Thursday, February 17, 2011

Final Backpacking Trip of the Year

Kaitlin and I needed closure as the hiking season came to an end, so we decided to do one last backpacking trip in the Whites. We planned to drive up north of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and to hike down into it via the Twin Mountains back to Guyot Campsite while also summiting West Bond, which we had missed previously due to rainy conditions over the summer. We set out on a chilly and gray day with about 8 miles ahead of us. Our guidebook mentioned 3 stream crossings, none of which were supposed to be too difficult. At the first, we had to take off our socks and boots and wade through the freezing cold water while air temperatures were still pretty cold too!

The second stream crossing required us to jump long distances on slick rocks, not fun. At least we had out trekking poles to catch us a bit! At the third stream crossing, things got a little bit ridiculous as there was NO reasonable way across, the water was too deep and rocks were too far apart. We decided that the only way was to use the natural bridge, a downed tree about 6 inches across. Bear in mind we had full packs on and wet shoes while we crossed this thing...

As we reached the summit of North Twin, we had to walk through mist and clouds that covered the tops of the mountains. We made it to the shelter in the early afternoon, hung out for a bit and then went to summit West Bond without our packs. WOW, I have never stood in wind like that before. Visibility was about 50 feet and we had some play time leaning into the wind and letting it hold us up, feeling the power of Mother Nature!!
We spent a cozy night in Guyot Shelter as temperatures dropped near freezing. Luckily we were the only ones at the shelter so we got to spread out. We arose the next morning to rain rain and more rain and were off by about 7:30 to head home. This was our first time hiking in steady, cold rain and it was a great character builder and a good lesson in the importance of good gear! Great experience for the AT!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Trip to Baxter!

Towards the end of August, Hannah and I accompaniedthe Allens on their annual trip to Baxter State Park. We spent about 10 days in the park having fun little adventures, including a 4 night backpack trip from South Branch Campground and over to Roaring Brook. The first night we spent at Pogy Pond after a 6 mile day, and the next 2 at Chimney Pond after a rigorous 14-mile day which included a trip down Hamlin Ridge which afforded some great views of the last stretch of the AT up to Baxter Peak, the northern terminus of the trail!

We spent the night and woke up to RAIN RAIN and more RAIN. Luckily we didn't have to go anywhere that day and we ended up getting to spend the night in the cabin where we had a wood stove. What a luxury! The next morning everyone went their separate ways, but Kaitlin and I knew what we had to do: hike back up Cathedral (our favorite ascent to Baxter Peak) and make one last trip to the northern terminus of the AT, see if we could meet any completing thru hikers, and get some serious motivation. So we headed up and accomplished all of that while getting to do the always-exciting Knife Edge. So next time you see a picture of this, it will be here, on this blog, with us looking much less nourished, more excited, and probably with me having a LOT more hair (note the thru hiker to the bottom right)