Showing posts with label night hike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label night hike. Show all posts

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The West Chimney: Eaglet Spire - Multi Pitch Rock Climb

tabletop, small, summit, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing
On the Eaglet Spire summit

The West Chimney (5.7)
Trad, 3 Pitches, 200 feet
Eaglet Spire
Greenleaf & Climbers Trails
Franconia Notch, NH

Cool temps are perfect for a hike and a climb in Franconia Notch! Sean and I met up with his son Tom and a few other Boy Scout troop members at the Lafayette Campground parking lot. We hiked up to Lonesome Lake to lunch and enjoy the views. After about an hour, Tom and the scouts went on their way to the Cannon summit. They had a long day ahead with plans to continue onto the Cannon summit, the Cannonballs, an overnight stay at the Kinsman Pond shelter, and then a second day bagging the north and south Kinsman peaks. 

Sean and I headed up to Exit 34B and parked on the side of the off-ramp at the Greenleaf Trailhead. We hiked up the Greenleaf Trail and took the "climbers trail" to the Eaglet Spire. Sean had climbed the Eaglet Spire 16 years ago and had been wanting to get back to climbing it again, so I was really looking forward to this climb. At the base of the route I felt that same excitement I always get when I'm about to ride a really cool roller coaster. Only thing, today I was going to climb a spire! I was stoked! Enjoy some photos of our day at Franconia Notch.

Lonesome Lake
Photos Lovena Harwood and Eric Reitter

On our way up to the Spire there were 5 parties ahead of us, some already making their way down. At the trailhead parking lot we bumped into Jay, Katlyn and little Bella who were on their way up. Making their way down from a hike were Will and his 3 kids. It's a popular place, and one I hope to visit again! 

The final push up the talus field
tabletop, small, summit, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing

Gearing up at the base of the route
Profile Lake down behind me

Making my way up P1

Making my way up the 'chimney' of P2. 
chimney, pitch 2, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing

Another use for the selfie stick!


P3 the traditional way. 
That bolt is reachy and the Mountain Project beta is spot on!
And yes, I grabbed it to get onto the ledge above it.

Eagle Cliff

Making my way up P3

Some old pins

At the summit!
Left to right: Anchors, rap rings, Profile Lake

Atop the Eaglet Spire summit
The tiniest summit I've ever been on!
tabletop, small, summit, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing

Twilight rappel
(there are a couple of overhanging sections on this steep rappel)

Franconia Notch at twilight

Hike out in the darkness

I am thankful that Alexa told me about the Sterling Hollowblock (shown below) during my private ice lead lesson this past winter. Afterwards I went straight over to IME and bought one, it's just $12! Today this "$12 piece of gear" saved my ass! That first step off of the Eaglet Spire is known to be notorious. As I was going over the edge to rappel, both my feet slipped out under me. I only fell a few inches and into the wall, but it was enough to make me let go of the rope and a sling that I was holding onto. That HollowBlock caught me - always back up your rappels!  Sterling Rope of Biddeford, Maine, USA. **Next time I climb this, will set up the rap from the rap rings that are higher.

rappel backup

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Brown Hill - Night Hike

Brown Hill (1,312 ft)
Trails: North Meadow, Glacial Boulder, Brown Hill, Summit
Duration: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
AMC-Boston Instructional Night Hike For Beginners

Ever wonder about being out too late on a hike and getting over taken by the darkness? Why yes, I actually have. So I signed up for the AMC Instructional Night Hike For Beginners through the AMC Boston Chapter. This was a two hour hike on non-technical trails in darkness. Bill Moss is a naturalist on staff at the Mass Audubon Sanctuary and lead us through the maze of some of the available 12 miles of trails at the beautiful Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary in Princeton, Mass.  Also, co-leading our group was Robert Freed and Pam Wilnot. Robert and Pam took turns sweeping and Pam's very large backpack consisted of rescue equipment including a stove and fuel! The group was limited to 20 and online sign ups were easy at the AMC Boston Chapter website.

We met in the class room to sign in and pay our fees. We also collected some trail maps and Bill spoke of the wildlife we might see while on the trail.  I sat next to "Dreamtime" (her trail name) who had just completed the Appalachian Trail! I wished I had more time to talk with her. I've read many books on women solo hiking the Appalachian Trail and the 5 and a half months it took her to complete the trail, she solo hiked parts of the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

For this hike, I switched insoles in my hiking boots. Instead of using my 40 dollar Superfeet Green Premium Insoles, I used a $12 pair of Dr. Scholl's  Massaging Gel Insoles, and what a difference that was! My feet did NOT hurt at all! Bye, bye Green Premiums! Wished I had worn my knee brace as my knee hurt just a tiny bit, ack! There were so many stars out but I didn't get  a chance to use my Star Chart iPhone app. I didn't use the flash on my camera and took as many photos as I could. Illumination was provided by the groups' headlamps. Temps were in the 30's when we started the hike but by the end of our hike, it had warmed up to 42 degrees! I was dressed in enough layers to keep me comfortable throughout the hike without having to put on or remove more layers.

We started on the North Meadow trail, a short loop trail that fairly easy at the start. Some parts of the Brown Hill trail were a bit steep on the ascent but easy to navigate with headlamps, or I should say, many headlamps! LOL! At one point we were lead off trail (laughter) but it was easy and fun to get back onto the trail again. Bill had us take turns leading the group and it was fun locating the blue and yellow trail markers that lead us from and back to the parking lot. Once at the summit junction Bill had us determine which trail to descend and why. The decision was made to descend on the Brown Hill trail because the Summit Trail, although shorter, is very steep. And at the Brown Hill and Otter Pond trail junction Bill had us turn off all our headlamps and just listen. It was so quiet and still….

At the end of our hike we stopped in the classroom to fill out surveys. And another night hike, a snowshoe night hike, is in the plans and I hope to be able to make that!

The trail sure looks different in the darkness and although night hiking reduces your vision, it increases your other senses. Parts of the trail were wet and I could definitely smell that. During this hike I didn't feel rushed to finish, which was good as its best to take it at a slow pace to be able to spot hazards such as low hanging branches and boulders. Hiking slower makes it easier to navigate an uneven terrain. The fact that this hike was easy and short, also made it easy to concentrate on footing. Our group leaders made certain that the group was kept together because, well let's face it, it's so much easier to get lost in the dark! Bill had a small roll of bright pink cording to be used if one ever had to get off trail…much like breadcrumbs for finding your way back!

This hike did help to prepare me for hiking in darkness, and emergency "hike-out" unexpectedly in darkness. After the hike I voiced some concern about solo hiking in the dark but was advised to start my solo hikes shortly before sunrise. Above all, this hike gave me the opportunity to enjoy nature in a different way than I would during a day hike. I got to see the trails in a different light, admire the starry sky and immerse myself in the experience of it all!

 At the summit

 Handiwork of local beaver

Monday, January 9, 2012

Full Moon Snowshoe Walk

Full Moon Snowshoe Walk
AMC Naturalist - Joe Dodge Lodge, Nicky Pizzo.
Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center
Route 16, Gorham, NH
Location: 44.2885, -71.2258

I originally signed up for this for the month of February but at the last minute, changed my mind and signed up for the walk scheduled for yesterday. I'm glad I did, I really enjoyed the walk and found the games included to be very informative.

The group is limited to a maximum of  10 snowshoe's. And we were to meet up at the Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center in Pinkham Notch by 7pm. I got there a bit early and got my credit card receipt and then went downstairs to the first floor where there were benches adjacent to the ski/board/snowshoe rental counter.  Everyone else was putting their snowshoes on and I, besides the Naturalist, were the only ones with backpacks. Even on a short hike I have to make sure I have water! We all gathered in a circle just outside the lodge doors. Nicky started off first introducing herself and then we all took our turns introducing ourselves and stating why were night snowshoeing. Before starting, Nicky asked for a volunteer "sweep".  In the meantime, I had made friends with Debra, a Conservationist with the state of Maine.

The walk was just that, a walk and not a hike. It was just under 1 mile but, as Nicky put it, she had a couple of activities that school-aged children enjoy and was sure that we adults would enjoy it as well.

Nicky used a headlamp with red bulb and it didn't interfere with our vision at all. But soon she turned it off so that we could hike in the moonlight. Unfortunately, the moon was behind clouds most of the walk. But you could still see very well! It was amazing how well and quickly my eyes adjusted to the dark. The trees were a dark gray/black but could easily be seen against the contrasting white snow, even in the dark!

Our walk took us through the pedestrian tunnel under Route 16 and continued along the trails on the west. As we went along Nicky explained the areas we were walking by. She also explained the cones and rods in our eyes for night vision. At one junction, we stopped for our first activity. Nicky passed out blank pieces of cards to everyone. She then passed out crayons to everyone and our instructions were to right down the name of the color of the crayon we thought we had without actually looking at its name on the side of the crayon. Mine looked Red, so I wrote Red. She collected the crayons from everyone and had us tuck our cards into a pocket.

Our second activity was "smell me"! She passed out little scent containers and asked each of us to smell our container, then to find someone else in the group who had the same smelling container. This activity was fun and we each found 2-3 other group members with containers with the same smell....I had coffee! Nicky went onto explain about our sense of smell being heightened when our ability to see lessened.

Afterwards Nicky stopped our group to talk about the Barred Owl. She did call out for one to see if we'd get a response, but no luck. The last activity Nicky had for us to cover one eye and with the uncovered eye, we stared at a lit candle. She then blew out the candle and had us switch eyes and then look around. It was obvious that I could see much better in the dark with the eye that I had covered to begin with. At the end of our walk we stopped in the pedestrian tunnel to look at our cards. I had chose Red and was correct!

This was a really nice walk and I had only wished the moon was out. I also wished I had taken better photos. For me, it was hard to get any night photos without a tripod! 

But what I really enjoyed about this walk, was that it was my very first snowshoe at night and in snow! With my vision reduced, I relied more on my senses of smell and hearing. It was nice, for a change, to stop and just take it all in....enjoying the sensations of nature in a completely different way than I would during a day hike.

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...