Breaking Trail on the Cannonballs…

Friday Night – 11/12/12

First Night: 1.54 Miles & 1056 ft vert

This past weekend Gus and I packed up and headed to Lonesome Lake Hut on a frosty 10-15 degree night.  We made the quick one hour hike to the Hut mostly in the dark with our headlamps off and the nearly full moon lighting the way off the 4-5 inches of fresh snow from the night before.

Overnight Cannonballs Loop

Overnight Cannonballs Loop

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Categories: 4000 Footer, Camping, Hiking Camping Gear, Mountains, New Hampshire, Trail Report | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tom Field Wiley Loop + Two Nights at Ethan Pond…

Friday, 10/26/2012
Day One: 2.74 Miles & 1516 feet vert

After a Kinsman Ridge Traverse trip fell apart last minute, Gus LT and I decided to try a Tom Field Wiley Loop out of a lack of a car spot.  I’m positive these peaks are rarely done as a loop which made it even more enticing; I’m starting to develop a habit of hiking weird loops.

Ethan Pond Loop

Willey Field Tom Loop from Ethan Pond

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Categories: 4000 Footer, Camping, Mountains, New Hampshire, Photography, Trail Report, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Night “Semi” Pemi Loop…

July 20th – 22nd, 2012

Day One:  8.2 miles & 1419 feet of vert

With an exceptional weather window, a stoked D Mak and I bounced out of work early on Friday and blasted off to Lincoln to bust out a two day Half Pemi Loop variation.  Starting off on the Pemi East Side Trail at exactly 4:20 pm, we cruised through an empty Franconia Brook Campsite and crossed the East Branch Pemi River which was the lowest I’ve seen it thus far.  Since we had done a Bonds/Twins Loop on our last trip, we decided to do this variation of a Pemi Loop instead over 2 nights to accomplish a few things, namely visiting 13 Falls Tentsite again, bag Galehead & Liberty which I was missing for my NH48, hit a few small sections of AT I needed for my NH section, and to backpack all of them for my 48 4000 footer Backpack list which I recently decided is my new goal. When I sat down and looked at the map, I realized that doing this trip would put my backpacked peaks within a few of my total peaks.

We set a fast pace up the Franconia Brook Trail with the sun beaming through the trees and mosquitoes nipping at our heals, arriving at 13 Falls Campsite 8.1 flat miles later as the sun began dropping behind the ridge to the West.  Setting up my new Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker Asym Zip Hammock for the first time proved to be a bit of a pain since I suck at knots.  We had a late dinner in the dark, went and hiked the falls, sipped some Knob Creek, and watched some shooting stars before turning in.

Day Two:  14.1 miles – 6206 ft vert gained – 4495 ft vert lost

The next morning we got a late start after scoping out all the falls.  They were sadly about a quarter of the volume of water as my last trip there 7/4/2011.

13 Falls Water Comparison

13 Falls Water Comparison Year Over Year

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Categories: 4000 Footer, Hiking Camping Gear, Mountains, New Hampshire, Waterfalls | 1 Comment

Twins, Bonds, Zealand, Hale Overnight Loop…

I got my buddies D. Mak and “Gus Longtrail” to join me on a backpacking trip this past weekend.  We cruised up to Hancock Campground Friday after work and organized our packs over some IPAs and a fire in surprising cold 35 degree temps.  The low forecasted for Lincoln was high 40s but Hancock is ridiculously cold from its low altitude and proximity to the river.
Hancock Campground

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Categories: 4000 Footer, New Hampshire, Photography, Waterfalls | 1 Comment

Southern Presidentials + Isolation Overnight – 3/31 – 4/1/2012

This past weekend I joined an AMC led trip for my first trip in the Presidentials to bag four peaks.  Meeting at Crawford Notch at 9:15am Saturday, the leader decided to reverse the original route to take advantage of the weather as snow was predicted for Sunday.  After car dropping at Rocky Branch Trailhead at Rt. 16, we returned to the Highland Center and began our six person trek on the Crawford Path at 11pm.  The temperature quickly rose to near 40 degrees and the 3 or so inches of snow that had fallen the night before began to melt off the trees.  We set a slow but steady pace up to Pierce and were greeted with blue bird skies and a great view of the path ahead of us.

The Presidential Range from Mt.Pierce

The Presidential Range from Mt.Pierce

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Categories: 4000 Footer, Camping, Mountains, New Hampshire, Photography, Trail Report, Trip Report, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Bonds: Solo In & Out and Overnight at Guyot Campsite…

Bondcliff & West Bond (L to R)

Bondcliff & West Bond (L to R)

It’s always difficult to decide which peaks to bag as I have a large amount left.  With this hike however, I picked peaks that have been very highly recommended to me, the three peaks that make up the “Bonds”.  This also let me stay within the Pemigewasset Wilderness, my go-to White Mountains area and a place I plan on redlining.  One of the things I love about the Pemi is the remoteness of some of it yet it is still close to 93 and a quick hop back to civilization when you get out.  It also has some great camping options if you backpack. On Friday night, I got the last walk-in spot at Hancock Campground, and posted up for the night.  I knew that the area would be busy due to “Flags on the 48”; a tribute to those lost on 9/11 where hikers sign up to climb each of the 48 4,000 footers with a flag and raise it from 12-2pm.
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Categories: 4000 Footer, Camping, Mountains, New Hampshire, Photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

North & South Kinsmans via Lonesome Lake & Fishin Jimmy Trails…

After reading and planning hiking trips all winter, I finally tore myself away from the city for a night to bag some new peaks.  I decided to head up to Lafayette Campground Friday night and do a North & South Kinsman plus Cannon Mountain loop on Saturday.  The 100ish site campground was entirely empty when I arrived so I picked out a choice spot on the little river that runs through it.  This is a top campsite for access to trails, with many that start here.  Its open year round but they don’t turn the water on until May 19th or 20th so before that its pretty deserted.  If you can handle the cold, might be fun to ski/ride Cannon and stay here.

Lonesome Lake

Lonesome Lake

Due to a chance of rain and shivering to death all night by the river in new untested gear, I decided to cut my aspired 16 mile trek down the morning of and I started on Lonesome Lake Trail instead of Pemi Trail to Cascade Basin.  I’ve heard Lonesome Lake is an extremely popular destination for day hikers and I can see why.  A quick 1.2 mile trudge uphill to a great lake loop doable for small kids and fat people.

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Categories: 4000 Footer, Camping, Mountains, New Hampshire, Photography, Trail Report, Trip Report | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mt. Flume via Osseo Trail + Franconia Falls…

This September, I decided to hike Mt.Flume (4328 ft.) as my first 4000 footer due to the trailhead being 100 yards down the road from Hancock Campground on the Kancamangus Highway where I stayed.  I didn’t actually do any research on this peak as I had planned on doing Mt. Lafayette, but it was closer and smaller and a better peak to start with.

The trail starts at the Lincoln Woods Visitor Center, a two minute drive from Hancock. A suspension Bridge crossing the East Branch Pemigewasset Rivier and runs 1.4 miles on the Linclon Woods Trail, a nice flat and wide trail running parallel to the river.  Lots of people were out enjoying the sunny early fall weather and light foliage, many riding bikes.  The trail turns left at a brook and heads up the Osseo Trail.  The actual peak is out of your site the entire time but you can view Potash Knob (2684 ft.) and Whaleback Mountain (3586 ft.) most of the way up this time of year.  This was a bit intimidating for a first time climber as Mt. Flume is 1k feet higher and Whaleback which loomed menacingly tall.

Near Osseo and Lincoln Woods Trail Intersection

Mt. Whaleback from Osseo Trail

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Categories: 4000 Footer, Camping, Mountains, New Hampshire, Waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Review: Black Diamond Trail Shock Trekking Poles…

These are the first poles I ever bought or even tried. Next to getting hydraulic Cyborg legs these are the best thing for hiking.  Ever. They instantly turned me into a four legged mountain goat.

Took them on a 7 mile fastpack initially, and I was flying down wet rocky trails faster than I could free fall. These give you the balance and confidence to make some INSANE steps and jumps you would have never tried without them!  If your into crazy technical hiking  these are must haves.  I also have a questionable ankle that always gets sore and this negated that completely.  Also great for skirting around a large muddy or wet section of trail and for water crossings.

Upper body workout is impressive as well, I read they take 25% of the work off of your legs.  Spreading out the exertion kept me from taking breaks every 20 minutes. The shock absorption is a nice bonus, grips are great. On downhills I was putting 20-30 lbs of pressure on each pole and they held it like champs. Putting that much weight on them GREATLY diminishes leg impact. Pairing them with my Osprey Aether (60) with its pole storage straps made coverting to scrambling or walking flats super fast.

Some tips I picked up: Use the wrist tethers correctly and spread your weight through your wrist as well as your hand; you can make your lead pole longer than the other; sometimes using one pole is better than both; alternating your leg and pole arm on hills is clutch – try to maintain that form and you will crush uphills and get a serious workout.

If you are on the fence with a pole purchase ask yourself this: Would you go skiing without poles?  Its really the exact same difference.  Also if you go hiking with a friend that doesn’t have poles or good gear, letting them use one will greatly improve the odds of them hiking with you again.

Categories: Hiking Camping Gear, Review | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: Red by Burton, Mutiny II Snow Helmet…

The RED Mutiny II Helmet is my first helmet and I’m glad I decided to invest in one as I’ve been fighting it for years. I wear a Marmot DriClime helmet liner with it, the only time I didn’t, I got really sweaty and cold, the helmet liner is a nice insulator.

I have a big dome and this was one of the best fitting XL helmets I tried on. The brim style means it doesn’t ventilate like others do but it still has interior vents that work good enough.  Also no holes in the exterior to get packed with snow if you crash or let in water if its raining or snowing.  This helmet saved my ass (and goggles, just drop your head) in the glades when branches and sticks are clawing at your skull and I was in the glades a lot this year.

Best part about this (and most helmets) is the headphones in the earpads. I can listen to my music softly on the chair and conversate or blast it on the ride down. I can fit this helmet in the nose end of my snowboard bag for easy travelling also.  I pack my goggles inside them so they won’t get crushed.

The ear pieces also are removable for either warm spring skiing or cold weather mountain biking.  I biked with it this winter and it worked great without the ear muffs.

UPDATE:  I’ve had this helmet for a few years now and its saved my life probably 5-6 times where I’ve smashed really hard off either ice or hardpack snow.  I’m considering upgrading as I recently tried on a few pair of Smith helmets like the Smith Variant Brim and found them to be much nicer and more comfortable with better ventilation options.  A helmet is one piece of gear that is worth spending on as a cheap one won’t last you as long as you think and its the one piece of gear that is saving your life.

Categories: Mountains, Review, Snowboarding, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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