Dancin’ in the rain

Forty-three years ago, Paul and I walked across most of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s belt of huts in the White Mountains. Our favorite was Galehead, the most remote. Paul had never been back, and I hadn’t been there since a long, family-famous hike with the young H, 20 years ago. Recently, though, I’ve become semi-serious about climbing the New Hampshire 4,000-footers I haven’t more or less inadvertently tagged over the past 40-odd years.

On our original trip, Paul kept a journal. He neglected to note whether or not we climbed Galehead Mountain (4,024 ft.) near the hut. I don’t remember topping it out, and we might not have, since it has been added to the list since 1966. (What once was “the New Hampshire 46” is now the “New Hampshire 48”—Bondcliff has also been added).

Anyway, to make sure, I wanted to visit its uninteresting, wooded, viewless summit, for the admittedly pathetic reason of wanting to make a check mark on a piece of paper. Paul decided to come along for the stroll, and we walked in on Tuesday, spent the night at Galehead hut, and splashed up to the summit before swimming back out on Wednesday. (Memo to self: don’t just think about bringing a small umbrella on these wanders. Pack one. Then you can do your Gene Kelly imitation.)

Paul’s promised a guest post sometime soon, so I won’t go into the details I’m sure he’ll cover in greater and more interesting detail. But I do have two quick, entirely subjective, equipment reviews. This was the first chance I’d had to put my new Pacer Poles through their, er, paces, and I can report that I liked them very much. I’ve been strongly skeptical of poles, but I’ll probably be using these regularly from now on. They were comfortable and helpful on the steep, rocky trails, and stream crossings. I also finally had a chance to test the Osprey Stratos 32 I bought last year when they were being sold out cheap. The notorious “Osprey curve” that constricts the bag to accommodate the mesh anti-sweat backband makes the sack hard to pack, but once everything is stuffed and stowed (inside a waterproof liner!), the load rides very well. It’s an excellent day or day-and-a-half pack if you’re not carrying sleeping bag, tent, and much food or cooking kit…in other words, perfect for walks involving huts, refugios, or hostels.

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