Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Seek the Peak for MWOBS

Well, I hiked to Mt. Washington.  6288ft above sea level.  About 3950 elevation gain.  10 miles round trip, but we took a side trip for about 11 total.  It seemed normal enough in the beginning.  And a dry trail for once.  YAY. No water crossings, just bridges and a bit of mud.  I went with a friend, Roxanne, from Random and Blue Hills hiking clubs.  I got a room with two beds, and I needed a partner in crime.  They said not to hike on Saturday, so we did a great girls day out along the Kanc, a bit of shopping in NoCo too.  It was really fun to have someone else to share the fun with.  I don’t do that often.  We were supposed to meet someone else at the trailhead, but got turned around by two, yes two trailheads close to one another.  But something happened and she couldn't make it. Took a side trip to the railway station anyway.  It was a nice break and IMHO the trail is nice and gradual from the Ammo parking area.  Plus last chance for a bathroom in hours.  Away we went back UP to the Jewell.  We passed a nice older gentlemen on the way to the railway and again up the Jewell.  I hope I am still hiking at his age.  We did not see him again, I hope he made it.  We met Donna on the way up the Jewell.  She was another Seek the Peaker. The three of us stayed together to the summit and back.  

It was great to have and meet nice hiking partners.  I normally hike alone because I am slower than the norm and have seemed to get slower.  I know people do not recommend it, but for some of us, it is the only option.  I am not going to magically become a book time hiker.  Fact of the matter is that I will never be good enough in that category.  But you know what, I don’t need to be.  I work hard to keep myself in hiking shape (by hiking) and the past year has been an exercise in fighting viruses, etc.  I swear I got everything, including some Norovirus wannabe that had me eating rice for a month.  Plus I think I had a panic attack or two.  But instead of sitting on the couch and wondering what could have been, I am doing it.  I see so many people give up on things because they are hard or they don’t feel good enough.  Not hiking for me.  I am going to keep doing it.  Yeah, it’s hard, very hard sometimes, but nothing worthy is had without hard work.  And the reward is fantastic.  Now back to adventure.

Once we got to alpine, all bets were off.  It got rocky, very rocky.  And bouldery, very bouldery.  I really question what people think when they say that a trail is easy.  They say Jewell is easy.  Let me tell you, it is not.  You need to maneuver rocks and small boulders, some which are tippy.   It was not fun.  Whatever glacier or volcano dropped this stuff was not in a good mood.  It seemed like it took forever for me to just to get to the Gulfside Trail.  And guess what?  More rocks.  More damn rocks. This trail was better than the Jewell though.  And the signs, oh the signs, sign signs everywhere signs.  So many trails in 1.4 miles.

They say of you lose the trail, which we did, to follow the Cog railroad, which we did.  We saw a few trains go by.  There was waving, thumb upping.  I kinda felt like a celebrity.  Saw a few thru hikers go by when we realized, oops, the Gulfside is over there.  We carefully wondered over and took some cool pictures and continued on our way.  We waited for a train to pass so we could cross the tracks.


The hike continued and reached the Trinity Connector.  .2 miles to the summit.  .2 miles of tippy slabs of rock.  I swear that was the longest .2 miles of my life.  My friends continued on and I kept saying “I’m not dead yet.”  It was more mentally exhausting than physically exhausting.  I felt like it was harder to catch my breath.  They has been up to Washington before, but this was my first time. I plugged away.  Once I made it past the rock/boulder fields on Jewell, I knew I was going to make it.  I pushed, and pushed, and huffed, and puffed, and got myself to the summit.  YAY.

So #12 is in the books.  I stood in line, corrupted some young kids to do a shirtless pic, and took my picture with the sign.  We didn’t take a group shot because the line was LONG.  We did get a great picture by the Crawford Path sign.  Then I saw Jay who I hiked down Moosilauke with.  He was there for 2 4s (8, 12), and my two highest.  Will I see him again on 16?  Who knows.  We went inside, I had a pepperoni pizza and a very beany chili.  It tasted good then, but it kinda repeated on my on the way down.  We took a tour of the weather station, saw the living quarters, and attempted to find Marty.  Alas, it was time to go.  The clouds lifted nicely and revealed some awesome gorgeous scenery.  It would have been a nice trip in the fog, but this was nice to see the view.  And the clouds made it kind of awesome.  I resisted the urge to take the Cog down.  Long trip...oh well.

Remember the tippy rocks I told you about.  Well, I had to deal with them again.  It is not fun going up, but even less fun going down.  It is funny how you forget what you went through.  It is like the brain is saying “it’s not so bad, we will be back in no time.”  Like the people who said Jewel was easy, the brain lies.   And let me say, those happy little trees were laughing at me.  And one ate my new glove.  I plugged my way down the Jewell, murmuring some unmentionables.  My friends asked if wanted to be up front, I said no, but when we got to dirt path again, I would be flying...and I did.  I was looking for that bizarre sign that said N.T. trail, what the heck is that?  But it also says Cog RR .3 miles.   Which means the adventure is almost over.  

I hiked Washington.  It took a while, but I did it.  Actually only 4hr, or less, down.  Donna offered to drive us to the other trailhead.  The bathrooms were still open...YAY.  Got back to the car, went to Elvio’s, got great coffee at the Mobil station, and headed back.  I dropped off Roxanne at the Park and Ride and proceeded home.  I hurt a bit, but 2 beers and 3 Aleve did the job.  I even did Wachusett the next day, no pain.  However, I have spent the last two days under the influence of Benadryl.  I got some bites on Washington, but I was eaten alive on Wachusett.  I had a sore throat and was itchy for two days.  Screw that natural bug repelling stuff.  

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