpy! 20 minutes down the street was McDonald's and I wasted no time in eating a Big Mac, Fries, Fish McBites and an iced coffee!  If you know me, you know that this type of food isn’t normally in my diet - I prefer raw fish and rarely eat red meat. And I sure as heck don’t consume that much food in one sitting. I haven’t had a Big Mac in years but it sure tasted awfully good after this hike!

Normally the entire hike, with the loop to both summits, is only 9.8 miles But I was reluctant to slide down the steep portion of the North Hancock trail so I backtracked to the summit of South Hancock and butt sled down the entire steep portion. This backtrack added more mileage to my hike, but I was more comfortable butt sledding down this segment of the trail. I did have a hard time controlling the butt sled, so I ended up just sliding down without it. 

I didn’t get any photos while atop North Hancock, not even a photo from my iPhone! I should’ve stopped to take photos and eat right? But I did get some photos while at the summit of South Hancock as well as along the trails. With the trails well broken in, it was a perfect day to bag both peaks. There were 18 others hikers and 2 dogs on the trails as well and I had the the most fun butt sledding! :D

The trailhead is just around the corner here

Along the Hancock Notch trail


It's hard to tell but this portion of the trail was extremely steep! 
1000 feet of elevation gain in 0.5 miles! My calves were killing!
At the South summit. It was so cold, 
but that was no excuse for not eating more!
Next time I'll find a section on the trail below the
summit where its not as cold and eat/rest.