Gonzos and the Whites
The end of summer, the beginning of fall, and the Gonzos heading south to crawl around the White Mountains has become synonymous.
Led by the intrepid PactItIn/PackItOut, 7 veterens and a couple newbies ventured to THE Farm in Franconia to feast on gourmet meals and enjoy the splendour of 5 day hikes in various areas of the White Mountain Forest, mostly over trails new to the participants.
First the meals---scrumpdillietious. Is it a coincidence that we were staying in the PIE Alley section of THE Farm?
-On the first night we filled our bellies with the Sungod's basic Beef Stew, with lots of tatoes, turnips, and carrots.
-Scrounger blessed us the 2nd night with his famous Super Bowl Chili.
-For the 3rd nights repast, THE Sungod noticed there was still half a cauldron of beef stew. What an opportunity for experimentation. Add 2 pounds of chicken, a couple cans of coconut milk, more tomatoes, and a curry blend and we had a feast that Sarita Earp (Satisfaction Feast) would be proud to serve.
-For our last night in New Hampshire it was time for some carbohydrate loading and Fireball presented a spaghetti platter to die for.
Not only the level of the food requires noting, but the 'communal' cost of $6.00 per person, per meal, is always amazing.
Last year when we were hiking our 4 favourite hikes, Wayne noted we should come back and spend the 4 days hiking new venues, or at least ones less travelled. What a tremendous idea.
Flume Slide Trail:
-The first 2.6 miles was a relaxing climb up to the base of the slide, taking about 1 1/2 hours. The last .6 miles took the antelopes (Kirsten and Balcolm) a full hour, the slower hikers struggled for 2 hours to climb, scratch, crawl, bushwack, 6 feet up, slide 3 feet back, over the steep shale, slabs of the slide.
-Once on the 4,328 foot summit, it was across the Franconia Ridge to the 4,459 foot summit of Liberty and back down the Liberty Spring trail to the waiting vehicles. This was a very full day. As the Dipper was heard to quote, "That was my second hike up the Flume--1st and last."
-Kirsten and Balcolm went for a run.
Arethusa Falls Trail
-What a pleasant hike after the body beater yesterday.
-One hour, steady climb, to the gourgeous 200 foot falls, lay around an hour taking in the ambience, then off to climb some more over the Frankenstein Cliff Trail for an hour, before dropping steeply down toward the base.
-The look off half way down was stunning, vertical drop of 1,000 feet, looking down the bottom part of the Franconia Notch, similar to Mount Willard view.
-We then continued down 'steeply', to the base, walked the railway trestle for a bit, and home.
-Murphy and Banks went for a run.
Tuckerman Ravine/Boot Spur Trail
-Banks, Vail, Murphy, Balcolm, and Mitchelsx2 hiked up the much travelled Tuckerman Ravine trail, THE vertical, steep, rocky, Headwall to the Tableland (5,000 feet) at the base of Washington, and back to Pinkham Notch via Boot Spurr.
-The views of the entire Washington Valley and the Tuckerman Ravine are just tremendous.
Crawford Path/Davis Path/Lakes of the Cloud
-THE Sungod temporarily retrieved his old trail name of Tour Guide, and took a 'drive' to the summit of Washington with Ohlsson and Stevens, and wondered down the 1,600 feet from the top to Lakes of the Cloud AMC hut and then toured around the Tableland, Mount Munroe, and a bit of the Westside Trail. Views of the Presidential Range (Clay, Madison, Adams etc) were astounding on this sunny afternoon.
-Neat side story--THE Sungod met an old hiker, he and Murphy had met in 2000. At that time he was building a memorial on Lincoln to remember a buddy, who with a terminal disease, climbed to the Franconia Ridge in January with no gear, and just spent the night on the summit. He was found dead the next day. Sad but happy talk.
-Wednesday morning and half our group headed home to their kennels while Murphy, Duffy, Vail, and Banks stayed for one more hike--and it was a winner.
-A middle of the road climb as far as difficulty, the views from the top of this 4,340 foot summit of the lower Kangamangous area was as stunnign a view as we have ever seen. We decided it absolutely mandatory that we hike this general are at least a couple days next year.-We met a couple guys, including Joe Marine who are attempting to do all the 48 New Hampshire 4,000 foot peaks in every month of the year. Animals of the mountains.
Out of the woods by 2:00pm, it was into the car and beat it for Bangor, 4 hours away.
Register at the Econolodge, over to the Ground Round for a steak, back to bed (Yankeees win, Yankees win), up at 6:00am and home in our kennels mid afternoon.