Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mt Major - Quick Afternoon Excercise

We decided to do a quick run up to Mt Major for a little afternoon exercise.  The beauty of Mt Major is that it is close to our home (45 mins.) and the views are amazing for a hike that is a mere two-hr round trip.  The negative of this hike is that it can be very overcrowded and misused as many of the hikers are not practicing "leave no trace" principals.  That said, it was heartening to see the moms and families with very young children doing this hike.  Any time we can teach the next generation about nature and its beauty there is value.

I probably should have stayed home today.  All was going well until we were nearly back at the car and I suddenly slipped on a rock and sprained an Achilles tendon on my left side.  It bothered me enough that we took about 10-days off from hiking.  Oh well...

Just a couple of photos:

Rattlesnake Island - Very clear how it got its name.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mt Cabot - My First & Likely Last Visit

Hiking purests will probably hate me for this however, I have a right to my opinion.  To my thinking there are, at best, three reasons to hike Mt Cabot (though the Horn was nice).  Here they are:

1) You need to bag it to achieve your 48 4k's (the reason we were here) or,
2) You need to bag it for your winter 48 or,
3) You need bag it (12 times no less!!!!!) to complete the Grid

 Short of that, speaking solely for myself, I would not choose to do this hike again.

The trailhead is a full 3-hours from our home so we elected to stay the night in Gorham, NH.  I don't like to diss businesses on the web because for every negative posting there are 20 people who had a great experience yet they never post anything about it so, I will keep the totality of my thoughts to myself, save for the following:  I have stayed in this hotel, eaten at their restaurant and spent time in their lounge many, many times over the last 30-years.  Most but not all of those experiences were two decades ago and they were great.  The problem is that things have not changed in 30-years at this place.  Society has changed, our expectations of service have changed, and our definition of good food has changed over those decades (not just mine, society as a whole) however, this place has not changed.  Too bad.  But, I acquiesce.  Let's get back to hiking which is the focus of this blog.

We were feeling pretty good at the start so we opted for the longer loop hike as opposed to an in and out which would've been much shorter.  Our loop included the Bunnell Notch, Kilkenny Ridge and Unknown Pond Trails.  This loop is 11.4 miles long with an elevation gain of about 2,500 feet.  Don't let that fool you though, add about 1,000 feet to find the real elevation change due to the undulations in this trail.  Our total RT time was just under 8.5 hours.

What makes things worse is that this entire trail needs lots of maintenance.  Bog bridges are in bad shape, the trail is overgrown and more.  The remote location of this mountain likely diminishes the available trail adopters.  Again, take it easy on me you purists.  I like a remote, wilderness hike as much as anyone but....

Okay, let's move on before the AMC cancels my membership.

My best guess is that some 3-miles of this trail looks like this.  Yes, I am standing on the trail.

 This is one of the better views on the ascent.  Limited but not too bad.

We reached the old fire warden's cabin (I think that is what it is) a short distance before the actual summit of Mt Cabot.  Sue decides she want's a nap but finds the bedding a bit hard.

The "kitchen."  We need to find the name of this world renowned kitchen designer.  Is that a  granite counter top?

The built-in dining room table.  Seating for six.

 Sue seems happy to have found the Mt Cabot summit marker.

I on the other hand seem to be saying, "Are you serious?  I hiked 5 miles, uphill no less, just to find this?  Really?

Here we are at the Horn, a large bulbous rock protrusion, looking back at Mt Cabot (left) and "The Bulge" (right). There are great views from the top of the Horn but Sue did not like the final 10' approach to the top so we stopped at the lower tier of the rock and had lunch.

A lot of the bog bridges on this loop really need some TLC.

At least there were some pretty flowers...


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mt Flume - With Calm Winds

The summit of Mt Flume is known for its winds but not so today.  The skies were clear and the wind almost non-existent.

This was a RT of 11.2 miles with 3,150 of elevation change using the Lincoln Woods - Osseo - Franconia Ridge Trails.  The first 1.4 miles on the Lincoln Woods Trails is essentially flat but it still took us about 7 1/4 hrs to finish this in and out hike.  I was a huffin' and a puffin' on the way up today and just about anyone hiking Osseo was passing us.

Before reaching the summit there was only one material viewpoint but both it and the summit views were stunning (a word I seem to use often when describing views). Here are a few photos.

We begin on the footbridge at Lincoln Woods.

We've walked the first 1.4 miles on the Lincoln Woods Trail and now will begin our trek up the Osseo Trail.

This section had an extensive network of roots along the trail.

A selfie with views over the Pemmigewasset Wildernesss from our first substantive viewpoint on the ascent.  The guy wearing the buff needs a makeover!

We are at the summit and this young couple yearned for a cairn and there wasn't one so they constructed a mini version.

From the actual summit looking back across the Franconia Ridge Trail that we just crossed.

Difficult to depict but the Flume Visitors Center is near the center of this shot.

Over my right shoulder is the summit of Mt Liberty.  Many hikers do Flume & Liberty together but we've done Liberty in the past so our plan is just an in and out hike of Flume.

Lincoln/Lafayette in the distance.

I've begun the descent for a short distance across the ridge and this is a photo looking back at Sue at the summit.

A perfect butterfly.

There is a seemingly endless set of ladders on the Osseo Trail.

One last photo from the ridge before we descend back into the woods.