Friday, June 20, 2014

JMT Training, Peak 2 of 21: North Percy Peak (52WAV and T25).

All I can say about North Percy  This is now, by far, my favorite peak in New Hampshire when it comes to views.

North Percy Peak via Percy Peaks Trail, Percy Loop Trail, and a roadwalk.  Six mile loop hike with about 2150 feet of elevation gain.

Sage and I used our new ultralight Gossamer Gear backpacks today.  Alex's backpack had not yet arrived, so she brought her old, trustworthy (but not ultralight) Osprey 25 on this hike.  Sage carried her new ultralight sleeping bag, a change of clothes, water, and one day's worth of food in her new backpack.  Her pack weighed less than Alex's...and Alex carried only a change of clothes, water, and half a day's worth of food.  My backpack held my new ultralight bear canister, 6 pounds of food, our new ultralight three-person tent, two sleeping pads, a change of clothes, and two liters of water.  All of that weighed far less than what I carried on the Camino last year.  Of course, I'll be schlepping a lot more food and a bit more gear when we actually do the JMT, but still...gotta love going ultralight!  I'll do a full report on each item we use on the JMT after we return in September.

We arrived at the trailhead to find a friendly fellow named Creston gearing up.  Creston's a veteran NH hiker; we enjoyed speaking with him about various trails and peaks, and we enjoyed meeting his dog, Daisy.  The girls and I "played leapfrog" with Creston and Daisy throughout our hike, and we shared some summit time with them on the peak.  It was a pleasure meeting them both.

At the trailhead...

Heading into and through the woods (the grades were usually moderate)...

Love the tree on this boulder!

We hit the base of a wet ledgy area at about 1.2 miles...

The trail went steeply up, to the right of the wet ledgy area...

...then it crossed a few slanted, dry ledges...

...before heading back into the woods.  The path flattened out a bit for the last couple tenths of a mile before the intersection with Percy Loop Trail.

From here, it was a steep half mile up to the peak of North Percy.

Breaking out above treeline was glorious...the weather was perfect and the ledges were easy to climb...and oh my goodness, the views views views views views!

These ledges are what qualify this hike for the T25 list...
this trek is fine in good weather, but I'd hesitate to try it during rain or in the winter)

We'd take a break from ascending the ledges every few minutes to turn around and look at THIS --

We reached the summit (congrats on another 52WAV peak, Sage!)...

then we sat, ate, and enjoyed the incredible morning.

Eventually, we began heading back down.  The girls and I loved descended the ledges, since the views were simply fantastic.

After reaching the intersection, we decided to take the Percy Loop Trail and then roadwalk back to our car.  Percy Loop Trail was fairly easy to wasn't as steep as Percy Peaks Trail and the footing was relatively free of rocks and roots.

We made it to the road...

...and walked the mile or so back to the car.

What a wonderful morning!  Sage and I love our new packs!

Our first week of training is complete.  Next week, we'll kick it up a notch by hiking three times a week (two 52WAV hikes and one TW72 hike).  Alex will have her new pack, and each of us will carry a bit more weight.  Within two weeks, each of us will be carrying everything we'll carry on the JMT.

I must say, though...I don't know what the JMT has to offer that NH doesn''s scenery was so breathtakingly beautiful that I can't imagine a prettier view on earth.

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