Jeff, Richard and I headed to Franconia Notch on a relatively warm November day to ascend a few New Hampshire 200 Highest peaks. We also redlined a couple of trails and hit Mount Lafayette because it was in between. Big Bickford Mountain and Eagle Cliff didn’t have trails and were about as opposite as bushwhacks could be. Big Bickford was a fairly level and wide open bushwhack. While Eagle Cliff was shorter, it was much thicker and basically a cliff scramble in places. Due to mashed potato-like snow underfoot, the trip took longer than expected, and we finished the bushwhack and hike out by headlamp.
Left car at Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway parking lot on Tramway Drive, Franconia, NH
Started at Skookumchuck Trail parking off Route 3 in Franconia, NH
Hiked up Skookumchuck Trail to point at level with col between trail and Big Bickford Mountain
Bushwhacked north to Big Bickford Mountain and back
Continued left on Skookumchuck Trail to intersection with Garfield Ridge Trail
Turn right on Garfield Ridge Trail to Mount Lafayette summit
Turn right on Greenleaf Trail to gap at Eagle Cliff
Bushwhacked west to Eagle Cliff and back
Turn right on Greenleaf Trail and continued to trailhead near Tramway Drive
Date: 12 December 2020 Distance: 12.2 miles Moving Time: 06:59 Pace: 34:17/mile Elevation Gain: 4628′
Jeff and I took advantage of a mid-November day with no snow on the ground to do some Tracing White Mountains Trails. We headed to the Dry River Wilderness where I traced 4 trails, got Mount Isolation for the 4th time on my Grid, and we bushwhacked South Engine Hill, adding it to our New Hampshire 200 Highest lists.
If you reproduce the bushwhack I highly suggest taking our western return route, it was wide open birch glade, while our more eastern route was thick spruce. head beyond the Engine Hill height of land and down to 3050′, head south until you are west of the peak and just climb uphill to the semi-clear summit.
Left car at Rocky Branch South Trailhead on Jericho Road, Glen, NH
Started at Rocky Brach North Trailhead of Pinkham Notch Road, Jackson, NH
Hiked up Rocky Branch Trail – North to height of land near Engine Hill
Bushwhacked south to South Engine Hill and back
Continued left on Rocky Branch Trail – North to intersection with Isolation Trail – East
Right on Isolation Trail – East to intersection with Davis Path
Left on Davis Path to intersection with Mount Isolation Spur
Right up Mount Isolation Spur to Mount Isolation and back to Davis Path
Left on Davis Path to intersection with Isolation Trail – East
Right on Isolation Trail – East to intersection with Rocky Branch Trail – South
Straight on Rocky Branch Trail – South to intersection with Stairs Col Trail
Right on Stairs Col Trail to intersection with Davis Path and back to Rocky Branch Trail – South
Right on Rocky Branch Trail – South to Rocky Branch South Trailhead
Date: 15 November 2020 Distance: 23.4 miles Moving Time: 09:03 Pace: 23:15/mile Elevation Gain: 5145′
2017 has come and gone and now is the time to reflect on all that was accomplished or not. This year was definitely one of the more exciting years for me adventure-wise. But, looking back on my goals from the end of last year I’ve noticed that this year also appeared to be a transition year for me. More on that in a bit. First, here’s a rundown of my goals for the year and whether or not I attained them:
2017 was a crazy year for me, so it was really hard to select just 10 photographs. While I was trying to showcase a variety of locations, all of the photos came from my family’s month of touring the National Parks and from my 10-day hike of the John Muir Trail. I haven’t blogged about these adventures yet, so look forward to reading those posts in 2018.
#10 – Fly fishing in Lyell Canyon
Yosemite National Park, California
A friend of mine is big into fly fishing and was pumped to bring his rod with him on our John Muir Trail hike in August. We didn’t stop to fish very often, but on day four of the hike we took a break so he could try for some Brook Trout in the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. I caught him mid-cast in this photo. The river was crystal clear and in the background the snow-covered mountains that form the border between Yosemite National Park and Ansel Adams Wilderness can be seen. Overhead storm clouds were gathering which would rain on our lunch.
2016 has come and gone and now is the time to reflect on all that was accomplished or not. I think that many would agree that it was a rough year with all of the musician and celebrity deaths, Brexit, the US election, the war in Syria, the Keystone XL pipeline standoff, and the proposed motel near the summit of Mount Washington. But for me (outside of celebrities, politics and global disaster) it was a pretty good year. Here’s a rundown of my goals for the year and whether or not I attained them:
Here is a list of my favorite photos from 2016. Last year I posted about my 10 favorite Instagram photos of 2015 because I had photo storage issues. This year I made a return to carrying my DSLR on hikes and captured some shots that do a good job of summing up my year of wandering. A bunch of these are from hikes I haven’t blogged about yet, so look forward to reading those posts in early 2017.
#10 – Great Range Traverse, Adirondacks
A couple of friends and I spent three days traversing the High Range in the Adirondacks in mid-September. This photo was taken of me on the northern edge of The Gothics just before the cable climb down to the col between it and Saddleback Mountain. The large slide in the background is Basin Mountain. These three mountains, despite their intense ups and downs, were my favorite part of the trip.
In September 2016 I hiked Terrace Mountain, Mount Weeks and Middle Weeks. The goal was to hit Mount Weeks for my New England Hundred Highest list and to do some White Mountains Tracing, mainly to get the section of the Kilkenny Ridge Trail between Middle Weeks and Bunnel Notch Trail. I also had a side goal of bushwhacking to a knob to the east of Mount Weeks, if I had the time.
I started and ended this hike from the small parking lot at the head of York Pond Trail. I headed up Bunnel Notch Trail to the junction with Kilkenny Ridge Trail and then headed south toward Terrace Mountain. I took the small spur trail to Terrace Mountain summit and continued southeast to Mount Weeks and Middle Weeks. I returned to Mount Weeks and attempted a bushwhack, returned to the trail and then completed the loop back to my car via York Pond Trail. The hike was about 13 miles with 4600′ elevation gain and took me just under 8 hours to complete.
Map of hike
I got to the parking lot at the head of York Pond Trail at 8:50 am. There were a few cars in the small lot, so I parked along the road out of the flow of traffic. There was a group gathered at the trail head preparing to hike up to Cabot Cabin for the night.
Each fall a couple of friends and I try to take a long weekend to do some backcountry hiking and camping. In 2016 we planned a multi-day hike in the Great Range in the Adirondacks in New York. For me, this was the start of a new peak list. Having recently finished the New England 4000 Footers, I was looking forward to the Adirondacks 46 High Peaks. So, we took a Thursday and Friday off and headed to New York.
For this hike we parked at Garden, hiked up to The Brothers, Big Slide Mountain and Yard Mountain, hiked down to Johns Brooks Lodge and then halfway up to the Wolfjaws to camp at Wolf Jaw campsite. On Friday we hiked up to the Great Range and traversed Lower Wolfjaw, Upper Wolfjaw, Armstrong Mountain, The Gothics, Saddleback Mountain, and Basin Mountain and then hiked down to Slant Rock campsite. On Saturday we hiked up to Little Haystack and Mount Haystack before heading back to Garden Parking, following the valley out. The hike was over 24 miles and included 10,000 feet of elevation gain.
It was a five hour drive from where we lived to Keene Valley, New York, so we started in the dark on Thursday morning. We needed to rent a bear canisters so we stopped at The Mountaineer, an outdoors equipment shop, for the canister and some other supplies. I spilled my coffee down the front of my shirt on the drive, so I picked up a new shirt so I wouldn’t smell like food in bear country.
For this hike I parked at the lot across the street from the Inn at Long Trail on Route 4 in Killington, Vermont. I hiked up the Sherburne Pass Trail to Pico Camp where I took the spur trail to the summit of Pico Peak. I returned to Sherburne Pass Trail and continued south on it until the junction with the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail. I followed this trail south until Cooper Lodge shelter where I took the spur trail to the summit of Killington Peak. I returned using the same trails but bypassed the Pico Peak spur trail.
This hike was twelve and a half miles long, included 3500 feet of elevation gain and took me six and a quarter hours to complete.
We began and finished from the Marston Trail parking area off Park Tote Road in Baxter State Park, about 13 miles north of the park’s south entrance. We hiked Marston Trail to the junction with Mount Coe Trail. We headed north on Marston Trail around Teardrop Pond to the junction with North Brother Trail. We followed North Brother Trail to the summit of North Brother and returned the way we came.
The hike totaled 9 miles with 3000 feet of elevation gain and took us just under 5 and a half hours to complete.