|Heald Tract - May 26, 2002
Activity by Ken L.
Showers were in the forecast for much of the area, but we
decided to head out to the Heald Tract anyway. As it turns out, the
weather was just cloudy with a bit of a breeze--a breeze that came in handy
to keep the bugs away!
Back: Randy, Dustin, Pam, Marilyn, Your
The Heald Tract is a collection of several hundred acres near Wilton, NH
(southern NH). Several trails take you on a fairly decent walk by
ponds, over some hills, and through old orchards.
Beaver lodge, geese in background
Beavers busy blocking our way!
Our trek started out by Heald Pond, the largest of the several ponds
in the Heald Tract. We came across some deer and moose tracks
along the path.
Unfortunately we had to abandon our original plans when we discovered
some beavers had been busily drowning the trail. Fortunately there
was a way around.
We made it up to the top of Fiske Hill where we took a small side trail
to try to find some open ground for lunch. There were too many
skeeters, and we wanted to find a spot for lunch where there'd be a breeze.
There wasn't much of a breeze where we wound up, but it was a nice little
spot for lunch.
After lunch we continued our walk down Fiske Hill to the
orchard, from which there's a nice view.
Beyond the orchard we had to head through a grassy field...a
big uh-ohh for those among us who don't like ticks (and that's just about
everybody). So Your Webmaster took up the lead, meaning there'd be
more ticks for him and fewer for those behind, at least in theory.
Yeah, tick checks were common. (Pam eventually won the tick contest
for the day. Your Webmaster and Pam were tied at 8 apiece, but Pam
found the ninth when she got home.)
Although it's hard to tell from this picture, the beaver dam keeps
the level of the pond up about five feet. It's really amazing when
you consider the amount of water behind this pile of sticks and mud
woven together by North America's largest rodent.
Red eft, some kind of little worm Dustin found on
Your Webmaster's fleece, and Trillium
Your Webmaster at "The Rocks"
Our path out took us by a campsite, through some land that
is being logged, and by "The Rocks", a large granite boulder that has split
into several pieces. And, of course, through one more grassy field
(ugh!). Shortly after that we were chased out of the woods by the
mosquitoes (no black flies, which I find quite odd) and back to the cars.
A trip to the Black Forest Cafe finished off our hike.
|Ethan Pond Shelter/Thoreau Falls - May 25-27, 2002
Activity by Ern G.
Report by Ern G. and Sharon A.
Photos by Harold A. and Ern G.
|Peace In The Whites
Tired of the old rat race at work? Tired of
bad news on the television, telemarketers on your phone, bills in your
mailbox, beepers and noise of the city? Tired of being pushed to "hike
faster, hike longer" with friends? Tired of "rush, rush, rush"?
This is what you would have missed if
you'd been on our hike from Zealand Falls to Ethan Pond on Memorial
Day Weekend 2002.
Seven great folks representing Get
Outdoors New England eagerly strapped on colorful hi-tech backpacks,
checked bootlaces and water bottles and started their hike from the
parking area on Zealand Road at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.
Pemigewasset Wilderness waited before them as they meandered through
ancient forests and granite lined trails.
Read about Ern's trip to the Ethan Pond Shelter and Thoreau Falls
with Alexey, Harold and Saron, Pat, Debra, Toto, and Tom...and pups
Charlie and Eldora.
here for the full report!
|Ted's Trail - North Pack - May 19, 2002
Activity by Dayhike with Deb's Deb
Report/Photos by Ken L.
Your Webmaster, Jessie, Dayhike with Deb's Deb, Marjie,
Pam, Diane, Tim
|Ted's Trail (Greenfield, NH) has become a favorite haunt. It's
got to be the best way up North Pack.
The day was mostly sunny and
just slightly cool temperature-wise, with a slight breeze. This
was the right combination to keep the bugs away. It had snowed the
day or two before (yes, in May---welcome to New England! :-) ),
and we encountered some fresh but melting powder on the trail, as much
as an inch or two in some spots.
A few of us were veterans on this trail, but for Jessie it was her
first hike ever! I think she really got into the animal imitation
portion of the hike. Can you tell what animal she is trying to be
this time? Look very close, as there's a hint in the picture.
You guessed it---a frog!
Ted's Trail goes over a few bridges
and through some nice woods. It's a pleasant trail.
Ahhh, a break for
Thought we'd forget that, did you? Not a chance!!!
|Finally we arrived at the summit of North
We chatted with a few people who were at the summit, then it was
time for us to head back. We retraced our steps to the spot
where Carolyn's Trail takes an easy-to-miss left turn and took that as
our way down. After a rocky start, Carolyn's Trail eases out
into a gradual downward slope--a perfect return.
An "almost" ladyslipper on Carolyn's Trail
View from the hill
|Mt. Cardigan - May 18, 2002
Activity by Thien N.
Report by Toto.
|The red, orange, and yellow
bell peppers were sliced, the romaine lettuce neatly cut into 4" x 4"
sheets, and the Oat Bran bread slices placed into 2 separate air-tight
containers the evening before. Three water bottles were prepared by
filling 1 half full of water, 1 ¾ full, the last completely full and
placed into the freezer a few days earlier.
At 6:30 AM, on the morning of Saturday,
May 18, 2002 here on Dalton Mountain, NH, the thick, heavy snow began.
At 7, I tried to get in contact with Thien N. to discuss the
situation. He, evidently had already left his Bennington, VT home and
was driving to meet us early.
By 8 AM there was just over an inch of
snow here. Eldora and I decided to stick to the plan, drive to the
A.M.C. Cardigan Lodge in Alexandria, NH and meet Thien. The drive
though Franconia Notch was scary, as huge chucks of snow the size of
quarters were falling and blowing around rapidly. The posts and guard
rails clearly had 2" of snow.
I looked in the Lafayette trailhead
parking lot and saw no vehicles. Remarkably, all the notch mountains
looked surreal, gothic, and most ominous. There were two happy
fisherman with their dogs, in almost blizzard conditions, enjoying
their morning in canoes on Profile Lake. Truly two real dedicated
What an unsettling drive! Only 2 weeks ago
I had removed the winter snow tires from my car for the seasonal rain
type. Tension mounted as my car skidded and hydroplaned on 8 occasions
during the 90 minute commute, causing the back of my neck and upper
back to stiffen up tightly.
At the lodge, we met Thien 15 minutes
early and waited until 10:30 AM, in case the others arrived late. We
decided to go for it and keep to the main plan of climbing up the most
difficult way, Holt Trail. The first mile is easy to moderate, a
regular walk in the woods. Now the fun begins!
Hour after hour ticked by, the trail
becoming steeper and then even more steeply, the snow storm dropping
inch after inch of thick, heavy, wet snow. My gloved hand measured
five inches of snow, although I knew that the snow fall was really
closer to seven or eight, as the wet heavy snow collapses on itself
and is an illusion to the true total.
The slope soon became a complete 45 degree
angle, causing slow altitude gain. An older couple who left the lodge
one half hour before us, appeared coming down from above. The man
decided to return after he slide a good twelve feet. His wife said she
was thoroughly soaked. We passed the bare ledge where he skidded
uncontrollably, seeing it clearly in the snow, then we pressed on!
Now the trail acutely angles to an
incredible 60 degree and at times an amazing 75 degrees on wet leaves
that covers bare ledge -- now spice it up -- add 5-6 inches of snow!
Eldora climbed this part of the mountain as though it was flat land
and constantly waited for us to catch up. She is a true, technical
We had to get down and dirty on all fours
and even use our knees to climb over the dangerously wet, snow covered
bare ledges, now above the tree line with 30 m.p.h. howling winds, and
one brutal blizzard. At times we each thought we heard voices in the
mountain and we even called out to them many times. Were we slowly
dying of exposure, were we hypnotized by the weather, just in one heck
of a fierce storm or a little of all three?
Suddenly Thien slipped and quickly dropped
ten feet stopping just inches in front of me. I thought he was going
to sweep us down hundreds of feet rapidly to certain injury, or worse.
Soon afterwards, and with me now slipping more, at only about 400 feet
from the top with the relentless snow, we stopped and had a long
discussion and made a determination. It was now 1 PM. We are defeated.
We reluctantly turned around and ever so
slowly, so dangerously, at times gaining only one yard ever so
carefully. We headed back down to return to the lodge and finally at 3
PM eat lunch and have hot coffee. The lodge was jammed, with some very
wet hikers, Scouts and their leaders, yet filled mostly with young,
single women who were taking an A.M.C course entitled "Backpacking For
How ironic this seemed, yet so magical,
compared to the incredible conditions we just survived. Yet we enjoyed
every minute and will conquer Mt. Cardigan on another, more favorable
My knees still hurt!
|Cape Cod Camping - May 10-12, 2002
Activity by Jan G. and Dawn S.
Report and photos by Dawn S.
|On Friday afternoon, I met up with Jan, who had come
down earlier with her teenage sons. (They had their own site, and for
the most part pretended they didn't know us!) We enjoyed a relaxing
afternoon, wandering down to the nearby pond, collecting some firewood
(watch out for those shiny reddish leaves of three!!!), and napping in
the sun. Dan & Alan showed up around dinner time and after a minor
confusion with another group over who got which site, settled in to a
nice spot. They displayed their expert car-camping ability as they
popped the tent, threw up the tarp, and got the fire going with great
ease and efficiency. Jack and Jen arrived soon after. Other folks had
RSVP'd but no one else wandered down to the campfire.
|Ruth popped in on Sat morning with coffee (Thanks
Ruth!) and to eat some breakfast with us (Dan showed how he can make
crossiants in a frying pan! yum!). Kathy and Julio also showed up.
After breakfast, Ruth left us and Jack decided to spend the day
fishing -(he didn't catch any fish, but I think he did manage to catch
a few Zzzzz's)
The rest of us headed out to explore the Cedar Swamp...
|and then Marconi Station and Nauset Lighthouse.
|When all that was done, we sat on the beach and
enjoyed the sunshine. Jan and Alan (with a little coaxing from Jan)
even took a swim in the cold ocean waters!
|Back at the campground, we prepared a wonderful dinner
of pasta & shrimp, chicken kabobs, potatoes, veggies and s'mores! The
night was spent relaxing by the fire. Jen and Alan were well prepared
for relaxing in their camp chairs with built in foot rests. (I need to
get one of those!!!)
|Sunday was a lazy morning and most people just headed
out fairly early to go visit with Mom (it was, after all, Mother's
Day!) Just as I returned home, the rain came down. This was a great
weekend for relaxing, enjoying good company and good food in an
amazingly beautiful part of the state, without the hassle of typical
summer-time cape traffic.
|Mt. Lafayette - May 7, 2002
Report by T.M. Toto
Just two days ago, Eldora and I climbed the Welsh &
Dickey mountains in Waterville Valley, NH with Eileen F. and 10 of
GONew England’s finest mountaineers. This was our training hike for
It was my telephone call to Arnie P. at 7 AM on
Tuesday May 7, 2002 to his Mittersill Resort location in the mountains
of Franconia, NH that started the hike rolling.
We talked about this hike a few months earlier and
spoke together the day before agreeing to meet at 9 AM at the Echo
Lake parking area. I could sense he felt the time would be too late
for him. When I called at 7 AM we both agreed to meet at 7:30 instead.
Excellent, early plus a whole day to play in the mountains!
Arnie, Eldora, and I decided to take the Greenleaf
Trail this time. Ginny, (Virginia) his wife hinted she could go
shopping while we hiked, so we took my car to the Cannon Mountain
tramway parking lot. After I relocated my parked auto to suit the
sweeping machine operator we started out by 8 AM.
What a super day for hiking almost a full vertical
mile! Bright, sunny skies, 57 degrees already, with superb views of
all of the Franconia Notch mountains. To just read about it makes me
miss it – and I live only 30 minutes north!
Arnie, 14 years my senior, carried little extra in
his daypack other than his new 100 oz platypus®
hydration system. I had a full backpack weighing 30+ pounds ready for
a 3 day expedition. Eldora carried nothing and guided us up the trail.
It is an easy first 3/4 mile almost level and then
climbs only moderately to Eagle Cliff. Eagle Pass, a narrow trail, has
wonderfully interesting caves and rock formations. Now the snow
begins, 2 feet deep, solid ice in the middle of the trail, and then
one precipitous, long slog for 2 hours. Perfect for my idea of a great
mountain hiking party!
When crampons were required about an hour later, I
strapped on the ol’ Grivel G-10®’s.
Arnie had a pair not suited for mountain slopes with ice and had to
just bareboot it. Eldora did not use crampons as she is the expert
This took a few hours longer than planned. "Another
two hours," I said! The views were sensational, as the leaves haven’t
opened yet. I used Cannon to compare our altitude. Our attitude was
perfect and happy--we are going to make it to the top!
About a half mile before we reached the Greenleaf
A.M.C. Hut at 2.7 miles (4200’), the snow was 99% gone. It is
springtime in the mountains! We continued our trek past the hut and
the wonderful lake, up the almost snowless cone, passing cairn after
cairn on the bare rock pile to the summit (5260’). It was complete
winter conditions with constant 40 mph winds and the temperature
soaring to a comfortable 37 degrees.
We made it! Although the clouds rolled in to
obscure the views from the top, a mere 100’ down had all the breath
taking views from almost a whole mile vertically. We could see for
miles and miles. Pure joy!
After lunch and after feeding the 3 chubby, winter
residents of the mountain, the Canadian Jays, (I wonder if they are
the same 3 that fly the entire Franconia Ridge Trail), we descended
and crossed the overflow of the lake signaling our closeness to the
We stopped to rest on the wide benches made for a
backpacker and chatted with the AMC construction ‘croo’. The AMC is
adding 2 new outdoor bark compost toilets with enormous holding tanks
to replace the old style ones that are inside. Even a huge deck to get
The lead carpenter and his helper were very busy at
work chiseling out solid granite, making plywood forms, tying steel
reinforcing bars, mixing and pouring concrete. Whew, 3 weeks of
difficult work to finish on schedule. I would rather climb all the
The young, beautiful female hut attendant was also
very busy at work getting the place ready for the opening of it on May
10. I bragged, "I can return with 12 or so pounds of live lobster with
butter and I share!" She gave me a big smile and said , "There will be
a hut discount for you." I will return!
We continued slogging down the Greenleaf Trail over
ice and snow, Arnie passing the time easily with his wonderful trail
stories. Exactly a full 11 hours later we returned to the car. What a
great hike! On to Mittersill and to two bottles of fine Long Trail
beer. Ginny, we made it to the promised land – and back!
It was most definitely a lovely day to play in the
mountains and go a wonderfully long hike with such views. And we have
another new friend! For Eldora, this summit makes 32 and for me 402!
Get in touch and we will climb mountains together any day of the week,
and have campfires any night. See you on the mtn!
"We will walk north together for some hours. Talk
less and less about the work we’ve left behind, be grateful for a
trail cut into the woods, the privilege to use it, and the spectacular
Mt. Monadnock - Red Spot Trail - May 4, 2002
Activity and Report by Thien N.
Photos by Martin K.
|Even though 6 people signed up for
the trip, only two made it by. The three of us, Martin K., Michael S.,
and I had a great time. The weather was perfect, mid 60's and
Martin and Michael
Our meeting time was 10:30 am, and we started our hike at 10:50 am.
We went up the White Dot trail over to Cascade Link before heading up
Red Spot. On Red Spot there were some beautiful open areas that gave
us a nice view of the valley below. We hiked the rest of the way out
in the open, up Pumpelly and to the top of Monadnock. It was crowded
and windy as usual for Monadnock. We reached the top around 12:30 and
ate our lunch. I surprised Michael and Martin with a six-pack of
Pepsi, but I should have brought beer instead, next time.
Left: Thien / Right: Michael and Thien
What does three guys talk about on top of a mountain? The obvious
answer was gear and more gear; Michael’s GoLite backpack got us
started, plus everything from our shoes to the new tuna packaging that
Martin has not heard of. After lunch we took the White Dot trail
down where there was a stream of people going up.
For the next hike up Monadnock, I suggested we bring up a barbecue
and do some grilling up top. All we have to do is get enough people to
carry up one charcoal at a time.