For my son’s 9th birthday we spent the weekend in North Conway, New Hampshire at the Red Jacket Resort. The resort had an indoor water park with water slides and a wave pool that the boys could play in all day. Early Sunday morning I got up to make the short drive to Mount Chocorua to hike it for sunrise.
Mount Chocorua, one of the more difficult peaks in the White Mountains for me to pronounce, was named after a Sokosis Chief. Legend had it that the mountain’s namesake leaped from the summit to his death while cursing the surrounding land rather than being killed by the white man who was pursuing him. It is that beautifully rocky, shark-fin peak you see peaking between trees when driving from Maine toward the Kancamagus Highway.
We moved off the island in July and one of the things I was looking forward to in living on the mainland was having more flexibility for going on hikes. On a mild and clear December day I decided to go on a sunrise hike of Mount Jackson. I got up at 1:30 am, made some coffee and hit the road.
I got to the parking lot across from Elephant Head Rock at 4:10 am. It was clear, there was a slight breeze and the temperature was in the high teens/low twenties. I brought my larger pack with me as I was unsure of the snow conditions up top, though I suspected that only microspikes would be needed. I also carried my camera’s tripod and many layers as I knew I would be stationary for a while taking photos on the exposed summit.
One of my goals for 2015 was to do a Moonlight Presidential Traverse. Back in December when I started looking into moonlight traverses the two full moons that landed on the weekends were in July and August. I chose August because it was later in the summer (and I knew I would be moving in early summer), and because it was a supermoon.
My plans for a full traverse of the Presidential Range fell apart when I couldn’t get a second person to commit to the hike. Two cars are pretty much a requirement when doing a traverse as big as the Presidential Range. It also wouldn’t be too smart to do my first all night hike alone.
In the end I convinced my friend John to join the hike when I scaled it down to a loop of the northern Presidentials with the possibility of tacking on Washington if we felt up for it.