Aug 7 2011

Seek the Peak 2011 Reacp

The trip started off late Thursday (July 21st) at about 4 PM.  Stopping in Brattleboro VT at about 1 AM to check into the Motel 6 – yes they left the light on for us!  Departed for North Conway NH Friday morning and arrived in time for lunch at Moat Mountain Smokehouse; a nice brewery restaurant in the heart of North Conway.  The logistics of the stay had myself staying at Joe Dodge Lodge and Dave, slumming it a little bit and staying at a notable local Bed and Breakfast in Gorham.  I should mention for the record that the B&B was only due to the lodge being at capacity – suspiciously however the B&B had air conditioning.  Friday night concluded by stopping by the MWO Weather Discovery Center for registration and a kick off party social.  Dave and I had the fine pleasure of making the Seek the Peak facebook page with a picture of us sporting our goodie bag backpacks provided to all who raised the min amount for the non profit MWO – I will spare all of you from wasting your life away using facebook hence no link to facebook from my site.  Saturday morning began early and the trek to 6288 began. Starting on Tuckerman Ravine trail – let me stop here and mention this is the same trail that so many thrill seekers venture out in early to late March each year for the “right of passage” into the true outdoorsman to ski the back country, exposed rocks of Tuckerman ravine – I digress.  So we started out on Tuckerman ravine trail to Lions Head, going around the closed section of Tuckerman Ravine trail as it passes directly up and through the head wall of the ravine.  Taking Lions Head had been the plan all along so the trail portion of Tuckerman Ravine trail that was closed had no impact to our initial plans.  Lions Head meets back up with the upper portion of Tuckerman Ravine trail and a short trek above tree line we reached the Mt. Washington Auto Road parking lot.  As we reached this point we heard the Cog Railway making its way to the summit – without much input Dave took the camera and departed for the vantage point that resulted in the fine picture you will see on the CTA smug mug site.  We proceeded to the summit marker to get our picture taken at the famous Mt. Washington Summit marker sign.  The trip up took 3 hours 15 minutes.  Prior to heading back we spent some time on the summit which included a tour of the Mt. Washington Weather Observatory and housing quarters, not before time for water and snacks in the cafe area of the observatory.
Until this point it had been my plan to descend the same trails down to Pinkham Notch Center and proceed to Lakes of the Clouds and Mt. Monroe on the following day.  After some encouragement from Dave we decided to go to Lakes of the Clouds and Mt. Monroe immediately after leaving the Mt. Washington Summit – a great decision though suite questionable at the time.  So we blazed our own trail down to junction with Crawford Path, also know as the AT, on down to Lakes of the Clouds.  After a stop in the Lakes hut, maintained and operated on special permit from the federal government by the Appalachian Mountain Club, we proceeded to summit of Mt. Monroe.  Words can not describe the views or give proper respect to, what I consider, to be some of the most scenic areas in the eastern United States of America.  Day one concluded with by descending Boot Spur via Davis Path and can’t forget a small portion of the AT.
At least the hiking portion of the day concluded; the famous Seek the Peak after party and all the goodies that come with that was ahead of us at the bottom of the Mt. Washington Auto Road.
The after party brought us a fine turkey, Thanksgiving style, meal and a number of opportunities to win a door prize – neither of us walked away with any additional goodies but did enjoy the full course meal.  As the night concluded on Saturday night Dave and I visited with two hikers at “The Barn” that is attached to the Libby house B&B – as I dropped Dave off we noticed the lights on in The Barn.  Walking Cowboy as he was named on the trail was relaxing in the barn reading a local paper.  He began the trip, his second trek on the trail after a full thru hike some years ago, at Harpers Ferry West Virginia.  Rugged and worn this gentlemen must have been in his mid sixties, never did ask though the only thing I did ask was if he would like a fine brewed Pennsylvania Yuengling.  He obliged and we sat down to hear the journals of his trek thus far northbound to Katahdin.  After a short while in The Barn I returned back to Joe Dodge Lodge not without a small amount of excitement on Rt. 16 as a large cow moose was standing broad side on the road.  I quickly came to a stop, recalling in the back of my mind the many roadside signs warning the motorist of the dangers of hitting a moose, and attempted to take some pictures.  Attempted and failed to get a good picture I was of to the lodge for a good night sleep – Day 1 of hiking officially over.
Sunday began with a great breakfast at the Joe Dodge Lodge cafeteria and then off to rescue Dave from his conditions offered to him at his B&B.  Dave was set to stay at Joe Dodge for the 3rd and final night of the trip – oh the travesty.  After some map studying session we were down the road in search of our next trail head starting area.  We determined that the best approach to bagging some more peaks would be to drive on the western side of the White Mountains and summit Mt. Jefferson and quite possibly detour to Mt. Adams.  Caps Ridge Trail was our choice to summit Mt. Jefferson; a very nice trail with some more technical aspects when compared to Lions head or Tuckerman on the eastern side; I use technical in a loose sense of the definition as there is no need for any climbing gear but certainly need two hands in order to maneuver what Dave and I coined Hillary Step of Mt. Jefferson.  As I mention the need for using two hands while climbing this section it occurred to me I forgot to mention one of Dave’s challenges he gave himself the previous day while hiking Mt. Washington – that was to not use his hands in any sort of balancing support or otherwise assit in climbing.  He did a decent job of such – attesting to just how in shape of a ultra marathoner Dave is.  Anyhow the trip up Caps Ridge Trail was great; awesome views of the Presidential s and beyond – the weather was just as Dave ordered …. almost blue bird skies.  Given his undergrad degree from unnamed school Dave would say that is why the skies are blue.
We capped the trip off with a great dinner Sunday night at The Muddy Moose - a very nice place in North Conway. After dinner we got that second chance to get a picture of a moose; just as the previous night a moose was along RT 16 near Joe Dodge Lodge and Dave was along to get a picture. Though not as big as the moose the night before just as exciting to get a picture so I could show Jen.
Monday morning we departed Joe Dodge Lodge just after 8 AM and arrived home at around 8:30 PM – pretty much a straight through drive.  What an awesome trip to say the least – I can’t thank Dave enough for going along and I know he would say the same as we certainly had a great time.  I look forward to returning to summit some more peaks and yes, there may be something to skiing Tuckerman Ravine in March, so I might be just one of those freaks that end up trekking up Tuckerman Ravine Trail with skis in tow to ski the ravine – commonly referred to as “tux” buy those in the know.



Jul 23 2011

Lakes of the clouds

In addition to summiting Mt. Washington Dave and I decided to summit Mt. Monroe and stop by Lakes of the Clouds hut; AMC certainly does a great job in the white mountain hut system.  Anyhow I had been looking forward visiting this hut since my seek the peak inception ….awesome day of hiking !  Glory to God for creating such beautiful awesome views !


Jul 23 2011

Made it to the summit: 6288 ft

Dave and I made it the summit of Mt  Washington  in just over 3 hours.  What a great day of hiking.


Jul 23 2011

Cell signal at last

On lions head trail with a little rain.  Got going at 6 am. Almost above tree line with awesome views.  What a great day!


Jul 22 2011

AMC Highland Center

Stopped along AMC Highland center  at Crawford Notch.  Mostly clear skies…hopefully that is the same tomorrow for the summit bid. 


Jul 21 2011

They left the light on for me!

Brattleboro VT ..made it about 1:10 am.  Capped a nine hour trip. Time for sleep.


Jul 20 2011

Seek the Peak!

First, Happy Birthday Caden!  Now onto the post…The preparation is complete; I packed everything taking basically everything recommended on the AMC summer equipment list for the White Mountains.  A update to the travel itinerary for the trip is that Dave B. is going to be going along on the trip! The weather forecast hints at potential record high temps for the White Mountains with the massive heat wave sweeping across the United States; I don’t as much care about the temps as I do on having a bluebird sky!

So in proper hiker etiquette the following is the trail itinerary as it stands now (it should be noted that Tuckerman Ravine Trail is conveniently closed for this week for trail maintenance; moot point really as I didn’t intend on going that trail anyhow!) my plans are as follows:

Saturday July 23, 2011

  • Hit the trail nlt 7AM; initial plans are to begin the hike at 6 AM.
    • Begin on Old Jackson Road for less than a half mile.
    • Turn onto Boot Spur for .3 miles.
    • Take Tuckerman Ravine Trail 1.7 miles
    • Take Lion Head Trail 1.9 miles to the Mt. Washington Summit.
    • Return trip will default to reverse.

Sunday July 24, 2011

  • Hike to Lakes of the Clouds and Mt. Monroe.
  • Potentially do another summit of Mt. Washington afterward.
  • Plan A:
    • Boot Spur 2.2 miles
    • Davis Path .6
    • Camel Trial .7
    • Then Summit Mt. Monroe (this trail is actually the AT!)
    • Crawford Path to Summit Mt. Washington 1.5
    • Return trip will default to reverse.

If you want to read more as the trip progresses; follow this thread as I plan to do live blogging assuming I get signal and on Twitter follow #SeekthePeak to get a wider range of input from those attending.