Sunday, June 16, 2013

Huntington Ravine 6/15/13

Working title: Praise be to the yeast, the hops, and the malty goodness

Peak: None

Trails: Tuckerman Ravine Trail, Huntington Ravine Trail, Alpine Garden Trail, Lion Head Trail

Mileage/time: 7.8 miles, 3691 feet of gain, book time of 5:46, actual time of 7:26

Having hiked Mt. Washington on Thursday, it appeared to be time to give it another go. This one had been some time in the planning, with the Random Group of Hikers, and I can't say it went off without a hitch. But off it went. I had too much fun on Friday night, cooking dinner, having wine, and staying up just past midnight. Four hours of restless sleep later, with some worry about my left knee, I awoke, eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep, and prepared myself. Somehow, I was in the enviable position of not having to drive (at least the whole way), which believe me, NEVER happens! I met up with Brenda in Standish at 6:15, and we blasted north, arriving far, far too early, and parking far too far away. No worries, we prepared ourselves, and I set myself up, in what I thought was a visible position to meet up with the rest of the group.

I got bored whilst waiting...
Once all those were going to show up, well, showed up, we waited a few minutes more, and I signed us in. I recall uttering the phrase, "let's slay this thing", as the eight of us started up the trail. Almost immediately, the group split up, faster folks out front, and slower folks (obviously) in back. We ended up regrouping at the Huntington Ravine Trail junction, 1.4 miles up from Pinkham. Cascades and flowers greeted us as we rolled through this section, along with a few stream crossings.

Here's where pace disparity became apparent as well, with some of the group being much faster than the others. Ideally, I would have liked everyone to stay together. Mike and I had discussed splitting the group if differing paces were to exist, it just wasn't communicated to me during the hike. The final stream crossing on Huntington Ravine, was the last time I saw Marta or Mike. Taking up the rear with Stefanie and Pete, we climbed ever more steeply into the ravine.

Once we started climbing through the Fan, a huge boulder field littering the base of the headwall, Pete took off ahead, as he said he would (he had been looking forward to this). We ended up "rockwhacking" most of the Fan, as Mike and I should have done last time, the trail itself is more of a pain than just scrambling up the boulders. Spiders had efficiently spread webs between the rocks, and I tried to avoid disturbing them as best I could. Every once and while, I'd see Brenda, Leslie, and Pete above us.

Pinnacle Buttress
Finally came the slabs, which were thankfully dry and grippy. The first set of them can be imposing, as you need to step over a small streamlet (without getting your boots/shoes wet), then start scrambling up, following faded arrows painted on the rock. Too much fun!

Stefanie kept telling me to go ahead of her, but I knew I had a responsibility to get her to the top safely. I gave her advice on some sections, where to go and not to go. Though there were a few moments of apprehension for her, she did great, and we made the top of the ravine about an hour after starting up the slabs. I had lamented the fact that the climb last time went too fast, well, I got my wish, and spent a great majority of the day in the ravine!

The Carter Range

Boott Spur across the Alpine Garden
We regrouped with Leslie, Pete, and Brenda, all huddled around the giant cairn at the junction, and they hadn't even seen Mike, Marta, or Jeff. I'll admit that I was a bit miffed at not knowing what was happening with the rest of the group. Layering up, the rest of us decided that it would be best to skip the summit, and just go across the Alpine Garden, then down Lion Head. I managed to get off a text to Mike about our plan to descend. The Alpine Garden wasn't in full bloom (I don't believe), but there were definitely smatterings of color along the way, enough to grab my attention. Life is so fragile on such a high, exposed, plateau.

We reached Lion Head Trail, and a relatively constant stream of descending hikers. Soon we saw Jeff, who told us that they had made it to the summit, stuck around for an hour, with Samantha getting out the binoculars, and looking for our group. He couldn't keep up with Mike and Marta, who ended up doing the full hike. He descended ahead of us. We descended slowly back down to Tuckerman Ravine Trail, and then continued uneventfully on down to the visitors center. Talk of beer abound.

Mike's truck was still there when we returned, but upon our driving out of the lot, he was sitting in his truck. We told him of our plan to hit the Moat, and he said he'd join us. Once there, he apologized to us for taking off, it was really a miscommunication on both of our parts, though he did buy our first round for the trouble! All sins forgiven. That being said, the Moat Mountain Tripel is definitely my favorite beer of the moment, its deliciousness knows no bounds. A fine dinner, and a lot of laughs were had.

I learned a lot on this hike. Mostly about communication, and how important it is. It's left me considering the types of hikes I'll post when leading, as I may have bit off more than I could chew with this one. Everyone got down safe, and I'm thankful for that. Thanks to everyone for coming along, and sharing in my learnings.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. A few thoughts...
    1. A fumbled group made for a much more interesting read than a standard trip report.
    2. Awesome pics as usual.
    3. Mike should join/start a "running up the 4ks meetup."
    4. I agree that the plan to split up was a misstep. Either call it 2 groups from the beginning, or don't run ahead.
    5. I would have commented on the fb group page, but I left the group for a while as my fb account was almost 100% hiking stuff. ;)
    6. Keep writing. Your posts are great.