Exiting the car in the iced-over parking lot on Friday afternoon I decided to leave my Stabilicer traction devices in the vehicle.
My brother Roy was already walking on the multi-purpose trail and he shouted over, “No ice here” so in they went. I hate carrying extra weight and with all the pierogis, kielbasa, and my 8 person car-camping cook set bloating my pack I was well into 30 plus pounds on my back. Stabilicers would have helped this weekend.
I started humping up the big hill. Auntie Mame was walking beside me, decked out in her rain poncho. My brother Roy was up ahead, as he was for most of the weekend’s hikes.
Less than a half-mile up the hill, we encountered the two lead hikers in our party, Kristi and David Kirkham, who love their granddaughter’s baby carriage so much that they use it any chance that they can !
It was alternately sleeting and raining, so the following 9 miles were a slush walk.
Walking in cold rain at under 40 degrees is a setup for hypothermia. Once again, I was slightly under dressed: two thin merino undershirts- one short and one long sleeved, and a ratty, old Patagonia Specter rain shell holding it all together. In these conditions, I have to have something covering my hands. Today, the fix was waterproof mitten shells with felted wool mittens liners.
Who cares? We are staying in a cabin heated by a wood stove. Wet clothes will be dried out. Miles were traveled. Old friends are also with me.
After we dropped off our packs at the shelter, I accompanied Auntie Mame out to the alternate parking lot.
We were bringing in the last member of our overnight party. Both of us decided to accompany Ann Breyfogle on her walk in to join us.
For me, this weekend was also about hiking, and my plan for Saturday was to roll the walking odometer over into double digits for the day. I am fortunate enough to still have people who not only want to do this with me, but have the ability to make it happen.
Ann, Pat Hurley, and my brother Roy joined me. Here is a photo taken at the today’s high point atop Mt. Megunticook.
Unfortunately there are no views from the summit so we descended on the often icy Ridge Trail.
We quickly reached the highly popular Ocean Lookout.
From here we descended to the junction of the Jack Williams Trail, which we followed for two miles where we came back onto the Ridge Trail. I showed the group a short cut that eliminated a dangerously icy incline at the start of Zeke’s, which we took back to the Multipurpose Trail and the end of our day’s hike. Here’s the morning’s Strava data:
The 5.5 mile hike took us two hours, which was super good time for the often icy path. After an afternoon of reading, sleeping, and gabbing, Roy, Pat and I decided to take a night hike up to the top of Bald Rock Mountain. Here are Pat and Roy, just before the sun left u in darkness.
Kristi told us the moon rise over the Atlantic would not happen until 10:30 PM. She was absolutely correct. Although the starlight was astounding, we did need headlamps on the way down off Bald Rock and back to our shelter, where we added another 5 miles to our tally for the day.
Despite the crappy weather getting in on Friday, the weekend was a huge success. If any of you know Ann, ask her about Uncle Tom’s uncanny ability to psychically locate lost car keys, including her’s. I’d also like to thank John Bangeman for his Saturday visit, and a huge shout out to Martha Conway-Cole for guiding Pat and the rest of us through a most excellent, best ever, Saturday morning breakfast.
My 2016 birthday present to myself was a weekend hanging with my brother, wife, and great outdoor adventure pals in ascending 3179 vertical feet in 21 miles.