Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Alex's Last Trailwrights Peak...

...will have to wait another couple of weeks.

During the descent of our Sam Adams/Adams 5 hike, I stepped in a leaf-covered hole about a mile from the parking lot.  I kept walking before my brain registered my misstep and -- snap! -- I tore something (I think) between my toes and my metatarsals.  The injury hurt like mad at the time, but I didn't think too much of it because, as a hiker, I'm always getting bumps and bruises.  The pain was bearable as we hiked out.  In the immediate days that followed, the girls and I lived our lives as usual.  We did trail work with the Trailwrights organization, I ran the kids to and from their activities, and I acted as though the pain in my foot was a minor issue that would quickly clear up.

Unfortunately, the pain got worse.  Last week, I could barely walk at all.  X-rays show no fractures, and I'm now waiting for my MRI appointment.  The doctors predict it's simply a sprain of some kind, and that I'll be back on the trails in two or three weeks.  The issue is the joint between the 3rd phalanx and the 3rd metatarsal...the center of my foot at that specific point feels like someone's whacking it with a hammer.  The only immediate solution is to stay off it as much as possible.  Still, the doctors are optimistic I'll be fine and ready for the mountains after a few weeks of rest.

So...Alex and I have only one more Trailwrights peak to go.  It'll be either Sam Adams or Adams 5 -- since we got both of them on our last hike, we can choose which one we'd like to revisit for the final summit.  Alex prefers to reascend Adams 5, but, now that winter is soon here, weather, wind speed, and trail conditions will determine our final peak.  We're no stranger to cold weather/icy hiking, but we'll go whichever route is safest on whatever particular day we're able to next get out there.

In the meantime, I'm slowly but surely publishing entries on our JMT blog.  The girls' academic schedule is keeping us insanely busy, so the entries aren't getting posted as often as I'd like...but they are getting posted, one or two a week.

I'll post another entry on this blog once the MRI results are back and I can say, definitively, how long it will be before we can resume hiking.  Alex, of course, can finish the list anytime she wants by going with someone else.  I've told her I wouldn't mind if she wanted to go on and get it done.  She doesn't have to wait for me.  However, she and Sage insist we will do this as a team, together.  That's sweet of them and honorable of Alex...Alex is aware she'll probably be the youngest person to ever finish this list -- though that kind of thing is never the motivation for anything we do, Alex does enjoy the status when it occurs organically, as it is with this list and as it did for the winter 4Ks.  Having only one more to go makes her a bit antsy, but she insists on waiting for me.

I'll post again after I've had the MRI.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Trail work with Trailwrights. Artists Bluff/Bald Mountain Loop. Oct. 18, 2014

The girls are old enough now to do serious trail work.  They've always been old enough to help clear water bars, but I haven't signed them up for anything formal before this year because I wanted them to be old enough and strong enough to help put in rock steps, saw large trunks, etc.

Now, they're both capable of doing almost all the things adults can do when it comes to maintaining a trail.  We therefore joined Trailwrights for their annual fall clean-up day on the Bald Mountain/Artists' Bluff Loop.

We thought we were going to do some rock work, but the trail needed water bar work more than anything else.  The entire crew therefore took to clearing out leaves and creating better trenches.

It was a fun few hours.  We enjoyed talking to Hal and Peggy, the two creators of the Trailwrights 72 Club, and we loved sharing time and conversing with everyone else.  We look forward to continuing trail work with Trailwrights in the spring.  Good times.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sam Adams (TW72) and Adams 5 (TW72). October 14, 2014

The girls have been swamped with schoolwork and extracurricular activities ever since we got back from the John Muir Trail.  Today, however, we could hike!!

Alex visited both the peaks she needed to finish the Trailwrights 72 list, since the two peaks were only a few tenths of a mile apart.  Of course, she can only count one of them for today's hike, since the TW72 requires you only count one peak per hike.  She's choosing to count Samuel Adams for today.  We'll finish on Adams 5 before the end of the month (weather and schoolwork permitting!).

We went up The Link, Amphibrach, and Spur Trail, then we "rockwhacked" up to Sam Adams.  We rock-hopped from there to Gulfside Trail, then we went over and got Adams 5 (and its neighboring bump).  We descended via Israel Ridge Path, Gray Knob Path, Hincks Trail, Amphibrach, and Link.  All of this put together was about 11.5 miles with around 4200 feet of elevation gain.

Appalachia, around 7:15am.

Starting on The Link...

Hmmm...a set-up for sap collecting..?

Memorial Bridge...

I have no photos of was a mellow walk in the woods, with easy to moderate grades.

Reaching Spur Trail...

Chandler Fall...

Heading toward Crag Camp...

Viewpoint by Lower Crag...

Up, nearing Crag Camp...

View from Crag Camp...

I took this photo with my cell phone.
Continuing on Spur Trail, past Crag Camp and toward treeline.

Stopping by Knight's Castle...

On Knight's Castle, looking down at Crag Camp

Sage on Knight's Castle

The girls on Knight's Castle

Onward and upward...

Mt Madison in the distance, with JQ Adams peaking up to the right of it

Mt. Madison on the left, JQ Adams in the center

We stopped at the intersection with Lowe's Path and admired the views.

The summit of Sam Adams from the intersection
of Spur Trail and Lowe's Path
Looking down toward Mt. Abigail Adams

From the intersection, we rock-hopped to the summit of Sam Adams.

Mt. Washington can be seen as you near the top of Sam Adams.

Turning back to look northeast

Reaching the summit of Sam Adams, looking at
Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson

Alex and Sage on the summit of Sam Adams

Looking north, toward Mt. Abigail Adams

Summit pin

Alex taking a photo of the steel pin

Mt. Washington from the summit of Sam Adams

Alex and I have one more Trailwrights peak to hike -- Adams 5.  Though we can only count one peak per hike, we wanted to go stand on Adams 5 today anyway.  This way, when we come back and officially do it for the finish, we'll know exactly where it is (it's not marked on the maps).

We're pretty sure one of those two bumps in the photo below is the summit of Adams 5.  We rock-hopped along the southwest parts of Sam Adams until we reached the Israel Ridge Path/Gulfside Trail intersection (we were careful not to step on the fragile alpine vegetation).  We then made our way up both bumps.

The day was gorgeous and we had plenty of time, so we sat for a while and examined the map. One of the many good things about hiking the northern Presidentials is that there are plenty of trail options.  We had a few possibilities for descent -- the trails intersect each other on the north side of the range, so we could descend from where we were and still make it back to Appalachia.  We therefore decided to go down the new-to-us Israel Ridge Trail, then take the Gray Knob Trail and Hincks Trail to put us back on the Spur Trail.

We had a nice view of Jefferson's Castles as we descended the upper portion of Israel Ridge Trail.

Gray Knob Trail...

We made it down in good time.  What a gorgeous day -- and congrats to Alex, who has only one more Trailwrights peak to go!