Thursday, March 26, 2015

This Sunday at the REI in Rockville, MD

Hope to see some of you at the REI in Rockville, MD this Sunday!

Jackson. March 25, 2015

Jackson-Webster Trail, 5.2 miles roundtrip with 2150 feet of elevation gain.

We got a late start for this one.  Usually, we're on the trails first thing in the morning and finished by early afternoon.  On this day, however, Alex had an oral quiz with one of her teachers (via an online provider) at 10:30.  As soon as Alex finished her conversation, we jumped in the car and headed to Crawford Notch.  We needed to make it up and back down by 4pm so the girls could get to their evening karate classes.

This was Alex and Sage's seventh and sixth time, respectively, up Jackson, so we knew the trail well.  The warm temperatures mandated the wearing of snowshoes...or so we turned out the trail was so packed we could have done without them on the way up.  We saw six other people during our hike, and four of them were barebooting without postholing.  We wore our 'shoes anyway, for the sake of grip, since I'd neglected to bring microspikes.

Heading up...

Onward, after a quick break at the halfway point.

The summit of Jackson...we're almost there...

Sage on the final ledge

Alex and Sage near the summit

Sage and Alex on the summit of Jackson.

We had hoped to see grey jays -- Alex has a photography assignment due soon and she wanted to take some pictures of the jays -- but, unfortunately, none showed.  We had passed a couple of people coming down while we were on the way up, and they had said there were quite a few on the summit.  I have always seen grey jays on Jackson, so I assumed they'd be up there when we arrived...but no.  The folks we passed said the birds had stolen half their peanut butter sandwich, so maybe, by the time we arrived, they'd sated themselves on the pbj and didn't want to investigate additional opportunities.  Or, perhaps, they didn't show up because there was an unleashed (but friendly and  well-behaved) dog not far behind us.  Dogs have a way of keeping the wildlife at bay, so perhaps the canine was the reason for our rare, jay-less Jackson experience.  The clear day and stellar views more than made up for the lack of birds, however, so our disappointment didn't last long.

The temperatures were so warm that we could have stayed up there forever...but the hour of karate was fast approaching, so down we went.  The girls made great use of their sleds, and we made it back to the car in what seemed like thirty seconds.

It was a nice day out and we look forward to ascending something else next week.

Happy hiking,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cannon. March 16, 2015

Kinsman Ridge Trail, 4 miles roundtrip with 2100 feet elevation gain.

Cannon -- again!  We had planned to do something longer on Sunday, but Sunday's weather was just plain awful...rain plus snow plus more rain....I don't mind hiking in snow, and I don't mind hiking in rain during the summer...but snow + rain during the winter = too great a risk of hypothermia.  One of the important tricks to winter hiking is to avoid getting wet (and therefore dangerously cold).

So instead of a nice long hike on Sunday, we opted for a short, quick hike Monday morning.  The girls' scheduled schoolwork and extracurriculars kept us from staying out all day, but Cannon is close to our home and therefore a relatively quick excursion.

The trails boasted two to six inches of fresh powder, so we had a bit of work cut out for us.

Up we went.  The snow was light, so the effort wasn't too terribly strenuous.

We experienced the occasional one/two-foot drift...

...but we got to treeline sooner than we expected.  It was a bright, sunny day...but cold.  I didn't put on my balaclava before venturing out into exposure-ville, and I regretted it.  This wasn't quite frostbite weather, but my face was uncomfortable nonetheless.

We got up and over the last push, then we headed toward the summit tower.  I didn't take a photo up on top, since my hands were getting cold.

We lounged in the ski building and drank hot cocoa for a while before descending.

Franconia Ridge, one of our views while heading down Cannon
We got back to the car a bit after noon.

I'm grateful to live so close to many of these trailheads!

Hope you're all having a nice end-of-winter.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Wild & Wonderful Women Series in Rockville, MD

Hi Rockville, MD folks,

Come see us on the 29th, then come back in April and May to see presentations by Rue Mapp and Vanessa Garrison!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tecumseh. March 10, 2015

We revisited Tecumseh last Tuesday morning.  Time was short, so we had to choose a peak that was relatively small and close to home.

Tecumseh Trail and Sosman Trail.
5 miles roundtrip with 2200 feet of elevation gain.

This was a routine hike up a familiar, nearby peak.  The trail was well packed, but since the forecast called for warm temperatures, we wore snowshoes to prevent postholing on the way back down.

View from the halfway point

Going up!

Heading up the "stairmaster" mile in good spirits

Reaching the ridge

Final push to the summit

View toward Moosilauke on the way up

Last few dozen feet --
 note the blue blaze on the tree, by the snow


Alex and Sage on Tecumseh, March 2015


We hope to get out on the trails once a week for the foreseeable future, so I should have another trip report/photo gallery posted soon.

Happy hiking, folks!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Pierce and Eisenhower (Desserts on the 48). March 1, 2015

Crawford Path, Mt. Eisenhower Loop.  9.4 miles out-and-back with 3250 feet of elevation gain.

Hooray, we can hike once a week again!  We hope to be out there most Sundays from April onward.  Plus, sometimes, we'll ascend something midweek.

Sunday hiking means we get to catch up with folks we haven't seen in a while, as most of our hiker friends visit the mountains on weekends.  Last Sunday, March 1, we had the pleasure of sharing the trails with John Myers, a great fellow we haven't seen since autumn.

We met at the Crawford Path's winter parking area, just across Route 3 from the Highland Center.  It was a balmy -9 degrees F when we got out of the car at 7:30 am.

The trail was well packed when we arrived.  The girls therefore chose to wear their Hillsound Pro crampons; I would have worn my microspikes, had I remembered them.  I donned my snowshoes for the purpose of grip, but I probably would have been fine completely barebooting it.  Of course, one always wants to bring the snowshoes up the mountain just in case one needs them unexpectedly...I therefore strapped the girls' 'shoes to my pack before hitting the trail.

We took a break 1.5 miles up, at the intersection with the Mizpah Cut-Off.

The gray jays soon arrived -- can you see a feathered friend in the photo below?

Here he/she is again --

We continued onward, up the final 1.2 miles to treeline.

The wind was very much there and it felt like frostbite weather, so we layered up soon after I took the following photograph.

From here, it was a quick 0.1 mile up to the summit of Pierce.  Note - if you're heading up that way anytime soon and haven't previously bagged Pierce, then take the right fork of the snowshoe track that heads up from the intersection.  Someone went the wrong way...don't take that left fork.  Go to the right and straight up -- you'll see cairns once you've ascended twenty or thirty feet.

We arrived at the summit (the summit cairn is currently buried under a ton of snow) and ate PIES on Pierce.

We couldn't rest for long due to the freezing temperatures and ornery wind.  We headed over to Eisenhower as soon as we finished scarfing the pastries.

Eisenhower ahead, with a hiker ahead of us.

Taking a break during the 1.6-mile hike on the ridge between Pierce and Eisenhower.  Pierce is behind us, in the background.

The wind shoved us and shouted as we climbed the steep summit cone.  We got to the top and the girls posed long enough for me to take a few photos, then they dived behind the cairn to get out of the wind.

Alex and Sage on Mt. Eisenhower.
Mt. Washington and Mt. Monroe are in the background.

John on Eisenhower.

Trish, Alex, and Sage on Eisenhower

Diving for cover.

Once (kind of ) out of the wind, we ate EIER (German for eggs...I couldn't come up with any other dessert that began with Ei for Eisenhower).

As on Pierce, we stayed only long enough to eat the treats, then we scurried back down the summit cone.  The wind was fierce and freezing!

Once we'd returned to the ridge, life was more peaceful...the wind wasn't much of an issue and we could therefore casually amble back over to Pierce.

When we returned to Pierce, John shared some pecan turtles with us -- they were wonderful!

Our descent was routine -- we got back to the car around 1pm.