Firstly, allow me to thank Ashley for her hospitality, for without that, these hikes wouldn't have been as feasible... especially since you got to hike exactly zero days. Thank you! Vacation began on Wednesday, and I'm glad I decided to made the most of it.
Thursday 9/11: Arethusa/Ripley Falls area redlines
Trails: Ethan Pond Trail, Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail, Frankenstein Cliff Trail, Falcon Cliff Trail, Arethusa Falls Trail, Dry River Connector, Saco River Trail, Webster Cliff Trail, roadwalks
Mileage/time: 10.6 miles, ~2760' of gain, book time of 6:40, actual time of 4:30
New redlining miles: 4.9
A less than stellar forecast, calling for showers throughout the day, led me to go for some low hanging fruit. I don't mind hiking in the rain, as long as it starts after I'm on trail. Mother nature cooperated for about 5 minutes, by not raining so I could start, then proceeded to rain on me for the remainder of the hike, with varying intensity. Things were definitely wet, but the temperatures were comfortable enough that I was hiking in shorts and a t-shirt, despite the rain. Ripley Falls and Arethusa Falls were very nice, though my outbound leg was fairly boring, though pretty, woods walking. Only a few people out and about on this soggy weekday, I mostly heard the sound of rain in the woods. Solitude is where you find it.
|Falls above Ripley Falls|
|Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail|
|Fog from Falcon Cliff|
|Saco River Trail|
I headed into Conway and hung out with Mike for a bit, before heading to Ashley's and preparing dinner. Unfortunate circumstances made her unable to hike the next day, she'd end up stacking wood all day instead. Beers and sleep commenced.
Friday 9/12: Mt. Tremont and the Sawyer lowlands
Peaks: Owl's Cliff (2920'), Mt. Tremont (3371')
Trails: Sawyer Pond Trail, Brunel Trail, Owl's Cliff Spur, Sawyer Pond Shelter Spur, Sawyer River Trail
Mileage/time: 18.3 miles, 4268' of gain, book time of 11:17, actual time of 7:55
New redlining miles: 12.7
Sans Ashley (your presence was missed!), I got up early and headed to meet up with Denise to do this loop. Starting out from Sawyer Pond Trail lot off the Kanc, you have to immediately cross the Swift River, and much like the Church Pond Trail, it's a ford, not a rock hop. Walk right through, my feet will dry! The Brunel Trail was in much better shape than I expected, though was blocked by blowdowns in a couple of spots, and was steep and eroded going up to Tremont. The morning was chilly, and that had Denise and I moving quickly, though she definitely smoked me going up Owl's Cliff and Tremont. Both Owl's Cliff and Tremont had great views, but it was cold and windy, so we didn't linger long. Way back down to the lower Sawyer Pond Trail, we started up to the pond, where we'd have a nice view up to where we'd just been. The shelter is in great shape, I'd love to spend a night here, such a cool spot. Down to Sawyer River Road, we started up Sawyer River Trail. For the most part, this seems to be a snowmobile trail, with many bridges, and more road-like sections than trail-like. The really mellow woods walk out to Denise's car was a joy.
|The Rob Brook Road portion of Brunel Trail|
|Denise rocking up Brunel Trail|
|The bulk of the Sandwich Range from Owl's Cliff|
|The Hancocks, The Captain, and Carrigain from Tremont|
|Greens Cliff and the Sawyer Ponds from Tremont|
|The Sandwich Range over Owl's Cliff|
|Owl's Cliff from Sawyer Pond|
|Cliffs on the face of Tremont|
|Tremont and Owl's Cliff|
|A trail-like section of Sawyer River Trail|
|Falls on the Swift|
After a successful detour to Lincoln to find Denise (she left her glasses in my car), I returned to Ashley's to find a bunch of wood stacked, and more to be done... but they were finished for the day. Showering up, we went out to the Shannon Door with her friend Matt, for beers and dinner. Sleep ensued not long after our return.
Saturday 9/13: The dark side of Mt. Tecumseh
Peaks: West Tecumseh (3766'), Mt. Tecumseh (4003')
Trail: Mt. Tecumseh Trail
Mileage/time: 6.2 miles, 2545' of gain, book time of 4:22, actual time of 3:02
New redlining miles: 3.1
Waking without an alarm, and leaving a thank you note, I headed toward Waterville Valley. The alternate trail approach to Mt. Tecumseh was calling. It occurred to me that I hadn't yet stood on Tecumseh in non-winter conditions, one of a few 4000-footers I can say that about. Tripoli Road was quiet, though there were already a couple other vehicles in the lot when I started up. The trail from this side is quite nice, a solid alternate approach to the slog that is the ski area side, through pretty woods, with a nice little ridgewalk in between West Tecumseh and the main summit. It was definitely a chilly morning, and the winds once up high made it more so. I passed a group of four with their dog, and had the summit to myself for about 10 minutes before they arrived. The newly (illegally) cleared summit viewpoint is far reaching, though only slightly more is in view than used to be. On my way down from the summit, I passed probably 30 people, on their way up for the Flags on the 48 event.
|Moosilauke from West Tecumseh|
|Tripyramids from Tecumseh|
I got down to an overflowed parking lot, and an extremely congested road further down at the Osceola trailhead. Back in Portland by early afternoon, to do some laundry, and prep for the impending backpacking trip!
New redlining miles: 20.7