Wednesday, 12/30 Idea

Proposal from tMail: the great Carter-Moriah attack (south, middle, north and Moriah):

19-Mile Brook Trail to South Carter
Follow ridge to North Carter
Return via Imp Trail

Mutha's Trip Report (pics here): No report, man. Got too busy and never wrote one up. Read tMail's - it says it ALL!!

tMail's Trip Report (pics here): Well 85% of the intended goal / traverse has been completed in December of 2009 for Carter Moriah.

DogMan, Mutha and myself tackled the all the Carter’s except Carter Dome which was previously done by Mutha and myself in early December of 2009. The weather was fairly warmer than the last outing but the quality of air and snow texture was outstanding.

We started off on the 19 mile brook trail and worked our way toward Zeta Pass and had to do some route finding in order to find the Carter – Moriah trail. We probably spent about 15-20 minutes looking for the trail. There is a good amount of snow up there and this was before the last couple storms so I would imagine it is significant by now.

The trail from Zeta Pass to South, Middle and North Carter was not broke out, we took turns breaking trail. This trip I did a much better job of food, lots of peanut butter crackers, all types of nuts some salted some not and I have two snicker bars that I had in the upper pockets of my pants that stayed somewhat soft but were beginning to harden after 45 minutes.

The recent cold weather that we have been in has brought some real food challenges. I am sticking with the peanut butter crackers, large amounts of almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and high salt items.

As far as gear, I think I am tying my inner boot to tight I have had feet problems lately, while ascending but when coming down my feet are nice and toasty. This last trip I had Darn Tough Ski socks on with Smartwool Mountaineering socks and everything was still cold, beats me suggestions?

New Patagonia R1 fleece hoody was outstanding and worked well, I have also used my shell jacket a lot more below tree line while hiking as there is tons of snow on branches and trees and the jacket has kept me warm and dry.

I continued the philosophy of not changing and everything dried out and I stayed warm. I have added a smartwool short sleeve shirt to my arsenal as a base layer it worked awesome!

Hats off to DogMan for his first big winter hike nice work!

Redfox was top notch again as we had pizza, nachos, beer, all their break and salads and had conversation about Kmart, St J Co op, NASA, the lunar landing, Pink Floyd, the song Frankenstein, solar power, Rush and Mutha’s old radio show on PBS.


The Great Meteorological Collapse of the End of 2009

As much as I'd like to head to the hills today, tomorrow and Monday, I look at this national weather map and wonder if I shouldn't just stay in bed with the covers over my head.

The MWO is forecasting freezing fog, glazing/riming conditions that will transition to snow eventually. While I don't mind crazy conditions, I'm not crazy, so heading out in this weather is not particularly appealing. The problem is that long-term it doesn't look good until Tuesday.

On the plus side, if the forecasted precip develops true to today's outlook, this even will end with snow and we'll end up with an exceptionally awesome base layer of strong, consolidated crust. A holiday gift that will keep on giving all winter long.

Happy Holidays to All (and congratulations to our italian friends for making through all of the 7 Fishes).


Man Vs. Wildcat

The trek was up Wildcat ski area to the ridge, then north to the Carters as far as we could manage.

Mutha's Trip Report (photos here):
The winds on the Bad Boy were ripping - roaring steady at 60-70 mph - and doing their part to keep us in the freezer all day with temps hovering around zero or just below. The plan worked well, although we made the wise decision not to continue beyond Zeta Pass (and exited via 19-mile brook). Highlights:
  • The ascent up the Wildcat trails was a great start to the day (over 2,000ft gained). We stayed to climber's left of the gondola line and worked our way up a combination of trails (Cougar, Lynx, eventually taking the leftmost, groomed Polecat to the summit). Trail map here. We were mostly on ungroomed trails and the snowshoes did their work. In spite of the sub-zero, windy start to the day we both did the entire ascent w/out any shell or windbreaker .
  • The summit of Wildcat was ROARING. We made a mad dash for the trail to get into the trees. At first I had some uncertainty about where the trail was (there appeared to be two routes into the woods) but made the quick decision when I heard tMail shout over the wind "GO! Take it!". Yeah, no point in hesitating in those conditions.
  • We had unbroken trail from Wildcat to Carter Notch. The trail was easy to follow (a few blowdowns and as much as 5 seconds of uncertainty a few times) nothing particularly dramatic. Just a lot of work.
  • The snow was pretty soft and the descent into the Notch a little crazed. In addition to having to snowshoe-ski down some impressive slopes, much of the descent is on switchbacks. Because of the side of the mountain being filled in with snow, following the trail means going downhill on the diagonal - very difficult footing since the soft, ultra-cold snow didn't pack but just sort of slid downhill.
  • The ascent up to Carter Dome is actually pretty quick - just a little steep work but the sun was beating on us and could've been done bare-handed.
  • The descent off Carter Dome into Zeta Pass was the best part of the day (for me). The snow was deep, deep, deep, and ultra soft powder. You could take huge strides, plunging deep and just letting gravity pull you down the mountain. It was soft, direct, easy, bouncy and lucious - like falling off a pile of goose down.
  • The Carter Dome Trail joins up with the 19 Mile Brook trail and winds through a narrow valley that had the weirdest weather of the day. It was completely protected from the wind and the strong sun baked the dark trees, making for very warm air in the sunny spots. The general ambient air was probably not more than 0-5°, but without wind it was like suddenly finding yourself on a nice March day in the woods.
  • Exiting onto rte 16 and trekking a mile north to where tMail's car was parked (at the Imp trailhead) was great training for Bataan. It was the Pinkham Notch Death March. We trudged along the plowed snow alongside the road, still in our snowshoes, over cigarette butts, beer cans and frozen gatorade bottles. It took about 30 minutes as the evening got darker, the air got colder and the headwind picked up, mixing with exhaust and salt dust.

A few gear notes:
  • The entire day was done with almost no insulation. I wore a facemask the entire time to keep my nose warm - and I kept my beanie over my earlobes. Eventually I switched to a balaclava with integrated face mask to also keep the back of my neck warmer (my soft-shell doesn't have a hood).
  • The cold was really harsh on the food. One of my Boost bottles was so sludged up it was difficult to get the nutrients out. I didn't eat my mackerel sandwich until I got back to the car, but it was like eating a fillet-o-fish right out of the freezer. tMail had his problems w/ food as well.
  • We got concerned about the ability of our headlamps to function and kept one in pants pocket to keep the batteries warm. Mixed in with other reasons for exiting at Zeta Pass (like the prospect of breaking trail for another 6 hours) was the possibility that our headlamps would fail in the cold - even with forehead heat - when worn on the outside of a hat.

tMail's Trip Report (report coming soon, photos here):
It was an interesting morning as temperatures ranged from -17 to -4 while driving. Going through my head I know that -17 is next to impossible to hike in as Mutha and I experienced -25 and that is basic human and gear failure.

We both got ready in the car and started our ascent up Wildcat. The ascent was great I was warm and had great management of moisture. I put on my shell jacket right before we went into the opening near the summit and it never came off the rest of the day. One thing I remembered was to keep the hood up to project the "snow down the back" as everything was covered and the snow was deep and soft.

Things that worked well:

1. Shell jacket with Patagona Capiliene 3 underneath

2. Blackdiamond gloves with liners kept them on all day, hands stayed perfect.

3. I could have put a facemask on but when my face did get cold I would tuck it into the the part of the jacket that was fulled zipped and I warmed up quickly.

Couple of hairy parts going down into Carter Notch no fall zones, managed them well got over my fears of falling, one thing I would have liked to have is my axe.

Carter Notch hut was awesome, nice and warm, we need to spend a night there.

Carter Dome beautiful the snow was beautiful, the views to the east and west were spectacular.

Ascent to Rt 16 was great, soft snow good trails.

Note to anyone going to shop for xc skies in Lydonville, Marcel knows nothing, Mutha and I made him shit his pants. He said they were very busy, there were 3 people in the store, Mutha and I were two of them. The most knowledgeable person in the store Chris was busy helping a lady pick out a sweater. Marcel is a tool - bag.

Danville Inn is awesome for Saturday morning breakfast I highly recommend going there when in Danville.

The xc ski class that MadDog and I took was top notch, you learned everything in 2 minutes and then led on an all out assault of Danville's beaver ponds and a category II bushwhack.


Sunday, the 13th: The Kinsmans

Two scenarios depending on the weather:

  1. Cannon via the Lonesome Lake Trail, drop back down and hit the Kinsmans. Return via Fishin' Jimmy. (13.1 miles)
  2. Ascend via the Fishin' Jimmy. Hit the Kinsmans. Return via the Kinsman Pond Trail. (11.3 miles)
We chose the latter (also descended via Fishin' Jimmy).

tMail's Trip Report (pics here):

While packing for this trip I did the normal thing, mittens, hats, down, shell etc etc etc...but what I what I tried to do was leave the essential stuff I would need near "the zipper". Yes "the zipper" you know that zipper that you never use on your pack (some may have it) that gives you access to the inner large compartment?

What I have been trying to do and this is working well is not change, what I mean by that is keep my base layer/capiliene layer on once we stop for lunch, above timberline or in exposed area. I am trying to "trust my equipment" in the anticipation that it will dry quickly, why did I buy it to begin with?

So yesterday when I stopped, I immediatly pulled out my shell jacket put it on which stopped some wind that was circulating around us and then put my down jacket on over that zipped up everything and both hoods on and I remained warm. I never went into my pack all day I used "the zipper".

When we started to move again I took my down off, jammed it back through "the zipper" and just vented the shell properly with pit zips and the front zip, the baselayer dried relatively quickly.

Trip Report:
  1. G$$$ picked me up (G$$$ thanks for driving) at Kohls and we rocked at at 80mph to Lincoln for DD stop
  2. We met DogMan and Mutha at the lot
  3. Mutha went up to a car and said do i know you people, they probably thought he was going to kill them
  4. We saw a car on the other side of the highway with front window blown out ala MadDog.
  5. Conditions primo for snowshoes or crampons or micro spikes.
  6. DogMan had crampons on his paws all day and learned all about them and how to trust them.
  7. Shamus attacked Spanky, Spanky lost again, DogMan remained composed the other owners called their dogs (no drama).
  8. We had a very high level conversation with another lady about dog clothing particularly (Ruffwear).
  9. I saw more Aryteryx yesterday than we have seen jeans on Lafayette.
  10. Great to see G$$$ back on the trails sharing his knowledge, of crampons, microspikes, down, snowshoes, and his secret purchases of gear, new snowshoes
  11. DogMan crampons, ice axe, goggles, GEAR GEAR GEAR....
  12. Mutha thanks for the christmas gifts two have already been put to work.
  13. G$$$ thanks for getting me home in one piece the Jeep is a cross between a SUV and snowmobile, who needs winter wipers we got our fingers and hands!!!!

Mutha's Trip Report (pics here):
Well, I can honestly say that the whole thing was a blur. I remember a lot of white - and something else... hmmm... oh yeah, it started snowing.

That's about it.

Oh yeah, DogMan rocked the crampons. He went up AND down. It was like watching Nuryev getting hit by a bus.

g-$$$ let out a pre-war-whoop when his pack went all medieval on his bad shoulder, but it dwindled like a bad fuse on a damp pack of firecrackers.

tMail is the new Obama as far as Spanky is concerned. He gave her mackerel. That's fish we can believe in.

Spanky ate twice as much as I did. I'm still hungry. She took a shit the size of my head.


Franconia Ridge: The Dawn of the AHL

We didn't hit the Carters due to weather issues, but we did hit Franconia Ridge today.

tMail's Trip Report (pics here): What a great day to get out and get back into the winter mind set. Couple of things:

For the knee brace wearers in the crowd the snow builds up between the knee brace and shell pants. In the hinges it also forms a icy fill that needs to be scraped out with a finger.

Snowshoes could have been a good piece of equipment but at times been an cumbersome.

The mountains always surprise the forecast was for 70-50mph winds with them decreasing to 45-30mph there was hardly any wind. Bottom line always be prepared.

There was a group that camped on falling waters. When I was coming up he asked me where I was camping. I said I am not camping I am doing the ridge why? He said "big pack". Mutha asked him how his night was he said cold. He had the equivalent of a fanny pack I had more than him in my pack.

Now we move on to the David Westie (Rip van Winkle) part of the report.

Westie disappeared for a while on falling waters and didn't respond to verbal commands (which raises the question of whistle commands what are they?)

I don't know if it was the fear of being with three other guys but Rip Van Winkle proved his manhood on Lafayette to the 3 cute girls from Quebec. Before saying "hi" he says "do you have a hockey team the Sherbrooke you know the AHL, huh do you?" then says "you know hockey". Smooooth!!! One of the girls said that's how you get the ladies.

Also Westie has officially earned the nickname Rip Van Winkle. He sleeps on the drive up and sleeps on the way home. Within 15 minutes of ride home feet on dash board out cold...I don't know if it was smell or instinct he wakes up minutes before NH liquor store says pull in. He comes out with gallon of Makers Mark.

Back to the hike.

I bombed Greenleaf wedged myself in the corner braced the corner walls and dropped a cairn. Snowconed my pie hole it was perfect then dried with TP.

Great day out all gear worked awesome.

Great day, Mutha finished his first grid peak. I am 1 or 2 mountains away from my 100th overall peak.

Mutha's Trip Report (pics here):
  • The Falling Waters trail was pure carnage. The high winds of the previous storm tore down so many trees that two faint-hearted groups turned back. The downed trees caused serious delays and made the trek both more interesting and more challenging.
  • From our perspective, nobody else was doing the loop. There were some close contenders but those parties appeared to be conducting limited attacks on the ridge.
  • Conditions: not very cold, not very windy. The overcast would suddenly disperse and then return. One time exposing the entire western view over Kinsman Ridge, then suddenly exposing the entire Pemi as far as the Presidentials. The changes were rapid and unpredictable.
  • Snow depth varied from a few inches at the parking lot to several feet in drifts. Typical snow depth in the trees, near treeline: 18". Snowshoes could have been used, but would have been a hindrance for most of the hike. Crampons weren't necessary for the ridge (no ice). In general, good boot-skiing technique was the most helpful on the way down.
Rip Van Westie's Trip Report (pics here): Congratulations is due to Zucker for completing his first grid mountain - Lafayette
▪ 8.9 miles of great exercise, endorphins & fab views periodically as the sun came out on the ridge – could have set up margarita bar and sun bathed on Lincoln! Here kitty kitty
▪ I may have had a slow start with the lovely ladies from Sherbrooke, Quebec on top of Lafayette with my hockey team comment. Next time I’m going straight to the Vodka & hot tub line
▪ Those Sherbrooke girls must have been angels as they flew down from Lafayette like they had wings
▪ Tmail dropped an A-bomb behind Greenleaf which shaved about 5lbs off him and helped him kick it into high gear
▪ 1.75L of Makers Mark at the NN state liquor store for $41 is worth every penny!
▪ Thank you for including me guys. With ski season near I probably won’t see you on the trails until I ski Tuckerman’s in the spring. Good luck and be safe!
▪ On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!


The Great 2009 Carter-Moriah Traverse

Well, it's that time of the year again for a cold Carter Moriah Traverse. In November of 2007 tMail and I did this trek (south-to-north) in about 13 hours (18.6 miles).

a 6:30am start will minimize headlamp time, but let's plan on being out 15 hrs which means about 5 hours w/ headlamps at the end.

28 November 2009 Eastern Standard Time

Begin civil twilight 6:25 a.m.
Sunrise 6:57 a.m.
Sun transit 11:33 a.m.
Sunset 4:08 p.m.
End civil twilight 4:40 p.m.

Moonrise 1:32 p.m.
Moon transit 8:37 p.m.
Moonset 3:56 a.m. on following day

Phase of the Moon on 28 November: waxing gibbous with 84% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.


Sandwich Dome & Black Mountain on Saturday

Destination: Black Mtn via Sandwich Dome (Via the Sandwich Mtn Trail)
Distance (Total): 11.2 miles (approx)

  • Noon Peak: 2976'
  • Jennings Peak: 3460'
  • Sandwich Dome: 3993'
  • Black Mtn: 2732'
Parking at the trailhead near Waterville Valley. Logistics via email.

tMail's Trip Report (pics here):
Yeah.....for those that did not attend - you missed one of the most ultimate verbal exchanges of F bombs the White Mountains had ever seen.

This is my entire trip report by the way....I was a eye witness involved in the heart of the action I even through my knee in the mix.

We are walking up the trail in this order: Spanky, tMail, Trudy, DogMan, Muthaz - there is this couple walking down the trail with there dog part German sheppard, Husky, something with husky fur in it...it was grey and black with a black face....

So as we come around this switch back there is an all out attack on Spanky from Cujo....Spanky retreats and I stick my pole inbetween the two of them and start swinging it...Spanky runs for Mutha...i am there looking Cujo in the eyes..the eyes were red, droll dripping from its fangs....

DogMan comes in and says HEAL YOUR DOG...the fat owner just keeps walking...the dog still snarling...DogMan repeats you need to HEAL YOUR DOG it just attacked...Control your Dog....

Then all hell broke out:

Eat my Ass Guy (more on that) says - Fuck You
DogMan - Go Fuck Yourself
Mutha - Hey Hey your fucking dog attacked
Eat my Ass Guy - more go fuck yourself - fuck you
DogMan - Go Fuck Yourself - FUCK YOU!!!
Eat my Ass Guy - EAT MY ASS

I tried getting out - your wife (who this guy was with) "your wife lets you have other guys eat your ass" but i didn't or couldn't probably a good thing

Anyway...it was awesome vicious dog, spanky getting regulated, trudy saying fuck this, DogMan telling some guy to FUCK HIMSELF, Mutha saying all kinds of stuff....

You had to be there.....one thing did go through my head which was stab the dog with my trekking pole, i don't know what would have brought it to blows but that guy would have been fucked...we could have tied him up, i had rope, cooked him, i had jet boil, we could have done math problems with his body parts potential was huge!!!!

Mutha's Trip Report (pics here):
tMail's assessment was NOT an exaggeration. this was total WWF grudge match stuff: Dick Cheney vs. Jesse Ventura.

Te dog looked like it was prepared to dismantle our entire party - if only the cyborg would stop waving his sharp sticks.

the only thing to add is the DogMan was about to do the same to the guy. do NOT cross DogMan - or at least, don't let your dog get out of control - or at least don't be a fat f**k who says "eat my ass". this was an awesome display of a medieval methods of taking down an entire castle: stones and flames everywhere, bodies, blood.

what a great day.


Trek Ideas

Just for the record, throwing these out on the blog so I don't forget them:

ideas for upcoming treks:

  • Kinsman Ridge/Gordon Pond by: lonesome lake/fishin' jimmy, north kinsman, south kinsman, mt. wolf, gordon pond trail.
  • Trail Trot 1: two car setup: start at lincoln woods campground and trot to the Cedar Brook Trail (about 60 min trot). take Cedar Brook to the Kanc at the hairpin turn (avoid the Hancocks)
  • Trail Trot 2: two car setup: start at hairpin curve on the Kanc, trot Hancock Notch trail to Sawyer River trail and back to Kanc.
  • Trail Trot 3: similar to #2 but hit Carrigain.
  • sphinx trail from somewhere, return somehow
  • isolation via rocky branch (a loop that returns via the davis path and stairs col trail).
  • sandwich dome & black mtn. out and back.
  • chocorua via some loop somehow


Boott Spur

tMail, Agent 007, Spanky and mutha tackled the Tuckerman Ravine -> Boott Spur-> Boott Spur Link loop.

tMail's Trip Report (pics here):

  1. Excellent weather for a mid November hike.
  2. Spanky the wonder dog can and will eat anything...almond butter....mmmmm
  3. Agent 007 has requested MD to gather all the White stones on the cairns that look like marble.
  4. Seeing Dodge's Drop for the first time since April...WOW
  5. To Mutha's point when moisture is controlled and managed...life is easy, but when it is not it is fun to use all your gear.
  6. Jetboil continues to perform
  7. Bad Boy looks like it was struck with a bomb on in the eastern snowfield.
  8. The descent off Boott Sput back to Hermits Lake shelter doesn't have a name.
  9. Finding a flip flop on that trail.
  10. The trail chatter of Lord of the Rings was excellent.
  11. The MadDog 2010 is going to be spectacular
  12. The Carter Moriah Traverse is going to be like walking into Middle Earth.

Mutha's Trip Report (pics here):
  • Spanky The Wonder Dog finds being lifted down boulders to be personally insulting.
  • tMail's JetBoil works as well as The PM's.
  • A rare day on that mountain where special gear isn't needed.
  • Friday's are quiet on the Tuckerman Ravine trail. The mountain was empty.
  • The pace was kept modest for Agent 007 and Spanky. It's is amazing how the slightly lower intensity makes a huge difference in perspiration, fatigue and pains.
  • tMail and I discussed at length the logistics of the MadDog 2010 and The Lord of the Rings.


Cabot & Waumbek: Elmo or Cookie Monster?

The route was as planned: Cabot via Unknown Pond (and side trip to The Horn) - an out and
back. Drive to Starr King trail, Waumbek out and back: sunset on the ascent, headlamps on
by Mt. Starr King. While these two summits are among the lowest of the 48, this was no walk-in-the-park: About 18 miles and about 5,300ft vertical.

Also of note was the recognition that we'd have to repeat this feat of endurance 11 more times for the grid - yet this trek and our last tag of Cabot & Waumbek in one day was ALSO in November when tMail, MadDog and I did the Kilkenny Ridge Traverse.

It's like we're being punished for something we didn't do.
Mutha's Trip Report (Pics Here): Outstanding camaraderie and typical trail talk, covering everything from ... um ... Elmo to Cookie Monster. Trip highlights (just the first few to come to mind - I'll leave it to the others to fill in the details):
Presidentials (by Mutha)
  • Blaze orange gear, courtesy of MadDog: vests & hats
  • Knee brace adjustments galore!
  • The Horn and views of the Presidentials (see pics)
  • Stupid Mount Cabot
  • Getting back out of the car at the Starr King trailhead
  • Finding socks on the trail
  • Ascending Waumbek in the waning evening light, gorgeous sunset and snowy trail
  • Headlamp hike to the summit cairn and back.
tMail's Trip Report (no pics due to failed camera): A great drive up from the flatland to meet the green mountain boys at Starr King Trail head...jumped in Tmail's hotrod and headed to wonderful Stark, NH
1. MadDog's glow in the dark orange colorful vests and hats.
2. Westie's pre Combo's hike snack
3. Heading up to Cabot talking about MadDog's eat habits he counts the number of almonds he eats per day. Sunset (by Mutha Z)
4. MadDog's diamond drill story.
5. Mutha's shit sludge drink
6. Cabot summit
7. Drive to Starr King and efficiency of transition and DD Lancaster.
8. Listening to Mutha's theme song.
9. Heading up and down Waumbek talking about things from Frank Zappa, Elmo, Queen Elizabeth.
10. The Palin ban on Pink Floyd in Jericho, vt
11. MadDog burning his pants @ PPAC and not knowing which way to turn his head.
12. Talking about the sound of Steak slapping against counter top.
13. Westie taking the high boots and summer dresses.
14. Westie and Erin Burnett
15. Awesome summit on Waumbek.

Dinner following the hike, included 3/4 pound burgers with fries...highlights from the diner, 2 waitresses pregnant, one was drinking while serving. TV choice at bar was UFC, one guy saying Chuck "The Iceman" Ledell is deadly. Seeing one guy put half the salt shaker into his beer.

Westie was in a coma until Boston.

MadDog is a litter bug:

DD cup
Peanut butter crackers wrapper
Luna bar wrapper

MadDog leaves his gear everywhere:

I picked up Northface down vest
Blackdiamond trekking poles
61 cents in change from his side of the back seat
Mutha picked up 4 snow tires (don't ask).
MadDog's Trip Report:
  • 1. Cabot or Waumbek
  • 2. Ridge hike or river walk
  • 3. Boots or heels
  • 4. Salmon or prosciutto
  • 5. Morocco or homegrown
  • 6. Left knee or right knee
  • 7. Ginger snaps or Tmail craps
  • 8. D&D or greek bandaids
  • 9. Day hike or night hike
  • 10. Headlamps or no headlamps
  • 11. Bra or no bra
  • 12. Seven fish or seven sin
  • 13. Metallica or king crimson
  • 14. Houdini or handcuffs
  • 15. Carter north or Carter south
  • 16. Marty's or Tim's
  • So much to choose from :-)

    Westie's Trip Report:
      1. tMail picked me up at Carson Beach in Southie at 05:30 sharp
    1. 2. Stopped at THE convenient store near Mt Waumbek to grab the bare essentials: local honey, local cheese tub & 2 packs of combo’s.
    2. 3. Met up with Zucker & Madddog at 08:30 and drove to Mt Cabot trail head
    3. 4. Suited up with fashionable bright orange hats and vests sponsored by Home Depot and ate 1 pack of combos before the hike
    4. 5. Great views from The Horn of northern NH especially the northern presidential range
    5. 6. Tear gas coming out of Maddog
    6. 7. Shot over to Mt Cabot and quickly descended back to tMails jeep
    7. 8. Quick stop at DD for hot cocoa which hit the spot
    8. 9. Up Mt Waumbek with headlamps and a beautiful pink sky as the sun set
    9. 10. Humorous conversation the entire trip especially near summit and on decent
    10. 11. Black mini skirt & black boots or red heels & tight red pants?
    11. 12. After sun set sky was crystal clear, stars bright and headlamps working effectively
    12. 13. Total trip: 18 miles 5,300ft vertical elevation gain and my left hip flexor is tight
    13. 14. Post hike meal at Cabot Motor Inn & Restaurant. We sat down at the bar. UFC was on TV. Bartender drinking a margarita. Band planning downstairs very loud as the floor was shaking for a minute. Ordered cheese burgers & fries tasted great. tMail was wearing his Yankees cap and I thought someone was going to pull out a pistol and shoot him. Luckily I was wearing my NASCAR hat which may have comforted the locals.
    14. 15. Couldn’t stay awake for the drive home THANKS for driving Tmail!! THANKS to all!!


Hancocks: Buh Bye!

Two more 48's off the list. I took both Spanky and Jake out to the Hancocks today. Only 3.5 hours to do the whole loop. Trail conditions are excellent these days - only about 1/2" of snow on the summit, temps in 20's, low wind and blue sky. Unfortunately there's not much sun on that hike unless you're down low near the Kanc. We didn't stop at the North summit (just beyond the area with exposed ledge and sunshine) because I was hoping to find some sun and have lunch on the South summit. Forget it. We ate on our feet (it was pretty chilly up there) and had a nice lunch back at the car.

Nobody out. Ultra quiet. Wednesday is a great day of the week to hike.

Highlights (Pics Here):

  • Jake has now tagged his first two 4k'ers.
  • Spanky is up to 9 I think: Pierce, Jackson, Eisenhower, Lafayette, Moosilauke, North Kinsman, Bondcliff, North/South Hancock. Can't recall if we tagged South Kinsman when we were up there.


Saturday: Pilot/Pliny Ranges

For all who are available on Saturday, the plan is both Cabot and Waumbek in one day. We're currently in negotiations for the plan, but it's either:

  1. An out-and-back for Cabot, drive to Starr King and an out-and-back for Waumbek
    17.2 miles w/ a car ride in between
  2. The entire ridge traverse.
    22.5 miles
As I said, it's in negotiation. Post your ideas in the comments.


The Kingdom Challenge Half Marathon

Pre-race dinner the night before: sliced cabbage, fried in sesame oil with lentils, black beans and Lee Kum Kee black bean paste; 1/2 lb of ginger snaps; wine. Slept w/ a roll of toilet paper next to me. Luckily it was fast-acting and I crapped a hatload twice before leaving the house in the morning.

Race day: Gilbert showed up at 6:45am. I brought all my gear due to indecision. Forgot check-book, drove back, got more gear. At the race start couldn't decide what the hell to wear - including footwear. Eventually settled on shorts, long-sleep light-baselayer Patagonia, beanie and my KSO's. Yep, figured I'd test drive them on a long run. No problems. Got a bunch of attention. as you can imagine. "Oh, those are so cute!" Yeah, my itty, bitty, widdle toes is all happy babies.

The Race: I don't look back so didn't see that Gilbert was on my ass the entire time. He chased me for the full 13.1, never letting me out of his sight. We crossed the finish line probably 45 seconds apart (official times aren't posted to the web yet and I didn't stick around to find out).

My goal: 1:45. My time: 1:45:01.1 (8:01 min pace)
- ranked 27 out of 155 overall
- ranked 8 out of 21 in male 40-49

Andy's goal: sub-2. Andy's time: 1:45:57.9 (8:05 min pace)
- ranked 32 out of 155 overall
- ranked 9 out of 21 in male 40-49

My PR of 1:41 was on the ultra-flat Leaf Peeper in Waterbury. But this sucker had enough hillage to take my pace down to a 9-10min pace in the steepest parts. I think it's about 600ft of gain, all in the middle, with the highest elevation at about the mid-point of the race between mile 6 & 7. The pitch was suprisingly steep, roughly like the winding hill on 302 going through Crawford Notch just past the AMC Lodge. Not surprisingly, I did most of my passing on the hills. Those were brutal enough to really do damage to many runners.

But we were able to maintain an average 8min pace overall. At this pace I think we could both do a flat Half in sub 1:40.


Galehead, N&S Twin

Twelve miles, three 4k-footers, perfect weather and conditions underfoot and great company. The five of us (tMail, The PM, Riley, Spanky and me) spotted a car and trekked the Gale Brook Trail, returning via North Twin.

What really made the day was that there was no wind and conditions that just made each photograph a perfect picture. Sure, the subject matter was spectacular, but normally I can cull out about half of the shots for posting online. From this trip I only left out a few - I just couldn't decide.

The PM's Trip Report (Pics Here): Beautiful day out on the trails. Some highlights...

1) Leaves on the trails like a paintbrushed carpet of crunchiness
2) The blade-shaped frost in the woods, on the rocks, etc.
3) Watching TMail launch up S.Twin after spilling some salmon juice on his the hinge of his knee brace. Supersonic booms were heard.
4) Taking in the beauty of the day from S. Twin and stopping for tea. We don't do this enough (altough sometimes the weather will not allow it!)
5) Seeing very few people but getting the response of "Yeah, it's open but they only take Canadian..." when I asked one group if the ice cream shop was open on S. Twin!
6) Discovering "Weiner Valley" and it's mysterious features. Mansfield's features have nothing on this sexy valley.
7) River crossings - Riley the dozer and Spanky the Circus Dog.
8) "Salmon on my nuts"
9) Getting home to "drink" MuthaZ's hot sauce.... mmmmmmm, the heat of love
tMail's Trip Report (Pics Here)

1. Buck the Truck
2. Galehead hut leaving traces of smoked Salmon hopefully the bears move in.
3. Smoked Salmon, bright sky, warm sun!
4. Pop Tarts on Galehead
5. The ascent up S. Twin
6. Russian fighter jets.
7. Salmon love
8. Flycachacha
9. Tazo Tea on the summit of South Twin
10. The 60 minutes on South Twin enjoying the time with friends
11. Perfect weather
12. Uncle Daryl
13. Heat of love
14. Big Foot
15. PM and Mutha great day...relaxing, enjoyable, perfect weather, perfect day!!!
Mutha's Trip Report (Pics Here):
  • Only ran into a few folks on the trail. Quote of the day from a guy on South Twin: "It's better than sitting at a desk"
  • The PM's homemade smoked salmon was sadistically excellent. We polished that off and at home I ate an entire jar of it. This is not safe to expose the American public to and I personally volunteer to eat any remaining salmon until the threat is gone. If it didn't sound weird I'd say I was still licking my lips.
  • From North Twin, the ridge from Guyot to Zealand and onward (down towards Hale) has a character that is best described as 'erotic'. Maybe it was the light. Maybe not.
  • Major topic of discussion: food.
  • Best idea for a South Twin lunch-fest? Tazo teas + jet-boil = mmmmmm.


Finishing the 48's

[Note: this was originally sent as an email, but is being posted here for reference]

Maddog needs the Osceola's and Tecumseh to finish his 48's and the plan is to tackle them in an epic adventure in November/December. I need them for my 3rd round of 48's too, and am thinking of trying to finish them all this year by 12/31.

It would require a few epic treks and it's not that high a priority it would just be nice to get the list done. For the record, I've listed below the summits I need, grouped according to how I'd tackle them:

Kilkenny Ridge Traverse (Ouch! - or just do them individually and save the pain)

  • Cabot
  • Waumbek
Carter Ridge Traverse (Ouch! - gotta be done in one shot)
  • South Carter
  • Carter Dome
  • Middle Carter
  • Moriah
  • Wildcat
  • Wildcat, D Peak
Osceola/Tecumseh (w/ MadDog & others)
  • East Osceola
  • Osceola
  • Tecumseh
The Hancocks
  • Hancock
  • South Hancock
  • North Twin (to be tackled friday w/ the PM & tMail)


What's In Store For This Fall?

Gilbert, Trudy, Jake & Spanky and I are going for a trail run in Groton State Forest in an hour - part of our attempt to scope out the winter xc/bc ski terrain and to try to stay warm. Right now it's about 29° w/ light granular snow - not enough to accumulate, it's just spitting out there.

The rainy weather this summer resulted in less hiking than normal and rain is in the forecast for this weekend as well. While it may be a great time of year to get chores done, it begs the question of how to approach this fall/winter. In particular, while challenging conditions can make even a Franconia Ridge trek seem like high adventure, hitting the same old trails could become overly routine. Sure, we've got THE GRID to consider, but realistically that's a low priority for me - kind of an accounting procedure. I've also got this vague thing about hiking every trail in the WMNF, but like THE GRID that's really not a top priority.

So in addition to this winter being "The Year of the Ski" (like summer, 2009 was "The Year of the Bike"?), where do we go from here? We have to fill in the treks for quite a few months until the snow is deep enough to groom at the nordic centers.

I think novelty is good. Here are a few ideas from me and other contributors:

  1. Adams Slide
  2. Finish MadDog's 48 (The Osceolas and Tecumseh in a single, winter day hike) - via tMail
  3. BAMFORTH - winter assualt, no turning back, even if death calls on the cell phone - via The PM
  4. Shortened Presi Traverse - Madison Adams on day one, then Jefferson and on to Washington Day two (and out from there) - via The PM
  5. Hancocks when the snow gets deep - superior ass sliding - via The PM
  6. Mansfield - Hell Brook w/skis, drop on to ski area and poach a run down! - via The PM
  7. less for the trail/workout and more for the experience...apparently Waternomee (sp??) in the Moose range has a well preserved debris field and wreckage of an ill-fated DC-8. - via MadDog
  8. Bondcliff winter assault via xc ski - via tMail
Okay, that's all I've got at this point. But I'm working on it. Anybody want to add to the wish list for the Winter 2009/2010 season?


Bamforth Delivers

Big plans, big day, big head-cold. Speed, Gilbert, tMail and I hit the Bamforth and tagged the summit, dropped down to the Alpine Trail, poked at the airplane wing, bombed down Monroe, I hitched a ride with the Donnelly's to the truck, picked up the others, crashed a party at maddog's, ate a lot of meat.

mutha's highlights:
  • cold drizzle, rain, wind
  • tMail got sicker and sicker during the ascent (see pick at right of ragdoll tMail barely able to walk).
  • more cold drizzle, rain & wind, plus mud...lots of mud
  • and some rain
  • and it was windy
  • nobody on Bamforth (as usual) but crowds on the summit and down Monroe. The amount of denim was nearly unbelievable.
  • and it was like we were all completely unprepared in one way or another. and then when we got down, the sun came out and it was a textbook case of glorious, blue-sky fall weather.
  • great company, great beer drinking, good times w/ MadDog and his family and in-laws w/ zombie tMail dead on the couch, wrapped in a snuggly.
tmail's highlights:
The first stop en route to the Northeast Kingdom was the Ibex tent sale which was the influence of PM. 5 Ribbed Ibex Wool hats, 2 base layers, and hot chocolate with a dirty blond it was off to Muthaville, Vt.

Mutha and I did our normal errands, take the dogs for a ride, stop at the St. J Co Op say hi to Lauren, crash Pricechopper and of course Marty's.

Dinner was an incredible Pumpkin soup made by Mutha with Salmon and vegetables. I also sampled PM's Heat of Love.

Shortly after dinner things began to go dim...around 2.30am I woke to what felt like MD poured cement down my nostrils, someone dumped sawdust down my throat and my head was placid between two granite slabs. That lasted until 4.53am when i gave up and got ready.

Much of it then remains even further dark...we picked up AGilbert and Speed (who might have earned the nickname The Glove).

Next thing I was on Camels hump and next thing I after that I was in MD's kitchen and he was funneling motor oil down my throat. I remember asking him how much too take he said finish the bottle. I went into a MD induced coma around 3pm had a vital signs check around 5.50pm to go get a burn permit with MD, tour Jericho and then was checked again around 7pm for the ride back to Muthaville.

Getting back to the hike I had the worst possible gear one could have for the hike...including gloves i couldn't get on because my hands were so wet and cold. My jacket sucked, pants sucks, I sucked. O back to Speeds proposed nickname he wore no gloves the entire hike, through freezing rain, sleet and snow amazing.

Anyway Sunday morning I woke up feeling like I was off life support but proceeded to drink from the bottle that MD gave me as a party favor.

Went for a walk with Mutha, Spanky and Jake and things started feeling better...we also went for lunch at the Thai restaurant in St. J

Despite the grip of death...it was a great wknd with Mutha, Sue, AGilbert, The Glove, MD, Palin (who kept wrapping me in a snuggy), Jake, Spanky, Lucky, Mia and Twitchy (where ever the hell you disappeared to).

Sue and Mutha thanks again for the accommodations, meals, IV bag and medicine.


Gaps or No Gaps

The current plan is for a gap ride on saturday. I wasn't able to figure out from the last emails who's in and who's out - basically I haven't really been paying attention. I'm only good for a gap or two, and I still have weird quad soreness from the VT50 (it returned Sunday when I tested my legs at a 9min pace on my 6-mile loop).

With rain rain rain in the forecast I won't get any bike time in this week but I'll be happy to cruise along as best I can. But what's the body count? Are we down to tMail, g-$$$ and AGilbert? Great - hey mutha, why not go out cycling w/ Armstrong, Ullrich & Hinault? Yeah, great idea.


Getting Ready For Winter: Part I

A quiet weekend says one thing: nothing. I feel like it took the full week to physically recover from the VT50 and I ended up getting a cold Friday, canceling the Stark Mtn. run w/ the PM (who canceled also). Nothing on the calendar until the 10th when I tag along as support on the 20-Gap ride across all of New England. In the meantime, I'm waiting for the rain to stop.

MadDog's been working hard, g-$$$'s been riding his heart out, tMail's been obtaining super powers with his zombie ACL, Speedo's just registered for the Western States, Leadville and the Pike's Peak Marathon and Gilbert's in the 'Race Up Burke Backwards'. But the big question remains: when will the snow fly?



Post your trip reports in the comments or I'll just copy and paste from emails. All comments will be posted here on the main article once we get them all out there.

Speed's Trip Report:

I just wanted to share some after thoughts of the VT 50…

1) I should have bought a single level home….stairs SUCK

2) I look (and feel) pretty darn good when I'm standing/sitting still

3) I now know what a punching bag must feel like…but for some odd reason I feel better than I did after the Pemi Wilderness run.

4) Zucker is immortal…I would still be somewhere on the trail right now soaking wet, curled up with a warm sheep, and crying for mommy had I attacked the 50 miler.

5) Thanks to Nate for making me think twice and choosing the 50k race. I couldn't have had a better day. Also thanks for getting out ahead of me and giving me something to chase…I wouldn't have finished sub-7 without it.

6) And last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST…Anna…you were the true hero of the day! You and little Nate filled the shoes of many by supporting the whole group with gear, smiles, and encouragement….thanks again for hitting me in face when I started to cry at the first handler aid station…I needed that ;)

Happy healing everyone!

Mutha's Trip Report:
I woke up at 2:30am on race day (alarm was set for 4:30) to the sound of rain on the tarp. I lay there in the dark thinking "why am i doing this?". I fell asleep and dreamed that I called it off while complaining about my sore this and sore that, and just went home. Then my alarm went off and I sat up, still thinking I had called off the race. The PM & Speed were still asleep (their race started at 8am, mine at 6:40). Because of my dream and the rain I was in kind of a dark mood - feeling like this was really a dumb idea. I got to the Ascutney base lodge early and hung out chatting with some other runners, trying to keep an eye out for Gilbert during the pre-race instructions - never found him, even when the cyclists were lining up at the start (Andy, I was standing under the awning outside). The race started in cold drizzle in the early twilight and I was NOT psyched:
  • Anna & Dove were at the bottom of the hill, cheering and shouting in the rain. That was the coolest. It elevated my mood tremendously. They were at two other stations (miles 12-ish and 32-ish) and both times it was just the best in the world.
  • I started passing busted bikes early but I didn't start passing functional cyclists until after mile 12. I guess most of them ended up passing me again. I don't know how many DNF'd while still pedaling, but the two bikers who were told they were the last to make it were yo-yo-ing me until the end. Both dnf'd.
  • The late morning up to Garvin Hill (g-$$$!!) was the best. There was little wind (until the hilltop) and the countryside was filled with silver-grey fog and drizzle. The foliage was beautiful and the scene was undulating hills, horse farms, old maples, well-kept stone walls and fences and stunning barns. This was one of the most scenic runs ever. I kept imagining it was the western british islands. Even the runs through forest and fields were beautifully planned out. We went though many well maintained forests - high canopies, open ground and great visibility.
  • The top of Garvin Hill: wind, quickly chilling bodies, but FREAKING SOUP!! (that was cool). It was too salty so watered mine down w/ Heed. They had salty potatoes and cheese sandwiches.
  • Ran with a chatty guy from Jersey who after 45min of non-stop talking took a face-plant in the mud. I was thinking 'hmm, that shut him up' and 10 seconds later i slid into home. Actually, the guy was cool- just chatty. He was an "I'm in it for the fun!" kind of guy, but he was a very experienced ultra-runner and cyclist and eventually took off.
  • Mile 20: first time i was alone. runners were stretched thin enough that didn't see anyone in front or behind. extraordinarily peaceful.
  • Drizzle changed to rain. Rain. It was actually cold, freaking rain.
  • Mile 32, 1:35pm. Still going strong. Anna and Dove at the aid station. Felt highly upbeat because I was on target for 11 hours.
  • For the next 15 miles, slippery single-track and worse-than-Jay mud. I had a few toe-stabs that yanked my tender groin-strain, exacerbating the pain - but it didn't actually effect my stride, just when I slipped. The sore muscle is important in holding back a sideways split which was a common event so I slowed the pace down to a walk and made the decision at mile 39-ish station to bail out of the race - I had sore hamstrings (who didn't?!?), but had a lot of physical energy. The worst part was that I don't know how to do the off-camber mud descents and stay on my feet. I didn't feel agile and was just skating in my running shoes and bouncing off the trees to avoid falls and splits/stumbles. I ran where I could but was only averaging 3mi/hr. In dry conditions I could've averaged 5.
  • I shouldn't say I 'bail out'. What I did was make the decision to stay within my footing comfort zone and hoped for a 12hr finish. In fact when the "5 miles to go" sign popped up on the way to station 10 I got the idea I could make it before the cutoff, figured I'd give it my best shot and actually passed four runners and a biker in just two miles. One young woman was kind of disillusioned and I tried to motivate her but eventually just ran on. When I hit the driveway leading up to the station at about 6:05 I could see they were already packing up the supplies and I knew it was over. Luckily the food/water/soda was still out so I chowed down while more runners were coming in.
  • One woman who arrived 5 minutes after me was so upset she started to cry - she'd flown in from Atlanta for the race.
  • I was actually really pumped and laughing and joking. The Georgia woman asked me why I wasn't upset and why I was so cheery. I said "because I did an awesome 47 mile backcountry run in hellish conditions". I gave her my coke and she cried some more.
  • Got back to the finish line at 6:40 - 12 hours after the start. I went up to the finish to watch runners come in and look for the rest of the gang. No luck. Got some food, chatted with other runners and walked around looking for everyone. I figured there must've been no point in them waiting there so changed in the car and headed back to look for them at the campsite. Nobody. Packed up tent in the dark w/ a headlamp.
  • Highlights: the miles of endless switchbacks of slick mud between station 9 and 10; the mud-pit: 2ft deep, 6ftx10ft muddy water insult; the wet, peanut-butter-covered class IV roads (what douchebag doesn't use Sta-Mat???); drinking coke in a dixie-cup = WIN; hot soup = WIN; whiners = FAIL. Bikers getting on and off their bikes, dragging all the metal through mud-pits for mile after mile after mile after mile after mile.
A Final Note: I decided at mile 12-ish that if I couldn't smile, laugh and joke I was in it for the wrong reasons. When I do these adventures with you guys it's all about the fun. So I slapped myself around a little and actually joked and happily greeted everyone I met. A trio of older folk were out on their lawn on one steep road ascent and whenever they say a runner appear at the bottom of their hill they started banging drums in time with the runner's footfalls. They were wearing court jester outfits. I was grinning from ear-to-ear like an idiot when I realized they were synched with my feet and started doing a medicine-man dance as I climbed. The drummer matched me and we did an awesome jam until I passed by. We laughed and waved and I joked about how they were the best hallucination of the day. They guy yelled: "You look like I'm in your dream!" It was awesome.

The race was pretty damned excellent.

Andy's Trip Report:
I don't know where to begin. Anna rocks. You rock for having done it and for the attitude. Dave and Nate rock for smoking the 50K. Anyone who got up the morning, suited up and gave it a go, or supported the event rocked. Wow.

I had everything. Leading off stuff included preliminary sickness during the week, bike issues during the week, a massive acute episode of intestinal disorder shortly after seeing Nate at check in, no sleep the night before. Massive indecision the morning of, while you guys were sleeping in tents. Somehow I made it to the start.

The ride it self was crazy, epic, stupid, funny. I rode well for a lot longer than expected. It was a descent into chaos however. The only thing that probably got me to the finish before dark/cutoff was the progress made earlier in the day.

The midway climb was a beast, but was probably the critical decision point. I did well on it, though it killed me the rest of the way energy wise. But this was about when elite runners started to show up, and when some of the bikers went into whine mode. To me it was like, heck the worse is over and it isn't even 10am. No problem. Right!

Really dug the guy with the drums on the hill. Glad to hear your story about this!

Things started to get dicey from the big climb on. More and more woods, more and more mud. Descents were hell. Had to point the wheel at a rut and pray. Many close calls with trees. Brakes were your enemy. Constant issues with mud and dirt in your eyes. At times was essentially blind. Biking percentage was consistently dropping but still holding above 50%. Mechanics still basically functional, but barely. Riders at this point became much more friendly, supportive. Remaining folks went into survival and support mode. Talking and mutual rooting going on. A few knuckles heads remained, but they became scarce.

Followed some good wheels, fighting off defeatism. Anna at rest 7 was a pure gift. How cool.

Started counting off the last 4 legs. Things were going okay, although shifting was now very dicey at best. Just sticking it in the little ring, pedaling when you could and walking when you couldn't. Riding still over 50%. Somewhere along in here was the party balcony as well, which was cool. Also, amazingly, some beautiful single track that was still rideable. Another huge break.

Then the last 2 legs came. Wholly crap batman. This was essentially a 9 mile hike in the mud, dragging 30 pounds of useless metal. You might as well have been raking the mud, as the wheels became so encrusted they wouldn't turn. You were just muscling the beast through the muck. This was brutal. Mentally and physically. This is where I ended up in the yo - yo with the guy with no chain. He had a great attitude, would run with his bike up hill or on flats, jump on to coast down hill, and off again. I was just slogging and dragging. It took until the last leg on Rt 44 for me to catch him.

The last leg would have been murder, had it not been the last. I was truly dragging the bike up the hill. The wheels were frozen, couldn't shift, couldn't ride. Even as it flatten out a bit with around 1.5 to 2 miles to go, tried to get on and ride, it just wasn't possible. Things were so slippery and the bike so trashed it just didn't work. Finally the ski slopes came, and was able to roll down the hill to finish. Yikes!

I am sore, beat, destroyed. But glad I showed. Hardest day on the bike I have ever experienced, although I probably shouldn't say "on", but "with". The mud lake was great, I went right through that as well, on foot. Was riding right through the deepest part of puddles near the end, as this was "better" than going around. Just some bizarre learning experiences about biking in that kind of stuff.

Sorry to have missed you at both start and finish. Good job, can't wait till next year!

The Puppet Master's Trip Report: VT50 Highlights from PM
1) My sister and nephew as support crew/ultimate cheerers/morale boosting crazies. It was such a boost to see these guys at the aid stations and along the course. I can't begin to explain the mental lift you get from having someone with the amount of energy they brang to the party. That was great.

2) The general atmosphere of the race was very laid back/super friendly and I talked to a ton of people along the way. Although, I will admit that just before the 1/2 way point of the 50K, I had to dial it back because I was pretty sure that if I kept running with the guy talking about how cross-fit workouts make you a better person, I would end up in the Brownsville holding cell. This a-rod was on and on about how the people who suffer during this race will do so because they haven't trained their quads and hamstrings enough - it's all about squats and lunges. In my head I was thinking, "How about I lunge my fist into your ass and see how chatty you are then?!" That was the Scottish in me talking!

3) Knowing that Pat "The Irish Rocket" Flaherty and David "I will make you my bitch" Speed were coming up behind me was motivating to keep me pushing forward early but I will say I got an even bigger lift when we were all trotting together and finished together. Pat caught me by coming up behind and yelling out "Strong, you animal" and Speed just miraculously showed up at the last aid station, drinking Coke in teh dixie cup, looking like he had just gotten out of the shower - fresh!

4) About 1/2 way in, I was running alone through the woods when the bikers started coming into the same course and I was yo-yoing with one guy and we started to chat. He was younger, really pushing himself to ride up these nasty, slippy hills and I was totally impressed and motivated by his energy. On the next downhill, he yelled "Rock on man." and shot off. He must have either taken a long rest to get his bike clean or had a mechanical issue because after the next aid stop, he came up behind me on one of the dirt roads, just looked over at me trying to trot uphill, didn't say a word and just raised a fist and nodded. It totally pumped me up!

5) I had a few laughing episodes, mostly based on funny songs popping into my head. One moment in particular was the Pogues "Sunny Side of the Street" - kind of a jolly, Irish drinking song, fueled by flutes and guitar. It popped into my head when the day turned the most sour - blowing wind, rain, and mud-caked trails underfoot - and I just started laughing hysterically!

6) In he last mile, trotting along with David, Pat, and a woman named Pat who has helped pace me early and I returned the favor later, the trails turned decent enough in the woods to trot. We all kind of started quick stepping the downhills and then my brain snapped and made me yell something like "Okay. Fuck this, let's go." And I just started running as hard as I could at that point and knew that everyone was onboard. We rocked the roller coaster hills, the shitty, slick ski hill fields, and all pretty much came across the line for a 7hr finish on the nose.

7) Flaherty ate my last 2 e-caps. That SOB!

8) I have to thank Mrs Mad Dog for her pep talk before the Mt Mansfield race about not even letting the negative thoughts gain footing in your mind when racing. Ever since talking it out with her and Sue at the table that night, I have had only happy, positive thoughts on the run. Perhaps the "voice of treason" is dead?

9) VT mud - wow! That was tough footing, even worse than Jay.

10) The scenery was some of the most beautiful I have seen and the winding, rolling single-track trails were so much fun to float along on, even as the legs were getting tired.

11) Post-race beer, food, and more beer and food. Delicious.

12) The Ascutney Sports Center must hate this race because the showers and locker room had about 3 inches of mud and water flooding the entire place. I can only imagine them cleaning up afterwards!

13) Driving to work on VT Rte 131 yesterday morning. If you ever get a chance, take the ride. One of the prettiest roads I have been on in VT, especially with the foliage.

14) Zucker entertaining my nephew (and the rest of us) with wild, fun stories of his brother Jacque, the pooping cow, etc. Awesome!

15) Thinking it's only 1 more year until we get to try it again...

Some pre-race pics here - http://picasaweb.google.com/puppetmaster64/VT502009PreMudPhotos#


All Quiet on the Eastern Front

No gunfire can be heard, no shouts or bleeding soldiers, no cries of pain, no missiles. All that comes on Sunday. Until then, enjoy the beautiful foliage.

[Update 9/26: VT50 was awesome. tMail's northern Presi Trip was awesome. Trip reports to follow after I get home from work this evening.]

tMail's Trip Report: Madison...Bam! Adams...Bam!

The parking lot was totally jammed when I got there and I got the last "normal" spot without parking on the road or the grass. There was a huge group in front of me from Massachusetts that was taking Airline up to Adams...I was going to hit Adams first but decided I didn't want to deal with people so I took Valley Way to Madison...in my head I said I was going to beat the group going for Adams. I saw 1 person on Valley Way a guy and his dog coming down that stayed the night on the ridge. I talked to him briefly I was covered in sweat he said he almost froze to death in his 20 degree bag and not for his dog might have frozen...he had a 20 degree bag but said the cold front lingered last night...he said sky was crystal clear and the stars were amazing....I pushed to Madison took some pictures and then headed towards Adams. I passed the group going up to Adams...took some pictures and passed them on my way down....my knee felt great going down I am almost normal going down 70%...couple more months and the muscle I think will be back to normal. Those rock piles kick the shit out of you....Camels Hump and Mansfield were clear as day. Weather was beautiful, I had to put my Northface Cipher on while standing on the summit with mostly Canadians...I also did some research on where the hell Adams slide is I asked this guy that looked like he was either born in Kings Ravine or lives there if he heard of Adams Slide and he said, " you mean old Avalanche Slide"...I was like...aaaaa...yeah I guess he showed me and I took some pictures...this thing looks f'n insane...there is one section I think you have to bush whack to get through...I will post the pick. Who knows if he was right...someone post the Adams slide map.

One of the most interesting conversation that happened ever for me...about 3/4 of the way down Airline was with this Japanese guy. I talked to him for about 10-15 minutes he was attempting a Presi Traverse with a 70lbs pack...what he was trying to do today was go from Airline to either Crag Camp or Gray Knob this was at 1.50pm...he was still thinking he could do this while tagging Madison and Adams. I made the decision to tell him this was totally not possible and that his option at this time was to make it to Madison Hut (closed) and just camp somewhere there. I told him the weather tonight and tomorrow was going to be terrible and to make no attempt to go across the Gulf Side Trail, which he intended and camp his 2nd nite in Edmunds Col which is Hurricane Alley. I told him bad choice...I told him go to Madison stay there all tomorrow or go back down Valley way and maybe try Monday. There is a significant chance he will get lost or be missing...but I made every attempt to warn him NOT to try for Crag Camp or Gray Knob...

Anyway...after I talked to him I got to thinking if I ruined his day or did the right thing...I tried setting him straight and making it realistic for him...I guess it is that fine line similar to winter hiking when you wonder if you should tell someone...don't attempt to go above tree line.

Anyway it was a great day...89 total peaks completed on the grid total time today was 5 hours 25 minutes...including the convo with Japanese guy...


Shoal Pond/Thoreau Falls

The 9/19 Plan: Starting at the Willey Station House trailhead for the AT, trotted the Shoal Pond/Thoreau Falls loop clockwise. Trip reports will follow actually doing it, although there is a tentative plan to stop by the Scottish Fest at Loon Mtn.

Mutha's Trip Report (Pics Here):

  • Dave and I cranked out the miles and miles and miles. An easy route when hiked (barely do-able in a day if you walk it), but relentless when run. Gorgeous though - really gorgeous.
  • 22.5 miles, 2200ft of elevation, in sub-6 time - it amounted to about 4mi/hr (15.3 min pace). It doesn't sound that fast for such minimal elevation gain, but for some reason this hurt more than the pemi. Even my pains got pains.
  • The day was gorgeous, although a little cold. It was my first hike of the season entirely in a long-sleeve top. I wore gloves for the first hour or so, took them off and put them on a half hour later. It was brisk and breezy and the scenery was fantastic.
  • Most of the route is runnable or trottable, with quite a few exceptions (due to muddy or awkward footing). Why it took so long is hard to say. Last time it took me 7 hours. This time, 5:45. I honestly thought we could do it in 5. I think it's quite possible, but we both had injury flare-ups and I'm sure it slowed us down.
Most remarkable element to the day: Almost NOBODY out on such a fine day.
  • Parking Lot at the top of the Willey House Station Road: One guy with a dog.
  • All the way to the Wilderness Trail: nobody.
  • On the Thoreau Falls trail, a foot bridge conveniently crosses the North Branch. Down below, sitting on a tarp, deeply absorbed in writing something (didn't look up): one guy.
  • Thoreau Falls itself: nobody
  • Ethan Pond (AT) back to car: Two adults and two kids


Hancocks Ho! and The Pizza Man

tMail, g-$$$, Westie, the PM & Raven hit the Hancocks:

tMail's Trip Report (Pics Here): What a great day on the Hancocks!

First pick up of the day was Westie, I knew there was an early issue because when I called him phone was off...I got a txt msg at 5.58am...."be there in 5"...Westie was there in 5 minutes jumped in my car and I was instantly drunk. Westie was hung over Tyler style, I could smell the Absolute Boston dripping from his veins. Westie went/passed out until Hookset where we picked up the money man G$$$. Westie passed out again until Lincoln.
  • It was then to the DD in Lincoln greeted by Riley, PM and Raven.
  • Next stop trail head.
  • Hike was great Westie hung on all day for dare life. The traverse up to Hancock was great real kick in the knee felt great....we hit the summit and had great views of Osceola's, Tri's, Chocorua.
  • On the summit Raven revealed that she is afraid of birds, the wind and has a fetish for smelling peoples dirty clothes like HH beanies and Darn Tough socks.
  • PM likes toad urine.
  • Riley likes anyones food.
  • G$$$ likes the war whoop.
  • Westie likes I mean loves booze.
  • Tmail loves river crossings.
  • We decided if we were a company and had to fire someone it would be Riley:
    - Not self sufficient.
    - Intimidates people.
    - Steals peoples food.
    - Can't talk.
    - People may be allergic to him.
    - He pukes all the time.
    - He could have fleas.
    - He wouldn't know the difference.
  • We had an awesome day hiking, great laughs, good conversation, great friends....Raven knocked down two more peaks....we hit Lincoln hard the Summit Shop and the Ice Cream joint.
  • Drive home Westie passed out again, pass out #3 on the day Hat trick!!!!
  • Great day G$$$, Raven, PM, Riley, Westie!!!!!
Gannett is on for 2010
The Puppet Master's Trip Report (Pics here): Good times indeed! I am glad Westie brought the hangover and not me this time!!
  • Riley is getting a lawyer and there is talk of Obama coming to the house to have a beer with the two of us to see if we can "be men about this."
  • Raven is digging tunnels in the backyard. She seems distant, like she's still fighting the war...
  • I heard G$ got screwed out of ice cream... SAY WHAT?!
  • I also saw a picture on www.rockstuds.com of Mad Dog in a man-kini (I threw up in my mouth.)
  • I hope MuthaZ sold some pies today.
g-$$$'s Trip Report: Yes...was good to get out on the trails and get humbled by the climbing prowess of my fellow adventurers. No introduction to Westie is complete without a solid g-$$$ war whoop but a good soak in the hot tub and the ankle is much better.

Not cheated out of ice cream today....just my little boycott of that god-forsaken excuse of a community known as Lincoln and saving the calories so I could share a scoop with EZ-E and the missus tonight.

Thanks for getting me off the bike and onto the trails. Now back to the family drama. Sounds like my BIL was involved in a fight and got pushed over the balcony, resulting in his C-5 paralysis. We're to get a copy of the police report tomorrow. Regardless if it's his fault or not, it's gonna be tough to turn things positive for him....yet we still must try.....the whole thing makes me f'in glad to be able to use the legs today, slow as hell or not.

Mutha manned the pizza oven. No summits today:
Mutha's Report: Sue and I volunteered to bake pizzas at our CSA 'Harvest Fest'. A group from NECI (New England Culinary Institute) created all the toppings from veggies from the farm, and I worked the wood-fired oven like a man possessed. Sue kept me fueled with beer, applejack and food and we went home happy, full, drunk and smelling like smoke. What a great day. Missed the mountains, but I passed out (Like WESTIE!!) when we got home and slept for 2 hours.



tMail came up to VT for few days of fun on the tail end of a huge couple of weeks for me. In addition to a semi-pemi, Carrigain w/ Maddog, Pemi, bushwack w/ the PM, etc., tmail & I crammed in a ton of stuff in the last three days.

Full gallery of Mansfield pics from Mutha here.

tMail's Report: HigH Times:

What a weekend...

I left Friday morning for Muthaville, USA. A fantastic ride up on the Labor Day wknd with no traffic at all. Views going through the Franconia Notch were incredible. Once I arrived I was received by Mutha, Spanky and Jake. We unloaded the vehicle and took a trip to the St. J Co Op to get some trail food for Sunday. The Co Op rocks, Lauren rocks, Chocolate Covered Ginger rocks.

We headed back to the house and got ready for our 45ish mile ride. It was a great ride no traffic great roads, some dirt sections that we managed and some nice climbs. Once we returned to the house...we cooked up some vegtables, out of this world corn, salsa, beans all kinds of things.

Saturday morning we checked out of Muthaville, USA and headed for PMville, USA. Northfield, Vt my first time there and to the house that the PM hatched from. What view up on a hill looks over awesome foothills of Vermont. We headed down to the Flying Pig 5k...and Raven, Uncle Pete, PM and Mutha rocked like Kenyans.

Once the race was over we headed back to Muthaville, USA and stopped for a quick sandwich. We hung around the house for a about 45 minutes and then headed out for our ride. This ride was one of the most scenic rides I have ever been on in my life. Vt is a beautiful state and to me best taken in by bike. Corn fields, cow farms, horses, sheep, healthy green forests and fields. The roads are awesome and the climbing and descending is great. Turning on Rt 14 North and going through Craftsbury Common and the stretch to Irasburg Vt was awesome. The ride south on Rt 16 was like Colorado through Barton and Glover and East Greensboro. I spent more time in Hardwick than one could imagine.

Dinner was rice and vegtables, nice glass of vino and off to bed.

Next morning up early and off to Mansfield via Stevenson Rd and Maple Ridge Trail. Views of the Dacks where incredible. Once on the forehead humanity invaded. French fashion was in full swing.

We hit the Forehead, Nose and Chin and on the way down hit the Butler Cabin, I think, awesome day. We did a drive by casa de MadDog and saw his big dump truck in the driveway.

Dinner that night was awesome, Nick handled the grill, Sue was all over the bean salad it was awesome. Pre dinner was Long Trail Belgian White in the hot tube!

What a weekend:
100+ miles of cycling
Vt High Point
Great Food
Great Friendship
Great Hospitality

Special thanks to Mutha and Sue for letting me stay at their house...Spanky for letting me know she eats cat shit and Jake for being a girl.

Cobalt good luck getting your balls removed, ask Jake what is like!
Mutha's Report:
Friday afternoon tMail and I took at 45-ish mile bike ride that weaved around the VT/NH border, crossing the Connecticut River and hitting Monroe (NH) & Lower Waterford (VT). The route included a number of dirt-road sections which was a challenge on road bikes, but we persevered nonetheless.

Saturday morning was a return to the Flying Pig 5K - in which The PM (lead by treadmill), Uncle Pete and I burned our lungs. The initial launch up the hill featured the PM passing me in long leaps like I had stopped running. (Race results .pdf here.)

Saturday afternoon tMail and I rode 60+/- miles through the most scenic, beautiful countryside in the northeast kingdom, from Hardwick through Craftsbury Common to Barton and back.

Then on Sunday, tMail, Spanky & I hit Mansfield in the clearest air I've ever seen. We could see the slides on Mt. Whiteface in the Adirondacks, the water tower in Burlington, the Champlain Islands, The Presidential Range, etc. It was incredible. Even from Danville on the ride home we could clearly see treeline on Mt. Washington. The summit crowds were huge - hundreds of people milling around all over the place, most of whom had driven up the Auto Road. There were very few backpacks to be seen.


tMail is trying to kill me

The man is a machine. 40+ miles yesterday on bikes, 5k race in Northfield (Flying Pig) this morning, 60 miles on bikes this afternoon, 16+ mile hike tomorrow in the Greens. Dang, I need a vacation from this vacation.


Mt. Worcester

At about 3,300 ft, Mt. Worcester is high enough to afford an outstanding hiking experience. It's the second peak north of Mt. Hunger in the Worcester Range and while not a challenging hike, is dog-friendly, scenic and from top offers views of Mt. Mansfield and nearly 360° views.

The summit is mostly exposed rock w/ short fir trees and the top 5 minutes of the hike is over granite with huge quartz intrusions. It also appears to be such an obscure trail that it's rare to see anyone. We passed two couples on the way up and on the way down, but it appeared that they weren't heading to the summit - it was kind of weird.

Jake, Spanky & Trudy were all perfectly thrilled by this blue-bird day hike. We had lots of food at the top and spent a half hour or more chatting, eating and enjoying the day.

As an added bonus, I drove and Andy directed me 'the back way' though Woodbury, Calais, Kent's Corner and who knows where else. Those towns and roads make some of the greatest back-road bike riding in the region.


Mt. Mansfield Auto Road: The Race To The Top of Vermont

g-$$$'s Trip Report:

What can I say......thanks for a great race weekend.

Sat night was the best...great food, good times, lots of laughs, and a drink or two to take the edge off of the pre-race stresses.....and it was also confirmation that you are what you eat because I was undoubtedly became a CARCASS this morning around 1020AM. Does that apply to what you drink because then Maddog is an ARROGANT BASTARD and a half......Even so I was so glad to catch up with him and Vicki.

As to the race, thanks to Andy for keeping me company on the warmup and then leaving me to the vultures after the first half mile. Undoubtedly the removal of that bad chain link was the ONLY reason why you beat my by 13 minutes! MuthaZ may have attained Maddog's deity status with his Trifecta of Errors. It used to be only Maddog could plan and execute such workout insanity!!! And PM, thanks for providing your usual pre-race calmness and being a great playbuddy with EZ-E. The entire ride home was a series of questions like: "is the Puppetmaster going to get ice cream with us?", "where does the Puppetmaster live", is the Puppetmaster going to eat dinner with us?" And Anna and Mini-Nate were the ultimate Crew extraordinaire!

As for the race.....I dunno....certainly it was confirmation that I am not in great shape...and definitely not a hill climber anymore. I had serious bouts between self-doubt and self-hatred. There were times when I was sure I was a minute or two from getting off and walking the rest of the way....at one time I was conjuring up any random excuse that could justify my blowing up. That's a metal weakness I've never had before. My goal was to finish under an hour and until I BLEW UP, I was on track to ride around 45 mins, so I was disappointed that I missed out on what I thought was a realistic goal.

Maybe I'll do it again. I still had fun and that always makes a big difference. Lisa commented that it's been a long time since she was at one of my races cheering me on. She said she kind of missed it. So maybe it's time to get some more balance to the daily exercise routines (or lack thereof) and work on a better diet.

But winning that 2 night stay at Commodore Inn from the raffle sure gives me a good reason to come back to Stowe...now do I go back for the race or to go skiing....not the worst of dilemmas to have I suppose but certainly a test to my motivations.

Thanks (to you and your families) for making it a great weekend!!!!

mutha's Trip Report:
it's funny how the mind-demons buzz around like angry hornets on the Bondcliff Trail: the desires (for goal time), the realities and the half-truths/self-doubt/self-hatred. We've all got our demons but yet the challenges we take on are huge. the spectators watch us go by and think "oh wow, these guys are amazing" while in our heads we're saying "i suck, i'm overweight, i suck...".

how funny.

and then the demons are banished by the after-party, the humor and camaraderie of the group, because in the end we all get to lie on the grass, watch evan roll towards the hot, 2-yr old blond at the bottom of the hill and chill and tell war stories.

i can't think of a better life.

the Puppet Master's Trip Report:
I agree, it was a great weekend. For me, to see awesome friends, meet new ones, and see my family, all in the Green Mtn state - it doesn't get any better!

What I saw confirmed -
1) I will always be at least 10 mins behind MuthaZ, athletically and mentally - animal!
2) MuthaZ may have met his athletic match in Andy - animal!
3) Despite self-procalimed melt down and a race not living up to expectations, if I were ever on a bike, I would want G$ there to tow my ass up hill - animal!
4) Had I not sprinted the last 50yds, David Speed would've caught me, pushed me aside and called me his bitch!
5) Racing is 99% mental. I had none of the typical negative thoughts that normally plague me but went out with a bit of a "let's just cruise this thing and keep it steady" attitude. I need to try and find that "let's blast until we melt " race attitude. I finished with plenty of gas left in the engine and I know I shouldn't have.

Despite the longest awards ceremony EVER, sticking around for the raffle was worth it. G$ scored a sweet 2 night deal at the Commodore and I got some new shoes and a Catamount Trail book. Andy and MuthaZ, we held your tickets aside and neither won... your glory was on the course!

EZ-E and my nephew wore me out. Between playing with EZ-E at the mountain and then swimming with my nephew after, I am beat! I feel for you guys who have to find the energy to play daily! Great kids are a reflection on great parents.

I look forward to trying this one again next year. Hopefully with my sister by my side.


2009 Solo Pemi

Trip Report: This is my third pemi, and I have to say that I'm really getting to like them a lot. As MadDog pointed out on our last trek to Carrigain, my familiarity with the route and rhythms means that all that's left is just doing it.

  • Because a sub-12 is a reasonable time, that's a lot less hours on foot than doing it as a hike with a big pack - which can approach 24hrs. That's a long time to be banging out the miles. Shortening it to 12 takes a lot of energy, but my feet and joints don't hurt - just my muscles.
  • The run in on the 4.4 miles to the Bondcliff Trail junction takes less than an hour and is very pleasant. Once you enter the Pemi the trail is narrow, scenic and fast. In the early morning, even if headlamps are used, the woods are quiet, the noise of the river is always present and if the timing is right, the birds are waking and singing.
  • It's not until South Twin that the pace slows. The descent to the hut is steep and slow and because of footing, it stays slow until after Garfield. It can be frustrating because the pace is really just a hike - almost the entire section from S. Twin to Lafayette. There are some brief runnable sections, but you have to treat it as a hike to a large degree.
  • Garfield and the Garfield Ridge trail were always a 'most hated' section for me. Garfield hides Lafayette and looms so large from Galehead Hut that my first time I thought it WAS Lafayette. It's approached with multiple steep ascents, none of which (except the last) are really the final ascent. This time, I was ready for it and the summit wasn't that hard to get to.
  • Garfield has some other problems: From S. Twin, it's probably a 1500' loss of elevation. You have to climb nearly 1000' back up to Garfield, then drop almost 1000', then climb back up nearly 1500' to Lafayette. That's a tremendous amount of elevation lost and gained. I haven't added it carefully, but it looks like roughly 2200' lost and 2400' gained. That section right there is what most hikers would do on a typical day hike. And it falls RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the Pemi. That, and the fact that the trail is so slow is what makes that section such a bitch.
  • Oh yeah, and don't forget that the ascent to Garfield near the top is up a brook where you have to climb on the wet rocks. And the descent is on the bare, wet, tilted slabs.
  • Lafayette's false summits are annoying, but being mentally prepared is huge. The Skookumchuck trail hits the ridge just below the summit (in terms of elevation), but there are still 0.8 miles to go. The junction of those two trails is almost surprising because of how high up it is - but you're not there yet. My first time I thought I was within 5 minutes of the summit and was in complete disbelief when I saw "Summit - 0.8 miles".
  • The descent from Haystack, Liberty & Flume all have very steep sections initially. If you're pressed for time, be prepared to have to go real slow in those sections. The surface coming down from Flume is gravel, sand and loose rock. Also, after a long section on Osseo that is runnable, the trail turns into a set of well-built (but slow) stairs. After some slow footing below those, it opens up quite a bit.
  • There are only two sections that are runnable (as compared to trotting or just moving quickly): From the Lincoln Woods Campground to the Bondcliff Trail junction (4.4 mi) and the last 4-ish miles of the Osseo/Lincoln Woods back to the parking lot. If you want to make good time, you have to run those at like an 8.5 min pace or better. There are some sections of the Osseo above the stairs that have to be run as well. Everywhere else it's just a weird combination of hurrying and hiking with a little trot now and then.
  • Be prepared for a difficult ending. Running the Osseo is easy in terms of footing - but it's at the very end of a grueling day. You may have blisters, sore muscles, sharp pains in the knees and/or hips, dehydration, cramping, etc. but you've got to hammer and hammer hard for time. Luckily, it's all downhill but don't forget that the last 1.5 miles is almost perfectly flat. Even though it'll only take you 12-15 minutes, it's an eternity with aches and pains.
  • Water: I started well hydrated and only consumed about 0.75L by Galehead Hut. I drank deeply at the hut and then filled my 2L reservoir. I finished that off ascending the Osseo and decided that it was really cutting it close because I still had a good 40 minutes of hard running w/ no water.
  • Food: I consumed 2 gel flasks of Perpetuem (w/ some gel mixed in and water to make a paste), two clementines (a great idea), a bottle of Boost, a small handful of homemade trail mix including raw oatmeal and peanuts, 12 e-caps.


Colvin, Blake, Nippletop and Dial

tMail's Trip Report:

Writing this from the grandstand at Saratoga watching the horses work:

We start off with temps around 42 degrees I had liner gloves, HH top and beanie.

The approach to our first two peaks Colvin and Blake was gradual. Beautiful gradual smooth trails. The interesting thing is that Blake was and out and back to so we had to go over Blake twice. The saddle between Colvim and Blake was thick with mud, wet and rough trail. I had trouble in some spots had to go down on ass or backwards. Once off that small ridge we headed down for the approach up Nippletop which was great steady easy climb I pushed a little and felt awesome. Nippletop has some of the best views in the Adirondacks. You can see the Great Range and a majority of all the high peaks. Once off Nippletop to Dial is some of the best trail running one could find. I held back but we pushed. Dial had great views similiar to Nippletop. Then we hit Bear Mountain Den cool little mountain and descended back to trail head. 9 hour day 5 peaks I have no looked at map but between 15-17 miles I think.

Visibility was 100+ miles, conditions were awesome not many people, no bugs and lots of trail time.

For those keeping track knee felt awesome, feels totally normal today can't descend as fast as before but will come with time.

Looking forward to Green Mountain Day!