Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Marathon

Yes, it really was a marathon. 26.1 miles, a bit more actually, over 3 days.

Day 1, Friday: Got up around 8; had breakfast at our hotel (Woodwards resort). The weather was very good so we decided to climb Mt. Adams. The 3 miles or so below the tree line on the Airline and Valley Way trails went fairly easily; we saw a moose (for the first time on a trail) about 1.5 miles in.
We made treeline about 4000 feet up, with rather nice views to the north. I actually ran out of water (I have a 50-oz Camelbak bladder in my pack) a little above treeline, so we went an extra 0.2 miles to the Madison Springs hut. I was very fortunate that the hut was so close; else I would have had to share with my parents and drink rather less. We reached the summit, which had rather nice views but was very buggy, and started down.
We ate lunch at Thunderstorm Junction, with a huge rock cairn and the Appalachian Trail crossing. We then started down the Lowes Trail, going over a sub-peak called Adams 5 (There's the main peak Adams and the sub-peaks Sam Adams, Quincy Adams, Adams 4, and Adams 5; collectively the Adams Family) and into the treeline.
Unfortunately, the Lowes path below the treeline was wet and slippery; multiple times only my hiking stick saved me from breaking a leg or ankle. The trail that it connected to, the Link trail, was long and very wet. My stomach and left knee were rather painful at the end, but I made 11.5 miles in about 9 hours including a 4500 foot elevation gain, probably the highest in the White Mountains (the trails to Mt. Washington start rather higher than the Appalachia lot for Adams).

Day 2, Saturday: We felt rather better when we got up and decided to do Mt. Eisenhower (4761') via the Edmands path. It starts at about 2000' and comes out of the treeline 2.9 miles and 2000' of elevation higher. The trail was easy, not too steep, and not too wet, plus around 3800' there are nice views through the trees to the north and a few small waterfalls. It comes out onto the Crawford path on a small col with great views and we ate lunch there. The last climb to the summit was easy and quick. We went down the other side of the peak and around the east side for a 1.2 mile loop, then back down the Edmands path, for 7.0 miles total.

Day 3, Sunday: I was pretty sore from saturday and literally rolled out of the car. We only intended to go halfway up Mt. Chocorua to the Champney Falls, which I had a grand time exploring and climbing, but we decided to go for the top anyway. It was an easy trip to the top, and the views from the bald summit were amazing. 7.7 miles round trip.

The total for the 3 days was 26.6 miles - almost exactly the length of a marathon. We plan to come back next year and hike Mt Jefferson (third highest in New England; we've already done Adams and Washington, the top two) via the tricky but short Caps of the Ridge trail.

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