Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baxter State park - Day 2

I’m pretty sure day one was the longest day (11:31 of hiking) that I’ve done in order to bag a single peak. Day two would have to be a bit less ambitious as I was definitely feeling the strain of not running for 2 months. Al came up with a plan that involved us parking where the road was gated and then hiking the dirt tote road before hitting the trail for South Turner Mountain. I would then return while Al would head off for North Turner Mountain.

After a solid 8 hours of sleep (the end of daylight savings gave us an extra hour) we headed back to the park. We were second in line just as the gate was being opened. The time change meant it was already light before we could get into the park, but we probably wouldn’t be in the woods too late on this day. We drove up the tote road and parked at the town line (the town is “T3 R8 Wels”). At 6:30 am we were off for a 5.4 mile brisk hike on the road to Roaring Brook campground. We saw a coyote early on in the hike which was cool and I saw a fox but Al couldn’t confirm my sighting. The long easy climb from 800’ to 1,500’ at Sandy stream pond took us 1:24.

Al quickly changed out of his running shoes into hiking boots and ditched the shoes at the trail junction. The weather was as nice as Saturday’s. The temperature was around 30 and there was bright sun and little wind below treeline. The real hike then began, with .7 of mostly flat, followed by 1.3 miles that climbed about 1,600’.

We moved pretty quickly, taking one short break about 40 minutes into the climb. We also stopped for a moment right before hitting the exposed last 2/10th of a mile. The wind was blowing and we’d cool quickly. The final scramble to the summit went by in a flash. We were on the top 1:11 after starting up the trail and 2:35 since leaving the car. We took a couple of pictures and I shot a short video. The wind-chill meant that we wouldn’t spend much time on top. Al would now be headed on to North Turner (another 2 miles of bushwhacking) and then take another trail back. This option was too much for me, so my plan was to return the way I’d come. We split up with me telling Al I’d leave a Gu packet in his running shoes so he’d know I made it down safely.

I very carefully made my way down the mountain. It would not be the time to get injured. The descent went much better than I anticipated. I made a brief stop at the spring that was a little bit off of the trail and, once on the bottom, I went to Sandy Stream pond for a few pictures. Even with that, I was down in just over an hour. I started running on the last .7 of the trail and continued to run down the road to the car another 5.4 miles. In all it took me 51:03 to return to the car, that included a stop for another coyote. My quads and shins were feeling a bit beat from all of the downhill running, but nothing serious. I was back at the car at 11:15 for a total time of 4:44 for about 9 miles of hiking and 6 miles of running.

The rest of the day was mine as it would be at least 4 hours until Al returned. I took my time sitting in the sun; it was just about perfect with no wind and reasonable temperatures. After having lunch I bundled up in my sleeping bag and took a nap. I woke up 30 minutes later to the sound of a car approaching; it turned out to be a couple of college gals looking for moose. About 20 minutes later I spotted a coyote about 100m down the road and got a couple of pictures of him. Al showed up around 3 PM which was at the early end of the estimated time. That meant a less hectic drive home as we’d be out of moose country before it was fully dark, so less white-knuckle driving.

We made it back to Bradford in about 5 hours with the time just flying by (Johnny Cash, The Offspring, and Black Crows made up the lions share of the soundtrack for the drive).

Al now has less than 50 of the 451 3,000’ peaks left. I have completed less than 80 of them and really have no desire to attempt to complete the list. I like the unique and lesser visited peaks we’ve gone to, but I wouldn’t climb these peaks on my own. Getting out in the woods and seeing some unusual locations make it worthwhile.


pbazanchuk said...

nice trip. you guys got two of the 12 nice weather days we get in New England.

davio dune-ham said...

Unbelievable for the first week of Nov.

I'm hoping to get Sandwich Dome this week and finish off the NH county high points.