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  2. Date of Run: 8/10/19 Basin Trail: 2.2 miles / Basin Rim Trail: 1.4 miles / Meader Ridge Trail: 2.0 miles / Eagle Link: 2.7 miles / Wild River Trail: 4.8 miles / Wildcat River Trail: 1.7 miles / Appalachian Trail: 10.9 miles / Kenduskeag Trail: 2.7 miles / Shelburne Trail: 3.2 miles / Wild River Road: 0.6 miles Total Miles: 32.2 (9,408 feet elevation gained) AMC White Mountain Guide Trip Report: - the annual MMD 50K run with a fun group of trail runners took place along some of the most lightly used trails (Eagle Link, Wild River Trail, Shelburne Trail), along with the heavily used Appalachian Trail from Carter Notch past Mount Moriah. - The weather was nice and cool in the morning with a few showers along Meader Ridge and heading up Carter Dome. The trails were slick so we all used caution, especially for the nasty descent off North Carter which has been the scene of a few bad hiker falls over the years. - For the first half of the run to Carter Notch Hut I ran with Ben and Hilary, along with Ben's dog Wish. During the second half I ran with Nate and Todd, and Nate's dog Piper. - Some of the highlights of the run; the clouds lifting and staying just above us for some nice views into the Wild River Valley, watching rain showers close in on us from the Presidential Range, the post run BBQ, Kyle meeting me at the finish with Sarge, and waking up the next day with a fun rash on my right leg, most likely Poison Oak, the first time I have ever gotten any rash on or off trail in the Whites! - For backpackers, hikers or runners, I would definitely suggest checking out the trails branching off from the Wild River. Some of these trails are Eagle Link, which heads up to the Baldfaces / Meader Ridge, between June and late September expect summer growth encroaching the trail. Shelburne Trail which heads to Shelburne Moriah Mountain via Kenduskeag Trail, which is an open summit with tremendous views, much better than 4K Moriah to the south. Moriah Brook Trail, very lightly traveled as you will most likely will not see anyone, it leads up to the Carter-Moriah Trail just over a mile south of Mount Moriah, it can be very muddy and overgrown in spots but still not hard to follow if you pay attention. Black Angel Trail leaving from the Rim Junction this trail heads down and across the Wild River then up to just north of Carter Dome's summit, the trail up to Dome has a very wild feel to it. Wildcat River Trail, the southern terminus of the Wild River Trail, a much quieter and attractive approach to Carter Notch Hut compared to the Nineteen-Mile Brook Trail. Last but not least, Rainbow Trail, this heads up to Carter Dome's summit, traveling through one of the best on trail Birch glades in the White Mountains! Map of the route Elevation profile Ben and Hilary taking a look over to the Baldfaces Running Meader Ridge Eagle Link, it's a jungle in there! The gang heads up the steep ascent to Carter Dome Running past the Dome's summit Taking a break on Mount Hight Hilary and Nate taking in the views from Hight Carefully making our way over the slabs along the A.T. Todd leads the way to Middle Carter Very well placed but very slick bog bridges Nate drops in on the nasty descent off North Carter Piper, Todd, and Nate on Mount Moriah Piper, his second MMD! Piper and Todd head up Shelburne Moriah Leaving Shleburne We catch up with Justin and cool off in the Wild River Piper goes for a swim! Post Run BBQ group pic. In case any of the "old guard" yell at clouds types see this and start to assume a bunch of BS, no we did not run all together ignoring wilderness group size regulations. There were groups of eight that started at 5-6-7AM. which quickly spread out to even less than that. :) Volunteers did a great job painting the rocks this years :) On Monday, Sarge headed into Tucks to take the last turns of the 2018-2019 ski season! Scoping out a line...about to drop in... Send it Sarge!!! View the full article
  3. Day 7 A slight chill in the morning kept the bugs away. Made yeast bread and eggs florentine w/mushrooms and swiss for breakfast. The dried spinach worked great in the eggs. We alao pre-cooked the onions and fish for lunch.Of course this process took extra time not just because it was two meals, but all 4 parts needed the skillet. We would save time at lunch though. After breaking camp we fished the drop-off between our island and the next. Soon we were catching good sized walleye. We had our daily limit quite soon so most were released. With quite a few miles to do now that our route had changed we set out. With lunch pre-cooked we could spend time fishing when a spot looked good. We ate our lunch in a shady spot atop a small rocky island covered with blueberries. We had berries as an appetizer and again as dessert. Not long after lunch we fished a spot where the Cache River entered the lake. Dan got a hit on his first cast. It took me a few extra but soon we were both landing smaller walleye. The catch and release was ongoing. What occurred next happened so quickly I will intersperse my thoughts with the events as they occurred... At one point I was in the process of landing one and began to comment I could see another fish below it. As I was commenting, my thoughts were this profile was a large pike swimming below and it reminded me of an aquarium view. I did not even finish my sentence when the pike surged at the fish I had on. He grabbed and turned. My reel was screaming out line. I now had two fish on. The pike grabbed my fish and we both watched ot happen a few inches below the surface. This pike was big. Dan estimated it at 15 pounds. The pike was trying to swallow the walleye, and I was trying to land them both. At one point the pike moved his grip and it looked like I might have hooked him too. As the line got shorter and the fish neared the boat, a giant whip of the tail sent a huge splash of water over me as the pike let go of his grip on the walleye. I could see the gash on the walleye's head and wasn't sure if it was even still alive... the he pulled a bit. I finished landing him to release the hook and the fish. What an extraordinary experience. I said to Dan, "no one will believe what just happened." Coming down from the adrenaline rush, we fished a little more before heading towards camp a few miles away. We paddled through a very pretty channel connecting the farthest bay with Kawnipi proper. Located a beaver lodge for firewood. As we neared our desired camping area we saw it was occupied. This meant we would take the portage to Montgomery Lake. The carry was only 380meters. It took almost as long getting the packs situated and finding a goid stick to carry the fish than it did to walk the trail. Montgomery is quite picturesque. We found a nice spot atop an island with a great view. The tent/hammock locations were not great, but with our eyes closed it would not matter. Camp setup, a swim, dinner, and in bed before the skeeter fest. Day 8 The bugs were out in full force around 10 pm, just like clockwork. Was glad to have made it in before. Slept well. I restarted the fire. Usually we would have decided on our breakfast plan the night before, but in our haste to beat the swarm we forgot. We had keftovers from dinner still, and two more walleye to be cooked. We chose a quicker breakfast and saved the leftovers for lunch. It was the right choice as the skeeters came back in full. This time we did not hesistate to deploy the chemical warfare. The fog lifted as we finished our breakfast and broke camp. Montgomery is a "T" shaped lake with some neat geology. We fished the arm on which our campsite was located and had a great time catching and releasing walleye and bass. As we paddled around the lake was like glass. We left for the other arm of the lake. As we came through the channel we heard splashing. At the far end we saw a moose, and then a secind one. We paddled slowly and quietly in that direction. I had readied my camera if we were to get close enough. As we neared the moose began to swim to a different weedy section and I began taking pictures knowing I was likely still to far away. The moose exited the lake at the next marshy area, the view was mostly obscured by a few trees, but we could see the calf "shake off the water". We hoped some of the photos might come out, but we were not expecting it. This artifact from our campsite will have to suffice. Our shore lunch was made a short ways from the portage. A nice sunny rock. In retrospect, we should have found some shade. We fished a bit more and then made the 280m carry to Shelly Lake. It is amazing how easy these portages are after the earlier 3+km portages. At the narrows of Shelly we saw a large bass "get air" as it leaped from the water right near a small rapids. We paddled slowly to the right side, passed through the current into an eddy to start fishing. The rapids were a shallow drop off ledge into a deep pool. The bass were plentiful right after the drop. I then hooked a big pike, it took some time to tire him out to land. Just above the ledge was another deep pool preceded by another ledge. From it Dan pulled a small walleye. We both fished that upper and lower pool catching more bass and walleye. A canoe approached from "downstream". It was two park rangers. They asked how everything was going and checked our permits. We chatted a bit. They said no one goes to the lakes we did the first few days because of the portages. Those that do are trying to "complete the map". They continued on and we fished some more. After a short time, the distant sound of a buzzing chainsaw could be heard as the rangers cleared some blowdown on the portage. The last few days we had been joking about "camp tipi flower" after passing 2 summer camp groups of three canoes each and the popular campsites having an area where the TP blooms. From Shelly to Keats Lake (the poet lakes section which we visited 3 years ago) was a short portage ending at a significant waterfall. Paddling out one could see it was 3 distinct waterfalls spread out, A group of boys were swimming at the nearest falls. Another group was camped on the island with a view of the falls. At the narrows was another campsite which we claimed even though it was early b/c this area gets much more traffic. With camp made early, Dan went to fish the narrows. Day 9 Nice starting the day catching fish. After breaking camp we fished the narrows and caught more walleye. It was bright and sunny. Looked to be a hot day. As we headed up the lake the sky turned. Then a light rain, some wind and thunder in the distance. Dan said we have done dumber things than hunkering down. So we made our way to shore and pitched the tarp to wait it out. When it seemed to clear, we set out again. Then it started to rain more than it did when we were under the tarp. At least Dan got in a little nap. The sky cleared and out came the sun. We visited Chatterton Falls and had it to ourselves. We walked to the top of the series of cascades to where it exited Chatterton Lake and flowed to Russell Lake. Back at the base of the falls, we swam and had a snack. On our way to Sturgeon Lake we grabbed some wood from the local lodge, and ran the swift water between Russell and Sturgeon. While looming for camp, we could see another rain storm approaching. The weather could not decide whether to be sunny or rainy today. The rain began before we found camp. I set up a tarp on the island for a base. We sat there for a bit until the sky cleared. Dan went to get water and fish while I readied camp. He called to me as he had a huge pike on the line. He paddled towards camp and landed the monster from shore. Had dinner and as has been the routine, the bugs came out. Day 10 Got up late (for us) at 7:30. The air was still damp. Got fire for coffee going. Pre-cooked lunch and had granola for breakfast. Opted to take the longer route to Sturgeon North by way of Antoine and Ram Lakes. The 1 km portage to Antoine started in deep muck, gradually going uphill. A lot of blowdown and side bushes. This carry had not been cleared in a while. The end was a nice sandy shore with bass minnows swimming about. Looks promising. We were drenched and looked for a spot to swim. A nice rocky island was found to be perfect. We explored the lake and caught a few bass. As we paddled away from a grassy bay, Dan's trolling line went screaming. Something hit and took off. Our immediate reaction was, "has to be a pike". Whatever it was was heavy. It took a while but Dan finally hauled in the first lake trout of the trip. She would be dinner and breakfast. We were looking for a place to have lunch when another fish hit the trolling line. It was another laker. Eventually we made it to a lunch spot on a rocky outcrop in the shade. Another late lunch, then two short portages and we were back on Sturgeon Lake. A campsite was chosen, a swim, set up camp,ate dinner, cleaned up, had another swim and into the hammock with minutes to spare before the bugs arrived. Day 11 Was up early at the break of dawn. Appeared it was to be a hot sunny day. Readied the fire for coffee and the rest of the lake trout. We used the tortillas from another meal to make trout tacos (I mean wraps, apparently the term taco makes Dan think we are using crunchy corn tortillas). Today we would have our last two portages, a 750m, and a 520m. Due to all the late lunches and leftovers, we had extra food. Which meant we had options instead of whatever is left. We fished a bit in the twin lakes with no luck and headed to Dore Lake. This 750m portage is one of ge few with a name, portage des mortes. It was an easy carry and busy. There were two groups at each end by the time we finished. At Dore, we fished there a bit, but I was tired. There were some big winds last night that woke me up a few times. Found a nice campsite to take a swim and have lunch. Just as we got out of the water a family (of 3) paddled by. They asked if we were camping there. We said, just lunch and also gave them some info about the other sites we had seen. As we ate our lunch (late of course) we noticed the family was circling about. Dan motioned for them to come in. We said it was fine if they set up camp while we ate. Their little girl had been trying to fish and had made a mess of her line. Dan helped her out and even taught her the palomar knot. She was a quick study. The family was in the middle of an 8-week vacation touring all around the country. Just a few days before, they were in the rockies. On the way to our final portage Dan hooked another laker 200m before the portage. It threw the hook just as he was netting it, and it got away. He was really bummed out. The portage to Pickerel Lake was gorgeous, like a manicured path in the park with beach at both ends. Quite a contrast to the carries which started the trip. It was later in the day and it appeared we had this bay to ourselves. We chose a decent site. Dan hung the bear bag and I started the fire as was our routine. Since we had time, Dan did some more fishing while I prepared dinner. With food in the pot, I took a swim as did Dan when he returned. Again we had leftovers so we hung it with the rest of the food and went to bed. Tomorrow would be our last full day in the Quetico. Day 12 Slept great. Up at 7am. Slighlty cool in the morning, not enough to need a layer but enough to keep the bugs away. A quick an easy breakfast, camp broken and we set out trying to make up for the missed laker. We have a long paddle east to our eventual take out. With the winds behind us the miles came easy. We fished as we made our way down Pickerel Lake. Dan caught a walleye (first of three). We stopped at a rock island for a snack. As we approached a bald eagle took off from a nearby tree. After snack time Dan got the 2nd walleye right near the island. We continued down the lake stopping to eat our leftover stroganoff for lunch. Though we paddled, it was the wind and waves which did the heavy lifting. We fished the shoreline as we were pushed along it. We passed by the campsite we used 3 years ago. As we neared the "busier" section of the lake, many of the sites were occupied. The waves were really beginning to roll now too. We crossed to the N. side of the lake where our map showed a series of 4 sites in close proximity. At one, the group there told us the site just west of them with our own private beach area. With the waves pummeling the shore, I had to jump out of canoe as we neared our beach landing with a pfd onto which I would pull the canoe. Camp set up and dinner prepared a storm was brewing. We could see the distant rain and hear the thunder. As we ate I could see the sky was clearer to our direct west. I hesistated to say this aloud. A few raindrops and followed by a cool lightning show to our west and south. The storm was powerful. Fortunately for us it did pass to our south not before I was able to steal a shot of a lightning bolt. Due to the approaching storm, we had everything done early. So 9pm I was in bed. This was by far our earliest bedtime. Day 13 Last day on the water. Coffee and granola. At one of the easternmost bays we had a nice time fishing. Caught some good sized walleye to end the trip. We would buy ice and take them home with us. The trip ended with a lazy paddle up the river to the campground from which we started. Glad we made the decision to modify the route. We talked about a trip going directly to Kawnipi Lake and spending a few days just on that large body of water. I am under no delusions that I will have a pike grab a walleye on my line again. The entire trip was an experience, even the parts which were terrible as they happened are now good memories. View the full article
  4. Quetico 2019 can be summarized in a few words: mud, mosquitos, storms, and fishing. Dan and I talked a few times about why we keep a journal. For me, it is way to remind myself of the details which are tagged with emotional experiences so that I can recall those feelings in the future. In general each day was get up, pack up camp, paddle, fish, portage, make camp. It is the minor details and events within the daily routine which I want to recall. Day 1 Scheduled a Lyft to drive me from home to the Megabus stop @3:05am. Lyft driver arrived early so I had to wait an hour for the bus to arrive. When it finally arrived, a few ppl including the driver got off the bus to take a break. We did not pull out until close to 3:30. First stop was Buffalo for another 30 min break, then a shorter stop at the airporr, then another in Buffalo to switch drivers. At Niagara Falls all passengers needed to exit bus with their luggage to go through customs. All of these breaks had us arriving in Toronto just as rush hour started. The scheduled arrival time was 7:30 the actual arrival time was a little after 9am. My flight from Toronto would not leave until 2:30 so I still had plenty of time. I took another Lyft to the airport. The ride and flight was uneventful. I was able to get a little sleep in. Texted Dan when we landed, he picked me up and drove to Steve's in Thunder Bay. Had some dinner, hung out, walked to the lake for a music festival. The headliner was excellent. 10-piece band complete w/horn section. The style was a mix between R&B, funk and rap. Mostly original tunes with one cover of Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4. Great band. Day 2 We packed up and drove the few hours to Quetico. Checked in at the ranger station and filled out paperwork. As the ranger entered our route into the system she commented on the portages in that section and how few people go there. We had heard the carries were wet (and long). Today we would have a few short ones, longest being 400m. The real long ones would be in the next few days. We set out @11am and turned up the French River. This meandered for miles. It reminded me of the Oswegatchie. The first portage was only a couple hundred meters; which we needed to double carry. The first portage always allows us to test out the load and rebalance the packs. In typical fashion, we would need to adjust the food weight into different packs. Even with the short carry I could tell I was out of shape. We had lunch before we set out again. We had a total of four portages today. During the 1st leg of the 400m portage my boot sunk into the mud and got stuck. Really stuck. It took me almost 10 minutes to get it out. I used a paddle to allow air within the mud to release the suction. By the time I finished the next 200m, I was exhausted, and I still needed to go back and get my second l8ad. At the top of the hill with only 100m to go, I had to take a break to catch my breath. I am really out of shape, and these were the easy portages. We have a few more short ones in succession. At one of the rapids, we walked up the canoe. I am not sure this was the answer. We eventually made it to Baptism Lake. Fishing gear was readied. I spotted an old beaver lodge so we stopped to get firewood. Dan caught the first fish. A small 12 inch pike. He called it a "hammer handle". We paddled around a few islands looking for the campsite. We stopped at one a source had ranked a "3", with the others being worse. We unloaded our gear and paddled a bit more jyst in case one of the other sites was better. The wind was picking up out in the open so went back and set up camp. Took a swim and mae dinner. The first day on the water and already we deviated from our menu plan. As we ate our bean&cheese burritos the first raindrops fell. We closed up the dry bags and finished eating. As the rain seems to have disipated and it was only 7:30, we figured we could paddle and fish for an hour. We were out for maybe 15 minuted beforethe sky opened up and tbe winds began gusting. We made a bee-line back to camp. I had zero visibility with wind and rain in my face and on my glasses. Even with raingear on, my face/head was soaked and my waist was damp.Since we had already hung the food, we secured the boat and headed to our tents (hammock for me). The rain would come and go with a few thunderclaps. The echoing thunder would roll for what seemed like a full minute. It was quite a neat sound experience. After today and with this weather, I was sure to sleep well tonight. Day 3 As predicted I slept soundly. A few more rains and light rolling thunder throughout the night. Both Dan and I were awake early, though Dan was first to emerge. We made the "mexican breakfast" burritos using some chanterelles we found fruiting near the campsite. It was quite filling. These OvaEasy eggs are great. We took the canoe around the lake, poking up an inlet stream to see if it was navigable to its lake source. A beaver dam soon impeded our progress. We had much more to explore, so we turned back. Caught a few pike during the morning. None were huge.The next stream was navigable and provided access to a different lake. Quite pretty, but sub-par fishing. Headed back to camp for lunch. We still had moose steaks which were still frozen last night. We made a vegetable stir fry with peanut sauce and rice noodles to go with the moose. Good teamwork prepping and cooking. Made a ton. We put the leftovers in the pot to save for dinner. With camp all packed up we set out for another stream and an 80m portage to Trousers Lake. Once on Trousers we located a beaver lodge for firewood including 3 staves for a tripod. The wind and clouds hinted at changing weather. We headed towards the islands with the campsites. The plan was for me to set up my tarp as a dry base of operations. The site was large and open. Remnants of downed trees were scattered about. I located a spot with a nice windbreak of younger growth evergreens and hastily set up the tarp. By now Dan had brought up the gear from the canoe to stow under the tarp. Then the storm rolled in, not before chanuing the wind direction 180 degrees making the tarp set up in the wrong direction. The storm was intense. Rain pummeled the area, the winds ripped up some guylines and blew rain under the tarp. Dan and I held onto the guylines as buckets of rain fell leaving pools of water all around the site. Thunder boomed and lightning struck nearby. Then came the hail. We were now mostly holding the tarp above us by hand with Dan's head also propping it up. At least his standing position would give him a view to find a tent spot in the campsite which was not pooling water. That is assuming the storm ever let u and we survived. There was a small break in the storm so I used the moment to retie a guyline. The sky looked like the majority of the storm has passed which it did. I found a new spot to rig the tarp after I bailed out the canoe. It was almost laughable how much water was in the canoe. We probably recieved 4 inches of rain in that hour. Dan put up the bear bag lines and ate our leftovers for lunch. I wasn't hungry. At bedtime the mosquitos were horrendous. It was crazy how many there were buzzing around the netting. A little more rain would fall overnight. Day 4 The air was damp in the morning and the bugs were still out. I restarted the fire for morning coffee. Today would have a big 3.5km portage with a river crossing at 1km to break it up. We were able to adjust the pack's loads to 1.5x carry instead of the usual double. Even with the heavier loads I felt much better than the first day. Thinking back, it was more likely dehydration which caused my struggle. The mud on this portage was intense. A wrong step and it would be over the top of our knee boots. I had a few wrong steps. By the time we reached Cache Lake my boots were full of mud and water. We hoped for better fishing at Cache having heard it has excellent lake trout. The only fish to be seen were very small perch. We paddled to the end of a bay where a nice beach campsite was supposed to be. We found it half washed out into the lake. The firepit stones were hanging precipitously over the washed out sand. We left that bay to find another. The next site was "ok" but we paddled on to find a super one. Neat rocks and a point to watch sunsets. We set up camp, went swimming, washed clothes and some more no-luck fishing. We ate dinner on the point followed by a decent sunset and then to bed before the swarm of mosquitos attacked. Tomorrow would have another long portage over 3km. Sources refer to middle section as "The African Queen". Not looking forward to that! We looked at the map to see if we could do a loop instead of our planned out-and-back route. We would have to up our mileage, but so far the fishing in this area has been terrible. We will need to decide tomorrow. Day 5 Woke up close to 7am. Looked to be a beautiful day. Fished a little; no luck. We headed to the portage to Lindsay (and Mackenzie) Lakes. The carry began at a nice sandy spot. Just a tease as we knew a bit of what was to come. Dan decided to break up the long carry with canoe by bringing it first halfway. I followed with my pack, and the food pack strapped together along with the spare paddle, pfd and fishing net. The trail was generally pretty good until it wasn't. We hit an open area through a wetland. The forest trees gave way to a forest of reeds over 8 ft tall. If the path through was not already trampled down into the swamp below, I do not know if we would have been able to follow it. Basically it was a wet slog through the reeds. With careful footing on the major root hummocks we could avoid the water going over the top of our boots. The route wound its way through intil we reached the far side and re-entered the forest. We had successfully traversed the african queen section, or so I thought. A few minutes later the trail gave way to a flooded section of alders with deep boot sucking mud. For much, Dan would stand in the canoe and shuffle it forward. I avoided the center as the paddle would not reach the bottom of the muck. I picked my way through, testing each step with the paddle. At the end of the true African Queen section Dan dropped the canoe and went back for his pack. With my recommendation he took one of the paddles with him. I pressed on. So far the portage had taken 38 minutes. A sharp uphill and then nice trail for another 28 minutes. As I headed back to the African Queen to relieve Dan of his pack, I cleared debris and some blowdown from the trail. Dan had gone a little further with his pack so I didn't have to do the uphill section. As Dan and I neared I commented I am in no hurry to do that again, and you already did the sucky part 3 times. As I neared the end of the portage two other canoeists were heading in. They had come through this way earlier so knew what to expect. Lindsay was a smaller lake connected to Mackenzie by a small cascade which had a 50 meter carry. As a reward for the sucky portage, we decided to have a snack of brownies with milk. As I got out our reward, Dan asked me 3 times to pass him his powdered milk. I heard him, but in my exhaustion what he was asking did not register and I made him a cup of the NIDO milk. Thus began (and ended) the powdered milk fiasco. We would joke about this later. At yhe short portage, we carried the packs and then doubled the canoe together. The path was short but very steep. In the small bay of Mackenzie I immediately landed a smallish pike right next to the portage. Like many of the lakes, Mackenzie had a lot of bays and islands all of various sizes. The wind was quite strong in this bay, so we paddled across a channel to get to a more protected side. A rock point jutted out. This was not uncommon, but the rock here just looked a little different. We fished just beyond the end of the point and started to land pike. We decided to keep a few since the walleye, trout and bass were apparently not to be found. We explored more of the lake, catching more pike along the way. After the sucky portages and no reward fishing in the previous lakes there was no reason to go back the way we came. So the decision was made to do a loop and exit via Pickerel Lake. We stopped at a nice island campsite for a late lunch (pasta salad). Except for breakfast when we left Steve's the first day, this was the first meal that coincided with our planned menu. It was a lot, and almost 4pm so I knew I would not need dinner. The milk fiasco came up again when Dan went back to the canoe to get his spoon for lunch. It was in the canoe because he took it out to make his powdered milk. I was still confused at this point about the whole situation. We joked about it. I said someone will ask me "why don't you camp with Dan anymore? Well it all started with the powdered milk and went south from there." We both laughed. We continued down Mackenzie and found a terrific site to set up camp. Of course we had collected wood from the local beaver lodge and we now had a grill liberated from the lunch island. After camp was set, a quick swim to get rid of the grime and sweat. A snack on the point and into the tents before the skeeter hordes. Day 6 The first thing I noticed when I awoke was the absence of mosquitos. This was not to last. By the time I got to the firepit to get the fire going the blood suckers were upon us. Dan donned a head-net to clean the fish. I got the fire going so the smoke would provide a minimal respite. Having our coffee on the point we realized we needed a chemical solution. The deet was applied. Without it, I would likely be either institutionalized for craziness of dead from loss of blood. It was without a doubt the worst mosquito infestation I have ever experienced. The WMDs (weapons of mosquito destruction) did the trick and we were able to cook breakfast without another drop of blood loss. Dan cooked the fish while I toasted the tortillas and sliced the avocado. Strange to be day 6 and this would be our first fish meal. After breaking camp we fished a bit before heading to the portage. We had two more pike for lunch (or dinner). The 650m portage to Kawnipi Lake was the nicest and driest we have seen so far. 12 minutes end to end slightly awkward portage carrying two fish. I told Dan I was happy to carry them, but would not be portaging the rock (anchor). A reference to our 2016 Quetico adventure. As we entered the mackenzie bay of Kawnipi Lake, a new anchor rock was selected so we pushed out aways anchored and fished the sandy/weedy bay. Dan hooked the first bass, a huge one. Probably 4 pounds. We added it to the pike. He soon landed another, not quite as large. Pondered whether to keep or release it. The next one was not as lucky. I then hauled in a monster, close to 5 pounds. We both landed a few more, all in the 3-4 pound range. They fought well. Amazing how strong these bass can be. We drew up the anchor but continued to fish as we made our way to the main lake. The bay itself was large enough to be a lake on its own. The wind and rain kept teasing us; this would continue all day. At the channel entering the main lake there was a slight current so of course we fished it. Immediately I got a hit, and just as quickly it was gone. Line severed. We put on leaders and fished for pike. We landed a few trying to find the one with my lure; no such luck. Then my jig got snagged in the bottom in not so deep water. I stripped off my clothes to dive for it. I could barely get below the surface, not for lack of trying. I commented that my recent weight gain has made me too buoyant as I now was my own pfd. I tried a few more times to Dan's amusement. Then he told me to get dressed and he went in for the lure. We ate lunch (more fish tacos) at a very nice campsite. The rain and wind had picked up as I was lighting the fire so I paused to do another crappy tarp set up. We didn't really need it, but it did block the wind at least. From here we still had a few miles to go on the main lake and it was already 5pm. Amazing how quickly the hours get away from us. We made camp at another gorgeous spot. It was quite windy, hopefully will keep the mosquitos down. I set up my tarp (well this time) and we prepared dinner, sweet and sour fish using one of the bass. It was 8:30 before we were really eating and again the sky teased us with rain. Twice we moved under the tarp to eat. As the sun set, we got a little color. There war still some wind when we retired. I anticipate we will not be so fortunate in the morning. View the full article
  5. July Hiking/Running (292 miles & 112,000 feet elevation gained) In early July I turned 40 years old, officially joining the "over the hill" stage of life, or as I like to refer to it, "over the mountain" hike of life. :) I wanted and try to make the month I turned forty memorable and it ended up being a great one. Warm weather and lack of storms made for favorable hiking conditions for pre and post work hikes & runs during the week with Sarge, along with more adventurous routes on the weekends. Sarge was able to hike a few more new 4,000 foot mountains with the puppy brigade (Piper, Toby, Dylan, & Wish), while running up and down the Black Mountain ski trails every Friday Night with several other dogs as part of Friday Night Vert. Click here for info on FNV. I myself was able to knock off a few bucket list items, my main goal for the summer was to hike 24 4K Peaks in one push over a calendar day (Peak to Peak). Trip Report Here. Along with completing this goal I was also able to summit Mount Washington for the 100th time, run a sub five hour Presi Traverse (4:47), and gain over 100K in elevation during the month. So it was a good start to being forty, hopefully I can keep it going on and off trail, hiking and running, at a variety of speed and mileages for a few more years before my body tells me it's time to throttle down! Sarge's Instagram can be followed here / My Strava feed is here (you need to have an account to see more than just the overview page) Enjoy the pictures :) Sarge heading towards the summit of Shelburne Moriah Sarge on the Polecat Ski Trail The snow arch in Tucks lasted until mid July before collapsing! Lakes of the Clouds and Mount Washington Lakes, the hut, and Washington as seen from Mount Monroe Sarge looking into the Pemigewasset Wilderness from North Twin Sarge & Piper! Sarge on West Bond with Bondcliff in the background High Fives with Ashley on Mount Bond! Sarge hiking to Bondcliff Sarge on Bondcliff looking into Hellgate Ravine A nice cascade along the Great Gulf Trail Heading up the Great Gulf headwall Moose strolling along Tuckerman Ravine Trail Sarge and Toby! Sarge, Dylan, and Toby Cookie time with Larisa! Dry River Falls Todd makes his way up the lightly used and narrow Dry River Trail Lakes of the Clouds Todd running along the Crawford Path Dropping down the Wamsutta Trail with Adams and Madison in view Looking down to Mount Monroe high above on the Crawford Path Cog Tracks during the golden hour Summit of Mount Jefferson Sarge on Bald Peak Friday Night Vert, muddy and tired puppy! Friday Night Vert Sarge sitting shotgun! View the full article
  6. With the onslaught of people enjoying nature, and that of social media advertising the locations of all these special places, thereby increasing the traffic in wilderness areas exponentially…Should we keep some of these hidden treasures to ourselves, or should we share for all to experience? View the full article
  7. Date of Hike: 7/3/19 Lincoln Woods Trail: 1.4 miles / Osseo Trail: 4.4 miles / Franocnia Ridge Trail: 5.0 miles / Garfield Ridge Trail: 6.6 miles / Frost Trail: 0.8 miles / Twinway 0.8 miles / North Twin Spur: 2.6 miles / Twinway: 2.0 miles / Bondcliff Trail: 0.8 miles / West Bond Spur: 1.0 miles / Bondcliff Trail: 3.0 miles / Twinway: 4.3 miles / Lend-A-Hand Trail: 5.4 miles / Twinway: 0.4 miles / Zealand Trail: 0.3 miles / A-Z Trail: 2.7 miles / Mount Tom Spur: 1.2 miles / Willey Range Trail: 4.9 miles / Avalon & A-Z Trail: 2.7 miles / Webster-Jackson Trail: 2.6 miles / Webster Cliff Trail: 2.7 miles / Crawford Path: 1.2 miles / Mount Eisenhower Loop: 0.8 miles / Crawford Path: 1.4 miles / Mount Monroe Loop: 0.7 miles / Crawford Path: 1.6 miles / Gulfside Trail: 2.7 miles / Mount Jefferson Loop: 0.7 miles / Gulfside Trail: 1.5 miles / Isreal Ridge & Lowe's Path: 0.3 miles / Airline: 0.6 miles / Gulfside Trail: 0.3 miles / Osgood Trail: 0.9 miles / Valley Way: 3.8 miles Flume to Madison: 62.15 miles (23,159 feet elevation gained) AMC White Mountain Guide Online Total Miles: 71.5 (26,659 feet elevation gained) AMC White Mountain Guide Online Trip Report: - Summer is in full swing in the White Mountains, it took forever to get here as we went straight from snow and cold to mud and bugs to hot and humid. Long days and warm temps mean one thing to me . . . getting to spend 24 + hours on my feet traveling through the heart of the White Mountains. - Tuesday 8PM, Gorham, Todd arrives at my house to over my gear, food, and fuel list. He's going to car spot me from Appalachia to Lincoln Woods. He will also be joining me for the final push through peaks #17-24 during an extended Presidential Range Traverse. - 9:18 PM, Lincoln Woods suspension bridge over the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River. I mosey my way along the old railroad grade of the Lincoln Woods Trail before heading up to Mount Flume via the Osseo Trail reaching the summit at 11:30PM. It's a beautiful night out, very dark as there is a new moon, the stars and Milky Way look as if I could reach out and touch them. I take a break and wait until midnight while thinking about the long path ahead over the next 24 hours, knowing as long as I don't injure myself I should be able to make it to Madison's summit by 12AM the next night, I'm nervous and excited! - 12AM, I'm off heading north along the Franconia Ridge Trail, within a minute I have an issue with my new headlamp as it went into low beam energy saver mode, so weird, but luckily I was using two headlamps and my old trusty one brightly lit the way and I booked it across to Mount Liberty passing by its open summit at 12:22 AM. - Next two peaks, Lincoln (1:07AM) and Lafayette (1:25AM), were above treeline along the majestic ridge high above Franconia Notch and the Pemi Wilderness. There's nothing quite like traversing the ridge at night with millions of stars having the whole trail to yourself, one that is swarmed with hikers during the day. - From Lafayette's summit I joined the Garfield Ridge Trail, the king of the PUDs in the White Mountains, six miles of mostly nothingness! However, I find that in the dark it's much more enjoyable and I easily made my way to the bare summit of Mount Garfield (2:40AM), where I chug the rest of my Gatorade and water before dropping down to Garfield Spring. The spring is the best on trail spring in the White Mountains, I chug ice cold water straight from the source, put Gatorade powder in my empty bottle and enjoy the refreshing taste before heading towards Galehead Mountain 3.63 miles away summiting at 4:08AM. - Next up was the steep climb up to South Twin along the Twinway, but first I stopped at Galehead Hut to fill up on water and Gatorade while waking up the A.T. thru hikers who were sleeping on the floor, cock-a-doodle-do! - South Twin is a relentless climb with a quarter mile stretch of jagged unforgiving boulders in the middle of the climb. It was still too early to switch off the headlamp making the ascent a little more interesting but I made good time up to the summit arriving at 4:51AM, headlamp turned off for the next sixteen + hours. - First out and back of the day, North Twin, it's an easy out and back with good footing, North Twin summit 5:15AM. From the summit outlook I gaze across the Pemi, it's already hazy at such an early hour, it's going to be a hot one, time to get moving. - I made my way back to South Twin and across the Twinway to the Bondcliff Trail junction, second out and back of the day, the three peaks of the Bonds, West Bond (6:33AM), Bond (7:01AM), Bondcliff (7:24AM). On West Bond Spur I finally see the first hikers of the day, interestingly enough the trails ended up being relatively quiet throughout the whole day. - Views from each of the Bonds were phenomenal as always, even if it was hazy. It was also still early enough that the heat wasn't a factor yet as I traveled over the open ridge of Bondcliff. - Now it was time to leave the ring around the Pemi and drop into an area that holds the heat like a hot box, Zealand-Hale-Willey Range. Heading to Zealand is no big deal, easy trek from Guyot, I stepped on the wooded summit at 8:40AM. I then dropped down to the Zealand Falls Hut hoping for baked goods, no dice! I filled up my water and Gatorade and started the out and back of Hale along the Lend-A-Hand Trail, the one part of the day I was dreading, especially since I was craving different food than what was in my pack. It felt like a slog but I made good time to the summit arriving at 10:33AM before backtracking to the hut and arriving just as the baked goods were put out, perfect timing! I stuffed my face with two iced cinnamon rolls, maple bread, cookies, and purchased some jerky from the hut croo. - Feeling refreshed and energized I zoomed my way up the A-Z Trail to the Willey Range before slowing down again as afternoon hit and the heat started becoming a factor, Tom (12:44PM), Field (1:18PM), Willey (1:51PM). I throttled down across the ridge and conserved my energy, I was able to send a text out to Todd saying I'll be down to Crawford Notch at 3:15PM. - 3:15 PM - 3:30 PM, Crawford Notch. Todd had a chair set up, a cooler with cold water and Gatorade + soda + iced coffee. Food, more specifically carb loaded foods! I stuffed my face, drank a bunch, switched from my unlta-light Osprey Rev 6 pack to my Nathan's running vest. - 3:30PM, Webster-Jackson Trail to Mount Jackson, it's oppressively hot out, I dunk my head at the water crossing and pour water over my whole body, instantly cooling off and feeling better. Todd supplies me with salt and electrolyte tablets to be proactive about cramps and bonking, I've never taken either of them before but they must have worked because I never felt like I was going to fold like a cheap suit. - Mount Jackson, 4:49PM, from here we travel the Webster Cliff Trail to Mizpah hut for reloading water and Gatorade before the steep climb up to Mount Pierce (5:42PM). - Now it's above treeline the whole way, and what a later afternoon it is in the Alpine Zone, nice temps and a nice breeze. I'm on trails I consider my backyard, time to enjoy the quiet trek through the Presidential Range as the sun slowly fades. - 6:15PM - Mount Eisenhower, 7:11PM - Mount Monroe. We make it to Lakes of the Clouds Hut and refill and refuel. Time for the last big climb up to the rock pile. - We time the hike up and down the flanks of Mount Washington perfectly, catching the "Golden Hour" on both sides of the summit cone. As the sun drops everything around us starts glistening in gold. It's a ghost town on the summit upon our arrival at 7:59PM. Twenty down, three to go! - We catch an amazing sunset passing below Mount Clay on the way to Mount Jefferson, reaching the summit at 9:05PM. From the summit we can see fireworks being set off from two towns to our west, maybe Littleton and Lancaster. - Headlamps back on for the final two peaks over the odd sized boulders of the Northern Presidential Range. Thank goodness for being lucky enough to be blessed with extremely good balance as I've now been on my feet for over 24 hours! - 10:06PM - Mount Adams, one more down and up and almost two hours to do it in. Feeling refreshed we make great time over to Madison's summit making it there at 10:45PM (22 hours and 45 minutes since leaving Flume's summit). We turn off the headlamps and look down on Berlin and Gorham and across at the dark outline of the range, we could have stayed there forever as the weather was absolutely perfect. - After ten minutes we head down to Madison Springs Hut, refill water and Gatorade and wake up the A.T. thru-hikers sleeping on the floor before heading down Valley Way. We made good time descending, even jogging the final two miles once the trail transitioned from rocks, roots, and mud to a nice soft dirt track. 12:24AM, Appalachia, finally off my feet after 27 hours since leaving Lincoln Woods trailhead! - It was an incredible night-day-night in the White Mountains. I hydrated and fueled extremely well and my body held up extremely well. Huge thanks to my small support crew, Todd on trail duty, helping pace me through the Presi's and making sure I stayed far ahead of any issues by giving me salt and electrolyte tablets, a caffeine gel, and yummy pumpkin bread and crumb cake along the way. Also, a big thanks to my friend Ashley, who house and dog-sat Sarge, taking him on a hike of North and South Twin, 4K peaks number 36 & 37 for him, YAY SARGE!!! :) - As for how I feel about what I was able to accomplish, I feel really lucky to be able to see sunrise and sunset, to push myself physically while taking in every moment and thoroughly enjoying myself. The White Mountains are a wonderful area rich in history and I do not do these hikes/runs for FKT purposes, recognition, or attention. Long before social media there were men and women much stronger, tougher, and faster than me who completed large routes with grace while being humble about their accomplishments and encouraging others. I dedicate this hike/run to every one of them. :) Map of Route Elevation over distance profile Garfield Spring South Twin Mountain Dawn from the Twin Range Presidential Range Sunrise from the North Twin Spur Fireball in the sky, it's going to be a hot one! Bondcliff / Twinway junction Bondcliff Bondcliff Ridge West Bond and Hellgate Ravine Twinway passing by Zeacliff Zealand Pond 16 down 18 to go. Mount Willey summit Presidential Range as seen from Mount Jackson Eisenhower, Monroe, Washington Mount Pierce from Mount Eisenhower Loop Monroe through Jefferson as seen from Mount Eisenhower Presidential Range Red Pond and the intersecting trails north of Mount Eisenhower Heading north along the oldest maintain trail in the United States, Crawford Path Lil' Monroe and Mount Monroe with Washington looming large behind them Shadows creeping over the Dry River Valley Lakes of the Clouds and Mount Washington High on the Crawford Path looking back at where I've come since midnight! Southern Presidential Range Todd on Washington! The Golden Hour along the Cog Railway Northern Presidential Range Heading along the tracks Mount Washington and Monroe basking in the fading light Sunset Sun still trying to burn through the haze It was really cool to watch the sunset Another sunset pic One last sunset pic! Monticello Lawn My silhouette from the summit of Mount Jefferson Todd on Mount Adams! Summit of Mount Madison! Time to go home :) Trails taken around the Pemi Trails taken from Zealand-Hale-Willey Range Trails taken through the Presidential Range My support team! Trail duty - Todd, Sarge duty - Ashley :) View the full article
  8. Introduction Glaskogen is a large (240 square km) nature reserve in Sweden's Värmland county. The reserve has a variety of marked and unmarked hiking trails throughout its wilderness, as well as many backwoods dirt and/or gravel roads, lumber roads, and some normal roads as well. The reserve is also a popular destination for canoeing/kayaking and car camping due to its many lakes/ponds and rivers/streams. There are a variety of ways hikers can choose to get to Glaskogen, and the best way to think of hiking this nature reserve is to treat it as a "choose your own adventure" type experience due to its many options. Here's its official website (in English). This reserve is a part of my alternate Swedish E1 trail system I call The Troll Trail, which you can learn more about here. Hiking northbound, the next section is the northern part of Pilgrimsleden Värmland, which takes you to the Norwegian border and a short connection hike to Finnskogsleden (near the town of Charlottenberg). Hiking southbound, the next section is made up of various trails across Dalsland province. There are possible connections to several towns (Årjäng, Arvika, Säffle) and even the city (and capital/largest city of Värmland) of Karlstad. The easiest way to connect to civilization is to catch a bus from highway E18 (south of the reserve) or highway 175 (east of the reserve). Be aware however that due to the relatively isolated area that this reserve is in that bus connections are few and far between and may not run on the weekends/holidays, especially along the less traveled highway 175. Hitchhiking is always an option of course, and I had good luck getting a ride all the way to Karlstad from highway E18 on a previous section hike. The trip report that follows covers a hike from the village of Stömne--which is about 10km east outside of the reserve--to the village of Älgå, roughly 5km northeast from the reserve. This covers a total of around 80-85km (according to measurements on our smartphone's pedometers) following a mix of trails and roads, nearly hiking the whole reserve east to west, then hiking north to northeast through the northern part of the reserve. We took a bus from the town of Säffle to Stömne to enter the reserve, and ended our trip by hiking to Älgå and catching a bus to Arvika. Regardless of how one chooses to hike Glaskogen, continuing a thru-hike on the alternate E1 is more straightforward. Going north there are two options that I would recommend, depending on whether or not you need to resupply. If you need to resupply, hike to Älgå and then take the bus to Arvika. After resupplying and maybe taking a zero or nero day (it's a cozy little town with hotels, restaurants, etc.), you can then either take a bus back to Älgå and backtrack to the trail, or skip ahead by taking a bus to the town of Koppum. If you don't need to resupply--for example, maybe you resupplied at one of the villages on the E18 highway--then ignore Älgå and continue hiking north to the key location of the northern tip of lake Övre Gla. From this key point you can hike north on a backwoods road to exit the reserve, and conveniently this road also connects to Pilgrimsleden Värmland only 3km after leaving Glaskogen. I plan on continuing to hike northbound on this trail in the future, and will link to my guide to this section soon after. Hiking southbound, simply find the section of Pilgrimsleden Värmland at the southern end of Glaskogen that exits the reserve and then crosses the E18 highway. You can read about my guide to this section here. Trip Report My wife and I hike Glaskogen at the end of June 2019, and we agreed that it was a wonderful nature reserve that is kind of a hidden gem as far as backpacking goes. We expected not to see a ton of backpackers, but did expect to see at least a few. But we literally saw none in the four days we spent in the park. We saw more backpackers way out in the mountains further up north the year before this hike! We hardly saw anyone aside from the occasional car campers and canoers. So if you are looking for a lovely hike off the beaten path that flows through a vast patch of forested hills full of lakes, rivers, streams, and springs, then Glaskogan's got it. There were times that the marked trails could have been marked better, but due to the various options of backwoods roads and unmarked trails, if you get off track it's not a big deal. We pretty much covered the full range of routes you can follow while hiking: bushwhacking, marked and unmarked trails, grassy abandoned backwoods roads, gravel/dirt roads, etc. But luckily there was very little asphalt on the path we took. If you like having lots of options and routes, this is an added bonus to this reserve. If not, well then just pick a marked trail and try and stick with it, but have map and compass handy. Close to the bus stop at Strömne there was a marked trail that we took west into Glaskogen. It was a very pleasant start to our trip, with the trail following along a river, a few lakes, and had three trail shelters before entering the reserve. Several great spots to take a swim as well. After getting into the reserve, as mentioned before, we hiked kind of all over the place. But we stuck to our plan of generally going west to the edge of the reserve, then headed north to north by northeast. So rather than go into all the painstaking details of how we hiked through the reserve, I'm going to show off a photo essay of highlights from our trip. Enjoy! And if you get around to hiking Glaskogen, we hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. View the full article
  9. With 5 days to play with, I planned to also do some trail maintainance on my adopted section of the NPT. As plans began to take shape an email blast went out for Lean2Rescue in the same area. It worked out that my trip would start with helping L2R rehab the Pillsbury Lean2 which was only 3 miles from "my" trail section. I did not see Dan's name on the "going" list for L2R and before I could contact him, he called me. So the plan became: Saturday carry in materials still at trailhead for L2R and meet crew at Pillsbury and help finish/prep Sampson L2. Spend first night at Pillsbury and then the next 4 days completing the French Louie Loop, visiting Brooktrout Lake and clearing my section of the NPT. I arrived at the Pillsbury trailhead around 9am, picked up the gallon of wood stain for the lean2 and began my hike up "old military road". My pack was filled to capacity with 5 days of food and fishing gear but was not too heavy. As I neared the junction a group of 3 passed by inquiring if I was "Russ". They also helped with the lean2 on Friday and let me know the stain was still needed. Donna recognized me (from fB). We all continued on our way. Arriving at Pillsbury most of the crew had relocated to Sampson to begin the site prep for the new lean2 location. The skeletin crew remaining at Pillsbury was putting on the finishing touches. I began helping out at Pillsbury. As we finished the rest of the crew returned from Sampson. We had a full crew to hang out with and have dinner. We were all tired and went to bed rather early. It rained over night. On Sunday the main crew headed back to the trailhead while Dan and I continued West back towards Sampson.We put on our rain gear as the trail would be "bushy" and with the rain would be wet. I would deliver the gallon of stain and then press on to South and West Canada Lakes. We took a snack break at Sampson and lunch at West Canada Creek. We also spent some time exploring the shoreline of Mud Lake outlet. We stopped again at South where Dan explored the shoreline. While he was out, a rainstorm developed and he got soaked. I had moved our packs into the lean2 to keep them dry. The rain would come and go all afternoon. At West Lake we decided it would be camp. The cloudy sky looked to provide a potentially nice sunset over the lake. I was not very hungry but knew I needed to eat something. Again we retired to bed early. Monday would be a day trip to Brooktrout Lake for some fishing. Dan explored the shore of West Lake on the way. At the Brooktrout Lean2, I noticed in the log book it was exactly a year to the day I was here last with Jeff for that sweltering hot weekend nn 2018. Dan and I fished all day and returned to West Lake. While getting things ready for dinner a snowshoe hare wandered nearby. He spent some time in a little depression in the forest floor popping his head up every once in a while. Again I was in bed relatively early. Tuesday, Day 4 we would continue along the NPT to the Cedar Lakes stopping at Mud Lake, Cat and King Ponds to explore. Once past the wet section, the trail opened up and was easy walking. Some on an old roadway. We made good time getting to the Beaver Pond lean2. We set down our gear and went exploring. Dan took Beaver Pond, while I took Cedar Lake. While I waited for Dan to return, a couple backpackers stopped at the junction. We chatted a bit and continued on to the first lean2 instead of joining us. Dan then arrived and we went out fishing. As we were out a couple from NH (Jonathan and Danille) arrived to camp. Also joining us was Asher and his two boys. It was getting late and I still was not very hungry. I usually enjoy eating on these trips but for some reason food was only fuel; except for the fish tacos we had at West Lake. I did eventually make dinner. It was after dark before I finished eating and went to bed. Our last day and I still needed to do my trail maintainance. I got up early, packed up and took only a waist pack with snacks etc... and my saw. The plan was for Dan and I to meet at the dam at 11am. I headed out just before 6am. It was slow progress as I dug out waterbars, cleared drainages and cut minor blowdown. 3 hours later and I had done just over 3 miles. I stopped for a snack break and figured I needed to turn around so as to make our scheduled rendezvous. I was about 20 minutes early and Dan had already arrived. I made myself a late breakfast and rearranged jy pack contents for the 4.5 miles out to the car. The entire rest of the way would be on old road. We would first have to climb the shoulder of noisy ridge, cross the "fun house bridge" (named by Justin which apparently is catching on as many are using it) and then the remaning 1.6 miles from the junction on Saturday would be all downhill. We would do the last two miles in 40 minutes. As we drove out we decided we deserved ice-cream from Stewarts. A great way to cap off a 5 day trip beginning and ending with volunteer work. As my buddy Chuck (also from Lean2Rescue) would say, "It's camping with a purpose."View the full article
  10. A trip planned with my college room-mate was increased by two other backpacking friends, Rob and Kalie. I have been introducing Jeff to the sport after 30 years and brought Rob out of retirement. Along with Kalie, these 3 friends have never met. We started in Wanakena along the old road bed. The mosquitos were already out in full force. It wasn't long before we hit the first wet section. It looked worse than it was. The trail later detoured around the large beaver swamp. I remembered this was getting worse over he years. The detour also used part of an old trail I was always curious about. It wasn't long before we arrived at the Janacks Landing junction. We headed to the lean-to to take a short break. As we approached a small group was just heading out. After a short break, and the first half of my lunch we continued towards the CL-50 junction. At one point Kalie saw the retreating end of a small bear. Rob missed it, but said Kalie's expression was like a kid on Christmas morning. Soon we were at the junction. New signage here since last time I came through. We climbed he short rise to he Glasby outlet cascade. A lot of brush growing in here. Passing by the trail to the hunter's camp and other spots brought back memories of previous trips through here. One of which was my hike of the CL-50 back in 2008. A lot has changed on the trail since then most notably all the trail work to mitigate wet spots. The campsite at Glasby was widened too. We paused here and looked up and over the pind to the ledges on Cat Mtn where we were headed. At the junction for Cat Mtn, Jeff and Kalie dropped their packs for the climb. It was only 0.7 miles, but it had some elevation change. Rob took the lead and I followed. As we approached the ledges the group from the lean-to was also there. They asked if I could take a photo for them. After they left, we had the summit to ourselves for a short period of time. Another group soon arrived. They asked which area was the Oswegatchie River. We took out our map and pointed out a few things from the overlook. We then packed up and left them to enjoy the summit. Our campsite was not far past the jnction where Jeff and Kalie retrieved their packs. The site was on Cat Mtn Pond and from the waters edge we could see the cliffs we were sitting atop not that long ago. The bugs were bad, especially away from the water. So while the other three set up camp, I put together a smudge fire. The breeze and smoke helped alleviate the pests. We hung out and talked. For dinner I had brought bratwurst for the group. However I was not going to cook for them. Everyone got their own "hot dog stick". The evening was full of us joking around about Rob's three prong design and how we were goung to market it. Good times hanging out by the fire. I stayed up later than I thought. When I eventually went to my hammock, I was asleep in no time. I awoke after a fantastic nights sleep to the call of a loon. I tried to get a little more sleep afterwards but soon I was completely awake. Both Rob and I were mostly packed up before Jeff and Kalie arose. We had our coffee and talked quietly. It wasn't kng before the other two were up. I set out the fixins for breakfast sandwiches. We did not hurry the morning as we only had a short 6ish miles out. When we did hike out, Rob took the lead and cleared all the spider webs for us. We passed by a few other hikers and the Asst Forest Ranger. Back at the cars, Kalie demonstrated using an emergency car starter as her battery had apparently lost most of its juice while she waited for us the previous day. In the end it was another great trip bringing together three friends to a spectacular part of the Adirondacks. View the full article
  11. Guest

    Round Mountain

    That is a beautiful hike, a lesser peak with excellent views, and hardly any crowds!
  12. Memorial Day weekend each year I usually do the Cold River loop around the Seward Range. This year I had a 4 day weekend so I opted to access the Cold River from the NPT and then continue to the Northern terminus. I sent out some invitations to fellow backpackers and quickly had a group of 4. We met at the Averyville Rd parking area Friday morning. My car and Jennifer's were left there as Kalie (blogger stalker 😎) and Shannon shuttled us to the Tarbell Rd TH in Long Lake. As we loaded up our gear the black flies swarmed us. We didn't dawdle and hit the trail. With 8 miles for the first day in a misty rain it was a good distance for the first half-day of hiking. The trail to Plumleys was relatively clear of blowdown. There was some, but it has been worse. Shannon and Kalie were out in front and I hiked with Jennifer. The stream crossings were not easy due to the spring rains. On one of the later ones, Jennifer slipped and stepped right into the stream I caught her before she completely went in. At Plumbley's, Jeff had kayaked in. He welcomed us to the site and I went to gather some wood to add to his pile. Great conversation ensued as well as a nice fire. Jeff set up his hammock, while the four of us shared the lean2. Like usual I was up early. I tried to stay in bed as long as I could. I restarted the fire nd made some coffee. The rest of the gang eventually arose. Jennifer said she was hurting and was going to turn back. Kalie offered to go with her. Thanks Kalie. As I packed up, I noticed a large tear in my backpack. One of the seams had torn. I did a quick field repair hoping it would last the next 28 miles. We were expecting rain in the afternoon but at present the weather was delightful. After saying goodbye to Jennifer and Kalie, Shannon and I agreed we needed to make our miles early so as to get to camp before the rains. This portion of the trail is rather easy going. Much of it on old woods roads. A lot of pretty spruce forests interspersed between the hardwood and swampy sections. We took a few short breaks. One at a vly, another at Cold River 4 (I went to check on #3 as well). The shelter logs were both gone. We stopped at Big Eddy and went out to the falls. We also stopped at Seward lean2; another missing shelter log book and a pile of trash in the fire-pit. Mostly kleenex and toilet paper, yeach. I made a twiggy fire to burn it. About a mile before Seward Brook and the Ouluska lean2, a few drops of rain began to fall. It was very light and we didn't put on our pack covers, nor rain jackets. Seward Brook was high, the washed out bridge was wet and slick. We would have to wade. I took off my boots, kked up my pants and stepped into the cold stream. At he deepest it was at knee level, not bad just cold. At the other side I didnt bother to put on my boots, I just continued the 75 yards to the lean2. It began to rain a little harder and stopped at times. During the breaks I gathered wood. The spring run-off had washed up quite a bit of driftwood at spots along the river. Oh. the Ouluska shelter log book was gone too. I started to think it was not a coincidence. We both slept in the lean-to. It rained quite hard overnight. Again I was up at first light. I tried to stay quiet and let Shannon sleep in. Today would be the longer miles day, but weather was supposed to be favorable. We also had the option of stopping early at Moose Pond. I love hiking along the Cold River. Lots to see, and enjoy. We took a short break at Rondeaus hermitage and at the Roaring Brook lean2 (another missing log book). The section north of the bridge to moose pond was typical; wet, rooty, muddy, and full of blowdown. A long break at Moose Pond which was also missing its log book. By now I was convinced this was purposeful. We checked out the plane wreckage as we approached the Wanika Falls junction. Crossing the Chubb to get to the campsite at Wanika was a little tricky with the high water. We dropped our packs and went to see the falls. A lot more water flowing since the last time I was here. We set up camp, and gathered wood. Shannon was on a mission and gathered a boat load. I started a smoky fire to shoo away the bugs. They had not been bad since the initial swarms at the parking lot. With my late lunch, I wasn't terribly hungry. So I waited a little while before I made dinner. We had done 30 miles so far. Not bad for three days. It gave us a lot of extra time at camp. We both were in bed early. It was colder the last night. Likely due to being so close to the river. I was up before the sun. I got the fire going again and warmed up with some cocoa. We only had 6 miles to go so we were in no rush. Our typical start time had been around 9. Today would be no different. We made great time and were back at the car by 11:30. I shuttled Shannon back to her car in Long Lake. Coincidentally a friend of hers was at the trailhead parking area. So were the black flies. Seems like that one area was the only spot they were a major problem. View the full article
  13. Craig

    Clements Pond

    I had first heard of this hike while looking through a friends Facebook photos when I came across a post of this same hike (Surprise!). I did a little bit more digging and found another post on my favorite hiking forum, it's an older post but it had a bit more information. I was surprised at how long it has been available to the public. I knew it was a short hike based on what I had read. The sign at the trail head said it was 1.5 miles to Clements Pond, however I assume that is to the edge of the pond. When you add in the distance beyond that, that goes out on what seems like a peninsula, it was more like 2 miles. Someone can correct me if I am wrong on the distance. In any event it is a nice hike through mostly hard woods on a gradual uphill to about 1700 feet, where it then heads down towards the pond. There are some switchbacks along the way that make it even easier on the legs. Once I reached what appeared to be the end of the trail I found a fire pit (unofficial campsite), and a boat upside on the shore. I cannot imagine carrying that up there. While taking a quick break I could hear some young children coming from across the pond. After a quick snack we were soon on our way back, and had reach one of the lookouts on the pond, before the family of 4 came walking by. Seeing this young family reminded me of my earlier days of hiking with my son. Again on our way up from the pond we came upon a couple who advised us there were a small group of people carrying canoes up. This seems quite the effort to me, but I would think it would be very relaxing on the pond in a canoe or kayak. Sure enough I ran into the group of 3 around 1700 feet as they made there way up. "Hardcore" I said as they chuckled. We exchanged pleasantries and were each soon on our way. We continued our way down to the tail head, crisscrossing the brook uninterrupted. What a beautiful hike that I would think would be a nice place on a hot summers day, as the trail would be under a canopy of leaves. This would be fun to snowshoe in the winter as well. The trail head parking lot is located off Styles Brook rd in the town of Keene, New York. It is small, probably worse in the winter assuming it is plowed.
  14. Date of Hike: 4/25/19 Jewell Trail: 3.7 Miles / Gulfside Trail: 2.8 miles / Jewell Trail: 3.7 miles Total Miles: 10.2 (4,318 feet elevation gained) Garmin Forerunner 920XT Trip Report: - Long time, no trip report! I have still been hiking with Sarge quite frequently, with an Instagram page for him here (sgt._pepper_goldendoodle). Also, all my hikes automatically get uploaded to Strava, so unless it's one of my original routes or one where I snapped some really good pictures, I will not be updating the blog as much. Luckily, there is a tremendous amount of reports on here for the past ten years making for a solid catalog of data and info for hikers to peruse through. My Strava profile is here (Chris Dailey Strava), you need Strava to view my hikes and follow me, but I do upload the links to the trip report page on this blog and those can be viewed individually. - On Thursday, Sarge and I joined Ashley for a spring hike of Mount Washington. Trail conditions have drastically changed over the past two weeks in the White Mountains, from deep solid snowpack to mud, running water, and snow with failing monorail. I chose the Jewell Trail because it melts out relatively fast compared to the Amoonoosuc Ravine Trail which holds snow much longer below treeline as it doesn't get good sun exposure. - The first two miles were mostly bare ground with a few tenths of a mile of rotting snow. The last mile to treeline was when conditions got really interesting, balance beam of snow, some solid, some failing. It was quite the workout, we made the best of it and laughed off our slip and falls. - When we broke above treeline conditions were still tedious as the previous days snowfall was melting fast but made things very slippery. We were hiking in thick clouds when all of a sudden around 5,800 feet we were suddenly above the clouds in bright sunshine! - We moseyed our way up to the observation deck enjoying the undercast. At the summit, Ashley went inside to visit her OBS friends who work up there, (fyi, the observatory is still closed to the public). Sarge and I basked in the sunshine and hung out on the deck until Ashley reappeared with some cookies the staff made! - After chilling on the summit and snapping photos we started to descend, and just as we started heading down the clouds broke open below us making for stunning views of the Great Gulf and the Northern Presidential Range. - We timed our descent perfectly, the views kept get better and the trail had now melted and dried up making our drop back to treeline much easier. Once back in the woods we battled the failing monorail for a mile before a relaxing last two miles back to the car. - It was a great day to head up to the rock pile, Sarge had a blast and so did Ashley and I. :) Below treeline, hiking on top of the rare Old Man's Beard monorail Sarge at the tracks wanting to see a train Still waiting for that train! Top of Mount Washington Sarge with a sea of clouds behind him Summit photo! Ashley on top of the tower Just hanging out Ashley and Sarge on Washington! Sarge enjoying the undercast I'm going to dodge it. train dodge, dig it! Trust me, this is his excited face! Clearing out of the Great Gulf This was pretty cool to see as we hiked back down Ashley enjoying the clearing of the Great Gulf Peekaboo Sarge, do you see him??!! View the full article
  15. Craig

    Round Mountain

    It was easy enough to follow and some very nice views along the way.
  16. Rakowski

    Round Mountain

    This trail looks stunning. And looks like everything's neatly marked up with signs. Always like to see that.
  17. Original plan was to hike w/Steve on the FLT, however he had to cancel due to a pinched nerve. Plan B list was consulted as well as contacting other hiking partners. Shannon, from the defunct meetup group was available for Thurs-Sat. She is in Syracuse area, so I hiked and camped in Morgan Hill SF on Wed. Thurs morning drove to Shannon's where we officially met. The meetup has closed before many trips occured so we never had the opportunity to meet in person. Both of us are trip leaders/organizers for other groups though. We had settled on the trails in the Black River WF. This is an area I was quite familiar with, though haven't been to in a long time. Shannon drove us to Woodgate and we started hiking under the blue skies. A slight chill in the air and a few patches of snow remained. We turned down the trail towards Chub to take the long way to Gull Lake. After a short visit at Gull we continued to Millbrook and followed the snowmobile path to Woodhull Lake. Along the way, the path had large areas of packed snow and some mud pits. About a half mile before Woodhull, one of these ice patches gave way and I slid with it into hip deep water. I am not sure how I was able to get up and out so quickly. Glad it was a warm day, my clothes would dry before I even arrived at Woodhull. There was still ice on the lake and large patches of water. The wind was kicking up some waves on the open water. We set up camp in the double-wide lean-to. The snowmobilers had left a considerable amount of split cordwood. What a treat. As I built the fire I recalled the lean2rescue trip to here. This was the spot where we met Dan. His rowboat motor had conked out so he joined up with us for the rest of the weekend. Now he is a regular adventure partner of mine. Certainly a lot of our trips I would never have done if it hadn't been for the chance encounter at this lean-to. We had hiked just around 11 miles for the day. Some of the trails I had done multiple times, others only once or twice. This would be the first time sleeping in this lean-to. Counting my Wed night stay at the Hemlock Glen lean-to, this would make #75. The fire was burning hot, fanned by the wind fortunately blowing parallel to the lean-to. The waves were grinding away the ice. I commented there might not be much left in the morning. Soon after dark, we were in our bags and drifting to sleep. The (almost?) full moon rose illuminating our campsite, the fire died down but would reignite with the wind. By morning, the winds had calmed. I arose slowly and quietly so as to not disturb Shannon, who likes to sleep in. The sky turned from the pre-dawn reds to the sun shining directly into the front of the lean-to. I had to put on sunglasses to make my coffee. The lake was now ice-free. I do not know why I am so enamored with camping by a lake to witness ice-out. Perhaps because the unplanned nature of being there for those final last moments. Or maybe I am just weird. Thurs was to have been the nice day of hiking as the forecast called for rains. It was warmer now, the winds bringing in a front or pressure system. We packed up and hiked to Bear Lake where we visited the lean-to. We coninued to close the loop and made our way back to the snowmobile path. We had a snack at the roadside spring. So far a bit over 4 miles and the weather was holding out. It was overcast, but warm. Passing again through Millbrook we turned down the Sand Lake Falls trail. A lot of mud pits along the first half of this 3.8 mile trail. As we began the descent towards the lean-to for the last mile or so, we felt our first sprinkle. Donning pack covers, we arrived at the lean-to and raging falls with just a bit of light rain. This would stop/start from the afternoon through the evening. We gathered some wood during the dry moments, and took the short walk to the beginning of the cascade. We started a small fire just to get a good base going before (if) the rains developed more fully. We played some card games and chitchatted. I had a small dinner. We were curled up in our bags before dark. The rains did eventually come off and on. By morning all that was left was like a falling mist. By the time we were all packed up, the rains had subsided. We retraced our steps back up the snowmobile path to Millbrook. We turned off Bear Creek road and took the northern loop. This was wider and wetter than I remember. The undergrowth, still wet from the rains would transfer its moisture to us as we pushed through it to avoid the deep mud pits and vernal ponds. The last mile before the junction was high and dry. Back at the car before noon. It was great to revisit some old stomping grounds and bring back some good memories and to share the area with a new hiking friend as well. Hopefully we will have more opportunities to hike together in the future. View the full article
  18. A few weeks ago I needed to get out and camp. I had spent a night in my backyard campsite but was itching for a little more. After consulting my maps, I chose a new spot in the Burt Hill State Forest. I parked on the roadside shoulder as is common for FLT access points. The trail began following the edge of a farmer's field and the entered the woods. Remnant snow in the field and a ice in the woods. The trail quickly descended into a ravine with a creek. I rock hopped the icy creek and ascended the other side of the ravine. The trail register and lean-to were both on the far side. A quarter mile hike to camp. I collected wood, set up camp, cooked lunch, read a book. It was a great day to be in the woods. Across the ravine I could see the blades of two wind turbines. During the quiet of the night, I could hear their dull roar. Coupled with the creek, this made sleep easy. Hiked out the next day. I probably hiked more collecting firewood than the hike in/out, but it was a great way to spend a weekend unplugged. Two weekends later I led a group of new backpackers into the Pharsalia Woods. We hiked in about 3 miles. The goal was to allow these experienced hikers a chance to test out gear and acclimate to backpacking. All have a desire to hike the NPT in the coming years. This was designed as a relaxing, experience, and knowledge gathering trip. I had Bill C., also from the NPT Chapter with me, as well as Dan. We all shared tips and tricks. I asked Dan to demo how to hang a bear bag. The post-trip survey indicated this was a highlight. We took the long way out to loop back to our cars. Everyone had a good time, and is excited to take the next steps to prepare for their adventure. My Backyard Campsite View the full article
  19. Date of Hike: 3/8/19 Nineteen-Mile Brook Trail: 1.8 miles / Carter Dome Trail: 1.8 miles Carter Moriah Trail: 5.1 miles / North Cater Trail: 1.2 miles / Imp Trail: 3.0 miles / Camp Dodge Cutoff & NH16: 0.8 miles Total Miles: 12.6 (5,062 feet elevation gained) Garmin Forerunner 920XT Trip Report: - Friday I took a vacation day to join Larisa and Todd for a high snow pack hike of Mount Hight, Carter Dome, South & Middle Carter. Also joining us were our furry friends Sarge, Toby, and Dylan. - The weather was in the low thirties with no wind, we wore our snowshoes from start to finish which were needed as the snow was soft along the ridge with wind drifts between Zeta Pass to Middle Carter before running into another pair of hikers. - The two highlights of the day were the amazing views from Mount Hight and the high snow pack above the shrub hike up to Carter Dome revealing views that I have only seen once before almost ten winters ago when the mountains last got hammered all season long with several snow storms and consistent cold temps. - The high snow meant hiking/fighting through the tops of trees in spots along the ridge but I honestly didn't think it was too bad considering what I had been reading from trail condition reports. Maybe it's the bushwhacking adventures I have gone on that has muted my response to hiking through a low trail corridor in winter. - Dylan, Sarge, and Toby had a blast running up ahead of us and playing with each other along the way. On the way up Mount Hight, Dylan even bushwhacked for a little bit before showing back up behind us on our way up Carter Dome, we have no idea where he went but he seemed to have fun wherever it was! - This was one of my favorite hikes of the Carter Range to date. Usually, they are not too exciting but with the high snow levels and the winter wonderland scene it makes it a much more enjoyable hike. :) Toby and Larisa hike up to Mount Hight Sarge on Mount Hight Sarge close up! Larisa and Toby with Mount Washington looming large across the notch Ravine of the Raymond Cataract and Huntington Ravine Sarge taking in the views :) Sage and his permanent old man face! Leaving Hight and on the way to Carter Dome Usually we are in the trees here Awesome view-full hike along the ridge between Hight and Carter Dome Making our way along the A.T. Way a day! The gang heads north along the A.T. South Carter summit Summit treats! Sarge hikes through the alpine meadow between South and Middle Carter Chargin' Sarge :) Hi daddy, do you have any treats for me on Middle Carter??!! View the full article
  20. Date of Hike: 3/2/19 Sawyer River Road: 2.0 miles / Signal Ridge Trail: 10.0 miles / Sawyer River Road: 2.0 miles Total Miles 14.0 (4,355 feet elevation gained) Garmin Forerunner 920XT Trip Report: - Sarge loves hiking in the snowy White Mountains as he plucks away at his 48 - 4,000 footers of New Hampshire. Saturday was a puppy party on Mount Carrigain as Sarge got to hike with five other dogs! It was his biggest mile day yet and he loved every second of it while hanging out with other pups. All pics from everyone can be viewed by clicking here Sarge, Wish, Toby, Dylan, Piper, Bennett What do you have in there...treats??!! Piper, Toby, and Bennett leading the way! Sarge waits for daddy to catch up Come on daddy, catch up! Signal Ridge Sarge! Wish takes a selfie! Sometimes I lick the yummies off my nose Sarge with the Pemigewasset Wilderness behind him Piper, Bennett, and Toby play fighting Sarge always has "Old Man Face" when I ask him to sit for a pic Sarge playing with Dylan on Signal Ridge View the full article
  21. Date of Hike: 2/23/19 Jewell Trail & Snowfields: 3.4 Miles / Mount Clay Loop: 0.6 miles / Gulfside Trail: 0.7 miles / Mount Jefferson Loop: 0.8 miles / Gulfside Trail & Snowfields: 2.5 miles / Snowfields & Crawford Path & Mount Monroe Loop: 2.0 miles / Amoonoosuc Ravine Trail: 3.0 miles Total Miles: 13.0 (6,228 feet elevation gained) Garmin Forerunner 920XT Trip Report: - The previous weekend I took advantage of the nice weather by heading up and down the Ammo to Monroe and Washington, this weekend I went up the Jewell Trail on my way to Jefferson then headed over to Washington and Monroe and down the Ammo. - The Jewell Trail does see some decent hiker traffic, but not nearly as much as the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail which also sees back-country ski traffic along with hoards of hikers looking to hike Monroe and Washington. - I got what I thought was a late start, 8AM, but after a half mile I caught up with two other hikers and then had the whole trail to myself while enjoying an easy to moderate trail breaking ascent to treeline. At treeline I stayed on the trail for a little bit, but I found snowfields off trail a better option and made a b-line up to Mount Clay for some nice views of the Great Gulf and Mount Washington. From Clay's summit I dropped back down to the A.T., ditched my snowshoes for light traction, and made the quick out and back over to Jefferson. I started bumping into a few hikers doing a Presi Traverse on my way to Jefferson and then on my way back along the A.T. around Mount Clay I started seeing hikers every few minutes. - I put my snowshoes on at this point and made my way up Washington bumping into my friends Todd, Larisa and her two dogs, and Sue & Chris. After catching up with them I jumped back off trail and used the snowfields to ascend to the summit of Washington. - On my descent from Washington I took a few shortcuts and stuck to the snowfields again. When I passed a few conga lines heading up, all in face protection, crampons, and some with ice axes they looked puzzled/concerned as to why I was off trail and only in snowshoes. It was a little funny as the snow conditions were sometimes much better off trail for safer travel! - After making it to Lakes of the Clouds and then the summit of Monroe I dropped off onto the eastern snowfields. There is a little chute about fifty yards north of the summit where you can drop in and easily make your way back to the Crawford Path if the snow conditions are right. For the second week in a row there was about a half foot to a foot of powder over crunchy snow, perfect for a fun controlled snow shoe ski descent. - After hiking back around the "Monroe Bend" along the Crawford Path (A.T.) I made a quick and quiet descent back to the trailhead before heading home, ending another perfect day in the White Mountains. :) Hiking up the Jewell Trail. In the winter/snow it is a much prettier trail below treeline The trail corridor is very well defined, although it gets a little narrow in spots Breaking above treeline and taking in the sun's rays :) I got to follow some footy tracks above treeline for a little bit! Just south of Mount Clay's summit, looking at another bump of Clay and Washington and Monroe Mount Adams as seen from Mount Jefferson The boulders are covered in rime ice and snow, making for a much softer look to the rock field of the northern presi's Monticello Lawn, Clay and Washington. The Great Gulf headwall in view Hiking south along the Gulfside Trail (A.T.) When the snow buries the rocks it makes for much easier footing along the trails Cog Railway and the Southern Presidential Range Lakes of the Clouds and Mount Monroe zoom-in. If you look close enough you can see a few hikers ascending the Ammo, they look like little dots! Mount Clay Loop junction Clay, Jefferson, Adams, Madison Mount Washington Observatory Stage coach building Snow and ice blasted summit tower Heading down towards Lakes and Monroe Looking back up at the summit, I came straight down, the trail is off to the left and swings to the right higher up towards the tower Lakes of the Clouds and Mount Monroe Lakes of the Clouds and Mount Washington Southern Presidential Range Summit of Mount Monroe Early afternoon sun shining over Mount Monroe Pano of Lakes of the Clouds and Washington Zoom in of the summit cone, a few conga lines of hikers can be seen! Buried Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Looking back at the hut as I descend Sarge in charge! Sarge likes to hike too, here he is the day before venturing into Tuckerman Ravine! He has an Insta-face account, which can be followed here sgt._pepper_goldendoodle View the full article
  22. Earlier this month I had aborted the trail to Preston as the trail breaking with a full pulk was nearly impossible. This would be the next attempt with a crew and a strategy to ensure success. We would start Thurs morning, but I am getting ahead of myself. On Tuesday morning I picked up Dan at his place and we drove to the trailhead for Kibby Pond in the Wilcox Lake WF. The plan was just a day hike. Upon arrival we could see the parking was non-existent due to snow. After consulting the maps for plan B, we then drove to the trailhead in the Siamese Ponds WA for Second Pond. The parking area was plowed out, so we ate lunch and grabbed our day hike gear after donning our snowshoes. The temp was in the teens, and a bright sunny day. At the trail register I noted a friend had skied in the other day. The trail was generally uphill for the first mile and a quarter, gaining about 200 ft to a lower contour of Height of Land Mtn. The trail then undulated for a mile as we paralleled to the mountain north. The last mile would drop almost 250 ft to the pond, most in the final half mile. At the pond we explored for a bit, checking out the small island and some of the shoreline. We were tired. We had planned on a shorter day hike so we headed back. It was nice having the broken out trail and the final mile being downhill. The trail register does not indicate the trail gets all that much use though the ranger patrols it regularly. We then drove to Mark's cabin for dinner. Dan had made a lentil curry which was awesome. I slept well, and we awoke to outside temps in the single digits. We had breakfast and loaded the packs for an overnight in the woods. Drove to Stony Pond trailhead in the Vanderwhacker WF. Dan was part of the lean2rescue crew which moved this lean-to away from the water's edge. The trail was only 2 miles but we had our winter gear. We arrived to an empty lean-to, made camp and collected wood. The fire put out a noxious smoke all afternoon and evening. We used downed maple and beech like usual. Wondered if one of the logs had a strange fungus on it. After exploring Stony Pond, which had a very unique shoreline profile, we headed back to camp for dinner and bed. Slept great. I think it warmed up a little over night. We headed back to the car and drive to Upper Works to meet the crew headed to Preston Ponds. There were a total of seven of us. Pete and I would take the lead breaking trail since we had only backpacks (no pulks). He and the ithers were still packing up so Dan and I headed out first. The wind on Henderson was brutal. The snow was crusty and settled only a few inches. The wind came in sheets sometimes forming a vortex in the bays momentarily. At the Henderson lean-to we took a lunch break. When Pete arrived, he and I started down the trail. In 5 minutes we reached the first log bridge. Last time we crossed just downstream of it. But now it had open water. We hopped across just upstream and Pete began clearing the 5-feet of snow off the logs. I scouted further upstream and found a potential crossing. I dropped my pack and cleared a trail across for the pulks. Pete came over with his camera to get some photos when the pulks would cross, so I took the lead down the trail. Breaking trail is much easier without the pulk, but still difficult. Pete caught up to me at the next log bridge just after I cleared a safe crossing. He took the lead at this point. We would take turns all the way to Preston. On the big hill, we swapped a few times. At one point I paused after digging in my next step up when it ended up lower in the snow than the previous step. I joked that I was going downhill. It was tough going. No way would I have been able to do this with a pulk. At Preston, the winds were just as bad as Henderson. Some gusts were so strong they almost knocked us off our feet. They would explain the snake-like meander of our tracks across the lake. Once we arrived at the Preston cabin, Pete dug out the doorway, and I dug out the outhouse. By the time I finished Dan with the first pulk arrived. Hecand Pete started the woodstove. It was not long after the rest of the crew would arrive in waves. Good times, good food was soon had. Both dinner and breakfast. Dan and I headed out soon after breakfast while the rest of the crew was staying an additional night. The hike back to the parking area took about half the time. Another great trip, I visited 2 new locations, camped at a new lean-to and re-visited an favorite. I still need to visit Preston with a canoe one of these days. With all the snow and ice, it will be a while. View the full article
  23. We thought we had seen every possible way to package down. This coat proved us wrong. The Marmot West Rib ParkaThick baffles, thin baffles, welded, woven, sewn through: We’ve seen apparel makers use all sorts of tricks to stuff their down coats. But at Outdoor Retailer, Marmot showed us a new one with their new WarmCube technology. Rather than compartmentalizing the down into long, parallel baffles, the utilizes cube-shaped compartments that Marmot says will keep the fill in place better than ever. The idea is to minimize the shifting of fill and trap heat within the grid-like channels between cubes. After trying on the West Rib Parka, the first model to use the tech, we can confirm that the cubes huggged our bodies better than most down jackets we’ve used, trapping warm air close to us even as we moved. To ward off wet weather, an additional synthetic insulating and water resistant layer on the outside. The West Rib will be available this August. View the full article
  24. Mid-week I was reading some old journal entries from Januaries past. I noted it was the ten-year anniversary of the trip Aaron, Rich and I did to High Falls in the 5 Ponds Wilderness. The 7 mile trail took us 7 hours to traverse as we were breaking trail. I suppose this could have been seen as foreshadowing for the coming weekend. My weekend plans were to meet Justin at the Upper Works trailhead and follow in the tracks from George, Tammy, et al to Preston Ponds. On Friday night I recieved a text from George that they were heading in Saturday and that Bob +1 had to bail. Bob had twisted his knee on the way in. The plan was now to catch up to G&T probably somewhere on the "big hill". At 8am, I was about an hour from the TH and recieved word G&T were running late, and they would catch up to us. At the trailhead, I loaded up my pulk with my gear and food plus the supplies left by Bob at the register. I waited for Justin. It isn't like him to be late; at least without warning. With no cell service here I was in the dark. At 9:30 Justin hadn't arrived so I figured his plans needed to change. I put his birthday present back into the car and headed up the trail. The trail was well broken here as many use this as an ingress to the high peaks. After about a quarter mile, the ,junction would appear and I took the trai to Henderson Lake. Bob's tracks from yesterday provided easy going. The snow was deep and the rut from snowshoes, skis, and pulks testified to the depth. Once on Henderson Lake it was even easier on the flat surface as long as my steps didn't venture off the tracks. Every once in a while I would step to the side and appreciate the snow depth even on the windswept lake. Views of the surrounding mountains make this a favorite of mine in the winter. I stopped for some water at the lean-to. Even just the small rise from the lake level was tpugh. I was not looking forward to the "big hill". Onward following the tracks. The first log bridge was piled high with 3-4ft of snow. Bob had crossed the creek just downstream so I followed. The second bridge was uneventful. The 3rd was higher up from the water which could be seen through the ice. The snow was packed down by snowshoes to a 3foot depth making the top quite high above the water. I unhooked my pulk and straightened her out. I would be side stepping and pulling the pulk by hand. At the far side, there were no tracks. This must have been where they turned around I thought to myself. I made my way across, taking small steps then pulling the sled towards me, and repeating the process. Just after I crossed I noticed the tracks on the other side. Apparently they had decided to cross the stream at a safer point downstream. At least I wouldn't have to start breaking trail yet. It was only about another hundred yards before Bob's tracks turned around. I stepped into the deep snow. This was going to be tough. Even with 30-in snowshoes I was pushing in 18-inches deep followed by my sled plowing through. Some parts were worse than others. Regularly I was knee deep. Quite often I would hit patches in which I was waist deep in the snow. The undulating terrain made some deep pockets in which I was basically swimming to get through. After another hour and only going a half mile, not even getting to the difficult section I turned around. It was already 1:30. At this rate there was no way to get to camp before it was late if at all. I headed back towards the Henderson lean-to. Even with my own tracks ahead of me I was still sinking in. Barely 5 minutes passed and I ran into G&T. I relayed my story comparing it to the Russian Lake trip a few years back... but worse. Back at Henderson we took a break and talked about our plans. With no cell service G&T would need to get back to Newcomb to find out what other projects were still going on or drive home. I was going to stay here as I had no interest in driving back another 5 hours. Just then Dan appeared. G&T headed out, Dan and I made camp. We cooked sausages from Swan's and their red cabbage. Tried their currywurst for the first time. Very good. Slept well, warm. Restarted the fire and had a knockwurst for breakfast with coffee. View the full article
  25. We put eight pint-size snowshoes on our testers. Here's how they measured up. Snowshoeing makes winter fun for kids and parents alike.Snowshoes open up a winter wonderland. Thanks to the flotation and traction they provide, you can walk on anything from packed tracks, to dedicated snowshoe trails at ski resorts, to untracked powder. Generally speaking, snowshoes are easy to put on and use. The longer and larger the snowshoe, the more flotation they provide. But, that’s not to say that a five-year-old should be put in a standard 8-inch wide by 19-inch-long snowshoe; they’d be too cumbersome for a five-year-old to walk comfortably. Finding the length that’s appropriate for the size of your child, plus the best binding, traction, and intended usage for your needs is the key to happy snowshoeing. I had eight kids, ages 7 to 10, test different snowshoes on a winter hut trip and various other outings to see just how easy each pair was to put on, keep on, and enable fun. (While snowshoes for toddlers and smaller kids do exist, we limited this test to snowshoes for elementary school-aged children.) One caveat: A couple of the kid testers wore snowboarding boots in the snowshoes, while others wore winter boots or weather-treated hiking shoes of some sort. We recommend high-top boots and thick, wool socks to keep feet warm, and waterproof pants, like ski pants, to help keep kids dry as their 'shoes will flick up snow agains their behinds. Get more tips, trips, and stories about family outdoor adventures on BACKPACKER’s Families Gone Wild. View the full article
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