Memorial Day Route Plan

The topic was started here, but The Hump story broke the continuity. Damn hump.

I'm still not sure of tMail's preferred route. He mentioned ascending Boott Spur from PNVC and returning to PNVC via the "Direttissima". Here are the two routes being discussed, along with some discussion:

  1. Glen Boulder west to Davis Path. Davis Path south to Isolation. Return the same way or possibly continue on the Davis Path on the way back an additional 0.5 miles north to the summit of Boott Spur, descend via the Boott Spur trail to PNVC. Approx. mileage: 13.2 regardless of return route (Glen Boulder vs. Boott Sput).
  2. Glen Boulder Trail to Davis Path. Davis Path south to Isolation. Return only 0.9 miles on Davis Path but then make a right (East) and return to rte 16 via the Rocky Branch trail. Approx. mileage: 13.2.
Rte #1: If we thinks this is likely, we'd want to park at PNVC and take the "Direttissima" trail to Glen Boulder to leave our options open. Returning on either route would put us back at the PNVC. Disadvantage: requires second ascent of Boott Spur. This means that the final stages of the hike are exposed and at high elevation. Advantage: great views of approaching cold front.

Rte #2: This requires we spot a car at the Rocky Branch trailhead on the way up to PNVC, about 4 miles before the visitor center. Because we'll probably have two vehicles on the way up rte 16, this won't be a major inconvenience because we'll pass the Glen Boulder trailhead on the way to the PNVC. Advantage: entire final return is protected. Disadvantage: it's possible that much of the protected trail is on snow monorail and we'd have to spot a car.

Weather: The current forecast for Memorial Day is for nice weather to start, though windy. As the day progresses, the cold front will move rapidly through, bringing high, gusty winds, lowering cloud-deck, fog, and increasing probability of downpours, lightening, etc., although the precipitation may be more of an 'evening' rather than 'afternoon' threat. At this point I'd take the conservative approach and suggest that if we are above treeline after 3pm we should count on issues of cold/wet conditions. This could easily over-estimate the arrival time by 3 or more hours, but I'm okay with that.

Conditions: I expect a significant monorail in the forested sections of the Davis Path as we descend into Oakes Gulf. There may be sections of Glen Boulder w/ snow but I seem to remember it being pretty open up high - not sure. MadDog, based on our experience last week, I'm inclined to wear long nylong pants and gaiters w/ leather boots.

Time: This is a hard call. MadDog and I did 16.1 miles last weekend in about 7 hours. While conditions were challenging (to say the least) at high elevation, we ran/trotted for much of the AT, averaging over 4mph. When I did Isolation via Glen Boulder (hitting Monroe on a side-trip on the way back) in 2006 it took about 8 hours. I think it's fair to say tomorrow's jaunt will run about 7 hours.

1 comment:

  1. Gear Update: I am going with my winter pack which offers more support in shoulders and lower back...my lite packs are all giving me that tear drop shape...so I am going with a heavier pack but better support...