The GONZO motto that no event will ever be cancelled, no matter sleat, rain, snow, sun, pest, pestulance, or darkness, was put to the test this
weekend in New Hampshire. Forthcoming in the immediate future will be articles on their respective parts of the trip from our most recent Gonzo
additions, Maureen "Low Maintainance" McLaughlin and Dave "Heavy Foot" Longard.
As an overview:
At 4:00 am Friday,the rented GONZO MOBILE pulled away from VIKING's house with Fireball, Scrounger (formally 1K2goFO), Dunker,
Dipper,VIKING, Sungod, and Low Maintainance following the well established routine, breakfast at Sussex, lunch in Bangor(after a visit to
Saucony outlet and Stephen King's house), onto North Conway to tour EMS and LL Bean outlets, across the Kangamangous(marvelling over
the snow storm on a previous bike trip) up the I-93 to Lafayette trailhead.
During the late afternoon, as we got closer to the mountains, the weather started to look shakey, to foggy, to mist, to rain. Talk of Parker's Cabin
and the infamous "jacuzzi" was propositioned and there were a couple nodding heads. Not wanting to do anything stupid, not that it has stopped
us on other occasions, various options were formulated. The one definite comment came from the 2 Bruces-"We came to camp on the mountain
and we are going to put on our packs and start up the mountain, how far we go will be discussed as we climb and how hard it rains"-Memories
of Gros Morn started to fill my head.
We arrived at the trail head at 6:50 pm, 10 minutes ahead of schedule to find Mae West and Dr. Mime, a couple of our international, out of
country friends from Quebec, in the parking lot, houses on their backs and ready to climb. That settled everyone that had other ideas, we were
As we started to get our gear together, we were waiting for a couple new Gonzo's, Heavy Foot and his daughter Beth, who had left Halifax
Thursday on a pre-school shopping trip. We are fast learning that having a number ex telephone people as Gonzos has not improved our
communication expertise, with all vehicles having cell phones, yet we still made no contacts. Memories of Lunenberg Relay, Remembrance Day
KEJI run etc. Maybe we should try smoke signals.
At 7:30 pm Viking, Low Maintainance, Dipper and Dunker started up the Old Bridle Path a 4 mile climb to the summit of Lafayette. It was a
beautiful night, foggy, dark, no moon in sight, but not raining (yet). Fireball and Scrounger decided to stay at basecamp, to make a summit
attempt (am I sounding as artistic as Jon Krauker?) in the morning. A little after 8:00 Sungod, Mae West, Dr. Mime, Heavy Foot, and Beth (who
finally ran out of money in Freeport and put in their appearance) started their journey up. It was now raining and then not. We agreed we would
go at least to the Greenleaf Hut at 4000 feet before we would set up camp.
The rule of no lights on a full moon hike was broken around 9:00 when you could see the ground--full moon + fog + clouds=dark. Out with the
mag lights. Things went really well, not many views as we crossed the ridges which was too bad, but we did see the Franconia Ridge sillouette a
few times and the moon poked it's head out once and we got all excited. Going up through the "Agonies" two fairly vertical 50' sections of slick
rock was touchy with the wet weather and we had to be careful.-Remember the "Agonies" Betty?"
As we were getting near the hut we came across Dunker, who had fallen a bit behind the others and whose light was failing-no spare
batteries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, and was snug as a bug with a well set up tarp. It should be noted that he did not break the rule of being closer than 1/4 mile
of a hut but he missed out on the rule of setting up camp at least 200 yds from trails---He was on the trail and we had to walk over his tarp and
through his bedroom. We said we are going to set up past the hut and we would see him the morning. We left him to his personal Blair Witch
experience. He wasn't sure where the others were but I assumed they had gone on to the summit, 1.1 miles straight up from the hut.
We arrived, after 3 hours and 40 minutes at a very small, and fairly flat spot just past the hut and set up our tarp/tent sytems, settling down for a
"quiet" night of listening to the fog.
In the morning we went back to the hut to get water and drooled over the "BIG" breakfast he hutters were eating. Scrounger, who left base camp
at 5:30 am, slack packing it with bumbag ( bit quicker than the rest of us overnighters with our 30+ pound loads) and water went cruising by to
catch the others somwhere on the ridge.
The morning was still foggy, misty etc.etc. as we started up the last mile, summiting 45 minutes later. We hunkered down in the basement shell
of the old building until our teams was all on top, after a snack, prepared to head across Franconia Ridge. As we were starting to move the wind
came up and we were in the middle of heavy horizontal rain. We immediately got out of the wind to wait out the weather. After a number of
minutes we were starting to get cold and had to start moving, the decision being to go across the open exposed ridge, over Mount Lincoln to
Haystack, for 2 miles, or head back down to the hut. The right choice was to get out of the weather and not test nature. We went down to the
hut, socialised with the caretakers and fellow hikers and then headed back down the "Agonies" with a number of great views of the upper ridge,
the ravines, Cannon Mountain, and Franconia Notch.
Arriving at the trailhead at 2:00pm we waited until 4:00, when the others came out of the woods. They had crossed the ridge to Lincoln,
Haystack, Liberty, and Flume Mountains, before comeing down Liberty Spring Trail--16 miles inclucing the 3 miles from their trailhead to Bridle
With happy hearts, and beaten up bodies, we again followed routine--drive to Bangor, 7 people per room at TwinCities Motel, team dinner, on
the road at six, breakfast at Calais, lunch at Sackville Wendy's and home at 3:30.
Note the rooms at TwinCities are now 65++ dollars at par, up from 47. Could be the season but all GONZOS should be checking out for better
palce to stay. This is not to say that $70 divided by 7, 8, or 9 people is not a bad deal.
Cheers to all, wish you were there, it was a "HOOT"
The Sun god
"If it can't be done, it doesn't exist."