Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Moose in June!

By the looks of our calendars it is almost the official start to summer. I am more than ready to get back into my hiking without having to postpone or having to keep making rain dates!

Yesterday was suppose to be the day where almost 30 people from mutual Facebook 4k footer groups would meet on the summit of Moosilauke. Many of us already having climbed this mountain and some who have never. With my unfortunate luck lately, my off weeks have consisted of rain, and lots of it. The best idea was to just reschedule for the better of the days. It was looking as if Sunday June 9th was it. 

FIRST BRIDGE CROSSING
I invited 2 of my friends to tag along on this hike with me. One who had never done it before and he needed to knock it off his list and another friend who just moved north who I haven't seen in a few months! 

GREATEST TRAIL SIGN
We hit the Beaver Brook Trail a little after 8:00am. I had only done Glencliff this past winter. When I looked at this trail on the map and I sighed that I agreed to go up the HARDEST trail on the mountain. I later took that sigh back. However, After crossing the first bridge we came upon our first sign. I'm not sure about anyone else but I love signs. Whether they are right at the beginning of a hike, middle, or at the end. I enjoy the information that is given on them even if it has nothing to do with trail information. Well the first sign was in sight and it read "THIS TRAIL IS EXTREMELY TOUGH. IF YOU LACK EXPERIENCE PLEASE USE ANOTHER TRAIL. TAKE SPECIAL CARE AT THE CASCADES TO AVOID TRAGIC RESULTS." I laughed and thought to myself, wow if only more places in the whites told it like it is. This was the greatest sign by far that I have ever encountered on any trail.


As the trio proceeded forward along the cascade and up I carefully and respectfully saw a great photo opportunity next to the falls! I have to admit the waterfalls on this trail were absolutely beautiful. the trail itself was very wet and slippery. I am assuming that is from both the rain and falls. Not to mention as we trekked upward toward the summit that sign was no joke in some places. You must take this hike seriously especially when in the conditions we had today. To further prove the sign was no joke, we continued up the trail a little further only to find man made steps built right into the rock and handle bars to assist you. These were built on flat slippery slabs of rock face.

THE ASSISTANT BAR
MAN MADE STEPS
Carefully we continued to our next destination. Considering how steep it was, I could start to feel it in my legs and my body screaming for me to refuel. My stomach screeching the words "feed me". I pulled out the map and noticed we were about a half mile from the Beaver Shelter and thought that would be a good stopping point for some food and water and a nice place to sit. 
THE TRIO MISSING OUR QUAD
After enjoying a quick bite to eat and checking out all the unique things about this shelter (including the poop house) haha we headed back to the trail. 

THE THRONE OR AS I CALL IT (POOP HOUSE)

Just a little further up we finally came to the junction and the trail finally flattens out to a more steady climb for the rest of the 1.9 miles up to the summit. The next sign after this one said .4 miles to the summit & with that it was the final push. Up and out of the trees we came. WOW, I am pretty sure I started at the base of Moosilauke but somehow ended up on top of Mount Washington? The wind was blowing at a decent speed and the fog was completely socking us in. My tank top and capri pants suddenly were not doing the weather justice. The three of us booked it to the summit as fast as we could and quickly dropped our packs and layered up!

AT THE SUMMIT
We quickly found a spot out of the direction of the wind and took out our lunches! Oddly enough I opted out on a PB&J this time around. Weird I know? Instead I packed myself an egg salad sandwich, and I have to admit it tasted so unbelievably good. So good, I wished I had a second one. I am always looking for new and better things to eat on trail. Especially in summer when it gets to be very warm for hours on trail.

We quickly took the summit photos and decided it would be best to head down. As we finished up and I turned around I noticed a friend from the group and a hiker pal of mine appear to my left, Mike Cherim aka NHTRAMPER. I was hoping to see the rest of the groups especially the one coming up Beaver Brook because we went down that way. Somehow we missed each other guys? I hope that everyone still enjoyed hiking today even though it didn't quite end up being the social gathering we hoped for. Either way I hope to see you all on trail some day!!

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**Some words of wisdom to the few who may come across this blog that are not avid hikers.**

1. As I hiked down with my 2 partners, we were all very concentrated on the wet steep and slippery slabs of rocks we had to walk over. In the mean time we passed SEVERAL "hikers" At least a dozen or so. All but maybe a few who asked the same question, "How far until we get to the summit?" 

**My Thoughts: every once in a while this thought runs through my head as well. Typically, if I start to think that and start to think it often enough to want to ask a person coming down, I rethink that decision and stop for a moment to catch my breathe & take a look at my map. Based on my experience, I typically will think this question when I am just exhausted and the hike feels never ending. This means you're body needs a break and you are pushing it to limits it's never gone before. The smartest thing to do, in my opinion, is to stop, eat, check out the map, and then you will realize the distance in which you have to go to get there and pace yourself based on your knowledge. 
Also, you should be frequently looking at your map anyways just to have an idea where you are on the trail and any POI you may want to look for. Just as I stated in a previous blog, I don't EVER step foot on trail without basically memorizing my map..**

2. Not only was the above stated question asked several times to us on the way down, but here are some other comments that were made and/or things I observed...
"I am out of shape & my g.f has the backpack."
sneakers & jean short shorts with a beautiful blue blouse and necklace
a few with no backpacks and were in shorts & a tank top.

**My Thoughts: I understand that some people want to just get out and enjoy the day. I get the want to be standing on top of a mountain. I understand the joy that comes out of the accomplishment of making it all the way up. What I don't understand  is why some people will never just do their homework or come prepared to do such extreme challenges. Everyone who steps foot on trail should be carrying his/her own pack if you are not hiking with your parents who may be carrying it for you. This is a problem I see everyday. Working on Mount Washington I see it more than I ever want to see. It's almost acceptable on Mount Washington because it is a tourist trap. Sometimes it's not their fault that MW is calling them to make money without the knowledge of what is actually happening up there at the moment. However, when I am hiking in the mountains, any mountains, it always gets me when I see as many people as I did today. Hiking without any knowledge of how dangerous this fun activity can be. I'm not a perfect hiker, but I make sure I am always prepared for the worst case scenario.**

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Hike Safe & Keep on Trekking!


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