Friday, August 28, 2015

Iron Mountain - Solo Hike

Shaka from the Iron Mountain summit

Iron Mountain (2,726 ft)
Elevation Gain: 800 ft
Miles: 1.6 roundtrip
Duration: 1hr, 15min (includes stops along the trail and at the summit)
NH 52 With A View
Difficulty: Easy to moderate


Another fine day to bag a NH 52 With A View summit! Although not much views at the summit, but there were views on the way to the summit.



A side path (0.6 mile) lead to a great outlook up the Rocky Branch Valley















While a ledge on the left of the trail at 0.7 mile, provided some eastward views.













Some photos along the Iron Mountain trail
(yes, I love photo collages!)



I didn't have time to check out the Mine or the south ledges beyond the summit. 
But I hope to be able to return to check those out when I can get a clearer day. 

Tagged!

Fire tower remnants at the summit

Clouds over the Presidential Range

After bagging the summit, I hurried back down to the trailhead and headed over to Cathedral Ledge to check out some newly bolted routes on a new rock climbing crag called Another Classoom. 4 other hikers and a dog headed up while I was coming down. And a group of 5 were out strolling up the dirt road past the trailhead parking lot as I was coming off the trail. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Glen Boulder - Solo Hike

Shaka from Glen Boulder above Pinkham Notch!

Glen Boulder  (3,700ft)
Trail: Glen Boulder
Elevation Gain: 1,750 feet
Mile: 3.2 roundtrip
Duration: 3hrs, 20 minutes (includes stop along the trail and at the boulder)
Difficulty: Easy to moderately strenuous
Danger: Low to High (there are several water crossings, very slippery rocks, steep section, exposed rock scrambling, loose rocks along trail)

I almost didn't leave my house today because it was raining over it! LOL!

But I figured I’d just drive up north and check it out anyways. And I might as well since I was already packed. As I headed to North Conway, the skies gave way to sunshine and fluffy white clouds. I couldn’t believe how clear it was - weatherman wrong again! As I passed the Glen Ellis Falls trailhead I looked up and got a good view of the Glen Boulder and decided to give it a go. I had been curious about this glacial erratic for some time and wanted to see what it was all about. This would be a perfect short, steep hike to get in some rock scrambling and catch some good views. I banged a ‘u’ and pulled into the parking lot, almost full but with most folks heading to the Glen Ellis Falls.

Heading up the trail I was glad it wasn’t humid. I stopped often to take photos and to admire the trail below treeline. This may well be the trail I’d be traveling to summit Mt. Isolation one day.  Not too many folks on the trail as I made my way up. But once I got to the boulder, others started showing up. I spent about 40 minutes at the boulder eating lunch and taking photos and chatting with folks also eating their lunches at the boulder. On my way back down to the trailhead I passed more folks on their way up including a family of 4 with no hiking gear and lugging a gallon of Market Basket spring water. Near the trailhead it started to get really humid and sticky which momentarily annoyed me. But once I got to the trailhead and out from under the trees, it was less humid. So glad I finally made the hike to Glen Boulder…..a good day for it, I’d say!

**After my hike to the Glen Boulder, I decide to stop by the Iron Mountain trailhead just to make certain I could find it as I was planning to hike it in another week. Near the trailhead and at the fork, I had taken the wrong turn onto FR 325 instead of FR 119. So when I got to the end of FR 325,  I turned around. Back at the fork, I was just about to turn onto FR 119 and a large black bear came running out of the woods and across the street just 50 feet in front of me! So glad I always carry a can of bear spray! 

Enjoy some photos taken on my hike to the Glen Boulder!

Along the Glen Boulder Trail


There are several beautiful waterfalls along this trail. 
But I stopped at this one to try out my waterproof camera.
This "display model" cost me $30. I stuck it under water and it works!

Yay, the Alpine Zone, finally!! This is the part the trail leaves the trees and 
climbs over open rocks. The photo on the right shows a section of rock that 
might be a tad sketchy for those afraid of heights or not used to scrambling.


Yay, more rock scrambling!

Sitting behind the boulder overlooking Pinkham Notch.

Looking towards Gulf of Slides, Tuckerman & Huntington Ravines

Looking up at the open ridge crest from the boulder

Route 16 from Glen Boulder

Looking back down the Glen Boulder Trail

The Wildcats

A little better view of the Gulf of Slides

My chocolate zucchini cupcake

Side of the boulder that faces the Pinkham Notch

Monday, August 17, 2015

Kearsarge North - Solo Hike

Shaka from the summit of Kearsarge North!

Kearsarge North (3,268 ft)
Trail: Kearsarge
Elevation Gain: 2,600 ft
Miles: 6.2 roundtrip
Duration: 4 hrs, 15 min (includes stops along the trail and at the summit for 30 minutes)
NH 52 With A View
Difficulty: Easy to moderately strenuous

I checked the weather report and today was the best out of the weekend for hiking. But I totally didn’t check the humidity levels! :( Having EIA (exercise-induced asthma) I really should pay close attention to the air quality index. But I was all gung-ho to get out and hike something short and easy (or so I thought) after last Saturday’s epic hike to the summit of Mt.Katahdin.

It started off easy enough but after about 35 minutes into the hike, I realized that it was more humid than I was thought it would be. I stopped to get a quick drink and thought about turning back….maybe head over to Mt. Stanton for shorter hike? But I was already here and figured so long as I kept pace, kept *nasal breathing and kept hydrated, I should be fine. On the other hand, if the humidity worsened, then I’d definitely turn back.

*I started "nasal-breathing-only" during exercise while on my Colorado trip and it does help. For starters it helps me relax and when I'm relaxed, I can keep a better breathing pace. I also find that I don't feel like I'm gasping for air or hyperventilating when nasal breathing. 1995 Study.

A couple came up behind me and we chatted for a bit. Found out we both have asthma but he forgot to bring his inhaler. I prodded along at my pace and the both of them would run past me, then stop and sit so he could catch his breath. I would walk past them as they sat resting and then they’d catch up and run past me again…then stop and sit so he could catch his breath. I passed them once more and quickened my pace and breathing as fast as I could comfortably endure. I wanted to get higher as fast as I could for cooler air. I finally made the summit in just under 2 hours and it was so much easier to breath! There were 3 other people there and tons of dragonflies! The air was still, not even a tiny breeze. But thanks to all those dragonflies, not one mosquito! Another hiker checked the temps for me…..80 degrees at the summit, it was 95 at the parking lot. I quickly took some photos, signed the log book and ate my lunch and chocolate zucchini bread. Only spent 30 minutes at the summit.

There were more folks coming up, but that couple never showed. After asking around, a couple of guys said they saw the couple headed back down to the trailhead. I hope he’s alright. Overheard the other 6 hikers that had come up behind me - it took them to 2 hours to ascend due to the humidity as well.

I’m calling this “easy to moderately strenuous” because I had a tough time breathing in this humidity.

Enjoy some photos I took on my hike!

My favorite parts of trails are slabs of granite!

More photos along the trail



Fire tower & log book

Chocolate Zucchini Bread









Monday, August 3, 2015

Carter Dome - Solo Hike

Shaka from the summit!


Carter Dome
Elevation: 4,832ft
Mt. Hight - Elevation: 4,675ft
Duration: 7 hours (includes stops along the trail and at both summits)
Trails: Nineteen Mile Brook, Carter Dome, Zeta Pass, Carter-Moriah Trail/Appalachian Trail
Elevation Gain:  3,350 ft
Distance: 10.2 miles roundtrip
My 4000+ Peak #33
Listed 4000+: #9
Difficulty: Easy to Moderately Strenuous

What a beautiful day to bag #33! I got to the parking lot at the Nineteen Mile Brook trailhead and it was just about filled. I had been along this trail when I hiked into the Carter Notch hut back in 2013. There was snow and the trail was easy to hike. Today it was a bit cool as I started off from the parking lot. But as I got onto the Carter Dome trail, it was warming up. At the Zeta pass it started cooling off all the way to the Carter Dome summit. 

I had originally planned to hike up to Mt. Hight first. But when talking to two couples with their 4 kids on their way down from the Carter Notch hut, they told me that they had descended the trail from the Mt. Hight summit and it was rocky and super steep. If you know me, you know that I don't have any problems with steep, rocky trails. But if you know me really well, you know that I like to make things easy on myself! ;) 

So instead of hiking the steep Carter-Moariah trail to the bare summit of Hight, I continued on the gradual Carter Dome trail to the Carter Dome summit. On the way I stopped at the Black Angel trail junction and spoke to "Camo". He was counting hikers that were on the Black Angel trail. I spent 40 minutes at the Carter Dome summit, taking photos, eating lunch and talking with some other day hikers as well as 4 AT Thru Hikers. Afterwards, I headed to the Mt. Hight summit taking the Carter-Moriah trail....this was such an easy hike in this direction! I spent 20 minutes at the Mt. Hight summit taking photos and quickly taking in water and a snack. I really found it hard to leave with the views and the cool breezes on this summit. On my way down the steep trail from the summit, I was just so snap-happy I hadn't come up this trail. If I had to ascend Hight via this steep trail, I'd say this hike was "very strenuous". On my way down I passed 10 folks making their way up. 

Once back on the Carter Dome and Nineteen Mile Brook trails, I ran when I could. Near the trailhead the temps were annoying...warmer and definitely more humid. But the humidity was bearable and didn't affect my asthma. I met more folks and dogs on the trails as well.....that made 60 people and 4 dogs for the day! Enjoyed this hike and can't wait to get back for South Carter, The Wildcats as well as a night's stay at the Carter Notch Hut!

Enjoy some photos I took along the way....

 Along the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail



Along the Carter Dome trail



"Camo" keeping count of hikers along the Black Angel trail




Just before the summit there is a little path that leads

to an outlook. Don't forget to check it out!


Here are the 4 AT Thru Hikers
Left photo: "Forward" with his Super Mario backpack!
Middle photo: A married couple from Vermont and "Georgia" check out the map
Right photo: Off they go!

Carter Dome Summit

Carter Dome Summit

Mt. Washington from the Mt. Hight summit

Carter Dome from the Mt. Hight summit

Not certain but I think that's South Carter behind me

Hiker ahead of me on the steep Carter-Moriah trail from the
Mt. Hight summit. Some sections, although vertical, are still a scramble.

Cormier Magness (5.6) - Multi pitch Rock Climb

 It was a short, but brutal hot day for us! But still glad to be able to get out and onto a couple of pitches of the Cormier Magness route o...