Monday, June 23, 2014

JMT Training, Peak 3 of 21: Mt. Success (52WAV)...and the site of the plane crash. June 22, 2014

Mt. Success Trail, Mahoosuc Trail, herd path, Outlook Trail.  About 8 miles roundtrip with about 2000 feet of elevation gain.

We haven't hiked on a Sunday in a long while.  I prefer to hike during the week, when the summits are relatively free of people.  I'm not antisocial, and other hikers are cool and what-not...but when I go into the woods and up a peak, I don't want to hear a constant string of voices or share the summit with large crowds.  This is one reason I do not enjoy hiking in large groups (unless it's a specific, celebratory hike -- in those cases, the more the merrier).  One or two other trekkers (besides my kids) works well...any more than that, and I no longer feel I'm in the wilderness.

Our way to avoid the crowds is to stay off the 4Ks on bluebird weekends -- therefore, last Sunday, in perfect above-treeline weather, we chose to hike Mt. Success.  Mt. Success is on the 52WAV list, and it's located along the Mahoosuc Range.  This turned out to be the perfect choice.  We had the summit all to ourselves...we saw only two small groups of people, and we saw them while we were descending.  Guess everyone else was on the Presidentials.  The Appalachia parking lot, which we drove past on the way to Success Pond Road, was overflowing with cars up and down the street at 7am.  The little grassy lot along Success Trail, in contrast, was nice and empty when we arrived.

Success Trail is right off of Success Pond Road.  One can drive along the trail (high-clearance vehicles only!) for a few tenths of a mile before reaching a large, grassy field.  We parked in the field, then headed into the woods at the far right-hand side of the clearing.

After about a mile, we reached the bottom of a short series of steepness....

Near the top of the steep bits, a few tenths of a mile below the intersection with Mahoosuc Trail, we passed the Outlook Trail (more on that later).

Here we are, at the intersection with Mahoosuc Trail...

From here, the going was easier.  Just a half mile up a relatively flat bit of trail.

One more steep, but very short, section, and we were on the summit.

Congrats on another 52WAV peak, Sage!

We took a short snack break and admired the views.

We then visited the crash site.

There are more than a few excellent write-ups regarding the crash of 1954, so I won't attempt to reinvent the wheel.  Instead, I'll direct you here for the details.

Though I easily found directions to the crash site by doing a few Google searches, I'm hesitant to describe the herd path on my blog.  Hypocritical, I know, but I feel strange advertising a place where two people lost their lives.  You'll find your way to the crash site easily enough by reading the trip reports of shouldn't take you more than thirty seconds of web surfing....and, once you're out there and on the right path, the way is obvious.

Flight 792

The girls pay their respects.

We solemnly made our way back to the summit...

...and took a rest.

After some more snacking, we made our way toward the car.  Before finishing our hike, we took the Outlook Trail detour...and oh my goodness, am I glad we did.

This view was far better than what we'd experienced at the summit.  Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.  We lounged here for a while before descending.

This was a fantastic hike in perfect weather.  We'll hike again tomorrow, though I believe we're in for some fog and rain.  Oh well, we've had an excellent run of it in terms of sun and views, so I suppose we're due for some clouds and drizzle.  This is, after all, New Hampshire.

Some notes -- the girls are now carrying everything they'll carry on the JMT.  Their pack weight, without water, is six pounds. That includes a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, changes of clothes, one day's worth of food, rain gear, fleece, headlamps, an emergency bivy, and duct tape.  With water, and if they carry a bit more food, their pack weight will be eight or nine pounds.  Hooray for ultralight equipment!

I'm now carrying everything I will usually carry...though there will be two stretches where I'll carry significantly more food.  Every time we go out on a training hike, I add food to my bear canister.  Right now, I'm up to a total pack weight of 20 pounds.  That includes a sleeping bag, a three-person tent, two sleeping pads, a bear canister, 10 pounds of food, changes of clothes, rain gear, fleece, a headlamp, a pocketknife, duct tape, a small gear repair kit, and a few first aid supplies.  At the heaviest (because of multiple days of food supplies), my pack will weigh 35 pounds.  Usually, it'll weigh 27-28 pounds.  Again, hooray hooray hooray for ultralight equipment!

The girls are doing well with the multiple-times-a-week hiking routine.  Of course, we're about to kick up the mileage and elevation gain...and they're also continuing their karate class through the we'll see how it goes.

I will continue to blog about each training hike as we do them, but sometimes the entries will be short.  We homeschool a bit through the summer (math, foreign languages, writing, reading, and typing), and the girls have planned activities, camp, and playdates, so the hours fly by and I find myself with very little time at the end of each day.  However, I enjoy recording our process...and we want to reach our fundraising goal for Feeding America!  The trip reports will therefore be posted, but they might feel skimpy from time to time.

'Til tomorrow evening...


Unknown said...

Great write-up on Mount Success. We went up there a few years ago with friends to look for the memorial to Leland Howe, my friend Jon's brother. Leland was an AMC trail crew member back in the late 70s/early 80s and was killed as a young man (at about age 20) in an avalanche in Montana. The memorial plaque is mounted on a boulder facing the outlook, so unless you specifically looking for it, you don't see it. The Outlook was a wonderful spot for the memorial.

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Hi Dianne, I wish we had seen the memorial! I agree -- what a perfect spot for it! We will definitely revisit this area at some point in the future. Next time we visit, we'll look for it.