Jan 10 2012

LHHT January 2012

Ventured out on the LHHT for an overnight winter hike with the usual crew: Sherpa, Legs, Ring Tone, Father Time and a new addition Sundance.  Thanks to Sherpa and Legs for having the shelters all ready to go by the time the rest of us arrived at the TurnPike shelters for the overnight stay – they arrived early and graciously had a fire awaiting our arrival.  A beautiful night with a clear and near full moon nearly eliminating the need for a headlamp on the hike into the shelters.  Morning arrived with an awesome sunrise and a great day of hiking ahead of the group along the LHHT on an atypical January winter day.   The entire timing of the trip was set around the supposed official opening of the turnpike bridge, however that as we found out was delayed by some measure of weeks.   Not letting that stopping us we went on as planned with boots on the ground intel provided by our ultra marathon runner with some real time imagery exhibiting a fully open and cross-able bridge.  So we carried on with our plans to stay the night at the turnpike bridge and hike south the following day finishing up at RT 31.  Video included on the CatchTech Adventures youtube page.


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.



May 5 2011

Malans Peak

Located on the east side of Ogden Utah, the summit of Malans Peak offers dramatic views out over the community,  theGreatSalt Lake and the surrounding mountains.  I started at the 29th street trail head parking area; a very nice area for mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers alike.  The locals in Ogden certainly have some extremely nice trail options at their use; and special thanks to some private land owners that allow the trails to continue through their land.  At one point on the trail I noticed a sign making us aware of their generosity; otherwise I would have been left taking pictures from well below.  As for the pictures and the video; they are certainly sub par as I only had my phone with me; which made the video very shaky and quality lacking at best – so watch at your own risk.

A video from the trek on Malans Peak

Malans Peak sits at a listed elevation of 6980 feet and boasts a 2140 feet gain over the course of the hike.  Had I been a betting man I would have more than doubled the elevation gain; so I suppose the fact the climb seemed tougher than a normal hike around home would lend to the fact the air is a little thinner.  At least that is the explanation Im sticking with; certainly not leaning toward being out of shape.

The conditions in early May provide the opportunity to to hike in summer like conditions at the trail head and finish in winter like conditions near the peak.  I must admit that I did decide to turn around near the summit; as I estimate it now looking at a map I suspect I may have been less than 300 yards short of the summit bid.  The snow was deeper with every step toward the summit once I got to a certain point and I had only packed in two water bottles, gps, headlamp and my light North Face jacket.  All the while in my running shoes so I was pushing my limits the way it was trekking through the snow on the lower end of the switch backs.  The open face snow falls were in the back of my mind and without some simple light crampons or even a good pair of hiking boots my better judgement won out.  The many books I have read on mountain climbing and the perils of even the all common short hikes were in the back of my mind; so all that weighing on my mind I decided to turn back.  In addition at about the half way point I had passed a fellow hiker on her way down from reaching the peak with simple light crampons in use. “The upper switch backs get a little dicey” she went on to say the snow was deep just before wishing me good luck.  I didn’t say but did think to myself she could wish me all the luck till she could until the cows comes home, but that faction of societal saying would not change one aspect of the outcome of my trek.  I digress. ;-)  

The hike was still an enjoyable and successful hike even though I did not summit.  After all I got to be in God’s great outdoors and thankful to be in the Wasatch mountain range on a beautiful day in early May.

Jan 22 2011

LHT January 2011 Hike

The new year brought in the first hike for the year; a short hike but non the less a great one night stay along the beautiful Laurel Highlands Trail.  The trek finally brought along some outdoor enthusiasts that prior to this hike always had a scheduling conflict; glad you could make it this time Brantley.  In addition a green horn made the trip along; as far as I know it was Matt’s first trekking adventure.  Great time with temps in the teens as I can best remember and a beautiful overnight snow fall that brought in around 3 to 4 inches; maybe more but who measured.  Looking forward to the next trek; Im thinking the Loyalsock Trail for a future trip or even the Terrace Mountain Trail along Lake Raystown.  Of course there is always Seek the Peak in late July for anyone interested in joining CTA for that trek.  www.seekthepeak.org for more information.

Jan 6 2011

TekCharge Product Review

Im not unlike a number of hikers out there that also like to take their technology with them on hikes; especially for emergency situations it would be nice to know you could utilize a cell phone with a good battery charge. Admittedly I know signal coverage can be an issue but none the less I still like to have my technology with while Im in the great outdoors. So with a recomendation from Sherpa (www.featheredprop.com) and a kind gesture of ordering me one at the same time he ordered his mobile charging device and now I have the TekCharge mobile power & charger by Tekkeon.

The unit, about the size of a wallet; takes 4 AA batteries and states it will provide a charge to my phone (Droid Incredible). As pictured when I removed it from the box ordered on Amazon for under $20. The first test will be completed with a Droid Incredible on a overnight hiking trip.

Rating: 9/10

This unit worked extremely well; it provided a full charge for both a Droid Incredible and a Droid Eris during a weekend hiking trip.  Used almost all the power of the 4 AA batteries per charge but when your on a remote trail in the outdoors packing along a couple of extra batteries is not an issue to keep your technology devices running strong.  Finding signal was the issue but most peaks there was at least a bar or two of signal to provide use of the phones if needed in emergency situations and to send out the standard SMS text messages.  A nice complement to this charger is obtaining some rechargeable batteries!