1.30.2011

2011 Bad Boy Weather Discussion

The weather forecast for Tuesday night & Wednesday is for a significant snow event.  The snow plus subsequent wind loading will lead to interesting conditions for Saturday's adventure.  As the forecast models evolve over the next few days and as the forecast for the end of the week materializes I'll post more here.

[Update 2/2]  The current storm is in progress, however the NWS has posted the following for this coming weekend, suggesting that we may be trying to ascend in the middle of a winter storm:

"ACTIVE WEATHER CONTINUES ACROSS THE NORTH COUNTRY WITH 2 POTENTIAL STORM SYSTEMS BRINGING MORE SNOWFALL TO THE REGION. THE FIRST WILL BE ON SATURDAY AS LOW PRESSURE DEVELOPS OFF THE CAROLINA COAST AND TRACKS NORTHEAST ALONG THE NEW ENGLAND COAST THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT. ANOTHER SYSTEM MAY AFFECT THE REGION ON TUESDAY...BUT A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY EXISTS AT THIS TIME IN REGARDS TO THE TRACK."

1.29.2011

The Great DogMan Freeze-Out

Saturday is yummy day at the Exeter Chinese New Year party but this Sunday, DogMan and I are planning on dragging our sleds through the snow, setting up camp and freezing to death.

Never a dull moment in The Northeast Kingdom.

1.20.2011

Spungie Day 2011

Let the games begin!  Saturday is "Spungie Day", and you know what that means:  we're all gonna die.  The temps aren't supposed to get  above 5-10° on the ground and quite a bit colder up in the air around 
4000' where we may end up.

The plan:  ski in to Bondcliff Trail (towing sleds), leave skis/sleds behind and trek up to the summit.  We'll see.

[Update 1/21]  The route is confirmed:  We're taking the trail from Lincoln Woods C.G. to the Franconia Brook Trail north towards 13 Falls.  We'll get as far as we can, then turn around. Most of us will be testing our sleds and harnesses and will be on skis.  8:30am meeting time.

Mutha's Trip Report (pics here):
The cast of characters:  tMail, Wildman, B3PO, 'Tom', g-$$$, Old School, me and of course SPUNGIE.  Welcome to Old School and all things wool, leather and pulled by dogs.  Some highlights:
  • This was the first winter trek with no elevation gain and I have to say that lent a peculiar - but unique - air to the situation.  Of course the purpose was to test the pulk designs, stove functionality, etc. but it was certainly a great way to spend a beautiful winter's day.
  • Mutha and Tom busting their hardware within 100 yards of the parking lot (ahem... IN the parking lot for yours truly).
  • tMail sprinting up a steep climb with g-$$$'s "80% of K3" load in tow.
  • The Lighting of the Stoves
  • Kickin' it old style with Old School And the Minus Forty-Eights.
  • Hard blue skies, bright sun, and the occasional impression that we just skied into a huge walk-in deep freezer
  • Listening to Old School tell the Tufts girl about "pooing between the tails of your snowhoes at -48°..." and watching the expression on her face transition from interest to shock when he said "... you don't have to dig a hole - it melts through".
  • B3PO manning up, donning the skis and working his way through the woods with Spungie pulling all his gear on the uphill.  B3 complained about falling a lot, but in truth it was less than any of us ever fell on our first day on skis. Rock it, B3PO.
  • Running into a group that was testing their pulk systems and overnight winter camping skills for their assault on Katahdin on President's Day Weekend.  WTF?  Yep, three kids from Tufts.  They camped where we lunched.
  • Waking up this morning with the strong taste of rotten onion in my mouth from last night's visit to the Woodstock Inn.  I had the greek salad.  Tasty, but MAN what a way to wake up.
  • Soaked in the hot tub at -10° or whatever the f**k it was this morning at 5am.  Big thrill:  stepping out onto the cold snow and putting on my bathrobe which had accumulated a layer of light snow while I soaked. Imagined morning of K3 but without the hot tub.
g-$$$'s Trip Report:  8 Guys, 5 Pulks, 1 Trail

Names and dates may have not been altered to protect the guilty and innocent.  All accused are innocent until proven guilty in a kangaroo court of said peers.

The town of Lincoln continues to stick a finger at me.....first gas station....machine won't take credit cards at the pump due to a "COMM ERROR"  I figure I better go inside because the cold is doing a number on the pump.....nope door is locked but the lights are on and the store opened at 5AM or so says the sign.  WTF....drive two blocks to the Irving.  Credit Cars Works....start pumping but the pump is PAINFULLY slow....1 min, 4 gallons......are you f'in kidding me????  it's 8 deg outside.....I put in $20 and get the hell out of there....  F' Lincoln....I'm there all of 5 mins and I'm ready to torch this f*cker.

On to DD to meet with muthaz and Jim...aka Lower 48 aka Old Skool.   Dude is in mukluks and ready to rock.  Exchange pleasantries, grab a cup, hit the head and press on to the Trailhead.

A first as far as I can recall....at Lincoln Woods and the gang is all here and on time.  Tmail standing guard over the gear.  Where is everyone?  In the bathroom changing.....p*ssies...do we all know there is no heated changing room in Baxter?

We gear up.  Spungie is doing laps in the lot as the rest of us tweak our loads.  It is then I realize that Tmail has moved on....we can no longer provide sufficent knowledge and guidance as he has latched onto Lower 48 for his cold weather expertise.  After downloading his knowledge to tmail Lower 48 snags the ranger who tries to rally us to go move the disassmbled bridge parts out of the wilderness area.....Uh right dude.....NO users of the Wilderness area were in favor of the bridge removal and you want us to help it's demise....uh yeah...we'll get right on that buddy!

So we're locked and loaded....3 steps from the cars, muthaz sled snaps at an attachment point...I suggest he just go the simple and easy way with just the rope per past emails and he's not taking the bait on that one!   5 steps from car, No Nickname Tom's clevis pin connections at the pack disintegrate...not even 5 mins and 2 sleds need repair. this might be a long day.

And we're off.  Spungie and his 70-90 lb sled takes off with B3PO in tow. we trickle out of the lot in twos threes and fours.  Spungie waits up everytime he gets bored.   The trail goes from trampled highway to narrow goat path as we get closer to Franconia Brook campsite.  No major gear issues and the trail conversation is great.  Then the offpiste adventure begins as we lose the railbed.  Skis are coming on and off like the tops of the entertainers at the Foxy. As the scout team is trying to find the trail and maps and compasses are out.  Muthaz punches through the shrubs and checks a drainage.  He's on the frickin railbed.  How did we miss that?!?!?

We assemble the troops and mission commander decides the haul to 13 Falls is a long way, although a East Face Owls Head assault is briefly considered.  We opt to press on to a clearing ahead and try and catch a glimpse of the Bonds.  Another hundred yards from the Lincoln Brook Trail junction we happen upon a sun-filled snowed over frozen pond for lunch and out halfway point for the day.  We stop, pose for pictures, dig out our kitchens, and prime out the stoves.  Here is where my day starts to head south.  I overprime my stove and the white gas spews over my cooking pad.  Flames tower over the Pemi ridge.....the Forest Service contemplates sending an Air Tanker to put that Bad Boy out.  A little snow on the pad keep the crisis to a minimum.  Wildman and Nonickname Tom enjoy their omelettes in bag.  I enjoy my asian noodle soup with ham steak and peas.  Who needs packaged meals (although Spungie and B3PO had some awesome banana porridge).  Lunch is enjoyed and a group of Tufts students join us for a party on the lake.  Turns out they are training for a K3 assault in Feb....albeit a day or so behind us.  We can't convince them to head in a couple days earlier to break trail so they promise to bring us a pizza from Millinocket when we rendezvous at Chimney.  Lower 48 furthers their education but telling them all about how to camp and hike in the cold while the rest of reload our pulks and clean up our kitchen.

While enjoying my lunch I notice my sole of my teleboots have come off.  Thankfully nothing a roll of duct tape can't fix.  We wish our new friends a lovely night of camping and head back to the trailhead.  Fully fueled, the race is on.  I struggle with the weight of my pulk and the high friction of the iced over ski skins.  I contemplate taking off my skins to maximize glide.  Nonickname Tom has grip wax so I give that a shot.  Nothing doing.  Tmail is my savior of the day and comes back to the caboose and grabs the sled as I opt for snowshoes rather than trying to reattach my skins for the 2 mile slog out.  My distaste for the railbed is reaffirmed.  Back to the lot, a change of clothes and a great time at the Woodstock.  Despite a full lot and the Apres Ski crowd, we get a table for 8 no waiting!  Score.   Good chow, a few more laughs and a toast to Spungie Day 2011!

Thanks guys for great trailside conversation and entertainment.  Lower 48 thanks for joining us.  I need to reconsider my ski setup and tweak my sled with a few minor adjustments.  The knee felt good until the snowshoe out so all in all, I am ready for K3. 

Dogman, Puppetmaster, and Maddog...we missed ya.

Spungie Day 2012...3 Bonds in a Day....skis no pulks.  Book It! 
Wildman's Trip Report:  Another successful Spungie Day!

We accomplished exactly what we set to do.  Get out of the house for a day.  Actually the Ski and Ski Towing (yes towing not touring) was fun and informative.  The Pulk shakedown, a.k.a. break downs went as to be expected.  They happened and happened quick.  Better now than at K3.  The design question was approached from about every angle, almost, as no one had a Pulk that you Push.  Lessons Learned:
  • Pressure/deadlines are good, 40hrs of thought around 3hr to construct the pulk the night before Spungie Day
  • For the second time when skiing, I didn’t drink enough.  I guess it seems easier, the sweat blows off or something, anyway more liquids next time.
  • Get all you business done before you “pulk up” as mobility maybe limited.
  • There were some “good dogs” and some “Going out of Business Sales”, I think Spungie had both
  • Man Hauling with snowshoes is a slow go, somewhere in-between skiing and backpacks with snowshoes
  • Even in the packed trail the snowshoes punched in another 3-4 inches and I was last in line
  • After skiing snowshoeing seemed like trudging
  • My backcountry boots are pretty waterproof and worked well in the snowshoe bindings
  • Make your decisions quick, ski it or walk it, just do it
Pulk Design improvements
Remove or re-engineer rear fins
 - They create drag
 - Limit turning, (“get me 40 acres and I turn this truck around”)
 - Iced up to wedges after one of the wet crossing, creating even more drag
Thinking about an improvement to prevent the frontend from nose-diving in ditches and collecting snow, maybe an angled front shield

Pulk Glossary:
Pulking up   = Attaching to the rig
Pulk traps = Quick downs and ups, where the sled face plants halting all forward progress
De-Pulking = Detaching from the harness
Pulk Partner = Pulk Operator directly behind you
Good Dogs = Pulk rollover everything stays attached and is righted by Pulk Partner
Going out Business Sale = Pulk rolls over 70lbs and $1,000 of gear fans out usually on a side hill so stuff can roll away
And lastly….
Pulk Hero = Pulk Puller breaking the trail

1.13.2011

Next Trek

I still need the Osceolas in January for the Grid.  Saturday I'm out of the running (obligations here at the homestead).  Upcoming plans:

  • Rumor has it that tMail and the PM are planning a bc trek on Saturday.
  • Saturday afternoon I'm planning a bc ski trek locally.
  • Monday, MadDog is planning an assault on the Bad Boy.  Count me in.

1.02.2011

Saturday, 1/8: Owl's Head?? No Osceolas.

tMail has a fantasy about skiing in to Owl's Head.  I doubt there's snow cover.  Stay tuned and post your thoughts in the comments section.  And Speicher, tell Purrier that we're going to do SOMETHING, even if we don't have the exact plan yet.  We've got weather forecasts, snow, war, all sorts of things to worry about.  we'll meet at 8:30 at some trailhead in the Whites.

[Update 1/7]  It's the Osceolas via Greeley Ponds Trail.   Email for start time/date/etc.

DogMan's Trip Report:
  1. Amongst all the other overlaps in interests and experiences, I learned that Mutha also has fear of "getting wood" from a massage. Marvelous!
  2. Missed MD on the trail, so no good discussions about world peace, we could only briefly visit the B-29 question, no resumption of the hero discussion.
  3. Woodstock is a great place to finish a hike (NOT LINCOLN).
  4. Trudy and Spanky are quite the mountain dogs.
  5. The day got  a bit disjointed summit wise but who cares. Nice to be out, nice place to live and play, nice to hang with everyone. Sure beats working.

tMail's Trip Report:
  • Chip hit 100mph driving to NH, at which point he says, “I should back it off a little we dropped it to 90mph”
  • It’s a guarantee if more than 2 Vermont boys are in the car they will miss the exit for Lincoln, it’s a given
  • Couple cool things learned about Chip avid reader, loves the Corvette and loves his Packers.
  • If we are talking about secondary nicknames MadDog has earned his “Jenny Craig”
    MadDog is on a “diet”. He pointed out how many points each item was on the menu at Woodstock Inn, (that’s in N. Woodstock).
  • He is allowed to eat on point a day (1 gram protein, ½ a carb, 1 electrolyte if he wants to cheat)
    His meal at Woodstock was about 1,000,000 points I almost puked looking at it
  • I want a hedge fund to manage my health care
  • DogMan I figured out is on my team for the privatization of health care and social security non of which will probably get.
  • Lambeau is still learning but he has great potential
  • I have an interesting relationship with Trudy I am either tugging on her tail to pull her up a mountain or pulling on it to stabilize her she doesn’t seem to mind.
  • The green goat truck, smells interesting, there was a tennis ball mashed with goat $hit that Spanky just wouldn’t stop chasing
  • I learned that MD was a chain smoker.
  • Mutha at one point when building his house could bench press 225lbs
  • DogMan needs to introduce me to Daisy

Mutha's Trip Report:
  • East Osceola only.
  • Lambeau isn't mountain ready yet
  • Trail was icy - slow going.
  • MadDog, thanks for going back down w/ Chipster and Lambeau.  Missed you on the trail.
  • Great time was had by all.
  • Spanky The Wonder Dog is world famous - was recognized on the trail by HoneyHiker and Cillbeast and ... um, damn - can't remember the guy's name... Jared?  I kept calling him Ryan.  Sigh.  Am losing my mind.
  • Weird day out - the dynamic was entirely transformed by circumstances.  Lambeau couldn't deal with what were honestly not dog-friendly conditions and Chip had to head back down.  MadDog went with them while tMail raced up the mountain after me and DogMan who didn't stick around to find out why there was nobody behind us.  My bad on that one, but I needed to generate heat. 
  • The fact that Trudy and Spanky handled the trail with ease completely cranked my admiration for those dogs up past 11.
  • Hiking with Chip:  I have one, single Chip story (MadDog spent the day with him):  Apr├Ęs hike, we headed to the Woodstock Inn for beer and snacks.  Chip got a burger the size of a legless cat (coincidence?) with cheese and 5 slices of bacon.  After observing that the ketchup bottle on the table was only half-full, he snagged on from the neighboring table and proceeded to dip everything he ate into a huge pile of ketchup on his plate.  He lifted up one bun (the size of ladies' handbag) and unload about 12 ounces of ketchup on it.  He then replaced the bun.  He ate most of it (taking the bacon out and dredging it in ketchup) but ate it around the outside, clockwise, leaving behind the central 3 ounces of burger/bun with teethmarks around the outside that made it look like a gang of rats had eaten their fill before finally backing away from ketchup overload. On the way out of the Inn after eating, I noticed that Chip still had on his plastic mountaineering boots - the rest of us had, as usual, changed back at the trailhead.  He and tMail headed towards his car (he was driving).  He said "Now there's a lesson to be learned - I gotta remember to bring casual footwear next time."
  • ...  ??? ...