Wonalancet, Passaconaway And Whiteface

Route:  Wonalancet Ridge to Wonalancet, Hibbard, Passaconaway.  Return via Blueberry Ridge.
Date:  December 11, 2011
Conditions:  No snow down low, mix of snow and ice at higher elevations.  Microspikes were the gear of the day.
Start/End Time:  9:40am/6:10pm
Team:  Dogman, tMail, Mutha, Spanky, Trudy
Dogs:  There are numerous places on this route that are not dog-friendly, however both Spanky and Trudy are practiced in steep terrain and working with us for assisted ascents/descents.  We had a number of bushwacks, especially on the descent off Whiteface but in general the descent involved careful climbing down cracks, ice and steep surfaces off-trail.  I don't recommend the Whiteface descent for dogs at any time of the year unless the dog is trained in:  ascending/descending steep terrain, voice commands in strenuous situations, being handled by a team.

Mutha's Trip Report (pics here):
The picture album has no pictures of the work we did with the dogs for ascending icy spots or more exciting, the descent off Whiteface.  These dogs really showed their true colors in their ability to work with the team.  Just incredible.  Other highlights:
  • The ice did not require crampons, and we didn't even traction-up until the descent of Passaconaway.
  • The air was unbelievably clear (see photos)
  • tMail's 'awakening' is flooding across the landscape at full steam.  Hopefully I can get some of his cast-off gear so I can have more crap than the collection of crap I have now.
  • Jerry Sandusky's name came up.
  • Peggy O'Brien's did not.
  • The commune is still in the planning stages, but we agreed that we'd rotate 'vacation' as members fill in for the absentees.  Questions about currency and food supply remain.
  • Trudy & Spanky are great dogs on the trail.  But man, when Trudy grabs a big stick and runs, it's like being truncheoned at an Occupy The Whites gathering.
  • Note to future self:  the drive from Rte 93 to Wonalancet, NH takes a long time.  Don't underestimate how boring it is.
  • Menu for Spanky:  On The Trail: Three salmon sandwiches, 1/4lb of cheese (failed Gouda), a peanut butter and jelly burrito, trail mix, part of a pecan-pie bar.   In the car:  crusts from three slices of pizza, 4 chicken fingers, three mozzarella sticks, two Dunkin Munchkins.
  • Menu for Mutha:  On the Trail:  Two PB&J burritos, trail mix, a bottle of Boost, part of a pecan-pie bar.  In the car:  three small slices of pizza (mushroom, pepper and anchovy), nibbles off food given to dogs, four dunkin munchkins, a bottle of chocolate milk, a decaf coffee, water.
  • Question for future self:  can you still taste the grease from the Ashland House of Pizza?  How about those Dunkin Munchkins?  Were you ever able to get the lard out of your mouth?
tMail's Trip Report (pics here):  What a great trip! Some highlights of the trip / drive.
  • On the drive in the debate of Mormons, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney’s underwear, Newt, The Church of Latter Day Saints.
  • The ascent up to Passaconaway, healthcare reform, healthcare robbery, Deb’s new boyfriend, Jerry Sandusky
  • The Herman Cocaine Train
  • Cleansing of one self of all excess
  • China, Chinese Currency, Chinese Inflation, Chinese Children
  • Inflation
  • Housing bubbles
  • Capitalism
  • Children
  • DogMan is in for VT 100 2012 edition
  • Meeting the jeans people
  • Tom Wiggins Trail
  • The rays of sunshine on Passaconaway
  • Earth’s sustainability
  • Trudy putting on the front breaks
  • Trudy cleaning the inside of my bag
  • Accidentally urinating on Trudy
  • Spanky licking my face while being air lifted in rock crack
  • On the drive out, Christianity, Rosary beads, eating communion, drinking blood, the Bible
  • At the Ashland House of Pizza the Best / Worst pizza on earth, all sports talk.
  • In the span of 10 minutes from the Ashland House of Pizza to DD in Ashland it was the worst I have ate in 2011


Willey Range: Tom, Field, Willey, Field, Avalon

Group:  Dogman, tMail, Spanky, Trudy & me.
Route:  A-Z to Ridge, out and back, Avalon trail via Mt. Avalon on return leg.
Trail Conditions:  several inches of snow with consistent coverage up top, patches of exposed ground down low.  In the warm temperatures of the day the entire mess below the ridge was slush/snow mixture.  The snow was sticky and heavy on the poles.
Gear Notes:  We all had microspikes but I was the only one who wore them.  Microspikes or bare-boot - either one was fine.  The weather was warm enough so we stripped down to t-shirts/base layers.


Dogman's Trip Report:  Nice day.
Beautiful views.
Franky, eh.... Spanky the wonder dog.
Random trail attack on Trudy, but DogMan took it easy.
The gridder girls, way to go! I love that.
The ultimate burping trail bunny, that was pretty nice too.
3 more. I might actually have to start counting. F*!
Mutha's Trip report:  Our October marathons and the big Carter-Moriah traverse last weekend have brought me back from the land of the dead and I feel like I can hike again.  Good for us.  Today's route was picked to get the dogs out so it was a nice pace, nice day, 6-1/2-ish hrs on the trail with plenty of time and breath to chat about everything from belching to the Marathon de Sable to the Tour de France (yes, "sand" is "sable" in french).
tMail's Trip Report: Another grid attack in the books.
We had a moderately warm day in which you could have been in shorts and t shirt. Conversation ranged from RD development to Winnie the Poo.
The greatest trail slam pig was discovered on Mount Tom. How to describe one, she saw us and burped out loud in our faces eating an apple and said "o yeah". She had some southern twang to here she was attractive I give her that.

We also saw Frankie and the merry bunch of [... sorry tmail, edited out to keep G rating ...] I mean peak baggers. Good for them they are out and getting after it. Go Frankie!
DogMan wants to do Rim to Rim to Rim.


Carter-Moriah Traverse

November 18, 2011 Wildcats to Moriah - (Pictures Here)

Route:  up the Wildcat Ski slopes to Wildcat Ridge, Wildcat A, B, C, D, E, ... Z???, Carter Notch, Carter Dome, South Carter Middle Carter, North Carter, Imp, Moriah, Surprise, Gorham.

Trail Conditions:  Microspikes the entire day.  In general the mud was a mixture of frozen and liquid with up to an inch or two of light snow and ice everywhere.  Particularly noteworthy was the descent off North Carter, which was a pick-your-way-in-headlamps descent down icy and snowy bare rock for an hour or so.  Real tree-to-tree stuff, even having to moving into the woods to get around the toughest icy sections.

Curiously, sections of the trail between North Carter and Moriah in those tight notches with bog bridges showed extensive erosion and many bridges out of place - at least one even shoved sideways.

Wildlife:  we disturbed a moose who turned north and stayed ahead of us for about 1/2 hr.  We had fresh bear tracks, bobcat, hare and small rodent tracks.

Total distance:  a little over 18 miles
Total time:  a little over 13 hours
Elevation gain:  over 8000.


Hale and the Pemi Marathon

Tagged Hale w/ tMail and Dogman as part of the Pemi Marathon, organized by Pavel Cenkl form Cherry Mtn to Lincoln Woods Campground.  Tagged Hale via Hale Brook and Lend-A-Hand to Zealand Hut, Exited via Thoreau Falls.

Mt. Hale Conditions:  Light snow, microspikes needed only on some limited sections.  Lend-A-Hand mostly frozen, fastest time on that trail ever due to frozen mud/water.


2011 Peacham Bog Ultra Marathon

Location:  Groton State Forest, Vermont; Peacham Bog; Devil's Hill; Little Deer; Owl's Head; Big Deer;

Now THAT was the ballz!.  "The 2011 Ultra Bog" - or maybe "The 2011 Bog Marathon Ultra" or maybe "The 2011 Pain In The Bog".  Whatever.

27.1 miles and all the highlights of Groton State Forest! (Or at least of the northern half of the S.F.).

Mutha's Report:

*  The route started and ended at DogMan's house!
*  We blasted out in cold, wet, drizzle, which came and went in little episodes all day.  Roots, rocks, planks and leaves were wet and slippery.  It was clear the Ultra Bog was trying to kill us.  The day was a day filled with many little F**k You's from the trail.
*  We didn't get lost.  The trails we used were all obvious and marked well enough so that only once we missed a turn but DogMan caught the error within a minute or two.
*  Heard it on the Big Deer Mountain:  Dogman, in a near delirious state:  "I don't remember coming up here."
*  Heard it on Big Deer Mountain:  Dogman, recovering from a near-delirious state: "Look at that view. It's like a painting".  And he was RIGHT!
*  The view from the cliffs of Big Deer out across the bog and the big valley we'd just circled was spectacularly gorgeous.  Nobody brought a camera.
*  The last mile:  Dogman suddenly fires his jets and pulls away like a torpedo from a submarine.
*  Great trail conversation - but I can't remember any of it.
*  tMail held back the entire time and stuck w/ the slowpokes.  Goddamn animal!
*  Great apres run at the new-ish Italian restaurant in St. J. that I'd never even seen/heard of.  It took an hour or three to eat because the little round husband/wife team and their one servant weren't out to win the gold, but the food was great and the company was excellent.
*  Dinner conversation around adding 6 miles and making money off "The Bog Ultra 50k".
tMail's Report: We started off in a nice cold drizzle and started off down Hookerville. We had our normal fun conversation on Lovely and admired Lovely Farm as we always do. We had great views of Peacham Pond as well. We soon headed into the woods and started our assault up Devil's Hill.  The descent down was on slick rocks and leaves. After Devil's it was off to do some bogging. The bog section was awesome we grooved along.

We had a great view of the bog from the bench and just thought about being in there in the winter. Our next destination was Little Deer and we got there soon.  The Little Deer ascent was great and led to some nice open ledge views. The survival mode went into gear up Telephone on our way to Owl's Head. I loved the ascent up to Owl's Head good trail and a little technical. The stairs near the top were nice just stair steeping up. 

We tackled Telephone again and it was soon time for Big Deer hunting. Big Deer delivered.  Dogman took down Big Deer after an antler was stuck in his side. We regrouped on top and blasted out. We had some good conversation about a 50k, a winter slog bog, a Southern Comfort Pain in the NEK then a bog slog.

We discussed oil, biomass, the bog and dinosaurs. I gave DogMan orange pills that MadDog had given me they worked.  We soon got back on Lovely to see the Lovely Princess. It was the right onto Hookerville and then home to the DogMan compound. 

Great Day!


Three Bonds In A Day: Bondcliff, Bond, West Bond

Route:  From Lincoln Woods Campground in to West Bond via Wilderness/Bondcliff trails.  Return the same route.

Mutha's Trip Report (pics here):  Hitting three Bonds in a day is nowhere near as though as hitting them quickly.  It's rare for anyone day-hiking the bonds - usually anyone you meet is overnighting and taking day trips from, say, Guyot campsite.  This was no exception except the sheer volume of hikers was impressive.  I didn't count, but I'm sure I encountered over 30 people - most with overnight packs.  And there were lots of dogs.

My splits:
* 8:40 left the cars
* 10:55 tagged Bondcliff (2:15) - took pics, left note using Pink Smoke Signal™, departed at 11:00
* 11:35 tagged Bond (2:55)
* 11:55 tagged West Bond (11 miles and 3500-ish feet later) (3:15).

* Set noon as the cutoff for Bond.  If I made it by then I'd tag West Bond, otherwise I'd skip it.  This was a bit of a lie because West Bond is not even an hour round-trip from Bond but it was a way to cut the day a little shorter if I needed it.
* Ran the Wilderness Trail w/ tMail.  We hit the Bondcliff trail, turned uphill and I said something about not keeping up the pace but was talking to the trees - nobody was there.  That was the last I saw of him until I met him on his way back from West Bond.  He just freakin' disappeared up the hill.
* Heavy metal rockers on Bondcliff, grooving to beer and foliage views and dressed like Lisbeth Salander
* Huskies everywhere - 6 of them in two separate groups.
* High winds on Bondcliff - took off my cap and gripped it in my hand.
* On returning to Bondcliff, saw ALL THE GUYS out on the rocks!
* Hanging out in the afternoon sun on Bondcliff with tMail, MadDog & g-$$$ after spending an eternity chasing a ghost.
* Headed back at a respectable pace in a normal hike mode with lots of trail chat.  Great to have some social time.
* The Wilderness Trail can be thoroughly enjoyed in a mutant form of 'Stockholm Syndrome' (thanks to g-$$$ for reminding me of the term)
* Got a free, fresh-fried chicken tender from the guy in the deli
* The traffic in Lincoln could've induced a coronary in a yak at 30 yards
* tMail doesn't know this but we almost rear-ended him in traffic as MadDog was bent over rubbing his leg when traffic ground to a halt.  Woah, cowboy!
* MadDog ate 'Crunchy Fresh Salad', sweet potato chips and a Bolthouse Cappuccino-Mocha beverage on the on-ramp to 93 while moving at highway speeds.  Woah, cowboy!
* Great Chisel stories.  But it's not worth the pain to get those stories (I'd rather spend the day doing Wilderness Trail repeats).  Thanks for taking a bullet for the team, tMail - great entertainment.
* Somebody needs to put a leash on tMail.  Woah Cowboy!
MadDog's Trip Report:  
1. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be on the trail and catch up with g-$.
2. The trail had a soft carpet of freshly fallen and colorful leaves. So nice.
3. Yes, the wilderness rail bed is a ugly and painful as ever.
4. It become much more clearer to me, it is time to lessen the trail travel, and increase the bushwhack. In other words, bring on winter travel.
5. just as g-$ and I topped out, tmail was bounding his way across the BC summit...very nice to see him pick his way across the surface.
6. a short time later, mutha tops out - both of them breathing normal, and no perspiration...wtf!
7. for sure my preferred view is coming from west b, and bond - but i would not want to go back.
8. mutha just rocks, only 5 mins beforehand he tells me about scooping up misorders. next thing i know, i'm walking away from the PChopper deli section and hear mutha interrogating the deli team about stuff that won't be sold. i laughed. 5mins later, at the checkout.....mutha is run down by deli dave, and served up some chicken fritters. that's customer service, mutha style!
9. the only thing worse than the widerness trail is the 2mph march back to 93 when 4 million bostonians are packed into Lincoln.
10. my knee was a wreck all day. but once sitting in the car, the pain almost immediately subsided (perhaps the skittles helped).
11. whoah is right, is that tmail's jeep we almost smacked into. but we managed to stop. we are so f'n strong!
12. tmail is developing a great chisel routine, i heard today that a booking agent from vegas has called.
13. for all that it brings, we should get on the trail with the one and only strong man.
tMail's Trip Report:
·       2:02 to Summit of Bondcliff
·       2:32 to Summit of Bond
·       2:49 to Summit of West Bond
·       3:45 back to Bondcliff, MadDog created me with possible sub 6 back to the car.
·       Views breath taking
·       Mutha is a machine
·       G$$$ is a machine
·       MadDog is a machine
·       MadDog remains hero-less in our quest to find a him a hero
·       MadDog was quiet about Jobs, but you could tell he could care less, maybe he was showing respect
·       MadDog has $15,000 to allocate for a job
·       G$$$ - 0 Lincoln, NH – 1
·       Almost getting rear ended by MadDog
·       Mutha’s dilemma with TJ and the execution of Zeus, Chance and Einstein since resolved
·       The guy standing on the side of the Wilderness Trail that says “Look at all the trees”
·       DogMan you were missed
·       PM you were missed I will try to train harder and make Bondcliff in 90 minutes.


Peacham Bog Loop

This isn't so much a Peacham Bog loop, as it's a loop, and it goes around Peacham Bog, but also does so much more!  After much exploring with Team Barks-A-Lot, Dogman and flying solo, I finally tested a full circuit that linked together a series of current trails, logging roads, VAST trails and abandoned trails/roads.

Shown on the right, the route starts at the Devil's Hill Trail parking lot in Peacham (off Green Bay Loop), tags Devil's Hill and cranks around the Bog (stopping at the little vista at the southern end with the bog bridges and the bench).  Once into the main part of Groton State Forest (near the Nature Center and New Discovery State Park) I link up with the trail system there, tag Big Deer Mtn and then crank the logging roads back east.

It's a scenic run.  To a large degree you can set your own pace.  There are a few sections that are slow due to mud, steep trail or rocks/roots,  but to a large degree it's pretty fast trail running.

Running w/ the dogs meant stops for water and cooling off at all the brooks and bogs but even that only added at most 30 minutes to the total time.  I spent another 10-15 minutes taking pictures too so I think running solo or with one of my lightening fast buddies would make this a 2:30 adventure.

One other note:  the entire loop can be done easily on skis.

Time:  3:25
Dist:  12.1 mi
Elev: 2,089 ft


The First Great Peacham Bog Bushwack

What a great bushwack!

Bog Route
Thanks to the loan of a garmin GPS 12XL (ca. 1997) I tracked my route today w/ the dogs into the wilds of Peacham Bog.  The image on the right from Google Earth shows the route.  We (me, Spanky The Wonder Dog and Jake) did this counter-clockwise.

We ran the trail from the truck to the top of Devil's Hill.  The bushwack started from the summit of Devil's Hill (bushwhack marked in yellow) and dropped down into the wildest place around here.

The bushwack off the top of Devil's Hill, for anyone interested, is done by heading south from the main summit, staying on the marked trail.  As soon as the trail starts to dodge downhill, stay on a southerly bearing.  If you follow the ridge, you can cross the saddle and then drop into the notch (Jennison Mtn is the next hill).  I curved SE and then E, staying in a very steep wood just south of the open cliffs that you stand on at the summit.  It's a challenge to descend, but nothing complicated - it's just steep woods.

The original plan was to try to hit a little opening w/ some open water (see blue dot trail) but without the aid of the GPS - just using guesswork.  But man, that's no place to navigate.  No landmarks.  Just wandering around in the woods.  If the sun hadn't been out I would've died out there.  No Kidding.  When I hit what looks like open meadow on the image, it was wet bog - running water with little tufts of grass, roots and brush.  We crossed to a little hill, explored, then crossed back and continued south until I hit an abandoned VAST trail (dogman and I call it The Forgotten Notch Trail - it runs between Devil's Hill and Jennison Mtn).

Detail of Crossing
In the detail image (below, right) I've corrected for some GPS tracking glitches as the unit lost satellite communications.  We poked around to find a crossing back from the little hill.  The 'hill' was about 100 yards across and maybe 30ft above the bog - enough to stay high and dry.  Much of it was open woods, however the trees get about 6-12 inches apart in sections and I got home with dripping blood and cuts and bruises.

I only went knee deep in water twice - mostly, by carefully placed feet I was only a few inches deep.

The return leg (the orange section heading north) was on an abandoned VAST trail that lead to a much-traveled snowmobile trail that skirts Martin's Pond.

The entire loop took 2.5 hours.

What a crazy adventure.


Peacham Bog via Jennison Pass

Yesterday, Team Barks-A-Lot (spanky, jake and i) took a 2hr out-and-back out to some mysterious parts of the Peacham bog complex in Peacham, VT.  Word on the street is that people die in Peacham bog because it's easy to get lost.  no kidding.  Luckily, my forays into the bog are many and short, extending further each time so i have a pretty good idea of how to get in and out to get out.

Yesterday's trek is plotting on this rough map.  it starts at the top-right at the white dot (parking lot for Devil's Hill trail).  we went:
orange to yellow, yellow to purple.  the purple trail is an old farm road that goes up and over a pass between the two peaks of Jennison Mtn.  it's probably only a 100-150' climb from the yellow trail.

On the descent it completely evaporates and there is absolutely no sign of any human incursion in the entire bog section.  as i arced down along the section of bog with open water i found a number of spots that would make outstanding camping sites.  so far, this location is as far as i think i can get from human activity.  i can't imagine anyone being down there for any reason.  it's not hard to navigate, but some sections i wouldn't go in because the woods were too dark - not that i was afraid of boogey-men, but the tree trunks were a foot apart and it would be like entering a very dark maze.

The other cool thing is that lot of the surface is rocks, w/ roots, moss and organic matter forming bridges, and water trickling underneath.  it's a really remarkable place.  i'd like to go back there on skis.

In the meantime, the turquoise trail is a known bushwack (took TJ on it.  dogman's been on it too) and on a future loop will hook up with it along with the Jennison Pass bushwack.

My plan is to know my way around and through the bog.  even though the main 'open' sections are inaccessible in the warm months, i'm discovering that there are many routes in and around the bog.  it's a complex region.


Joe's Brook Boardwalk

There's an extraordinary bushwack from Greenbank Hollow to Morses Mill in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  The setting is a high bank over Joe's Brook, which winds through a narrow valley and over small falls and cascades.  There is an old farm road of sorts that can be followed for most of the way, although exploring down by the water has it's own rewards.  The banks are steep and unclimbable in sections, so caution is in order.  Additionally there are a few tributaries that make lovely forest pools on the descent to the brook.

The title of this post comes from a sign on an old horse trail that joins with the road.

The bushwack runs between Greenbank Hollow at the site of the old Mill that has been uncovered and identified as an historic site in Danville.  Enter the woods by the site of the old Grist Mill, following the trail.  The trail ends by the water's edge and at this point you're on your own.  It took me 1:15 to get to a property at Morse's Mill.  Out of respect for the landowner I turned around before reaching Joe's Brook Road.

On the return, stay high to enjoy the giant boulder field and the mossy brook.

Full picture gallery here.


Franconia Ridge, Cannon, Kinsman Death Slog

Route Stats:  18-20 miles (not sure), 8700' vertical, approx 9 hrs.

  • Ascend Falling Waters to the Ridge, North To Lafayette, Descend on Old Bridle Path.
  • Cross 93, Ascend Hi Cannon to Summit, Cross Cannon Balls to Kinsman Pond
  • Tag North Kinsman
  • Return to cars via Kinsman Pond, Cascade Brook and Lonesome Lake Trails
Mutha's Trip Report:

'Go'!  That's the last I see of tMail and The Irish Rose as we all immediately spread out heading up the Falling Waters Trail.  As tMail reported, the lower section of the Falling Waters/Bridle Path (from the parking area up to the footbridge is destroyed.  It's all gullied out and the woods are torn up.  It's clear that rather than rebuild the trail a new one will have to be built along side this death zone.

Communications System
It was just before 8am so the traffic was light on the ascent, and everyone politely moved aside.  It wasn't very cold, but the air was humid and the ridge entirely enshrouded in fog so evaporation was close to nothing.  Visibility on the ridge was in the 20-40' range and there was almost no wind so you could hear the clicking of poles in the distance to warn of approaching hikers.  Again, on the ridge, it was nothing but polite hikers who easily and quickly moved to the side.

Up and over Lafayette, and down toward Greenleaf Hut.  This is where it started.  Hundreds of hikers were ascending this trail and they ranged from families with little kids, to tourists unsure of where they were, to day hikers, avid hikers, etc.  The first group I encountered having lunch *IN* the middle of the trail were french Canadian.

Since I have them, here are some benchmarks
Bam, back to the parking lot:
Car to Little Haystack:        1:10
Little Haystack to Lincoln:    0:15
Lincoln to Lafayette:        0:20
Lafayette to the Hut:        0:25
Hut to Car:            0:50
Total Time:            3:00

Ridge Time:            0:35
Lafayette Summit to the Car:    1:15
Above Treeline:            1:00

I'd like to say I throttled it back to save a bit for the next stage, but I don't really think I could've gone any faster - maybe shaved of 5 or 10 minutes if I really pushed.

Hi Cannon Ladder
Got back to car and saw tMail's time written in the dirt on the windshield.  Wrote my time for Pat.  It reminded me that we could use a trail notification/communication system for these types of events.  I spent 10 minutes swapping water/food/etc., noting that I'd eaten one bar and only 12 oz of water.  Not good.  That probably accounted for the massive charley horse that took me to the ground at Greenleaf Hut.

The 'run' up Hi Cannon was anything but.  It's 2.8 miles of staircase-steep - very similar in speed to going up the North Slide, although it's dirt trail, not exposed ledge (there's one set of ladders but only for about 20').  Actually, I imagine that it's nearly identical to the ascent up Willey from the Ethan Pond Trail, minus the initial flat part.  Take a look at the attached pic.  It's relentlessly up, and I've never done anything like that after pushing hard on the Franc Ridge Loop.  Painful. It took 1:30 exactly to get from the car to the top of the tower.

Cannon Tourist Tower
Near the top, I saw a shape coming toward me through the woods.  I heard "Mutha!".  WTF?!?!?  It was tMail, coming down Hi Cannon.  As he put it:  "I'm all turned around". On the plus side, we 'ran' the rest of the day together, which was a lot more fun than going solo. ; But next time you're out w/ tMail, remember the following anecdote:  at the Kinsman Ridge junction coming down from Cannon we had to decide to head down to Lonesome Lake or continue on via the Cannon Balls.  tMail sat on a rock w/ his head down, muttering "I'm shot - I'm toast - I got nuthin' left".  I felt like I was pushing to do the Cannon Balls, but when he stood up and started running it was clear that the bastard was just testing me.  He tried it again at the junction of Kinsman Pond where we had to decide to head down or tag North Kinsman but he didn't fool me.  The rest of the day was almost solo again.  Damn that fleet-footed bastard.

All trails in great shape, except for the lower part of the OBP.  Hint for anyone heading up there in the next few months:  stay in the rutted stone gullies but keep to climber's left of the carnage until you re-find the trail.  Remember this on the way down, too.

 tMail's Trip Report: 
MadDog you were the first person I thought of when I got to the trail head.  Why you may ask?  Here it is.  I pull in open the car door and I thought I was at a rock concert from back in the day.  She was a complete hippy dressed in National Forrest clothing.  I recognize the song, see below.  She has her arms out doing the classic Woodstock, side to side, fly away.  She turns and says to me Happy Labor Day weekend.  I thought of making out with her.


We are nervously getting ready, it was like the start of the race.  I said, "Mutha, say Go" he says "No you say go", I say "Go".

We start running, hit trail and get lost, there is no trail, its sandpit and wind downs, carnage.  We find the trail and then its a hammer fest to the summit.

North Kinsman Group Shot
I was pushing hard saying, WTF and I doing I still need to do the other side of this Homicide hike.  Haystack summit in 1 hour 1 minute, I wanted to puke, I took some calories in and blasted to Lafayette 37 minutes lots of running, just ripping it, saw people can't remember where nor did I say anything to them.  It was a total blur, there were people on the summit of Lafayette, I just cranked down.  One person stopped me, a kid who was ready to murder someone on the summit that took his poles or walking stuff, he was pissed.

I hit the car at 2:36:19 trashed, quads blown.  I restock, I was lost with out my crew, I had to do everything on my own :-(  It made me think of VT 100 and how I want to get back there.  The last couple of weeks it has been like a rat noring away at me about not finishing.

The blast down OBP was eventful full carnage running around people and through people, I kept yelling runner, thanks, heads up, to your right, to your left.  Canadians, lots of them, some Asians, one hot.  Quebec girls love runners, I heard one guy yell, "That is fucking hardcore".  The girls at the junction for Kinsman Pond and Fishin Jimmy and Kinsman Ridge WOW, particularly yellow sports bra.  I saw here again at the parking lot she said Hi, I gave her MadDog's cell phone number.

As I pulled out of T1 - I wrote on Mutha's car the time 10:36am.  I blasted up the trail head to Hi Cannon Trail, missed the turn, hit Lonesome Lake took some other death wish assault to Cannon, wandered around up there, ending up descending the Hi Cannon Trail, ran into Mutha, mentally losing it, lost marbles, turn around hit Cannon again, we debate Cannon Balls, do them run sections, debate N. Kinsman, hijack some guys map to look at distances hit N. Kinsman.  The Kinsman Pond Shelter is a bomb shelter absolutely beautiful we need to overnight up there, the pond is awesome.  You can see on the Garmin tracking how I started down Hi Cannon Trail heard Mutha and turned around.

Food - I experimented, all liquid, only had two bananas and Peanut Butter and Jelly wrap.  I made two 5 hour bottles of Sustained Energy with Strawberry Lemonade Nuun tabs, tasted like a creamy.  I also had two gel flasks and lots of ecaps and 3 liters of water.  I am trying to eliminate sugar as much as possible, the stomach was really good all day.



Franconia Ridge Loop: 2:49

Meh.  I'm gettin' slower all the time.  Sigh.

Saturday's weather was gorgeous (a little hot) but trail conditions were ideal and coming in just 19 minutes short of my PR was okay, I guess.

Route:  Falling Waters up, OBP down.

Motivation:  sore hamstrings and swollen knee from The Pain In The NEK.  Wanted to test durability and stability.

Food/Drink:  One Gu gel and 28oz water.

A lot of hikers on the trail - typical for a Saturday.  I try to maintain a strict rule of courtesy since I'm generally coming up behind people pretty suddenly.  The one crazy thing I can't figure out is why some folks stop to eat/drink/chat right on the trail so nobody can fit by.  Weird.  Almost completely crushed a poor Japanese girl's fingers, almost destroyed a sandwich and nearly obliterated a kid who didn't know how to react to my shouting 'Excuse me, passing on your left!".

I always yield to ascending hikers and assert my right-of-way while ascending.  Gotta be sensitive to surprises though.  Saturday's crowd was looking for any reason to stop on their climb and catch their breath so it wasn't really an issue.

Best object found on the trail:  An 8-shot, red, cap-ring for a toy cap-gun.
Best utterance heard on the trail (said to dawdling son asking questions by type-A mom):  "Ask me on the summit - we're here to hike."
Most obvious object to jump over:  a pile of wet toilet paper right in the middle of the trail.


Swapping a Speed Pemi for the Bad Boy?

I've got a speed Pemi on the calendar for Saturday, 8/20 (PR for a counter-clockwise loop of the Pemigewasset Wilderness w/out tagging West Bond, North Twin or Galehead is 10:55).  Various aches and pains and the upcoming D2R2 and RTTTOV are suggesting the plans change.  If so, the other option is to hit Mt. Washington which I need in August, Oct & Nov to cross of the grid list.  Either way, unless we're dumped on with rain, it'll be one or the other.... or Adams Slide ... or something else....


Burke Mtn Run, East Burke, VT

Click To Embiggen
Today's run was a test of my legs after The Pain in the NEK and in anticipation of the 8/20 speed Pemi.

I took Jake, Spanky The Wonder Dog, Marley and Rascal with me.  You can see the three water stops as little steps in the profile at right.

Route:  from the Main Lodge up Lower/Upper Willoughby ski trails to the parking lot, then the service road to the summit proper.

Based on Google Maps it looks like 1.71 miles, so the official stats are:

Distance:  1.71 miles
Time:  43 min
Elevation Gain:  2011' (my altimeter clocked it at 1990, but the Suunto altimeter has an error of 10 or more feet so I'll go with the official mountain stats).

Terrain:  To a large degree, we were ascending steeply through low brush and weeds.  We hit some service vehicle tracks and some mtb trails but the trails were being actively used by bikes so we tried to avoid them entirely.


The Pain in the NEK

Rode the Pain In The NEK on 8/6/2011 w/ g-$$$, tMail, Dogman, Maddog & B.

tMail's Trip Report:
Couple of things from the first Pain in the NEK.

B's sandwich at DogMan's did anyone weigh it? It was the size of B's hooked on Red Bulls.

MadDog's bike is assembled but his clothes aren't. While discarding his XL shorts I saw a little sewn in tag, "Love Peggy O'Brien, now I know why he wouldn't part with them.  

DogMan has obliterated currency. Goods are to change hands instead of currency, goat milk for pizza, chain lube for an apple, women can take my sperm for diamonds, should be interesting.

I loved falling in the hidden sand boxes of the Pain in the NEK, so cool. The caked dirt on the body, water bottles is cool. Anyone blow their nose that night!?!?

That ride brought back memories of VT 100 dirt roads, ups and downs, no flats, friends offering moral support.

My Tracer Brook moment, DogMan dropped me on Mack Mountain Road, I left it all on Mack. He executed with precision  like a Gladiator. 

The one thing MadDog loves I discovered if you have a bummed knee, foot, broken bone he likes it better if you glue it, zip tie it, velcro it or knee brace it and carry on.

G$$$ it was great to give the flick of the elbow and you come up and take a pull. It was a great couple minutes of hammering it, AWESOME!!! I miss the paceline!

The side trip up Lawrence Hill Road (?) was excellent, what's a set of hill repeats thrown in the middle of the Pain in the NEK before Keiser Hill.

Mutha loved the route, Water Andric and Little Scotland Road magnificent. Great Road is great I love that road it can be a suffer fest.

Handler station at DogMan's was great, always a treat to see Trudy she doesn't give a $hit who are just throw the ball. She may take a lick of the watermelon bowl, your cut knee, nibble of bread but that's ok, she deserves it.

Words of Cheeto Commanche - the Oak Tree will snap but the willow just bends.

Dogmans' Trip Report:


Thank you all for the experience. Great day. I am crushed.


MD for being the clown, literally if not just in costume. And for an incredible first ride of the year. WTF? Could have done the full 100.
Mutha for the Thistle Hill serenade, and for the marvel of running in reverse, gaining energy as the day wears on not losing it. Also could have done the full 100.
B for saving it all up to lay down the attacks on Cabot Plains and W Shore Road. Nice riding.
TMail for hammering up Macks, letting out audible winces, but jamming it regardless.
G$$ for being ever present wingman. In reality the turkey sandwich, at least what I ate, probably saved me from complete meltdown.

Excited for the 2nd annual attempt at completing the full route.

In honor of Ernie Banks...

Who shall choose to delve
Into the delights of Pain In The NEK
Of 2012....
g-$$$'s Trip Report:
My Pain in the NEK memories:

.....Pull into East HQ at 7:50 and the first wave is still in the station (it's gonna be a looong day)
.....Tmail's final decision was that he is not going to ride (well, I guess maybe he will)
.....Maddog obviously stole the shorts off a clown (Craft clothing gods are angered by the though of being paired to such shoddy stitchery that they conspire to throw him down Hooper Hill)
.....Riding Water Andric...corollary to attempting to riding Chamberlain
.....Lawrence Hill Rd leads to St Johnsbury (ask me why I know this)
.....Slow speed crashes galore
.....Stone Walls, Scenic Vistas, Cheeto loving locals counting traffic...no unleashed dogs
.....Maddog is up to 76 miles on the annual mileage log!
.....muthaz' karaoke hour riding up Thistle
.....figuring out DM's kryptonite is Smoked Turkey Wrap from the Cabot Store deli.
.....post-ride food, drink, and awesome stories.

very well done boys.  no passengers on this ride.  excellent routing and set up.  good lessons learned and can't wait to see all of the west course...especially since B said that's the hardest ride he ever did.....yikes!

 too wired from the 3 cups of coffee to go to bed....but it was so worth it!
MadDog's Trip Report:
The Pain in NEK inaugral delivers. Special thanks to DogMan and Mutha for all the scouting, planning, mapping and logistics. We owe you guys.

1. It was great to see and be out with ALL the boyz (B, MZ, g-$, DM, and Cheeto). It was extra special to have Cheeto Commanche join the fray and frolic. In PM's honor, I consumed ample amounts of SPAM.

2. As expected the rocket brigade (g-$, Dogman, Tmail) pulled point and us - most of the day. It's a joy to watch them power up and sail down. Amazing!

3. Pain in the NEK is much easier to accomplish if you keep the bike upright. And, consume ample amounts of NASIDs.

4. The West Barnett PD showed up after getting a call from a neighbor about a man ripping the pants off another man in the parking lot. Cheeto snapped, that's my guess. He'll have to splain the rest.

5. In keeping with Tip #3, do not stow bananas.

6. All the stage were just delights to be on.

7. The stone masons were treated to some delightful work...but there was one in particular that caught the eye - the house with the big pond that was at the edge of the property...the retaining walls around the house were 1 ton+ pieces of granite with average jointing width of 1-3 inches. that is art and craftsmanship at its best.

8. My Tracer Brook was Mac Mountain Road

9. Watermelon is now standard equipment.

10. Who do I owe for pizza?

11. B and Cheeto, thanks for the gear augmentation, I will get it back to WASHED after D2R2.

12. g-$ special rec for doing the big drive - we want you home safe.....

Looking forward to tapering, D2R2 and other fall adventures :-)



tMail ran the 100 (or rather 88 miles of it).  ANIMAL!  MadDog, Dogman and I worked the support crew shift.

tMail's Trip Report:
Where to start????

Call from Mutha, "tMail we missed the exit to the hotel, we are going to turn around be there in 20 minutes"

Once the 3 amigos arrived at the Snap Dragon Inn, which I give a 4 star for an in, we loaded into the Handler Wagon, MadDog assumed the pilot seat and we were off to registration.  As part of my continued training MadDog parked as far away from the registration tent as possible, he said it was my "warm up".

I weighed in at 158lbs the most I have weighed in 3 years, I was 152lbs in the morning before I left.  After the weigh in we rocked out under neath the tent and listened to the race rules and listened to Zeke Zucker and Mutha talk about the course markings.  Mutha held up all the course markings as Zeke explained them.  After the mandatory meeting was over we headed to the Windsor Inn for dinner.

DogMan really hit it off with the bus boy at the table, he can tell that story.

After dinner we went to the Snap Dragon and cuddled for the 6 hours of sleep 2.30am wake up.  Conversation with MadDog was about whether Spark should be a firetruck that was outside our window and A type personality Chuck Mattera gave us a call, nightmares for MadDog to experience at Tracer Brook.  I woke awake and felt like I had slept really well, MadDog bled all over the sheets, he can tell that story.

We arrived at Silver Hill Meadow for pre-race check in and then just hung out until the 4am start.  It was a wild start, everyone in headlamps getting ready for a 100 miles.  3-2-1 go!

It was ultra quiet for the first 45 minutes people just realizing what was in front of them.  I never ever thought in terms of miles I just thought in terms of keep moving.  There was the early thinning of the crowd and the groups started to get formed.  There were the constant questions of, Is this your first 100? What others have you done? Where do you live? What do you do?

Two people that stick out early in the race are this guy Luis from New Jersey built like a diesel truck and Chrissy Ferguson, Chrissy Ferguson during her hay day finished 3rd overall women at WS, was on the US Trail running team, her husband of 15 years just finished Hardrock which she paced him for and was now doing Vermont.  She was a true cougar, called me a cutie.  She is in a 20 year "agreement" with her husband at which point they decide if they go their own way.  She hates kids even though she has one and hates her grandson, but said he is cute as a button.  I never saw her again until after So. Pomfret aid station.

I was feeling good at this point as I steamed into Pretty House, first aid station.  Everything went great, I gave them the heads up that I need some ginger ale, the stomach wasn't 100%.  MadDog gave me some asian lotion on my knee, I got a Nutella sandwich and my hydration pack which qualified me for the Batton Death March!

As we headed out I crossed paths with few people was in some isolation and while heading to Stage Road did see a "Take Back Vermont" sign. Other than that we baked in the sun and the heat starting to take its toll.  I took a massive dump on some knoll and we just kind of kept going.  I came into Stage Road and the crew was magnificent I think we had some laughs the stomach was code yellow, I had some Thumbs, soda, lots of fruit, fruit was awesome, for the next 100 that will be on the high priority list.  We started to evaluate eliminating sugar.  I was doing a good job on ecap consumption and new I was being monitored based on the pack I handed off to the Dogs and Mutha.  I was started to get short changed my water at this point! They dropped me to one liter in the hydration bladder I was doing a really good job nursing the 26oz handheld.  I calculated I consumed roughly 5 gallons of water all day.

It was 17 miles until I saw the Dogs and Mutha again, and it was a grueling 17 miles of long climbs exposed sun sections and a guy that shit his pants and stunk like chicken shit.  Those 17 miles I don't really have recollection of I don't know why, but I was alone for alot of it.  I never thought of anything like solve world food supply, the debt crisis, taxes, invent something, I don't know what I was really thinking, I don't think you have time to think as weird as that sounds.  Its just moving forward, doing what you can to survive and you just keep going.  I had a cue sheet with me so I knew when my water stations were coming up.  I just really kept thinking about keep drinking and keep taking ecaps.

Camp 10 Bear came after a long fucking climb I remember running into camp and seeing a car stuck in a ditch on the side of the road, the Dogs and Mutha had a good spot on the left, I took in more fruit, drank, picked at stuff and took a piss and saw MadDog out of the corner of my eyes checking the color it was clear, I was looking too.

My first weigh in147lbs I lost 11 pounds, impossible, one girl said wait another said go, I just walked away.  This was impossible, but it makes my weigh in on my scale of 152lbs accurate b/c I normally am down 4-5lbs after 50 milers.  Anyway I took off and rolled along.  I remember this section being brutally hard, I felt like I was going backwards the climbs were relentless and two of the aid stations were out of everything when I rolled in that was sort of depressing because I was looking forward to fruit and was craving it.  I remember feeling food at this point, maybe I was telling myself that and believing it but at the next handler station at Tracer Brook the true race started.

I came in running, I think, I can't remember, but I know that I ran around a right turn and the Dogs were to the left sitting down in the shake in a nice set up.  I went from feeling good to vision going blurry and my hearing starting to go, very muffled.  I was standing up looking at MadDog and I admitted MadDog, I am not doing good.  He said, "I know".  Things then went worse, I felt like I was going to drop.  Then I was bent over, being held up, water being rubbed on me.  Someone washed my face, I don't know who, but I was asked "tMail don't you feel better". I don't even know what I said, but it didn't.  It was MadDog that suggested I sit down, I didn't want to because I "feared the chair".  I was conscious of time and how long I had been there, but I wanted to pass out.  DogMan was down low with me, in a real caring spirit for me and it made me feel good.  He made me feel like, your stomach is a disaster that is ok, just try this, ok you don't like this try this.  He came at me with every angle for food.  He found his target with Snickers bars and then Ensure, I think cashews, I think fruit, I don't know, but the cold water was the best.

***Attention***MadDog was brought back to being 3 years old at this point as we later found out and will be joing G.A.C

My color I was told was green or white or combo of the two.  I was given some Chocolate ensure that I didn't want to take I think I remember saying I will puke that stuff up, anyway I drank it.  I was coming around and MadDog gave me that slight head nod/eye contact and said "ok bud you gotta get up now" I got up was given my pack and Mutha walked about with me trying to get me to eat almonds or cashews I can't remember.  I remember saying to him I wanted my sunglasses, I don't know why, he ran back and go them for me.  He stayed with me until I gave him the all clear.  5-10 minutes later I threw up 4 times in the middle of the road as a Subaru Outback drove off the side of the road as I stood in the middle and hurled.  Whole chunks of Snickers bars came up and it was all chocolate, chunks of stuff.  This kid Jeff watched in horror and said, 'that was impressive".  I felt better but knew I just threw up everything that revived me.  I wanted more food, but I was stripped of everything I had water and ecaps and almonds.  I would eat one almond at a time it would take 10 minutes to chew one.  Anyway that mile out of Tracer Brook up Prospect Hill was brutal took me 30 minutes for 1 mile I think.  After that I rolled to Margaritaville and discovered no crew!!!!  I backtracked back about 200 yards and there was Mutha in the road.  I was ahead of schedule.  Margaritaville is probably the most organized place and actually has lots of stuff.  I took a burger and it took hours to eat I kept it with me and the Dogs and Mutha walked with me for a while, I remember taking another piss at this point and then took off for Camp 10 Bear.  Camp 10 Bear more action was happening bodies falling apart.  I picked up Mutha at this point and somehow was back to 157lbs, humanly impossible after what I just went threw.

Mutha and I took off, we were doing good, I don't think I said much to him, but he worked on me for eating and drinking.  We negotiated how many cashews he could give me in my hand 2 was the max I could take.  We had some long climbs and hit some beautiful horse facilities heading to South Woodstock.  We put our headlamps on too a full moon that was beautiful and walking through a field that was like Gettysburg.  The West Winds/Spirit of 76 handler station was cool, lots of lights and candle stuff, I remember asking DogMan for hamburger I really wanted one, they didn't have any but it seemed like they had a grill going and I was really confused by why they wouldn't have won, but I got a piece of bread with turkey meat on it, I took it.  Heading out to Goodmans and Cowshed I know it was slow going I ran what I could walked what I had to.  We were on dirt roads, the dust was everywhere you could see it in the headlamps.  I felt like I was doing ok, we hit one unmanned aid station and someone left a Ensure, Mutha grabbed it and we negotiated sips and cashews.  After Cowshed Aid Station on ran into some of my trail hunnies from TARC, we headed out and I this point the exhaustion started to hit, I walked with my hand on Mutha's shoulder and closed my eyes.  The idea of taking a nap crossed my mind, there was 1 kid taking a nap with his handler watching over him.  I thought I was doing ok, I was moving forward, I remember seeing a big cow's eyeball and his head it kind of made me laugh it was pretty cool.  The sky was clear as day and the moon was beautiful. 

We guessed around 86-87 miles I took one step and the knife went through the knee.  Mutha did a great job of trying to manage and identify what was wrong we decided to sit down in a really cook spot and just chilled, I took 2 NSAIDs and just chilled.  The pain was a 7 out of 10 for me, it was giving out, it was burning and I could put no weight on it.  Mutha wanted to rest more, but I wanted up.  I tried to keep going again, but everystep was I let out a G$$$ war whoop / MadDog primal scream.  I tried dragging the leg, using Mutha as a crutch, I couldn't figure a way to make it work.  I was proud of how far we made it, I sort of accepted it.  It was buckle or bust, I busted and left what I had out there before Bills.

Mutha let some runners know #76 was down, within 20 minutes the Dogs showed up, I was laid out in the grass Mutha was laying against me so I wouldn't lose heat.  MadDog came over he had a big smile on his face, it made me feel good, like I made him proud.  I was down and out laying in dirt and grass, knee on fire, 88 miles into the Vermont 100 and I was at peace and MadDog was happy, what a tough guy to please!!!!!!

That was our day.

I know that MadDog, DogMan and Mutha had a great time and everything turned into being so much better than expected.

I had the worlds best crew and support.  It is tough to ask someone to take up their entire weekend, take them away from loved ones, their daily jobs, weekend tasks, to serve you.  Regardless you don't want to let them down and I know we had that understanding, but it is a tremendous amount to ask of people and MadDog, DogMan and Mutha, I can not THANK YOU guys enough, you guys did more than I ever thought.  It was a pleasure coming into those aid stations seeing you guys and what plans of attack you had for me.  I was demanding of things and asked for the impossible at times but you guys always came through, THANK YOU.  You guys were my life support and I could not have made it as far as I did without you guys.

PM and G$$$ I felt you guys pushing me along and I know you wished you were there, because if you were [... omitted for vulgar, private joke ... ] !!!!!

MadDog's Trip Report:
Since I am late penning this I will only try to fill in some blanks, in quasi-chrono order, here's the raw unedited version:

1. I get a text message from a welterweight champ of Blue Hills aka "Cheeto commandeer", he's just getting on I91 south from I89, and will be sequestering himself in his room, and wants to know my status. I respond I'm on my way to get one of the other corner guys, and we'll be on the road to fight-central soon.

2. I wind my to the Bear den parking lot. No signage. Enter an open door and kindly ask where Bear Code is. She's agitated and unfriendly (editors note: I am not liking this Montpeculiar behavior - I see a pattern) and tells me they're over there - no sign. Thanks I say and off I go.

3. I enter what I envision a Formula 1 garage looks and encounter and engaged and focused Andy Gilbert, chief techno-pundit holding court of the IT dweebs. MD: "Andy, you in a meeting?" DM: "Maddog! Yeah, I will be with you soon." Not good, I am thinking. And I head next door to the granite fab slum, and schmooze with the stoners. I was in heaven.

4. A trip with the VT trippers is not a trip, if we don't miss the exit. Mutha steps up and makes the call to Cheeto What fun!

5. Mister Snapdragon, was a little too snappy for me. Red flags were raised...though I praise him/them for the improvements to the building. I have a softspot for rehab care given to old buildings.

6. Windsor Station pizza sucks. Farnum Hill cider is not bad, not bad at all.

7. The first time I really reconnected saw parts of the area from my race was when we passed by the South Woodstock store. Suddenly I felt anchored. The whole weekend I was constantly replaying parts of the races as we encountered it - and I could remember - the runner's perspective is completely different than the crews.

8. I was pleased to see Cheeto relaxed and chilling when we were putting in for the night. We both got a good chuckle from the text from Spark regarding the firetruck for sale "I will take it" - he doesn't even know wtf it is...we both laughed hard. From there something went terribly wrong....

I woke at 230 from phone, and Cheeto wakes. We soon find that my hands must have been bound overnight and that my wrists showed severe bruising. And then, the sheets under me had splotches of blood. Windsor forensics would be engaged but not before we headed for the horses and the start.

9. I had a momentary panic mode when I got separated from the boys, with 2mins to go. Thinking to myself it would be awful not to see him. Out of nowhere, Mutha appears from within the crowd and reels me in.

10. Off the runners, as Cheeto gets ready to move out, we wish well, and he does a little head drop to his left shoulder, subtle but noticeable from behind. It's the exact move a boxer does when loosening up in the ring before touching gloves. He's going to rumble, I thought.

11. We regroup and begin to get camp setup...after 30mins of boy chatter and frolic at the expense of Chisel, amongst a bunch of quiet tents Betty Boxer shorts appears and sends us off with our tails between our legs. We naively assumed that those tents were 100 mile runner's tents (and thus emtpy) not so...she firmly informed us. Buh bye Betty.

12. Stage Road was a porn set. While melting at my post I was confronted by commando chick, a pacer I suspect but who had rather sparse views on clothing. As if that wasn't bad enough...15 ft off of commando's right shoulder was the drop bag area. In comes BUFFy, she's hunting around for her stuff and I return to my lookout for the boys and Cheeto, I no sooner turn back the other direction, and Buffy it appears decides she's better off with no top while hunting through her drop bag. I wondered if she was looking for her sunscreen...then Cheeto pulls in. At the same an older guys stumbles onto us. I am battling inside because Cheeto is in, DM and MZ are on him, so not much I can do and the older guy needs help - so I try to split my attention between the two. While ok, the guy did ask me for help. I felt obligated got him a coke and helped with his drop bag. I use drop bag loosely. It was a Hannaford plastic grocery bag, with a roll of duct tape in it. I was astounded. He drank, I got back to Cheeto and he was pulling out of there so off we went...

13. All throughout the course and event, I was reconnecting with my race. It was magical to climb back in time, with the sensory of the day triggering all kinds of memories.

14. The whole bag swap idea was great. Once Cheeto was back on the course after an aid station, we immediately dissected what he gave us - allowed us to play enduro-anthropology, and try to infer what the f was going with Cheeto. This and Larry Ellison's masterpiece were the only tools we had to use that allowed us to make ourselves believe that we somehow had control. We control of nothing.

15. These 24+ enduro races are tests of one's ability to physically perform, manage the body and mind, and manage the course. Bringing all that together is not easy. Cheeto did a splendid job! At several of the major station stops - essentially a 20mile spacing, you could see the damage and effect of the course on runners. Strong and spirited at the start, and then 40 miles some slight changes, then 60 miles in bodies slumping, starting to shuffle, then 80 miles unable plant a foot on the slightest downhill, hurling, unable to smile, etc etc...it was really something.

16. Praise and kudos to DM and MZ, for all the positive energy and engagement during the weekend. No better crew was anywhere in sight.

17. Fuck Tracer Brook. There is always one low spot in these events, Cheeto knew it, and worked through it. It was great.

18. Seeing the body at Camp 10 stabilized and wrapped in a burrito on a stretcher was only reminder to me of how we should be thankful for the ability do that kind of event.

19. Yes Cheeto, we were secretly dialing back on things in the pack...after seeing a pattern of consumption dropping from the bladder and needing solids etc., and knowing the likelihood of it increasing to be nonexistent, we were offloading weight for you, and trying to soft-force feed you. Tactical decision by your corner team. I was inspired and reassured when Cheeto said he wants the buckle. Don't know where that came in the course, but it was essential for him to articulate it and us to hear it...it reaffirmed the machine's goal.

20. I don't about health care in Virgina, but I do know there are pretty darn good surgeons there.

21. It was good for the corner guys (and I think for Cheeto) to launch you out of Margaritville with a burger in hand. I did not like the guy who wanted to dock you 2mins for peeing there.

22. Spirit of 76 was an awesome spot to see you guys, as short as it was. And a little funny about the misfires on the hand offs.

24. Bills was where it was at. ...it was a wild period of emotions. I was worried to death and sad as the minutes ticked away. Worried about not buckling and not wanting him to be devastated - given all that that he has done and given up in the preceding 11+ months, but not worried about Cheeto's health. And I was reconnecting with my race when I hit Bills. When word came that we had to go out to the boys, it was comforting for a split moment, knowing that the Cheeto wouldn't have to punish himself with the rest.

25. Cheeto Comanche, showed us lot - he is disciplined, committed, wasn't attached to the outcome, he didn't have buckle fever - but he can endure. Great job, DM, MZ, CC.


Mt. Tom, Mt. Field, Mt. Willey, Mt. Hale: Off The Grid

Route: Parked at the Hale Brook Trailhead. Took the road to the Zealand Trail, left on the A-Z to Willey Range Trail, tagged Tom, Field, Willey. Then dropped to the AT, ran to Zealand Hut, then Lend-A-Hand over Hale and back to car.

Mutha's Trip Report:
Total time from car to Zealand Hut (via Willey Range and Ethan Pond Trail):  4:45 for me.  I covered the 5.8 miles of the Ethan Pond Trail (AT) in 1:46, including the time to take a power dump in the woods that was loud enough to pose a territorial challenge to the moose in the notch.  I'd been having intestinal discomfort all morning (farting and belching) and this basically took care of everything.

The long run along the Ethan Pond Trail (5.8 miles) and the final scramble up to the hut to make the 2pm goal (arrived at 1:57) left me dripping in sweat.  At the hut I took advantage of the water flowing over the smooth ledge and soaked my head. 

From the hut we hammered up the Lend-A-Hand to Hale summit (1:00 for me), then down to the car.  Elevation Gain:  (no idea - probably over 4k).
Total miles:  22.3.
Total time for me:  6:45. That's about an 18 minute pace on average.

tMail waited for me 3 times, totaling close to 0:30.  Chasing after him was useless.

Those summits are now off my grid for July.

Trail conditions:  There was not a single noteworthy element to the conditions out there.  The trails are in great shape although A-Z was, as usual, a bit overgrown.
tMail's Trip Report:  Run in number 1: I'm cruising along on EPT just rocking and Joey Bag of No Maps stops me dead in my tracks. He is walking towards Thoreau Falls and asks me is Guyot Camp site up ahead. I thought it was a joke. I said Guyot? He says "Yes". I said you are not even close. You need to head up to Zealand, Twin Way then towards the Bonds, South. He says "South". Look buddy do what you want. We saw him at Zealand while getting water looking at guess what a map! In retrospect I should have told him take Thoreau Falls trail to Wilderness to Bondcliff Trail and you can't miss it.

Run in number 2: The caretaker at Zealand found out I was drinking from Zealand falls, from some spy. Water rushing at 100's of gallons per minute, got read  riot act NOT to drink from the water.

Run in number 2 and 3 combo. MadDog the girl at Zealand was smoking, black sports bra, dark tan, tattoo across lower back and SHORT green shorts. At our deep water soak the girl from Quebec, smoking!

The water soak was awesome, the route awesome!

Zealand road should be blown up.
Tom Field Willey Hale nice knowing you in July!


Central Vermont Bike Tour: Calais, Vermont and beyond!

Sunday, g-$$$, DogMan, tMail and I took part in the CVBT (a fundraiser for the Cross-Vermont Trail).  This is an outstanding 60 mile tour that hits some of the most astounding routes in central Vermont north and east of Montpelier, centered on Calais.  They offer three incredibly well-marked routes:10-ish, 34-ish and 60-ish miles), no official finishing times, great aid stations and a huge buffet at the end.  The start/finish is at the Morse Farm, which includes a gift-shop that sells maple creemees - a summer staple in this part of the world that, made with real maple syrup, is an out-of-this-world flavor.  DogMan, g-$$$ and I biked the 60.  tMail ran the 34.  Here's a description from g-$$$:

Yes it was a great event.....nice intimate grassroots event.  Organizer is super-passionate and just trying to promote his cause without trying to make it a big moneymaker.  Entry was $50....very reasonable for the level of support and effort.  The course was hard.....lots of short change of tempo climbs and lots of leg/lung busters.....descents were fun but often heavy on the washboard.  Because of the amount of rain they've had up there the roads were often a little soft so it was easy to get bogged down in the thin muck.  The course is your classic Vermont ride...endless Vistas and cow pastures galore.  Turns were well marked and the local support was wonderful.  The course was special...we even rode UNDER a barn!
DogMan's Trip Report:  Really enjoyed it.

G$$ - thanks for the smoking first leg and a half and the fluid. Very impressed. Who needs a sternum anyway?

Tmail - way f* impressed. Pummels the Whites Saturday, solo runner navigates the hill country, fends off red neck dog attacks, pushes through the paved brutality of Minister Brook, cruises smoothly to the finish.

Mutha - Pummels the Whites Saturday. Today, uh - did you sweat? I think you could probably just ride BMB next weekend and finish. Sure it would take you a while, but you would cruise into the finish laughing, telling a story, put on your 5 fingers and go find someone to "run around with".
g-$$$'s Trip Report:  Finally home and showered, bike and riding gear put away, chores (trash/laundry) done....sitting at my desk trying to motivate myself to get some work done......it's looking more like f' that.

Sorry I missed the beef tips...they looked good....but got to spend an hour at the lake house with EZ-E and and then around the campfire with 5 women....they all want to meet THE VALENTINO...it seems my mangled sternum was not nearly as impressive as someone running 34 miles!  I think Lisa wants to hook you up [last 3 words omitted by blog author to retain PG rating].

Dogman....the only reason I fought so hard to stay with you was I didn't want to get lost....riding today was like having a headset in my ear and cues coming from the team car.  For not having many miles under the belt it didn't show.

Muthaz...the Goat Shack Farm tour was awesome.....TJ was exactly as described....sorry about dragging shit into your house and sticking you with the beef tips bill...but hey I paid for your salad.  Incredible that you did Tecumseh and Osceolas in 5.5 and then did the 60 too!

Tmail...as usual...Impressive...Simply Impressive.....

Not sure I'll be getting out with you guys next week with the Holiday and all.....so it may be the VT100 will be the next chance for me to get out with you guys....

The Pain in the NEK is going to be AWESOME!!!!
tMail's Trip Report: What I a weekend! The weekend hangover is here.

We started training camp with a warm up - up Tecumseh ski slope and down the North West side of Tecumseh. This was "joint 47". The trail down is beautiful very runable, we had very wet conditions but held a good pace. We took the right onto Tripoli Road and headed toward Mount Osceola which we crush in no time then had a rapid descent.

Once pack on Tripoli we crushed it back to the car and had a classic NH River soak.

Mutha got his latte or double espresso at Mad River Coffee.

Saturday night was chilling out and evening cores. Booker T banged in he said his head was ready to explode.

Sunday morning came early. Booker T was seen flying down Peacham and arrived fully recovered for morning chores.

We left to pick up DogMan and arrived at Morse Farm. G$$$ greeted us and the bike squad got ready along with the lone runner.

Fears going into this getting lost or eaten alive by a Vermont Junk Yard Dog. Fears came to revelation on Lyle Young Road which has a beautiful barn from 1899. Let's call the "Great Dane" Toby. I saw Toby early and he saw me. Owner was under his car in the front yard fixing it. Toby came charging he was eye level to me and ran with me snarling, growling. Owner was probably still under car until I heard "Get back dog". Toby didn't care I told him to F off and he stopped.

From the top of Worcester Road to West Hill Road brutal. Asphalt paving torture. (DogMan there is a road off Worcester Road (Robinson Hill Road) it looks like a beast. Anyway the cavalry starting coming West Hill Road first DogMan, then G$$$ who rode with me until Culver Hill Road aid station. I then saw Mutha on North Street and again on County Road when he ran in with me. I almost had my 2nd run in with Rotweiller on Horn of the Moon Road. He had destroyed the window and curtain and torn tore through the window screen. His head was through that and he was ready to eat tMail. He never jumped through window.

This was a magnificent run tour the roads are just relentless and hard pack gravel. Running through the NEK (E. Montpelier, Calais, Worcester and Middlesex just rocked. Those climbs are brutal running can't imagine on a bike.

Sunday night was rocking with 7 dogs, the DogMan family beef tips, Positive Pie Pizza and DogMan home brew. The Apple cider was rocking, I loved it.

This morning Mutha, Spanky, Jake and myself probably ran for 45 minutes attacked by deerflies it was brutal but we survived.

Training camp concluded back at Muthaville USA.

Booker T is a true classic. His bike is a disaster, we took off his front breaks and replaced the rear pads with the front ones. No front breaks. He needs medicine lots of it, the stuff he is on doesn't work he needs like Rhino tranquilizer. He is a GOOD kid, just needs help and guidance. He attention span is a nano second. He got booted off the property Sunday night.

Mutha / tMail. "Get the F out of here" (we chased him on his bike)
Booker T "Why"
Mutha "Go the F home"
around the corner walks Booker T's teacher. Mutha says "can you flunk him next year" she says "he wouldn't care".

This morning Smidge, Chance, Einstein and Zeus got their tetanus shots.
Zeus will be eaten soon he is pretty useless.
Thor has a nice burial.
The bees are rocking.

Stay tuned for coming weekend adventure!!!
Mutha's Trip Report:  I've got total adventure hangover.  Everything around me looks really boring.  A weekend w/ you guys and I'm just lost.

tMail: holy crap.
dogman:  SMOKE THAT COURSE (ridin' it like a native).
g-$$$:  you think if i cracked MY sternum i could ride like that?

this was great adventure, no doubt.  what a fun weekend.


Osceola & Tecumseh: Joint 48

tMail and I finished our 'joint 48' today:  our joint tagging of the White Mountain 48 together.  We ran from Waterville Valley, up the ski slopes to Tecumseh, down the north side to Tripoli Rd, along the road to the trail to Osceola, up and back, Tripoli Rd. to Waterville Valley and the car.  16.5 miles, under 5.5 hours.

We soaked in the brook by the Tecumseh Trailhead (not the little trickle by the trailhead, but the rushing brook about 150ft in.

Conditions were easy and predictable.  Things were  a little wet but nothing unusual for the way this weather has been.  We just churned out the miles and the feet of elevation and I did my best to keep up w/ the wind.... The wind had to wait for me.


Chamberlain and Rake Factory Roads

I figured I'd get some miles in today on my bike.  22.3 miles and 1170' elevation gain (according to MapMyRide).  It took 2.25 hrs.  "Woah, 10 mph Mutha, what the hell?  Sounds like you had a rough time of it...."  Yeah, I did. But even though my pace was slow, I have an excuse.  It was a rough ride.

"But ...", you ask, "... at 10mph avg speed what was the holdup?  Legs?  Lungs?"

Neither.  I cruised south to Peacham and then east to Barnet at a good clip on my old Specialized Crossroads, and then at an inspired moment, made a crucial left on something called Warden Road.  Then turned onto something called Chamberlain Road, and then a left on something called Rake Factory Road, then back home.

I knew what I was in for.  For those of you who have any idea what this might've been like, allow me to give you a few ideas of how this route has been transformed by all those massive storms.  For those of you who have no idea what Chamberlain and Rake Factory roads are like, pull up a chair and check this shit out when you have time to read.  Here are a few notes:

1)  The first part of Chamberlain, done in the reverse of what I've done w/ some of you, involved a lovely climb which was at first just a matter of putting the bike in my smallest gear and working it....until I got to the section that was about 150' from the guys house on the long driveway w/ the dogs that came out to meet us.  As some of you may recall, this was where (coming down) I got off my bike and walked it for a while because of the loose and large rocks.  Well, the town used large stones again to repair it after the storms.  They were large and jagged, up to 8-12 inches mixed w/ smaller rocks and dirt.  I had to get off the bike.

2)  At the guys driveway, I headed off into the woods on what's left of Chamberlain Rd.  This wasn't too bad at first - just a little rutted and muddy/soft.

3)  Chamberlain still appears on maps - MapMyRide shows it, in fact shows it splitting into two roads, both of which come out on Rake Factory.  I've been on it three times (or four?) and have never found the 'fork'.  There's zero evidence of it.  In fact the mile or so after entering the woods and leading down to Rake Factory Road was abandoned a number of years ago and last year was basically an ATV/snowmobile trail in the woods, climbing up and over Strobridge Hill in a rutted, muddy, trail.  There's not a lot left of it on that section.  What's left I couldn't ride down, which doesn't mean a lot, but at least I didn't have to carry the bike except in a few short sections.  It could probably be navigated w/ a 4-wheeler with some skill, really aggressive tires and a significant clearance.  Worse than the 'road' condition were the mosquitos, which were thick and swarming.  It was downhill, I had to drag the bike in and out of ruts, and wipe bugs off my body.  If any of you remember the first climb up from Rake Factory Road, I couldn't even ride down that.  Chamberlain has a canyon about 2ft deep meandering down the middle of it.

4) Okay, so I got on the bike about 50' from Rake Factory road, made my left, and within a few minutes was off the bike.  Then on and off again for no more than 100' at a time, until I unclipped my left foot in a mudhole, fell to the right and landed on my shoulder/back.  I was moving forward at no more than 0.1 mph so the impact was relatively easy - kind of laid down hard and took a few rocks against the body - not even a scratch.  Well, there's nothing left of most parts of Rake Factory.  It's completely blown out.  For long stretches it looks like a rocky brook w/ steep banks.  For really long sections near the top the bottom of the 'road' is about 5 - 6' below the original grade.  Much of it is more than 2' deep, but blown out for the whole width.  In the steepest section, the road washed into the woods, which now looks like trees sticking out of a flat plain of mud - no organic forest floor - just trees sticking out of dirt.  I had to carry the bike for about 25 minutes, scrambling over boulders and shredded culverts.  I eventually dragged the bike into the dense woods and bushwacked for about 300 yards.  Unfortunately I didn't have the tool necessary to remove my handlebars - it would've been a lot easier if they were rotated parallel to the frame because the trees were so close together.  Mosquitos, branches, rocks, etc.  I eventually lowered the bike into the bottom of the gully and did some distance on rocks/mud/etc., then scrambled back up on the banks when I could.

5)  With great relief I finally hit Varnum Rd, which is normally a pretty primitive route (not too good in a passenger vehicle - mostly just trucks/farm equipment during sugaring season) but it had been repaired post-storm and compared to Rake Factory was like a freaking paved highway.  A few hundred yards later, made a right on the Thaddeus Stevens Road.  Ahhh, freshly graded this afternoon with ... uh oh, soft material.  The bike sank in so deep I couldn't pedal through it on the FLATS!  Crap.  Had to actually get off and drag the bike on flat freaking dirt road.  Well, even though it's a maintained road, the T.S.Rd is still pretty out-in-the-sticks, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when a black bear crossed in front of me and headed into the woods.  My first bear in Danville.  It didn't even look at me.  It just ambled across the road and into the woods.  I got on the bike and pedaled like a motherf**ker, looking over my shoulder repeatedly in case for some reason this bear decided to go into ol' grizzle bear mode.  I know, black bear aren't aggressive.  Right.  Fine.

6)  The last scramble was over the washout that has closed the Greenbank Hollow Covered Bridge, through the bridge, over the chain blocking the bridge from the other side and then 20 minutes later - home.



North Twin Mtn, South Twin Mtn, The Tent & Thor

Mutha's Trip Report
Fun day for Team Barks-a-lot:  Dogman, Mutha, Trudy, Spanky & Jake.  Destination:  South Twin, via the North Twin trail, out and back.  Three river crossings.  On the way up, did the bushwack so only had to do last crossing.  Bushwack is now a well established trail - easy to follow - almost as good as the regular trail.

Beautiful weather - lots of sun and even more bugs.  Herbal Armor bug repellent works wonders (MadDog, that's the stuff you and I used in Wyoming).

The view from South Twin is amazing.  It's such a great perspective on everything from the Presidentials to Franconia Ridge, to the entire Pemi. The views of Carrigain and Mt. Nancy and even Norcross Pond are excellent.

While on South Twin, I found a nalgene full of water.  Score!  Gave it to the dogs.

On the way in, from North to South twin, kept an eye out for Chip's tent.  Every possible place, trudged around in the brush and woods looking for it.  We figured that on the way back it may be more obvious.  Indeed, on the way back, we scoured the woods with me mumbling "to find this tent, we have to think like a douchebag...".  After nearly giving up, we focused on a section of dead trees with deep ferns and fallen logs.  As it transitioned into the ascent up N. Twin, BAM!  The tent.  At the time I was pretty disdainful of Chip's explanation of where he left it, but after we hauled it out to the trail it was clear that it was actually a pretty accurate explanation - just a little vague - but there was no other way for him to describe it.

So we got a tent and a nalgene.

On the way home we stopped in Littleton at the DD.  I got a (hot) latte w/ whole milk.  Dogman got some crazy iced beverage.  While sipping the drinks, he saw a sign for a new special drink:  Mountain Dew Kolatta!  He promptly ordered a small and you could see the stars and hearts floating around his head.  The man has found his new beverage nirvana.

To round out the festivities, I pulled into the Burger King just before the highway, and focusing on the "$1 menu", ordered for the dogs 2 orders of 4-pc chicken nuggets and 1 'stacker' (a burger w/ cheese and a piece of bacon).  For $3.27 this should be quite the dog treat.  We got our order and after pulling ahead a few feet to park, started to distribute the chicken nuggets.  Jake just stared at his.  Spanky ate hers, but not very enthusiastically.  Trudy picked it up, sucked on it for a second and spit it out.  We though she just dropped it, so DogMan re-fed it to her.  She sucked on it for  second and spit it out.  Neither she nor Jake would eat them.  I tried the stacker, split into 3 chunks, and they wolfed them down.  It was a hunger thing - it was that the chicken nuggets were too far from "food" for the dogs to want them.... and dogs EAT ROADKILL!!!!!!!

The tent gets set up tomorrow to dry out and air out.

Last nugget:  we got to my house at 6:30 and headed in to the goatshack to see the new babies and only found 4 napping in the shack.  I heard a weird, pathetic bleating coming from somewhere, kind of muffled and figured out that one of the babies, Thor, had got himself wedged in the wall, just beyond my reach.  Little TJ showed up and Dogman, TJ and I grabbed a power saw and cut through the wall.  I pulled Thor out by the legs but he was limp and clearly dead.  I gave him mouth-to-mouth but it just inflated his stomach, and tried chests compressions.  I keep a stethoscope in my 'goat kit' and couldn't find a heartbeat.  TJ was crying and held Thor.  We picked a spot out by the garden and I dug a deep grave and we buried him covered w/ the towel he was born in.  We decided to put a marker up that reads "Here Lies Thor, 6/5/2011 - 6/16/2011, He was a good little goat."  TJ's dad came and got him and they left his bike here.
DogMan's Trip Report
Packed day.

1) Learned all about Linda "Lock Vagina" or something like that (Lot's to party a lot?). High maintenance apparently, but interesting to hear about her. We got there initially talking about Spungie's marriage. How is a mystery.

2) Perhaps I should have re-read the email on potential tent location. No tent on way up. Much cursing of Chip.

3) Bluebird day up top, although a little buggy. Much enjoyment by dog and man.

4) More cursing of Chip on way back, but with better idea of where potential spots are, we make a more focused and concentrated effort. Buggy as git all. I am about to go insane. Last chance, last place that makes sense, Mutha says "wait one second there are two rocks over here". Bingo! Bagged the tent!

5) We secure tent in bag, while enduring near insanity from bug assault. Apply some wonder lotion Mutha has. All good.

6) Much discussion of divorce.

7) Sorry G$$, some discussion of God. Although all good, mostly how Mutha woke up at 3am torturing Sue with a long to do list and an esoteric concern about "acts of god, whether if there are acts of god churches are liable, and if not, are insurance companies just making shit up". Had to be there. Sure you are sorry you missed it.

8) Nice splashing in river for dogs on way down. We do all 3 crossings, and hang in the last one, getting the legs wet. Cold, but awesome.

9) Required stop at DD. Scored a Mountain Dew Collatta (sp?). Highly recommended. When in Rome go Roman. If at a DD go as artificial and contrived as possible. Scored big.

10) Dogs reject "chicken" chunks from Burger King. This is really disturbing. $1 for 4 items that "look" like "food" but are roundly rejected by multiple dogs that have just spent 8+ hours in the mountains. This is not good.

11) Losing Thor. What a strange and sad incident. Will let Mutha cover this. Thunder on Thor. Thunder on.