Saturday, November 12, 2011

2011.11.12 South Hancock - A Hike Cut Short

This was day two of our Veteran's Day hiking weekend.  Yesterday we hiked Cannon Mountain and if you read that post you'll note I mentioned a some difficulty with my seasonal allergies/asthma (Cannon Mountain).  Though I did make the summit of South Hancock today, Sue and I scrapped our original plan to do the full North Hancock/South Hancock loop.  I was 'a breath'n heavy' and it was plum wearing me out.  We were again hiking with Scott and Leslie so we split up at the North/South fork with their going to North Hancock and crossing the ridge to South Hancock.  Sue and I simply headed up to the South Hancock summit, had a longer than normal lunch and then headed back down.  Our hiking partners were still able to catch up with Mr. and Mrs. Slowsky before we finished. 

The amazing golden retriever Benny joined us again today.  That makes three four thousand footers in two days that Benny accomplished!  He seemed as happy at the end of the hike today as he was at the start of our first hike yesterday, though I'm betting he took a long nap on the drive home.

Even without finishing the full loop, the trek to the summit of South Hancock (elev. 4,319') was still an 8.2 mile hike (the full loop adds another 1.6 miles).  This trail was much  different than our hike yesterday, which almost immediately and continually ascended aggressively, in that there is a long and gradual start that seems to go on and on.  In fact, in the first 3.6 miles the elevation changes only 1,266'.  Over the next .5 mile it then climbs 885'.

This is a beautiful shot taken by Leslie from the trail head before we departed in the morning (we began our hike at 7:00 am).  The parking lot for this trail is located at one of the scenic outlooks on the Kancamagus Highway.

There was no sign at the actual trail head so at the first signed intersection we took our requisite trail head photo.

An interesting ice formation.

Here we are at the summit of South Hancock.  I found it ironic that we were trying to text Scott and Leslie (note the cell phone) from this remote summit to let them know we had arrived.  It is interesting how you can sometimes catch a sporadic cell signal on some of our hikes.  Not so from this particular summit though.  With no cell signal we reverted to using a stick to write a welcome message to Scott, Leslie & Benny on the face of the stone you see protruding in this photo.  Sure enough they later found it!

Ice forming on a branch (I assume it was being splashed upon by the stream).

One last shot from the trail head parking area as we ended our hike.

Sue and I will need to return again to bag the North Hancock peak which we missed today.


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