Galehead & The Twins

tMail the Tornado is at it again, smacking down one after another. Holy crap. His tentative plan for Sunday is to take the Gale River Trail up and the North Twin Trail down. I plan on bagging the Hot Pepper (Leaf Peeper Half Marathon) in favor of this trek, which I'm pretty sure will do less damage. This 12.x mile banger will knock 3 more of his list.

tMtT: name the start time and we'll work backwards for a meeting time and place. We'll drop a car off at the end of Haystack Road (where the North Twin Trail trailhead is) and save about 2.5 miles instead of backtracking from North Twin back to the River Loop Road.... unless you want to do a down-and-back.

[Update 9/29] tMail the Tornado has called it: 8:30 at the Haystack Road parking area where we'll leave a car and shuttle to the starting point on the Gale River Loop Road. It may be pretty chilly in the morning, so Yours Truly will be sporting a big pack with lots of insulation - possibly even a few rolls of R19 pink fiberglass insulation and a can of urethane foam.... oh yeh, and mittens. tMail has also made it official: this is to be a hike, not a run. I'm wearing my leathers to protect my first metatarsal.

[Update 9/30] What a terrific day. Newbie Westie joined tMail and me on the trek and a good time was had by all. Westie's apparent addiction to baseball was overrated - he's not addicted, he just lives it with every breath. The remaining parties to this adventure (The PM, Treadmill, Steph and the Winnipeg Jet) came and went like the fluffy little clouds in the bright blue sky. We met up with them at Galehead and again at the hut, but on South Twin I asked tMail where they were and he said "Mutha, I don't think they're coming." Bummer. We didn't even get a chance to say "goodbye" and we had assumed that the summit of South Twin was where we'd meet The Jet.

On another note, Galehead Hut strikes again, winning another point in its bid for Weirdo Magnet extraordinaire. Recall that on the Hut234 we encounted a pair of lunatic hut panthers. Not to be outdone, another hut freak showed up. This time in the form of a bearded serial killer, but one that suffered the same affliction: An inexperienced hiker who has no clue, but yet has a deeply planted opinion on everything. This time it was on poles ("My dad and his buddies use them - I don't get the point"), fashion ("Do you have the poles because they match your pack?") and footwear ("You shouldn't hike in sneakers"). As Westie pointed out, the problem wasn't that he was new, it was that he wasn't nice about it - how fucking weird is that? (Amber Alert: In the pic above, it's the guy on the left w/ the sunglasses).

tMail has posted his pics [Link] and I've posted mine and a selection of his as well [Link].

[Update 10/1] I created a time profile of the route (Elevation vs. Time). Summits were bagged at 120, 170 & 210 minutes into hike. We made the summit of South Twin only 30 minutes after leaving the hut.


Wonalancet, Hibbard, Passaconaway, Whiteface

Wow, what a beautiful blue sky. It was a terrific day to log a dozen miles or so in the Whites... or more if you don't see trail junctions. Wonalancet was nice - a lovely trail through the woods - and the switchbacks up Hibbard gave us a little variety and a reason to savor the cool, dry breezes above 2,500 ft.

Coming down from Passaconaway, tMail and I burned up the trail at a run and completely missed the junction to Whiteface. While the PM and Treadmill took the easy (ahem, "correct") route to Whiteface, tMail and I dropped almost 2,000 ft of elevation on the Dicey Mill trail and had to crank up the Tom Wiggin trail ("loose, steep and 'not recommended'"). This rarely used trail is also known as "The Fire Escape" due to it's rising over 1,450ft in 1.1 miles. Then we had to hump back to Whiteface up and over the ledges until we met up w/ the PM and TM on their way down. tMail and I tagged Whiteface and turned around asap. Jeezus that was some trail.

Photos coming soon.

Heard it on the mountain:
[On encountering the PM and TM on their way down from Whiteface - they think we went up and over Whiteface and are coming back to meet them]
MZ: We have to tag Whiteface
PM: Huh?
tM: We came up Tom Wiggin.
PM: No way!
MZ: We dropped down Dicey Mill - didn't see the trail junction so we came up Tom Wiggin.
PM: You're shitting me!
tM: No, we're not.
PM: You guys are idiots!



Tmail The Tornado is now cranked up to smack down what's left of his 48. Jeepers. The plan is to hit these two bad boys this coming weekend. What route? What day? What time? So many questions, so few answers. Stay tuned on this channel as the plans are fleshed out.

Interesting trivia note: The PM, g-$$$, Riley and I tagged them for g-$$$'s 48 on 9/9 one year ago - the weekend the 9/11 flags were going up. That same weekend, g-$$$ asked me for the first time how many of my 48 I had left. I admitted I'd never counted or considered tagging them. He asked me again a week later on the Willey Range hike and then finally on November 19th on our way to Mt. Cabot I told him I finally counted (I think it was 36) and I was bitten by the 'bug' and decided to hamma out the last of them - and having to repeat Jefferson & Adams (w/ the PM!) so I could do my 'all in one calendar year' thing.

To this day I blame g-$$$ for infecting me with that dreaded 48 summit virus. Luckily he wasn't urging me to jump off a high bridge w/ a bungee cord wrapped around me cobblers.

[Update 9/22] tMail the Tornado has selected the route, and it's a beauty: Counter-clockwise loop from the Ferncroft parking area, up Wonalancet and back via Blueberry Ledge. We're waiting for the final word from tT on meeting times. I'm shoveling gravel all day (3/4" granite) so I won't be doing any route planning/measuring - and soaking in a hot bath this evening.


And They Said It Couldn't Be Done!

We did it. Chart at right shows elevation as a function of time measured from 5:30am - our official start time at Lafayette Place Campground.

19.5 hours to Crawford Notch. We changed our route due to forecasted cold rain, unbearable pain & elevation gain. Pictures are online now [Link].

Highlights From Mad Dog:

  1. rethinking and doing your pack strategy 4mins before the train leaves the station.
  2. at the start, scratching our heads as to the trailhead from the campground.
  3. cannon sucks
  4. dont trust tmail around pancakes
  5. got a bad knee, take henry's advice.
  6. spearing food containers of canadian tourist, is not a crime against humanity.
  7. tmail revealed a previously held pet name, "booger man"
  8. do not engage in conversation with hut panthers
  9. south twin sucks
  10. AT chicks "don't need no stinkn maps"
  11. mutha is a narco spy
  12. cog
  13. grundels are not well worn jet engine parts
  14. the g-$$$ war whoop should be remixed into a dance track
  15. hut crews rock
  16. before traveling with this minstrel crew, always cut the meniscus and leave it behind....OOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!
  17. (from here forward - the list was lost to the aftermath of snake cairn at basecamp)
Highlights From tMail:
  1. MadDog is my hero
  2. MadPirate.......RRRRRRRRR.......RRRRRRRR.......RRRRRR
  3. Puppetmaster packed more food than I weigh
  4. Puppetmaster has built in night vision
  5. MZ knows every single turn, rock, root, stump in the Whites
  6. MZ works for the CIA, FBI and KGB
  7. Puppetmaster, MadDog, MZ and G-$$$ there is nobody better in the Whites!
  8. I saw the Old Man in the Mountain on Lafayette and Zealand Parking Lot
  9. Fuck my knees I can always get new ones
  10. Galehead Hut can suck my ass, I think that place was a mental institution
  11. Cannon can suck my ass, Garfield can suck my ass, South Twin can suck my ass, Zealand can suck my ass, and Guyot wherever that fucking thing is can....suck my ass
  12. We will be remembered by many in Zealand Hut
Highlights From The Puppet Master:
  1. Bringing so much gear and food that realistically I could have endured a good 30 day adventure, never mind 1.5 days!
  2. Almost having to bust out the North/South finder 2mins into the trek!
  3. The light on top of Cannon is equivalent to the Cog in my mind - fucking stupid.
  4. The hut queens, panthers, cotton swabs, yoga fags, and pancake thieves.
  5. BRAVO TWO ZERO... what the fuck would Andy do?
  6. Zucker and a woman in a cat suit, Tmail fending off the dog, and MadDog in a room of nakedness
  7. 81yrs old and still climbing AND the fact that Amy thought the pic was me in a mask!
  8. The Gimp (aka MadDog) showing us all what pain management is all about. You animal.
  9. G$ and his "lucky 7's", post-bike crash!
  10. Grundel burn - EMS boxer briefs are not meant to ever get damp... great design you a-rods.
  11. The trail allowing for the creative stringing of swear words such as "this trail is a goat fucking whore of a penis fold."
  12. Missing all the flags waving on the summits and being asked if we were "with Mats."
  13. The facial expressions after telling people our planned route!
  14. Zucker trying to comprehend the WMNF map at 12:30am... like asking him to translate Swahili but in Spanish.
  15. The "whimpers." Nightmares or grundel pain? We'll never know but what do you expect after hikng 28 miles?!
What I would have changed...
  1. G$ in attendance
  2. A pack with a backbone - that fucking droopy shit lump gave me back pain but was light!
  3. Light boots vs sneakers
  4. More carrots for everyone, no head lamps!
  5. A different set up for my shorts/briefs. Perhaps I'll just toughen things up by rubbing a cheese grater all over my nether-region prior to the next adventure.
  6. A larger appetite for the Red Fox - that place rocks!
  7. Pack design is in our future
I'm definitely feeling the post-adventure hangover. Work sucks balls and I can't help but think of the great adventures to come... Onwards and upwards you "MIMERS" (mountain, integrity, mind, endurance... courtesy of MuthaZ it was there all the time.)
Highlights From Mutha:
  1. The trail was steep and hot; sweat was dripping from our chins; steam rising from our bodies as we labored up the bent and broken trail. Such tortures as Danté envisioned for the punishment of souls of the damned, we endured. Such agony, as only Goya painted to reflect the victimization of the oppressed and the horrors of war, we endured. What was this place? How did we get here? Damn you, g-$$$ for casting us into this pit of despair. On the other hand, it was a really sweet hike.
  2. tMail will eat anything. Heard it on the mountain:
    . MD: tmail, you've got a big booger.
    . [tMail reaches up and picks it out]
    . PM: now *eat* it!
    . [tMail obliges]
    ALL: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!
  3. MD really is a fucking pirate. He goes 'Arrrgh! alot" If we ever needed to lower a guy into a snake pit to retrieve a pot of gold, while jets of flaming lava are spewing around, and eunuchs with sharp swords are guarding the booty: send in BRAVO MD NINER!
  4. The Puppet Master has a diesel engine with no "stop" setting and it doesn't lose torque on the ascents - even after 23 miles of pounding.
  5. tMail has been muged by four more of the 48: Garfield, South Twin, Guyot & Zealand. His response: "Is that all you got?"
  6. In terms of footing, elevation gain and the feeling at the end, the route we took was harder than the Presi Traverse.
  7. In good weather, the extra 20 miles wouldn't have been out of the question - although i've got afflictions galore that i didn't anticipate - including fucked up rashes on my shoulders where the straps rubbed my sweaty shirt into my skin.
  8. Leather boots have their purpose - and I think a good mid-weight boot would've been really appropriate.
  9. We know a lot about what we want out of backpacks.
  10. The Red Fox 'Jazz Breakfast Buffet' on sundays is worth the $8. Do it. Do it now.
  11. The ascent up South Twin is a good test both to see if you still remember how to breathe and if your heart still works. Failing either of those tests means you don't get to tag Guyot.
  12. It's fucking WILLEY, not WILEY for god's sake. WILEY was a fucking coyote.
  13. There are a lot of old guys, geared up, with determination and the spirit of fun doing solo stuff all over the trails. We ran into Mr. Titanium-Knee on Lafayette in the blowing fog (age 81) not 4 minutes after my anecdote about meeting Mr. Speedy Ascent (age 82) on the same trail. We met numerous guys aged 60-80, alone, w/ packs, on the Garfield Ridge trail, looking like they weren't stopping any time soon. I am inspired.
  14. What's up with chicks at the huts? It's like something in the water turns them into extreme forms of human life - in all different ways - some less tolerable than others. And this isn't just sexist claptrap. It was like the Huts spin a big pointer and it always ends up at: strange bird
  15. It's been a long time since I laughed so hard that I:
    * doubled over
    * nearly puked while gagging
    * had tears streaming out of my eyes


Hut-2-3-4: Timing & Water

I was mulling over the problem of water stops and timing in general and decided to create another post about it. I'm pretty confident that the huts themselves will give us an adequate water supply for hiking with 2L between huts. I think the last jaunt between Lake of the Clouds and Carter Notch will be the hardest because there's probably no water on Wildcat Ridge. But when we cross 16 after Glen Boulder we also cross the Ellis River, so we can fill with pumps there, although I don't know how hard it is to get down to the water.

Timing-wise, I think we should anticipate hitting Zealand Hut by nightfall (approx mile 23). If we can get there earlier, great. But if not that means we have to climb the 2.7 mile A-Z trail in the dark. The footing is a bitch (roots, big rocks, etc.). If tMail wants to hit Tom, it'll be in the dark but it's such a short side trip (1.2 mi round-trip) that it'll be worth getting it off the list and it's followed by the descent down the rugged Avalon Trail to the car in Crawford Notch.

Or we can save it for a Willey Range run later in the year or next year.

Lastly, because of the likely overcast/fog on Eisenhower/Monroe, we should anticipate slow-going once we get above treeline. The Crawford Path is pretty easy to follow, but not in dense fog. If the visibility is poor it will also mean a late onset of twilight due to cloud cover - although sunrise from the bare ridges around Boott Spur would be cool.


Hut-2-3-4: Logistics

I've created this blog entry for just the logistics (food, gear, etc.). I've pasted MadDog's first list below, along with some additions of mine. Post any additional suggestions in the comments section and I'll add to the list here as we go.

UPDATE: New additions to this post are going to be highlighted in colors for a day.


  • MD: rain cancels. wah wah wah, no need to fuss with battling cold temps and hypotherm conditions. the mountains aren't going anywhere.
  • MZ: the current forecast is for this extraordinarily great period of weather to persist until the end of the week, followed by stormy weather for our hike. I'll be the first to bail out.
  • MD: i'm guesstimating 10,000 cals burned, divide by for cals i can ingest and then divide by 2 for what i carry and then stash the other half at crawford. Bring money - some for hut goodies (i regret this big time when we did the pemi). pb and crackers, prosciutto, cubed cliff bars, gel shot, dried cocoa packets, dried soup, some expensive chocolate.
  • MZ: ditto on stashing tons of stuff at Crawford Notch. I over-packed food on the pemi, but didn't really regret it. food weighed a lot though. We'll have lots of water sources on the trail at the huts. I'm bringing water pump and 2L camelbak and nalgene for pump and just having extra thing to carry. i'm big on snacking frequently and having sandwich from time to time to break up monotony of snack food. I plan on having large cooler w/ ice at Crawford w/ chocolate milks, sandwiches, etc.
  • PM: Hammer flasks (2), snickers, food to stash at Crawford and at end (powdered donuts).
  • TM: Hammer flasks (2), PBJ, dark chocolate, Powerbars, Gatorade Endurance, eCaps, no HEED.
  • MD: bottom is g-$$$ rei pants, helly hansen long legs, top will be helly base layer, 200weight something for mid layer, extra light rain shell, beenie, gloves, change of socks, montrail ridge runner.
  • MZ: light wind-breaker pants or shorts, techwick top. in pack: long-sleeve techwick, tights, fleece cap, beanie, cap w/ visor, light gloves, light precip shell, fleece vest, mid-layer, 2 changes of socks & liners. at crawford: second pair of shoes, extra and redundant base layers, more socks.
  • TM: Vasques at Crawford, Injinjis (4 pr), Marmot Precip, NO WINTER SHELL.
Personal Gear:
  • MD: compass, map, batteries, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss (doubles as suture mat'l), tp, shades, crotch lube, lightweight pack, knife, nalgene, poles, 2-gallon drums of ibruprofen, skate pad for the bum axle. Bring money - some for hut goodies (i regret this big time when we did the pemi).
  • MZ: also, headlamp, backup headlamp, mini-flashlight, closed-cell foam pad, water pump, bandaid/blister/ducttape kit, 55gal contractor trash bag, several 13gal trash bags for wet/sweaty clothes, tp. am shrinking pack considerably for traveling lighter - not using winter pack after all.
  • PM: MSI water filter stick, 3L camelbak
  • TM: Also 3L Camelbak, Nalgenes
Team Gear:
  • MD: stove (pm has it), sleeping bag (MD, unless someone has a light one) to stablize an injured hutter, pad, rope/slings??, sense of humor other stuff?
  • MZ: MSR pump filter, 10m climbing rope, antacid.
  • PM: Jetboil + fuel, sporks, bivvy/light bag, MSI water filter stick/pen, 2 slings w/ biner.
  • TM: Extra set of poles
Other Notes:
  • MZ: We'll need large vehicle at end to get back to other cars. Need to spot MD's (or my) car at Crawford w/ stash in case he needs to head to hospital or something. I intend to do a fast change at Crawford (unless we have injuries) in order to minimize the chances I opt to just take a nap in the car and bag the rest of the hike.
  • MZ: Our current plan for cars is for the PM to pick up TM at the 9-mile Brook Trailhead on 16 (leaving TM's truck), then pick up MZ or MD at Crawford Notch (leaving a car), then on to the motel. On the way back after hike, we can pick up the Crawford Notch car.
  • MZ: Start Time: How about 4:30am Saturday at the trailhead? Sunrise is 6:15 (as seen from Cannon summit)? That would give us 1:45 to get to the summit for sunrise.
  • MZ: Getting to The Greenleaf Trail from the Kinsman Ridge Trail (From The Guide): "From the [Cannon Mtn Tramway] parking lot, the trail follows a sidewalk through the parkway underpass, turns left and follows the northbound ramp for 25 yd., then turns right across a ditch into the woods (sign)." I'm not bringing The Guide, so somebody remember this.