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Thread: Stylin' on Moosilauke 3.18.07

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mad Townie's Avatar
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    Stylin' on Moosilauke 3.18.07

    There are times to turn back, there are times to forget it, and there are times to go for it. I didn't plan on doing all three in just two weekends!

    After the Redington "disappointment" of the previous weekend, I was fired up to complete #48, Moosilauke, on March 17th. Quite a few folks said they'd be there, which made it that much sweeter to contemplate. Thanks to Mtnmama and Mtnpa I had the world's best base camp, not too far from the mountain. What wonderful hospitality! I drove up late Friday afternoon, just ahead of the storm.

    As we watched the Weather Channel Friday evening while the storm raged outside, it quickly became apparent that Saturday was NOT going to be a good day for this hike. Forgetting it for the day was a wise choice. Since I was out of Internet contact, Abster graciously posted a note telling people we were moving the hike to Sunday, the 18th. I assuaged my sadness on Saturday by playing a few tunes with Gris and SherpaK and Mike H. Tough to take. Because I couldn't read Trips & Events, I had no idea who'd be joining me on Sunday. I did know that some very special people wouldn't be able to join in because of the change in schedule, and in some cases for other reasons. Boulderdash, you were missed, kid, but you know I understand.

    In fact that bit of mystery about companions added to the excitement I felt as Mtnpa and I drove to the trailhead Sunday morning. It was really gratifying to see quite a few vehicles there--along with their occupants, of course! Soon our mini-army of 11 was heading up the hill, with our 4802 foot objective in mind. I was in no position to know who was in the lead (is anyone surprised?), but the team included Abster, Brewster, Double Bow, Drewski, Early Bird, Marchowes, Marty, Mtnpa, Ridgewalker, Rocksnrolls, and me. An intrepid group, some of whom I had shared various adventures with before and some of whom I was joining for the first time. Thanks to all of you for doing this with me!

    It was a beautiful day to be in the woods, as Ridgewalker's photos show so beautifully. (Thanks!) Every once in a while we'd see the sun dappling the snow in the woods along the trail, a welcome omen of a good day. I kept in mind Mohamed Ellozy's advice: "[A]ll trails have somewhere between ¼ and ½ mile above treeline. It should only be attempted under good conditions."

    This mountain impressed me, even after I'd climbed 47 (or should I say 65) of its brothers and sisters. I could only think of a French expression that describes it perfectly, but can't really be translated: "Ça monte!" ("it goes up"--see, I told you it doesn't translate well. ) It was steeper than I expected, though I should have guessed that from the fact that we were going to gain 3300 feet of elevation in 3.9 miles. I took my usual "sweeper" hiking position--there certainly were no amateurs or slowpokes in this group!

    Before long we reached the trail junction. There was a bit of breeze, and it was a bit cool, so we geared up some while a couple folks took a run up to the South Summit. Then we set out through that beautiful words-can't-describe alley of conifers toward the summit. Before long we came up onto a rise, and there was the summit ahead of us. I was hit with the biggest smiling attack I've suffered in a long time! It was so bad I was worried about freezing my teeth.

    Along with the view came the wind. And what a wind! As we headed up the summit cone gusts from our left would buffet us, to the point where we had to stop and brace with our poles to keep from being knocked over. I was still smiling, though now my smile was hidden behind a neoprene disguise. You couldn't tell who was who unless you had memorized clothing. Oh, did I mention the sleet? The wind was carrying these nice little ice pellets that gave any exposed skin a nice sanding job. I've no idea what the temperature was, but let's just say we weren't suffering from heat stroke.

    We got to the old foundation at the top, then I struggled to the actual summit. It was all I, and everyone else, could to to stand without being blown clear back to Maine, but I managed to get one foot on the top of the rock. I had developed a bit of frost nip on my upper cheeks (which I referred to as "Skimom's revenge," payback for my luck on a certain Madison hike), so I got my goggles out to cover up a little better. After the obligatory summit photos (Thanks, Abster, once again) we figured it wasn't a great idea to stand around chatting, so we headed down. As soon as we got off the summit cone the wind was much less severe, and we stopped to regroup. It was at that moment that Rocksnrolls presented me with a 4000 footer patch. Thanks!

    As nice a spot as this was, it was still a little, uh, exposed, so we headed back to the trail junction for the real celebration. Double Bow handed me an Engine 5 red ale (Thanks!) which was passed around for a toast to a tough mountain well climbed by all, and Early Bird and Rocksnrolls shared some sweet treasures. Thanks! I tried to limit myself to just a few thousand words of thanks and honor to some special folks, ten of whom were right there with me. We headed on down the trail, and it was apparent that the day had not warmed up as originally expected, even at the lower elevations. In no time we were at the parking lot. We said goodbyes to those who had to head out, and six of us headed (after a short detour to find a shortcut that wasn't there) to Woodstock Station for calorie replacement therapy.

    I could easily get all emotional here, looking back on all the NH 4Ks I've hiked since 1976, all the great people who have hiked them with me and all the adventure involved in some of them. But I won't. I'll just say that undertaking the 4K lists to see new places was one of the best choices I've ever made. I've had a great time hiking with great VFTT companions, and I'm looking forward to much more of the same.

    And the last time I checked, Redington was still there.

    (Photos here.)
    Last edited by Mad Townie; 03-19-2007 at 11:04 PM.
    Mad Townie

    Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary. - H. D. Thoreau

    Easy trails, nice days and comfort are good, too. - M. Townie

  2. #2
    Senior Member Abster's Avatar
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    So nice!

    Great TR Peter - congrats again! It was a fitting 48th and last Winter climb for many this season.

    I was hoping the pictures of the summit would give a better indication of how hard the wind was blowing, but just taking the pictures was difficult enough!

    Wonderful group of people....

  3. #3
    Senior Member Early Bird's Avatar
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    Congratualtaions in writing

    Fabulous day with you M.T. Not something I would have done alone, but I loved every step, even the one lifted and immediately placed firmly in place to avoid being carried away by those winds. It was a pleasure to accompany you.
    It was also very nice to meet so many other hikers. I hope to hike with you all again.
    Excellent pictures- both Ridgewalker's and Townie/Abster's. I find myself changing my desktop background often.
    EB
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

  4. #4
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Super TR, Townie! You really captured the essence of this epic journey. It was a fantastic group of people and I hope to see you all again. Several of you are planning to go to the AMC Four Thousand Footer Awards dinner and I look forward to seeing you there. I warned my wife that we would probably be discussing this adventure a lot during that event!!

    Abster, Townie and Clarke - nice job on the pix. Certainly you all made sacrifices to do that. Abster got blown into me trying to take a shot of Townie getting to the summit rock (good thing I don't have cooties). Both she and Townie endured frostnip and Clarke got some cold hands taing all those great photos.

    It was also a great post-hike dinner/drink party at the Woodstock Inn with six of us. Clarke and I had a nice ride home as the views were abundant and the sunset was kickass.

    Congrats again, Townie!!

    Marty
    So when you reach the bottom line
    The only thing to do is climb
    Pick yourself up off the floor
    Anything ya want is yours


    Song: Bottom Line
    Artist: Big Audio Dynamite
    Album: This is Big Audio Dynamite
    Year: 1985

  5. #5
    Member Little Sister's Avatar
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    Way to go Mad Townie!! Sounds like a very memorable #48!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Oh, a few things to add:
    1. The Mt. Washington Observatory reported -4 degrees F, with 66 MPH winds at the time we were on the summit cone. The forecast for that day was for 25-35 mph winds. They kind of missed the mark on that one...
    2. I am still on a 2 day "hiker high" from our experience. Can't get it out of my head. I think it is because the intensity of the hike and because we all fed off everyone else's positive emotions.
    3. In Mad Townie's picture #8, he identifies two "mystery figures". I was the one in blue. Can't quite make out who the other one was. Red was a popular color.
    4. Clarke - please post your photo link on this report, so we will have everything in one place. Thanks.

    Regards,
    Marty
    So when you reach the bottom line
    The only thing to do is climb
    Pick yourself up off the floor
    Anything ya want is yours


    Song: Bottom Line
    Artist: Big Audio Dynamite
    Album: This is Big Audio Dynamite
    Year: 1985

  7. #7
    Registered User marchowes's Avatar
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    This was truly an awesome hike.

    For those who weren't there, and could not tell by the pictures and previous comments it was a real struggle to make it the 15 feet from the old foundation/wind shelter to the summit. The winds really were intense and it really was hard to stay upright and control your movements. Snowshoes were especially effective in catching the wind!!!!!

    This really was an intense hike. I loved it from beginning to end. I too am still on a hikers high from it I don't think I would be if I wasn't with such a cool group.

    I was in no position to know who was in the lead (is anyone surprised?)
    Many people lead at various times, I know I had a good chunk of that distinction tho

    GREAT HIKE MAD TOWNIE! Thanks for giving us all the opportunity! A pleasure meeting you and everyone else effectively doubling my VFTTer exposure I also enjoyed loading the trail with snow graffiti

  8. #8
    Senior Member MEB's Avatar
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    Whoo-hoo!! Way to go Peter! I'm so bummed I was not able to join you on your #48 but I was with you in spirit for sure. I have really enjoyed all of our hikes together and am looking forward to many more to come. So....have ya picked a day yet for Redington???

    -MEB

  9. #9
    Member danno's Avatar
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    Congrads Mad Townie! Looks like you had a great day with a bunch of great people. A nice way to finish up your list. Well done! (and nice TR as well!)

    Abster, nice group photo!

  10. #10
    Senior Member poison ivy's Avatar
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    Congratulations Peter! I really wished I could have been there for the hike... especially now after reading about all the fun!

    - Ivy

  11. #11
    Senior Member sapblatt's Avatar
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    Peter -
    Congrats!!!!
    Sounds like you had a great day with a great crew!
    - Mike

    How bad can it be?
    Bobby

  12. #12
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    48

    YEA! Good job Peter. I am sorry I couldn't have joined you on your 48th.
    Glad we had some hikes together and look forward to many more. Cheers...

  13. #13
    Senior Member sli74's Avatar
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    Congrats . . . sounds like a GREAT time was had by all.

    sli74
    LIFE, I shall persevere! Everytime you knock me down, I will get up stronger.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Doc McPeak's Avatar
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    Congrats on number 48!
    I may save (at 41 now) the Moose for last as well.
    Good to see a little roil didn't hold you down.
    And may the 4 winds blow you safely home!
    "We sit together,
    the mountains and I,
    until only the mountain remains."

    -- Li Po (701-762 A.D.)

  15. #15
    Senior Member SherpaKroto's Avatar
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    Well done, fellow Bluff! I was with you in spirit. Can't believe I missed you at the Woodstock by ~15 minutes. If I had dallied a bit longer at my friends' house I could have driven the .75 miles to the Tavern Unfortunately, when Ginny called I was nearing WV.

    Sunday was definitely the better day. Congrats! Pick a date for Redington. I might just have to see if the legs can carry me there.

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