A day in the hills

We had just a great walk this past Tuesday. In my continuing embarrassing quest to finish my New Hampshire 48, I had penciled in Whiteface and Passaconaway, the southernmost of the White Mountain 4,000-footers, for this week. H took a day of her precious week’s vacation to join me, and BB and KC, who we don’t see anywhere near often enough, drove over from Vermont to make up a foursome.

BB and I are old college teammates, and he’s still in superb shape, as is K. H has made a strong comeback from her operation, and had been training and competing in triathlons. That left pudgy me, but I turned out to be up to the fine trails superbly maintained by the Wonalancet Out Door Club (WODC).

Temps were in the 90s F as we headed off.

We took the Blueberry Ledge Trail, which is beautiful and … ledgy.

On the way up, we got a single good at Whiteface, which displays the reason for its name. This is actually the south summit, not the true highpoint.

After lunch on those very ledges, we pressed on to the true top, a mere hump in the trail, where we engaged in a little horseplay …

… and I posed for a photo of supreme triumph, before pushing on toward Passaconaway.

In the Whites, even when you’re quite high you’re often below treeline, and you take advantage of any ledge or viewpoint to check out your surroundings.

One of the other hikers we met claimed it was the hottest day of the year (I don’t think that’s right, but I suppose it was close), so was a treat a little later to find a small icy stream crossing the trail. We all splashed our faces, and I dipped my Bandanna in and wrapped it around my neck. I imagine I looked quite jaunty.

The eventual summit of Passaconaway was as disappointing as Whiteface’s …  just a bump in a small clearing. Everyone evinced dismay.

Three of us completed our loops by descending the gentle Dicey’s Mill Trail, while BB stretched himself a bit on a different route. Indeed, not everything in the area is gentle …

… or genteel.

We got back to the cars about eight hours after starting out. After saying goodbye to BB and KC, H and I headed home, stopping at a country store in Tamworth for our traditional Snapple and Cape Cod Potato Chips. Time like this together, formerly so common, is rare and precious to me now.

It was a terrific, wonderful, splendiferous day. A great walk, great company, just fantastic all around.

I’ve got 11 summits left. Cabot and Waumbek; Moriah, North Carter and Middle Carter; Isolation; North Twin, West Bond, Bond, and Bondcliff; and Carrigain. It’s a mystery to me how in 45 years I’ve never slogged over Moriah and the Carters or North Twin and the Bonds, but there you are. I’m hoping for a chance this month or next to do something like this to pick off North Twin and the Bonds, but regardless, completion will have to wait for 2011.


A day in the hills — 2 Comments

  1. The most practical way to bag all of your remaining peaks might be to drive up for a week and set up a basecamp at the campground in Randolph. I warned my wife that we may do something like this next summer. Get one of those big 3 room Eureka tents with a power supply so she can use her laptop while I climb Adams and it's sub-peaks 4 times on 4 different days using 4 different routes for the Trailwrights 72 list. Just that driving up there all the time, can get old.

  2. You got it, Philip. That’s pretty much my plan — minus the big Eureka and power supply! It’ll be next summer for me, too.

    Those Trailwrights rules are something, aren’t they? Have fun with it!

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