December 2000
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Mt. Uncanoonuc - 12/16/00

A long walk from Pam's house to the trailhead...a wonderful hike up Mt. Uncanoonic on some delightful powder...a nice walk back...Yep, that about sums up our Mt. Uncanoonic hike in Goffstown, NH.

Our walk started near the center of Goffstown, and you can see Mt. Uncanoonic in the background mu001216-1.jpg (37622 bytes).  We made it to the trailhead, where Pam's canine friend Shadow was so happy to be running around in the snow, picking up sticks, and knocking Kristen downmu001216-2.jpg (30993 bytes).  At the top of Mt. Uncanoonic Kristen, Pam, and Shadow paused for a few snacks mu001216-3.jpg (34724 bytes).  Shadow played keep-away with a stick (Pam and Your Webmaster weren't going to catch him---he's fast), and he liked chewing on crusty chunks of snow.  From the top of Mt. Uncanoonic we got some nice views:

...Its sibling hill mu001216-4.jpg (34513 bytes) (with the clouds rolling in)

...Manchester, NH mu001216-6.jpg (20357 bytes)

...Goffstown, NH mu001216-5.jpg (34446 bytes) (to the right of the large tree)

We were lucky in that the weather held off - it was cloudy but not terribly cold and not very windy, and there was absolutely no precipitation during the hike, other than the snow we knocked off the trees as we went by (that sends chills down your spine -- literally!!!).

Mt. Monadnock - Pumpelly Trail - 12/2/00

Sreedhar, Annette, Tom, Arnie, Kristen, and Your Webmaster - all bundled up!

Getting ready...

Trip report from Tom S.:

The day was crisp and clear. We started up the Pumpelly Trail to Mt Monadnock with six hikers at 9:30. It grew colder as we ascended and one hiker realized that this hike was a bit more than he bargained for. We expected much colder temperatures on the top, so he wisely turned back early on.

The rest of us went up a very steep and icy trail to the open ridges. Huge ice-and-snow covered rocks, and beautiful snow covered spruce trees awaited us. Annette was concerned abut footing and donned a pair of in-step crampons from her backpack. It was slow going, and Ken, Kristen and Arnie went ahead. Annette followed with Tom, your humble scribe, who slipped and pulled a calf muscle and broke the hip belt of his backpack. The backpack was repaired with a piece of line from his backpack. He and Annette carried on a ways, but after Tom slipped again, they decided to turn back. A passing hiker agreed to carry the message to those at the top.

Arnie, Kristen and Ken made it to the top, where it was so cold and windy, they didn't even eat lunch. When the hiker told them that Tom and Annette had turned back, they headed down the Dublin Trail to the cars. They made it out just before dark. Tom and Annette, going slow because of the icy trail and Tom's sore leg, shortly found themselves in the dark. Both had flashlights in their packs but trail finding in the dark was difficult and they were slowed to a crawl. About a half mile from the road they lost the trail, but a compass and the position of the slim moon guided them to the road. The flashlights were growing dim and they were just about to dig back into the packs for spare batteries when they found the trail again and within moments heard Arnie's voice.


Ken had gone to the Monadnock Ranger Station to see if Tom and Annette had taken an alternate trail down the mountain and to alert the rangers to a possible pair of lost hikers. The rangers were reassured when they heard that the "lost" hikers had good clothing, flashlights and proper gear (including crampons) with them and told Ken that the pair would probably be out by the time he returned to the trailhead. This proved to be the case, and the re-united hikers called the rangers back and told them that no rescue would be necessary that night.

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Powdery snow

A grand adventure that had a happy ending because of early communication (discussing the option of taking the Dublin Trail out in the event of an emergency), good decision making (turning around rather than trying to "bull" through), and carrying the proper gear (including a good first aid kit and space blankets, neither of which thankfully was necessary. But you never know).

On the way home, Tom, Annette and Kristen stopped at the Food Court at the Mall of New Hampshire and marveled at the difference in situations. Two hours earlier, Tom and Annette had been alone in the woods, in the dark, with nothing to rely on except themselves and what they had carried in their packs. Now they were surrounded by people, in a warm place, with help only a whisper away. Their biggest decision was: Dairy Queen or CinnaBon for desert?


Trip Report from Your Webmaster:

"Dress warm" admonished the description of the Mt. Monadnock climb on the Bulletin Board.  No kidding!  Temps in the low 20s, the trademark Monadnock wind, and snow and ice on the trail at the higher elevations made a very challenging dayhike out of the Pumpelly Trail.

The Pumpelly Trail is about 4.5 miles long and is the longest trail to the summit.  It also runs along a ridge, so there are many spots to get a great view, as you can see in the pictures.

The Views

Sunlight shining through the peeled bark of a tree

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Dublin Lake off in the distance

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North and South Pack

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Glimmering lakes miles away

But it was cold.  Sreedhar decided to turn back early after experiencing a little while of New England's finest bitter weather, and I can't say as I blame him!  Not like Sreedhar's former residence in New Orleans at all!

As we walked up the trail, the snow kept getting deeper, from just a few patches on the ground to an inch or two nearer the summit, which made for slippery going.  There was also a lot of ice along the trail, so Annette's crampons were put into action (she really appreciated them).  It was slow going.

About 1.5 miles from the summit Your Webmaster, who usually runs sweep, left Tom and Annette to catch up with Arnie and Kristen, who had gone on ahead.  As the three of us broke out of the Pumpelly Trail to hit the final approach to the summit, the wind was fierce and the cold biting.  The cold wind really saps your energy as you're trying to make your way along!  Your Webmaster tossed on his face mask, and the three of us scampered up to the summit and found a place out of the wind.

A few minutes later a helpful hiker came by and told us that Tom and Annette had decided to turn back instead of pushing on to the summit, as by then it was about 2pm and would be dark in a few short hours.  Good move.  At that point Arnie, Kristen, and I beat a hasty retreat for the shorter Dublin Trail.  We went back out into the wind and carefully plucked our way down the icy top part of the ol' Dublin Trail.  About halfway down we were greeted with a nice, easy, wide path and watched the snow and ice disappear as we continued on.  Although it meant we'd have a long walk back to the cars, we figured the Dublin Trail would be a better bet than attempting to head back the full length of the Pumpelly, and we were right.

We didn't see Tom and Annette when we got back to the cars, so Your Webmaster drove down the road to see if they'd come down on another trail and were hoofing it along the roadway instead (like we did with the Dublin Trail).  I also popped in and asked the State Park Rangers if they'd seen a tall bald guy and his short wife, but they hadn't.  :-)  By the time I got back to the trailhead, Tom and Annette had returned and were allowing Arnie and Kristen to warm up in their car.  Tom and Annette had a difficult go of it (Tom had pulled a calf muscle, unfortunately), but because they were prepared with the right gear--including lights--they made it out just fine.

The People

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Annette's Winter Wonderland
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Annette and Tom coming up the trail
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Annette pauses as Monadnock's peak (center) comes into view
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Arnie and Kristen
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Kristen and Arnie get out of the wind at the summit of Mt. Monadnock
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Kristen and Your Webmaster sitting on the wall of an old cellar hole at the Dublin Trail trailhead

Whew!  The Pumpelly Trail is beautiful, and I know I'll be heading back there during the warmer weather.

But if anyone should be hiking the Dublin Trail and find a green "Tyrolia" fleece, it had slipped out of the straps on my knappy and was my sacrifice to the Hiking Gods this week (the Hiking Gospel according to Arnie :-)  ).  If you run across it, please hold onto it for me and drop Your Webmaster a note.  Thanks.  :-)