Showing posts with label ethan pond trail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ethan pond trail. Show all posts

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Thoreau Falls - Solo Hike

hike, ethan pond, tlc book tours, appalachian trail, national geographic topographic map guides, la sportiva, ultra raptors, mountain runners, trip report
Thoreau Falls

Thoreau Falls – Solo Hike
Trails:  Zealand, Ethan Pond Trail/Appalachian Trail, Thoreau Falls
Miles:  9.4 Roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy side of moderate
Danger: Low

Finally a good (hiking shoe) day! I was waiting for that window of opportunity to get back out and hike a section of the Appalachian Trial, and today seemed the perfect day! I received the National Geographic Appalachian Trail Map #1511 (Hanover to Monte Carlo Topographical Map Guide) to review. After looking through the map, I decided on a 9.4 mile hike to the beautiful Thoreau Falls. Two weeks earlier I attempted to hike to Thoreau Falls but 2.5 miles into my hike, the top of my foot started to hurt, so I turned back. A good thing since the pain became worse and I couldn’t wait to get my boots off once back at my truck. I carefully took my boots off (with lots of swearing) and threw them in my backseat (with more swearing).  I did return the boots…Vasque Talus Ultra…to REI. I was disappointed since I really wanted to like/love these boots. But they really didn’t fit right and I needed hiking footwear that was much more flexible for my feet. I ended up purchasing a pair of La Sportiva Ultra Raptors. These mountain runners are a cool bright blue and with its lightweight, breathable uppers and stick-to-rock-soles, I was on my way! Yup, happy feet and a great hike! And I just want to give a shout-out to the 4 AT Thru-Hikers I met on my way out; Hey Indiana Jones, Patches, Yoda and Bill Nye...great chatting with you and safe hiking to the Katahdin summit!

Enjoy my photos taken along the hike as well as my review of the National Geographic Appalachian Trail Topographic map guide.

Along the Zealand Trail

At the junction of the Ethan Pond and Zealand trails

Here we go along the Appalachian Trail through the Zealand Notch!

Wooded Area (7)

Split Rock

Approaching the talus field

The trail comes into the wide opening with spectacular views! 
Looking (north) back at Zeacliff and Mt. Hale

Whitewall Brook

Looking up Whitewall Mountain and its talus field!
I loved this section as it reminded me of Canon Mountain
and its highly visible talus field from I-93 in the Franconia Notch!

A bit of fun rock scrambling as the trail crosses the talus!

Zeacliff Trail junction

A couple of hikers making their way down the Zeacliff Trail through the notch!

Trail follows a gradual curve out of the notch and into a wooded area
I thought that this section here was the prettiest! (3)

At the Thoreau Falls trail junction

Into the Pemigewasset Wilderness

and the final 0.25 mile to follow the Thoreau Falls Trail to the top of the falls

What a view!

What I like about the Appalachian Trail Topographic Map Guide by National Geographic
- Water resistant, tear resistant and lightweight
- Highlights the Appalachian Trail making it easy/fast to find on the map
Features resupply locations, key points of interest, safety guidelines, local contact info, area history and more.
- Trail profile at bottom of each page that show distances between shelters, camping areas and trail access points.
- Although held together by two staples, the map does lays flat.
Overall, this map is very easy to use and carry. I'll continue to use it for all my day hikes along the Appalachian Trail!

About Appalachian Trail Topographic Map Guides
National Geographic’s 13 all-new Appalachian Trail Topographic Map Guides cover the iconic trail mile-by-mile from Georgia to Maine, in a unique booklet format that’s backcountry durable—lightweight, waterproof, and tear-resistant. Printed in the USA, these innovative maps are rapidly becoming essential tools for everyone from day trekkers to thru hikers. Each guide includes detailed topographic maps at a scale of 1 inch = 1 mile, with each page centered on the trail, overlapping with adjacent pages so there is little chance of getting lost. Helpful trail profiles show the distance between shelters, camping areas, and trail access points. The front pages of the guides feature resupply locations, key points of interest, safety guidelines, local contact information, and more. Proceeds from the purchase of a National Geographic map help support the Society’s vital exploration, conservation, scientific research, and education programs.

Purchase Links

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mt. Willey - Solo Hiking

Mt. Willey  (4,285ft)
Elevation Gain: 2,915ft
Trails: Ethan Pond and Willey Range
Distance: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Duration: 5.5 hrs (includes stops for breaks along the trail and at summit)
My 4000+ Peak #20
Listed 4000+: #29
The Terrifying 25 List: Willey Range Trail (Ladders section)
Difficulty: Strenuous

**This is my 20th NH 48 4000+ footer, and the 10th summit I've hiked solo to.

It looked like rain as I was headed north for today's hike. And there were passing showers as I drove by the Kancamagus Highway. At the trailhead on Route 302 there was just a couple more empty stalls in the upper parking lot. I re-checked the weather forecast, "sun for the afternoon", and quickly got my gear on.

I started up the trailhead and crossed over the train tracks and ascended up an old logging road. I took the Ethan Pond trail northwest after passing the Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail. 


It's a very steady climb and at the Kedron Trail junction I stopped to take a short break and let a group of 7 pass me. The book doesn't say how steep the start of the trail really is so I was somewhat surprised.

I caught up with Group 7 at the Willey Range Trail junction were we all stopped for a break. We spoke a bit about 'lists' and I told them that I was working on the 4000ft+ as well as the Terrifying 25 lists. They were on their way to Willey, Field and Tom, with Avalon being the 'bail-out' plan. And we also introduced ourselves and started back up the trail again when I told them that they were a good pace for me. 

From there the trail steadily steepened. Then my stomach started making noises. I stopped to listen...oh, those were hunger noises! I tried to ignore them but the more I continued, the louder the protest! Group 7 stopped for a break and so did I. But I needed more than a minute of water and rest. And so I stayed back eating my energy bar when Group 7 started back up again. It was nice sit and enjoy a quick meal in silence and solitude. There was a slight breeze and the sun started to come out.

One of many water crossings
Someone left mushrooms on the trail

I was at the Ladders section, finally! I had seen photos of this section and was eager to try it out! I quickly took out my Canon dslr and spent 10 minutes taking photos before ascending the ladders. 

There were 9 Ladders total and a couple of them were really steep! It didn't take me very long to ascend all of them. I was able to get off one of the ladders to take a side view  photo to show the grade.

At the top of the ladders!
The remainder of trail continued to be steep with parts of rock scrambling. 
Near the top I turned to look behind me to expecting to see views of Crawford Notch. There were clouds coming in, and fast! I quickly scrambled up the last set of rocks and took the path off to the right to the east lookout. The temps here were much cooler and the clouds moved quickly by.

I continued onto the summit, it was just a feet from the east outlook and made note of the cairn. There was no benchmark or sign....just a lone cairn to distinguish the summit. I continued down the main trail to circle around to the south outlook. The sun started to come out and I took a few more photos. It was warm under the sun here, so I sat and quickly ate my lunch, again enjoying the silence and solitude. 

 After lunch I went back to the summit cairn and took a couple more photos.

I quickly glanced at the time, it had been 30 minutes since I first summited and I needed to get back down to the trailhead. At the trail to the east outlook I bumped into Greg. He hadn't seen the little outlook sign and so I lead him to the east ledges where the sun had come out. We started talking about hiking and I showed him how my iPhone Peaks App works. 
Crawford Notch from the east outlook
Webster Cliffs and Mt. Jackson from the east outlook

He told me he just had his right knee replaced a year ago, showing me his scar because I didn't believe him! Greg was out enjoying his hike and testing his left knee to see if it would hold up. And I told him about my husband's right knee replacement two years ago. We weren't alone though.....   Greg spotted a Gray Jay eying us. We quickly offered some crackers and granola and second showed up.
By now I had been on the summit for an hour so it was definitely time for me to go! I told Greg I'd mention him in my blog and he could find me through Google. So Greg if you're reading this, hope the rest of your hike went well! I started back for the trailhead. But I had to put my trekking poles away because I found them annoying when having to downclimb the steep, slabby portions of the trail. I passed more hikers on their way to the summit, telling them, "You're almost there!" and "Happy Trails!" And I reached the Ladders in 20 minutes and stopped a bit to take more photos! 

I brought it with me but didn't wear my knee brace on today's hike because my knee wasn't bothering me at all. But about an hour into my descent my feet started to bother me again! I was annoyed and checked the lacing on my hiking boots. The laces didn't loosen up today like they had on my Flume/Liberty hike the week before. But the bottom of my feet, particularly the balls of my feet, were starting to hurt, curse it! Back on the Ethan Pond Trail there were several other hikers, some with dogs, hiking in the opposite direction.

Just 50/60 feet from the Arethusa-Ripley Pond Trail junction I could hear children's  voices . I looked down at the trail floor and noticed loose dirt, put my right foot forward on it and down I went! I landed on my left knee and at first was afraid to get back up for fear of not be able to! My left knee is arthritic and I thought I had injured it badly, curse it! I can't believe I slipped, curse it! I should've worn my spikes! I slowly got up and checked my knee. It was scratched up pretty bad and hurt as well (curse it!), but I needed to get off the trail and back to my truck. At this point I took out my trekking poles for the rest of the way. Luckily, I was only minutes from the parking lot and even more luckily, was able to walk back on my own. At my truck I cleaned up and put a ice, cold water bottle on my knee. 

This hike, particularly the Ladders section, was fun! I met some really very nice folks on trail and the views at both outlooks were beautiful!

**Photos along the trail were taken with an iPhone camera. Photos taken at the summit were taken with a Canon DSLR.

YouTube Channel - Hawaii Girl Adventures

Check out my YouTube channel at:  Hawaii Girl Adventures I will eventually be phasing out blog posts and be posting videos of my climbing, h...