View Full Version : Adams, Madison and an Amazing VFTT Encounter 06/04-05/04

06-06-2004, 11:35 PM
I started my latest solo adventure driving northbound into increasingly cloudy skies fueled by nothing more than four hours sleep and two cups of coffee. I was thinking that things weren’t looking too good. Not an auspicious start to what would end up being tremendous trip.

From the moment I put a boot to the trail, good things happened. Almost immediately, the wind picked up and blew apart the scud of clouds, creating pockets of blue skies. It seemed that the sunshine followed me along. The trail conditions were excellent even after so much rain. For hours, I made my way alone, following a number of animal tracks up to the hut. I checked in and got a bunk at Madison Springs with no reservation, then started up to Adams.

The skies had cleared and the wind was blowing steadily above treeline. The further I went, the more the wind gusts pushed me up. It was sporty, and getting colder, but things were just getting better.

Adams was study of contrasts. After being buffeted about looking for the summit pin, I found a sheltered seat of sun warmed rock on the other side, and settled in for a good bout of summit lounging, taking in the solitary views from the top. I hadn’t expected to be to taken with this peak. I had heard all about the wonderful views, but I had seen all of the elements before from different angles. But, as with everything in life, a change of perspective can do wonders. I stayed as long as I could, then started down to dinner at the hut. The first few minutes descending left me cold and wind blasted, but the steady diet of bouldering down warmed me to the task of making dinner hour.

Dinner was a great time with two large groups, a family of seven and a very interesting bunch of Canadian ladies with one teenaged son. After a nature walk with the hut naturalist to Star Lake, I sat outside the hut in the lee side of the wind to savor a sunset that wouldn’t quit. When I finally went to bed, the night sky was still blazing with color.

The nocturnal light show continued. At 4 a.m., I was awoken by a startling close moon beaming through the window at my bunk. I quietly gathered my gear, bundled up, strapped on my trusty headlamp and leaving a note for the crew, I headed up Madison to catch the sunrise. The day dawned with barely a breeze, finding me lounging at the top, reveling in a private world of growing light and color, 360 degrees of muted beauty. It was hard to turn my back to the sun and head down, but coffee awaited.

An hour later as I stepped outside of the hut to finish my fourth cup of coffee and check conditions, I saw a beautiful Newfoundland sitting patiently while his person chatted with one of the Canadian ladies. Could it be? I called out “Brutus”. And that big, sweet head turned. It was Brutus, King of the Trail Dogs. (For those not familiar with the exploits of this canine royalty, Brutus is the first dog to finish the NH 4Ks in winter. His owner, Kevin, has been a great source of hiking information for those of us that hike with big dogs. My own two dogs have followed as far as they are capable of.)

For me, this was like an Elvis sighting. But, Brutus took it all in stride, including having the entire hut crew come out to pet and admire him. He sat quietly and politely until it was time to head up to Madison to join his entourage. Brutus and Kevin were up and back down to the hut by the time that I packed and finished my last cup of coffee. Just in time to say goodbye and get a picture of Brutus enjoying his trail snack. He even deals with the paparazzi like all good celebrities.

Kevin, Brutus, and friends headed off in fantastic conditions for a Presi Traverse. I, on the other hand, had to head back to work. Not bad commuting from treeline. It’s tough working for eight hours after hiking off a summit, but I’m definitely not complaining.

Adams and Madison defined why I peakbag. From the standard point of view, I wouldn’t have chosen this route. I’d seen the sights. It wasn’t my idea of great trail footing – from what I had read, I dreaded these summit and put them off to be the last Presidentials that I would hike. Instead, I found staggeringly beautiful vistas, have unparallel memories of the sense of solitude, and met The King. Life IS good...and the adventures continue....

poison ivy
06-07-2004, 06:22 AM
Glad you had such a great trip Periwinkle! :)

- Ivy

06-07-2004, 06:54 AM
Great, great trip report!! Ok, so I am not the only nut who wanted to meet the "King"....amazing animal, isn't he? Thanks for a slice of mountain magic for those of us who couldn't be there!!!

06-07-2004, 07:06 AM
Awesome trip, awesome story!

06-07-2004, 07:27 AM
Very nice indeed! For many personal reasons Adams is my favorite peak. I never seem to be able to turn down an opportunity to get back up there. I'm hoping to go back up with my daughter this summer. Time will tell.

06-07-2004, 08:41 PM
Adams is my favorite peak

Hmm ... you say that about West Bond, too. I'm sensing a trend!

06-07-2004, 10:46 PM
Thanks for all the kind words.

It really was a very special trip. I got such a kick out of finally meeting Brutus (and Kevin! :)). Enjoying the view from Adams and greeting the morning on Madison are moments I'll never forget. I'm beginning to realize that I'm bagging memories as well as peaks. Each summit has it own special moment.