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chinooktrail
06-20-2011, 06:09 AM
Well, I signed up for another weekend at Club MEB. This should in no way be confused with any club that sounds similar. You don’t come home freshly coifed with a manicure and a pedicure and relaxed from facials and deep muscle massages… You come home bruised and scratched and bug bitten and burned with bloody toes and sore muscles and a huge smile on your face!
Friday night was a nice walk up to North and Middle Sugarloaf. My first trip there but certainly not my last, what wonderful summits! We wandered around on them for a while and checked out the many fantastic views and saw the start of a beautiful sunset. We camped in one of the Sugarloaf campsites, and I must say, the ‘host’ was not very hospitable. We nearly got kicked out due to someone’s potty mouth. The slugs here on the other hand took a very keen like to us both and decided our tents were the best thing ever… ewwwww.
Saturday morning involved packing up in the rain and waiting in the car in the rain for the rest of the crew. Thankfully the rain stopped and we started in on the Zealand Trail with dryish skies and decent temps. The A-Z trail doesn’t seem to get a lot of use, but I really liked it. Loads of variety on this trail, and tons of lady slippers! I bet I saw more lady slippers on this backpack than ever before. The final push up to the junction with Willey Range was reminding me I had a heavy backpack on, but that’s what Club MEB is all about. :) A quick trip up to TOM for Geneva’s #41 a few pix and then back down to the junction and there were a few more happy campers to meet us! Oh, and a sip of beer, glorious beer.
The section from the junction to Mt Field was quick and nice, seemed like it was in a lot of open woods, an interesting contrast to the A-Z Trail where it seemed to reach in and hug you at times. Geneva’s #42, and we met a few fellow VFTTers on the summit, and a lot of other people and doggies. Very busy up there actually.
Off to Mt Willey (#43 for those keeping score) and the view point a few feet past the summit. Here we were joined by some uninvited guests of the flying biting varmint kind… The dreaded spring hiking companions, the black flies. The one and only good thing you can say about them is that they keep you motivated to keep moving. And from Willey down to the Ethan Pond Trail it wasn’t that easy for me to move quickly. It is a bit on the steepish side. I managed to make a few typical clumsy steps and take a few tumbles here and there. But heck, it isn’t a hike without blood now is it?! I was seriously thinking about having my climbing helmet with me at some point on this decent. I need a lot more practice with the heavy pack to figure out the ‘tipping point’ for myself.
At the Ethan Pond Trail junction there was a mass mutiny and and only 2 um… silly people decided to forge on to the campground. The others made the smart decision to get out of the bugs and the woods. The Ethan Pond trail is absolutely lovely! Such a nice break on the body, especially the feet or paws. We made it to the Campsite in no time and found a nice flat spot to set up the tents. Very flat, level in fact. Ok, so it was a tent platform, but these provide their own challenges setting up. I found it quite difficult to drive my stakes into the wooden surface. Unfortunately the dreaded bugs followed us instead of the deserters, and they made the camp chores of bathing and dinner prep a little challenging. I did manage to get in a good upper body workout from swatting and waving my arms about like a crazed lunatic. Geneva was quite happy to be inside the tent, on her own thermarest and on her own sleeping bag. This made me happy too, since normally she thinks my sleeping bag and thermarest are hers, and she spends the entire night attempting to shove me out of or off of them… Another great temperature night for sleeping.
Sunday arrived quite early and the temps were perfect, crisp enough to keep the bugs away and allow us a leisurely break down and pack up for the day’s activities. I love love love the Ethan Pond Trail! Loads of bog bridges and such a nice easy warm up for the body. We took a side trip out to Thoreau Falls. Always such a beautiful place to visit. Here we got a view of the destination for today. All too soon we were making the climb up the Zeacliff Trail. Hum, what to say about this trail. Steep comes to mind. Whenever I have to use my hands as much as my feet to hike, and especially if I have to help Geneva up something, I consider it to be steep. This trail seems steep. But eventually I made my way to the junction with Twinway and got a great break hiking packless to the summit of Zealand. Hum, can’s seem to find the cute little ‘tree shaped A’s’ on my keyboard, pity. I love the sign. And for those of you keeping count, this was Miss Geneva’s #44! Whoo Hoo! Back to the packs and a quick trip to Zeacliff views for lunch and a sunburn break. The views from here were stellar and I could have stayed much longer, but I was starting to get beer and nachos on my mind…
After a brief stop to watch 2 young Pine Martens poking their little heads out of their hiding hole under a tree for a look at the smelly hiker it was off to the hut for a fill up on water and a little break and then back onto the Zealand Trail to the car.
Another fantastic Club MEB weekend and backpacking extravaganza!
I am so glad Geneva seems to really enjoy hiking and backpacking and getting out and romping in the woods.

Nif
06-20-2011, 09:32 AM
Club MEB - Last week Hut yoga, this week bug induced calisthenic workouts. Ahhh, spa life :p

Yeah 'neva!!!!! I now have mental image of a picture that would be a really good shot: You with Geneva by the handle in one hand, climbing with the other and wearing a climbing helmet while heading up Zeland. I know is the wrong crew for the phrase, but that would be rugged!!!! :D

Sorry to mutiny on you guys. Not my normal practice but I have a very hard time with bugs. Alex did make it in. He had apparently turned his phone off, so even though he didn't get to trailhead until 7pm and ethan pond until 9, he never got the message until the next morning. Too bad he didn't find you guys. He had packed in fresh strawberries and long island ice tea for us.

He said he stayed on the caretaker's platform. He said by then the bugs were reasonable, but no on was outside. He did get a good tent test in however as he has determined that there is no way he's letting Tony in there with him :D

MEB
06-20-2011, 12:39 PM
Along with the helmet an extra pint or so of blood would have been useful! Those bugs vere vicious. I think the deserters made the right decision to leave but believe it or not all the bugs were gone the following day.

Congrats to Miss Geneva and her peakbagging adventures! I'm pondering over my map for possible backpack trips for her last four.

Great weekend and great company! It's so nice to be out hiking again!!!

-MEB

Trainwreck
06-20-2011, 01:15 PM
It was very fun meeting you all on Field and putting names with faces!
Even though I did lose a good part of my lunch to the adorable German Shorthair Pointer, I got enough to eat.
BTW, the champagne was stale and we poured it out. Warm champage=UGH.
The black flies, however, were tasty as they kept flying into our mouths.
Cheers,
Sandy (and Hannah)

mtnpa
06-20-2011, 03:19 PM
Stev-o was totally right about the bugs.
I ain't hiking again til there's at least a foot of snow.

chinooktrail
06-20-2011, 06:19 PM
But Pa! Geneva will be sooooo dissapointed if she doesn't get a summit kiss for her 48th from you! You have been on a whole lot of her 48.

;)

chinooktrail
06-20-2011, 06:53 PM
Jen, I really do want to try to bring Geneva to the airport with her pack on and see if I can get away with her being my carry on luggage. She could curl up into a tight little ball and totally fit into the space alloted!

And she is under 50#s so she wouldn't cost extra!

She didn't like it when Jeff tried bowling with her though...

She prefers to be the alpha dog at all times.

No idea where she gets it from... :rolleyes:

Steve-o
06-21-2011, 11:40 AM
Stev-o was totally right about the bugs.


Yep. I'll take hypothermia over bugs any day !