Hiking Moosilauke via Benton Trail in November

Two weeks ago this trail looked a little different than Saturday. I attempted Moosilauke with my dogs on the Benton trail on October 18, the day after the big snow storm, and couldn’t find a good river crossing spot with the high water running, so I turned around. 

Saturday the water was much lower and I was able to cross the river and hike to the peak.

It was a good day to be in the mountains.

Tunnel Brook trail was a nice gradual walk to the Benton Trailhead. Once we crossed the river the climb began. No big boulders and no granite slabs – it was just a nice hike. 

As we arrived at the Beaver Brook trail two families with young children came up the trail. I know that trail and it’s a tough one – good for them! We hiked for .4 and came out of the woods with a short hike above the treeline to a crowded summit. 

On Moosilauke trying to get out of the wind for a break.

As I took my phone off airplane mode I got a text message from the New York Times: Joe Biden is our 46th President. I yelled to everyone on the top the great news.

It was so windy only the people closest to us heard and cheered too. 

I could see the Kinsmans in the distance knowing I would be up there the next day. And then we headed down. We only saw one other person heading up. 

Termed the quiet side of the Moose, I opted for the Benton trail since it is the easiest trail for dogs and it turned out to be both quiet and gentle. Just shy of 10 miles, it was a great hike option. Saturday wasn’t as warm at 4,802 feet than most parts of New Hampshire however Peter wore shorts and I wore regular hiking leggings.

The dogs had a great time but are definitely tired today, Sunday. Goldies 7th 4,000 footer, and Winnie’s 20th. Now it’s on to the Kinsmans today and to accomplish my goal of 48 in my 49th year.

Hiking the Tripyramids in November

Let’s get right to it and talk about how hard the Tripyramids are if you opt for the Mount Tripyramid Loop. 

Wind.
Snow.
Ice.
A slide.
Then another slide.

I’m happy to have made it through on Sunday.

We saw a few people on the Livermore Road and no one else until the second summit. Now I know why: only crazy people would hike that loop with the conditions we had on Sunday. 

The slide was long – a hundred miles – or so it seemed. Foot placement was questionable at every step.

About halfway up the North Slide, I saw footprints going off to the left, out of the wind and ice, I took it. My hiking partner chose to go right up the slide. 

After what seemed like a lifetime, the slide ended, we were out of the wind and back into the safety of the trees. Life was good again. 

Then as we got to Middle Tripyramid we saw our first hiker. All four of us were happy to see humans. 

We continued on the loop in bliss that the remainder would be fun and delightful.

We both envisioned laughter and happiness and storytelling. Then the South Slide became steeper and longer. 

Miraculously, the wind died down, the views opened up and we were off the slide, back in the woods and then shortly, a dirt path.

The 4,000 footers are no joke these days. Mid-Winter Conditions. I say. 

Be prepared. Turn back if you feel uncomfortable and unprepared.

If it wasn’t for the fact that we were prepared, we were in great physical shape, we had food and water, we had the 10 Essentials, I would not have continued. 

Be safe out there friends. Don’t take chances. Love the one you’re with LOL. 

Three more peaks until I reach my only reachable goal in 2020. Damn you Kinsmans. Please don’t be the death of me.

Field and Willey Hike in October

For the first time in a very long time before a big hike, I slept in. I didn’t get to the trailhead until almost 10 a.m. It was perfect timing because it was a cold morning. 31 degrees according to my watch. 

As I hiked up the Avalon Trail I heard water everywhere. So many waterfalls and streams. A few others started right before and after me. The climb starts just after the first half mile and then the turn off to Mount Avalon has a lot of granite slabs. At first there they were just wet and a little slippery and then became icy and slippery. 

The icy granite faded away and there was just a great dirt trail. I headed into the snowy trees toward Mount Field and passed up Mount Avalon, which everyone said had great views. Some times when I’m hiking solo I get a bit nervous and just want to get to the summit. That was today. I brought micro spikes and hiking poles since I didn’t know what to expect. 

I passed a few hikers heading down and they said microspikes weren’t needed so it made me feel better. As we approached Field there were some great views between the trees and once I got to the summit. The sun came out and just lit up the iced trees. Truly spectacular. 

I continued onto Willey on the Willey Range trail. It was a ridge that went up and down with some steep climbs ups and down but didn’t last long. I almost missed the turn off to Willey when I started to hike down. Thank goodness for the GPS map on my Garmin. That was the summit, looked around and headed back. 

The slabs were still icy on Avalon as we headed down to Crawford Notch and the Conway Scenic Railroad train was stopped at the Depot. I’ve never seen that before. 

We headed home and got back to Concord by 4 p.m. It was a good weekend of hiking in the White Mountains. Six more peaks to go to hit my goal of finishing the 4,000 footers in my 49 year. 

Kinsmans, Tripyramids, Moosilauke and Owl’s Head are all that are left. Two more weekends to get them done. I think it will happen.

Mount Cabot Hike in the rain

I hiked Mount Cabot from the Bunnell Notch trail. At the trailhead it was perfect temps around 40s. I had hiked this at this time last year with Winnie and remembered the long drive to Berlin – 2 ½ hours. Ugh. And didn’t realize until after I got home that I hiked it already in October so I couldn’t use it for my grid. Bummer

I love this trail. It’s such a nice, gradual hike that at the beginning you can see where you will end up. It’s very wooded which was good since the mist and rain started at the Kilkenny Ridge trailhead. Last year there was not much standing water and this year there was plenty of water for the dogs and I didn’t have to worry about it. Muddy, too.

The summit is an open area with no view but even if there were we were socked in. It rained pretty hard once we got there and for the first two miles back. It was good to test out all the gear to make sure it kept me warm as we head into winter. 

I do love this hike I just wish it wasn’t so far away. The dogs did great and we didn’t see any dogs. For a Saturday there weren’t too many people on the trail; we maybe saw 10.

I stayed overnight in Gorham and tomorrow is Field and Willey.

Wildcat Carter Moriah Traverse October 2020

An epic day in the White Mountains. 18 miles and 7,690 feet of elevation gain.

Our day started with Wildcat E and concluded with Mount Moriah. The peaks included:

Wildcats A, B, C, D, and E. Carter Dome, Hight, South Carter, Middle Carter, North Carter, Mount Moriah. 6 4,000 footers DONE.

The day started with a car spot and we left Pinkham Notch for Wildcat E about 8:30 a.m. We took Lost Pond Trail to Wildcat Ridge. The last time I hiked on this ridge was with my dad after a 2-day backpack in June of 1989. We had started our hike at Imp Trail and ended on Wildcat Ridge with a highway walk back to the car. I was glad that today, Ross decided to start with the Wildcats instead of end with them; and to have a car spot! 

The ridge is tough. So much climbing but I got in a zone and it was okay.

Vicky on the steeps – Wildcat Ridge

Miraculously we got through all the peaks. It was so steep and rugged. 

The highlight of this section was a rest after descending to Carter Notch. At Carter Lake we got out of the wind and soaked up the sun for a bit of a rest. The Wildcats were steep and slow. And while we didn’t have a time expectation we just knew it was going to be 18 miles and at this point we were only 4 or 5 miles in. It was going to be a long day. 

However, the weather was perfect. It never got too hot or too cold. The wind was whipping at many points along the trail but then we would get deep in the woods with no wind. 

Trail sign at Carter Lake

As we ascended Carter Dome I got into a hiking zone and we tried to make up some time.  We opted for Mount Hight and the view was the best of the day. We could see where we came from and where we had left to go. 

We hit all three Carters and were ready to be done with them so we kept moving. 

Coming down North Carter was a bitch. There I said it. I don’t want to do this trail ever again. Endless on-your-butt downhill. But we could see where we were going which included Imp and Moriah. 

We hit Mount Moriah’s southern ledges as the sun began to set and at the summit we took amazing pictures of the sun setting over the Presidentials. The Presidentials were looming all day with not a cloud in sight. 

Mount Moriah summit looking west.

We wore headlamps all the way down via Stony Brook and were thankful for the ease of the descent back to the car. It was very warm on the hike down. The wind was warm and we hiked through warm spots. It felt humid. So strange. 

We exited the trail at 9:30 p.m. to a clear sky with so many stars. After a long day like this I was thankful everyone stayed safe and healthy. We all got home, albeit very late. I got home to Concord at 11:00 pm and Vicky and Ross after midnight. 

The Wildcat Carter Moriah traverse seemed much harder than the Pemi Loop and Presidential Traverse. I feel like all the lessons learned from these longer hikes such as not carrying enough food or not having enough water were all corrected in my preparation for this day. All day long we went up and down, and repeated nearly a hundred times. Despite inconsistency in my training days the last few months I feel like I did well on this traverse. However, I don’t feel like I need to do it again anytime soon. It was an epic day on rocky terrain with wonderful hiking partners.

Highlights:

Following the Appalachian Trail
Remembering parts of this hike with my dad from 1989
Great hiking partners
Having enough food and water
The sunset on Moriah