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Periwinkle
06-10-2004, 11:38 PM
The continuing adventures of the Purple Trail Snail

I seem to be particularly blessed lately, with time to hike and excellent adventures. This trip was very special, as I was joined by my husband, Jack, and both of my dogs.

I started hiking the NH 4K's on August 17, 2002 on Moosilauke with my husband and two dogs. It was a horribly humid 90+ degree day. We barely made it. For me, that trip to treeline inspired a quest for the 4K's. To this day, my husband doesn't get the appeal. He hikes, and supports my quest, but leaves me to peakbagging, staying at home to care for our dogs.

After hiking Adams & Madison last week, I realized I was one mountain shy of the halfway point. The 24th peak was calling. I wanted to be "halfway". In an effort to appease me and support my ambitions (and shut me up :)), Jack volunteered to join me on Garfield, helping take the dogs along as well.

In the beginning of the quest, our golden accompanied me. After hiking Cannon last spring, I discovered the he suffers from a mild form of the same genetic disease as my lab: canine hip dysplasia. That put him off steep trails and temporarily retired. The lab has since had both hips replaced. Garfield would be possible for both dogs with a bit of help and backup.

I was worrying more than a little starting up the trail. Would the weather hold, would Jack's new boots be okay, would the dogs make it, would they be okay (on my last long trip with my lab, he was bitten by an otter, requiring 30 stitches -- so much drama).... Hiking solo may seem risky, but I just have to worry for myself. My gears were spinning overtime....

There were no worries on the way up -- everything went better than expected, including a good stream running well just before the "Burnt Knoll" and another small spring running just before the switchbacks -- plenty of water for the dogs, plus a few bits of run-off to cool off in. The dogs were behaving very well, even remaining on a perfect "down-stay" as a staggered group of seven moved down the trail.

We dumped our packs at the trail junction with the Garfield Ridge trail, grabbed a few essentials, and headed up to the summit. We had discussed waiting to go up in the morning debating the merits of hazy afternoon conditions versus possible morning sun, but I was itchin' to bag the 24th. The dogs negotiated the trail beautifully, bringing us the open summit of Garfield. Even with the haze, the views were still fantastic, spurring a comfortable summit lounge cut short only by my growling stomach.

As we were leaving the summit, we met a female solo hiker. Not being able to miss the built calves on this woman, I asked "Where did you start from". No surprise when she replied "Georgia". When we said that we were heading down to the shelter, she was nice enough to say, "Good, I love company." I was already liking "Little Tree".

On the short trip down, I made sure that I kept the dogs in control. After hiking from GA to NH, I didn't want my dogs startling or tripping this woman. At the spring before the turn to the shelter and campsites, I stopped to put the dogs on leash for the approach to the site. Little Tree was already there getting water. She was kind enough to point out that it was still a bit of a walk up to the site, so getting water now would be better. Great advice.

We ended up sharing the shelter with Little Tree. There were a number of people at the tent sites, but it was just our small group at the shelter. We had dinner and sat around chatting with Little Tree and Andrew, the AMC caretaker. Andrew had thru-hiked the year before, so they kept us entertained with trail stories. He christened Jack with the trail name Base Camp. It was a great evening lounging about and laughing. Even the black flies finally cooperated. They had been tormenting us earlier, but as night fell they even left my poor black lab alone. (He had been a big target all day.)

During the night, we were shielded from the gusting winds by the shelter. I was thrilled that my new lightweight LaFuma bag was up to the task. The dogs growled a few times in the night, but never barked. Whatever was moving about in the dark never came close enough for me to get a look at. I ended up sleeping with both leashes around my arm just in case.

The morning found us with little wind but a forecast of thunderstorms later. Little Tree headed out first. For all her good humor and excellent company, we had attempted to impart a little trail magic with gifts of chocolate, toilet paper, lunch money for a summit binge on Washington, and many well wishes for a successful hike to Maine.

Our hike out was much shorter and a complete success, ending 15 minutes before a nasty thunderstorm rolled in from the west. It was such a good trip that the hubby is raring to go for another. The dogs agree. The whole crew is ready to "Base Camp" a few more trips.

First 4K with "the family", halfway done even better, an easier trip to Tecumseh planned for the last 4K this fall....

Am I one lucky lady, or what?

Rob S
06-11-2004, 08:11 AM
Am I one lucky lady, or what?

Yes, you are! :)

Awesome trip report, Peri. And congratulations on the halfway mark!

MichaelJ
06-11-2004, 07:48 PM
He christened Jack with the trail name Base Camp.

LoL! I'm still laughing!

Sounds like an awesome trip! Welcome to the second half of the list ... don't it feel great?
:D

Periwinkle
06-12-2004, 09:24 PM
It's great to be halfway, but now I'm just flat-out obsessed. :D

Periwinkle
06-14-2004, 12:03 PM
Way to go P/B..........
:D Thanks, B!

sp1936
06-14-2004, 01:28 PM
Congratulations, Periwinkle. A nice trip report. I'm one behind you after getting #23 on Mt. Willey this past Saturday. My plan is to reach the halfway point on Isolation on June 25 or 26. My wife is also similar to your husband in being a supportive but infrequent companion on my adventures.

Steve

SherpaKroto
06-14-2004, 08:51 PM
Originally posted by Periwinkle
It's great to be halfway, but now I'm just flat-out obsessed. :D

You too? There seems to be an awful lot of that going around. Good job! Heck, it took me over 33 years to get 1/2 done... less than 2 more to finish the 48, 3 months later the 67, and 14 months later the 100. Obsessed? Not me, it's these crazy hikers I keep hanging around! Now if I could just convince them to go to tha DAKs!

Onward and upward Peri :)

Periwinkle
06-14-2004, 10:18 PM
I think I may finally have the hubby hooked, Steve. He's now volunteered for a few more trips -- we're even scoring a new, lighter tent for family hikes for a few of my remaining trips. He's even offered to "Base Camp" Owl's Head. Psyched! That was the only peak I thought I'd have to solo overnight in a tent. Maybe it just takes a really awesome trip to inspire the "infrequent companions" to join in on the adventure! :) And best of luck with your halfway point.

As for catching the bug from other crazy hikers, SherpaK, I think I'm safe where I have to hike midweek so much! When people ask what I'm going to do when I finish the 4's, my reply is "do all the good 'uns all over again". What really preys on my mind is hiking to every viewpoint listed on my White Mountains Trail Map. I'd also like to spend more time in my area, following every faint track I can find. I had some truly excellent adventures 'whacking around this spring. Oh, and I'll hike with you in the 'daks if can be an Angel! :D

SherpaKroto
06-15-2004, 07:45 AM
Originally posted by Periwinkle
... Oh, and I'll hike with you in the 'daks if [I] can be an Angel! :D

That would be great! Always room for more Angels:) I truly am blessed (and they really do watch over me to keep me safe!). BTW, just where exactly is your store? Everytime I'm up there I think about dropping in and saying hey, but have no clue where to go. (MichaelJ has mentioned it to me countless times - I'm just brain dead)

Periwinkle
06-15-2004, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by SherpaKroto
That would be great! Always room for more Angels:) I truly am blessed (and they really do watch over me to keep me safe!). BTW, just where exactly is your store? Everytime I'm up there I think about dropping in and saying hey, but have no clue where to go. (MichaelJ has mentioned it to me countless times - I'm just brain dead)

Well, I'll give up my anonymity. I willingly confess to being The Periwinkle. I have become my hiking alter ego! :D And now I look forward to becoming an Angel too! :)

I own Lower Village Market on Rt. 175S from Rt. 49. Takes about a minute from the light to get here, about five minutes from I-93. It's a little general store: munchies, beverages, deli (the best pizza in town if I do say so myself), a nice wine selection, and the best selection of beer around. (Unfortunately, my liquor license is off-premise only, so I've never volunteered to host the post-hike micro-brew fests.)

Love to have you, or any other VFTT'ers stop by. I'm usually around on weekends.

David Metsky
06-15-2004, 12:38 PM
Originally posted by Periwinkle
It's great to be halfway, but now I'm just flat-out obsessed. :D
Warning: There is no halfway, you just are getting closer to starting your next list. ;)

-dave-

Periwinkle
06-15-2004, 10:08 PM
Thanks, Dave. Just what I need... ;)...more confirmation that the obsession continues! :)