Thursday, July 18, 2013

Getting High

(With a Little Help from My Friends) 

This past weekend was Stage Two of my Summer of 48 hiking extravaganza. I was particularly excited (and nervous) about this 3-day trip because of its increased degree of difficulty over what I’d done on Stage One. This time around I would be “bagging” 22 of the 48 four thousand foot peaks (nearly half!) including ALL the higher summits along the Presidential Ridge. It would be quite an undertaking, to be sure, but I felt confident, based on my results last time out, that I could pull it off. Plus, I’d be spending one of the three days hiking with some friends. What could be better than that!

The “Dynamic Duo”, a.k.a. Dan Ferreira and Amber Ferreira-Cullen,  graciously agreed to join me for Day 2 of this trip which was scheduled to include Zealand Mountain as well as the eastern half of the Pemi Loop - 25 miles and 8 four thousand footers in total. In my mind, it was an “easy run” kind of day compared to the 35 miles I had done the day before and the 18,000 feet of elevation (gain & loss) I’d be doing the following day on the Presi-Traverse! Unfortunately, with the unusually warm weather, the day turned out to be anything but easy!

So, after chowing down on an awesome pre-run breakfast at the Zealand Falls Hut (where I’d stayed the night before) we started chugging up the Twinway to Zealand Mountain. Ultra-Dan and Iron-Amber pulled me along for the first few miles of the climb, as I was just getting my legs (and breakfast) under me. There were some nice views of the notch on the way up Zealand, which was fortunate, because there were absolutely NO views from the summit itself!

The best panorama of the day came just after cresting Guyot and arriving at the Bondcliff Trail.The weather was just gorgeous and the visibility was nearly 80 miles! But, it was really starting to heat up. The run into and out of Bondcliff was incredible and the 360 degree views from West Bond were totally sweet! It was my first time to either one of those two summits without fog messing them up! Just about the time we “re-summitted” Mount Bond, Amber let us know she was already out of water. Uh-Oh!

The “Wonder Twins” shared the remainder of Danny’s water as we cruised back over Guyot and onto the base of South Twin. As we neared the summit, I suddenly became really, really hungry. So, once we hit the top we stopped for a bite to eat. I gladly traded my zip-lock bag full of beef jerky for one of Danny’s double-wide Snickers bars. I devoured that thing in no time flat and Amber did the same to the Jerky. Leaving Danny out of luck, and now, completely out of water!

After “lunch”, Amber decided to chill (literally) on the top of South Twin (before eventually heading down to Galehead Hut) as Danny and I made a bee-line to its northern sibling. The 1.3 mile out and back to North Twin with Danny was super-quick (at around 22 minutes each way) and the .8 mile harrowing decent from South Twin to the Hut took us just 20 minutes. We were flying! I guess Snickers really does satisfy!

Danny and Amber both decided to “sit-out” the Galehead summit trip – a trip which was a complete waste of time, as usual. You see, Galehead, while being pretty easy to reach from the hut, has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. At 4024 feet high, it barely qualifies for the 4k club. And its summit is completely treed, so the only way you know you’ve reached the top is when you trip over the pile of rocks in the middle of the woods. Nice! If there was any justice in this world, Mount Clay (5333 feet high with phenomenal views of the Presi Ridge) would be on the 4k list and mountains like Galehead would be booted off!

Anyway, just after Galehead, “Dan-ber” and I parted ways as they headed down the Gale River Trail and I headed up, and down, and up and down the Garfield Ridge Trail. Along the way I ran into a group of teens being lead by a tired and cranky older gentleman who gruffly demanded to know how far it was to the Hut. I reacted the way I usually do when I’m tired, by replying “I dunno” how fast can you hike”? I don’t think he liked my answer too much.

Here’s a helpful hint to all present and future hikers: Don't be the guy who asks fellow hikers (coming from the opposite direction) "How far is it to the Summit, Hut or Trailhead"? Firstly, they are not GPS devices. So, the chances of them knowing EXACTLY where they are on the trail is very small. Secondly, they don't know how fast you hike or how often you take breaks. Finally, it's about the journey NOT the destination. So, embrace the mystery!

the hike up to Garfield was tough, as usual. But the run out on the Garfield Trail was nice. LONG, but nice. After finishing, we met up and drove back to Danny’s car at Zealand Road and by the end of the trip, I was feeling nauseous AND hungry at the same time. Unfortunately, the pizza and french-fries I inhaled for dinner later on didn’t help the situation much. In the end it didn’t matter, as I was asleep by 9:00pm, with my 3:00am Presi wake-up call looming the next day!

The totals for the Day 2 ended up being about 25.5 miles in 9 ¾ hours. So, despite the heat we still averaged 2.6 miles per hour. It was awesome having Dan and Amber’s company for this trip as we must have averaged at least 2.6 laughs per mile - throughout what turned out to be a great day on the trail. However, the word of the day was “Chaffing”.

Note to Self:
For the love of God, wear bike shorts next time!

1 comment:

  1. Haha! Laughs per mile! That IS how we should always measure hikes