Here's another of Mike and I's "double hit and run" hikes, the more exhausting of the two if you ask me. But here's to two more off the winter list, and hiking in beautiful weather!
Peaks: Mt. Moosilauke - South Peak, Mt. Moosilauke
Trails: Glencliff Trail, South Peak Spur, Moosilauke Carriage Road
Mileage/time: 8.2 miles, 3500 feet of gain, book time of 5:49, actual time of 5:55
This day was supposed to involve a Meetup hike, and a second, non-Meetup hike afterwards. While the hikes worked out, the whole Meetup portion did not. I awoke at the crack of it's way too early, readied myself, and rolled out, expecting close to a 3 hour drive. Road conditions dictated that it would be just about 3 hours, as I got a bit sideways on 25 not far out of Portland, thanks to roads that had iced up. I made it in one piece to the Glencliff trailhead at about 5:40, where three other vehicles were parked, and began my wait. Mike showed up, and we started to get ready. This Meetup had dwindled from full to just four the last time I had checked it, and meet time for the group was 6:30, so we waited until 6:45. At 6:50, we took off up the trail, in just base layers, under a veil of clouds and mist.
Glencliff was nice down low, following an old road, across a couple fields, which were shrouded in mist. Where the Hurricane Trail diverges right, Glencliff crosses a stream and starts climbing. It's never crazy steep, just consistent and relentless (much like our hike for later in the day, but I'm getting ahead of myself). There wasn't much to see on the way up, and after a while, it became warm enough that snow and ice started melting out of the trees, and then it began falling from the sky.
Oh well, this hike would have been awesome without any views, though they are the primary motivation for hiking, right? Back down to the junction for a snack, then onward, up through the mist to the summit. As we climbed higher, it continued to get lighter, and we saw the sun trying to poke through the clouds. The clouds parted for instants, allowing short-lived views down to our surroundings, but they were just a taste of what was to come. Upon cresting the summit, we were greeted by passing undercast views in nearly all directions, warm temperatures, and light winds.
We hung out for a while, watching the spectacle, as the clouds moved around on the winds. Eventually, we descended back into the clouds, and started to run into people! We saw at least a dozen on the way up. Those we talked to included Leslie and Sandra, Trish, Hugh, Alex, and Sage Herr, their friend Samantha, and Steve. Very nice to meet all of you! We had a really fast snowshoe descent, Mike running in spots, and me doing my best to run and not fall on my face. I'll say it again, running in 30 inch snowshoes is interesting! We made good time down to the lot, and now set our sights on lunch and another peak.
We drove back towards Plymouth, the easiest way we could figure to get to Waterville Valley, and stopped for lunch at the Plain Jane Diner on 25. The food was good (lots of comfort food!), as was the service. After devouring our meals, we headed back out on the road for Tecumseh.
Peak: Mt. Tecumseh
Trails: Mt. Tecumseh Trail, Sosman Trail
Mileage/time: 5 miles, 2300 feet of gain, book time of 3:38, actual time of 3:45
There will not be, I repeat, NOT be, any pictures for this one, since we started at 3pm, and it was almost fully dark by the time we reached the summit. Since this was our fourth hit and run peak in the last few days, we were super slow on the ascent. We were again, in base layers for the whole hike. The Mt. Tecumseh Trail was in good shape the whole way. We ran into Rolling Rock (from VFTT) on the lower portion of the trail, nice to meet you! Slowly, with much stopping, we made our way up to the ridge. The last time I'd been here, I cursed this trail, and my aching back, since I was carrying skis that time. This time, I cursed it because I was tired, and it was torturous.
We reached the ridge, and the Sosman junction just before the last light was fading from the sky, and made the turn to the summit. We decided to take the Mt. Tecumseh Trail part of the loop, and it wasn't a bad choice, though it descends a fair amount before climbing steeply to the summit. It wasn't as well traveled, so there was a bit of unconsolidated snowshoe track to contend with, especially on the section just before the summit. Soon, we popped out on the summit, to no views. But with headlamps turned off, we could see weak light on the western horizon, and brilliant stars in the clear skies directly above us. There's something odd about being on a summit, in the dark, in January, wearing only base layers, and being incredibly comfortable. It just shouldn't be, but it was.
Now we turned to the descent, which I was dreading because my right foot had been bothering me all day. It went better than I expected, and we made it down from the summit in about an hour. Cross that one off the books!
Next, we went to check out this restaurant called Tell's on 49, because I'd seen it many times before and wanted to check it out. Turns out, it's fine dining, the humor of which was not lost on me, since we walked in wearing the same layers we had been hiking in. The food was excellent, as was the wine. I'll be making a return trip there for sure.
I finally got home at 10:45, such a long day, but worth it just for the views.
Totals for the day:
Mileage/time: 13.2 miles, 5800 feet of gain, book time of 9:30, actual time of 9:40