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Thread: A "Darn Tough" Weekend

  1. #1
    Senior Member UNFROZENCAVEMAN's Avatar
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    A "Darn Tough" Weekend

    Ok, so this isn’t an endorsement for Darn Tough Socks, although they are what I and several others were wearing, and they do make a great sock, but I digress…..

    Day 1:


    Cast:

    dr_wu002
    Rebecca Drummond
    Jeffrey Klossner
    7summits
    Gillian
    ferrisjrf
    Juniper
    Little Sister
    yours truly


    Recently an e-mail went out about backpacking over Memorial Day weekend –the plan was to either do The Mahoosuc Traverse or the Grafton Loop Trail, I shot a response back to Ferris and asked “Why not both?” And so it went, Ferris and I pushed through The Mahoosuc Trail over a couple of days and then met up with a group up on Old Speck that Saturday and proceeded to hike the Grafton Loop over the next 3 days. Somewhere around 70 miles and who knows what for elevation…probably 20k+ That was a pretty good workout.

    Fast forward a couple of weeks:

    So it was Ferris’s turn this time to ask “Why not both?” when there was a Presi Traverse planned for Saturday and a Pemi Loop planned for Sunday.

    Now, I’ve done a bunch of Presi Traverses and a couple of years ago when I was hiking a lot I did a Pemi Loop – neither of these hikes scares me by themselves but back to back? Seriously? Ahh what the hell, I like challenging myself – besides, I’m trying to get in shape.

    So Friday night we all met up at Barnes, decided we’d hike up Daniel Webster out of Dolly Copp, and then work our way across the ridge. This was going to be an “evil traverse” since we were doing it on June 6th and starting at 6 a.m. (666 yo!) but it was supposed to be a beautiful day and everyone was pretty pumped. So we put an abundant supply of fuel in the fire ring and stayed up late practicing the art of separating bottle caps from bottles and then emptying the contents of said bottles. Then after everyone else went to bed, Jason and I practiced our night time frisbee skills (flashflights rule!) for a while because sleep is for sissies, and my brother in law told me that God hates sissies!

    Morning came quickly and if we were truly going to do this evil thing we had to get a move on….we wound up starting a little later than planned reaching the trail at 6:30 – close enough.

    Heading up Daniel Webster is awesome, starts off pretty mellow and before you know it you’re above tree line – nice not to have to hike up from the hut then backtrack too – you get to keep going in the same direction all day – sweet!

    Everyone seemed to be hiking strong and we managed to hit the summit of Madison around 9:00 – just in time to crack a cold one! Just kidding, we didn’t start drinking till later when we got to Madison Hut.

    From there it was the typical traverse on a beautiful day. We did stop at the hut, used the toilets and water supply then off to bag Adams which we got to via Star Lake Trail – another nice approach.

    Then we were off to Thunderstorm Jct. and headed towards Jefferson via Gulfside – somewhere between Adams and Edmands Col, Jason and stopped to play frisbee while everyone re-grouped.

    The climb up to Jefferson was fun as there was a cool (pun intended) set of snow steps at one point and the “walls” were like 6 feet tall! Nice to be able to grab a handful of snow and refresh one’s self by rubbin down!

    On Jefferson we met up with Mr. X and his brother who needs to get a better avatar name I guess….. And a nice young woman that wants on the board as Unstrung Harp – Darren, did you get the e-mail yet?

    At this point Rebecca D. decided that she wasn’t going to make the traverse after all, she was trying to hike through a cold but it won out so we started making plans and phone calls to get her back to Barnes. At the junction of Gulfside and Sphinx we met an AMC leader who said she’d take her down Jewell trail just didn’t know where exactly it was. Don’t worry Beck, you’re in good hands!

    The rest of us pushed on heading up and over Clay via Clay Loop – beautiful views, warm without much wind, we stopped and consumed more (beer of course!) food for the push up old Georgey pooh.

    Ferris, Little Sister, and I pulled ahead of the group at this point – Ferris dropped the hammer and we did our best to keep up! We summited between the summit building and the observation platform for a change which was cool, touched the sign then headed inside for some re-hydration, and of course to lighten our load – no need to carry everything out, that’s what trucks are for!

    Ran into nartreb inside – hadn’t seen him since we did our July 4th traverse last year, he said he hadn’t been hiking much, but I hear he’s been hitting the climbing gym a lot!

    Bla bla bla, we took Crawford Path to Lakes for a quick break, up over Monroe, Little Monroe, Franklin and then up to Eisenhower for another break and discussion of how to end this thing….most were content with bagging Pierce and heading out Crawford to the Highland Center but Wu, 7summits, Ferris, and I decided we’d head out to Jackson for the exercise.

    7summits hadn’t ever been down to Jackson on a traverse before and I’ve never not done it so we all said goodbye to the rest of the group and pushed on.

    At Mizpah we stopped again, I put some weight in my pack because it was getting too light and I knew I’d be thirsty later, besides, I’d been drinking all day, no reason to stop! I flirted with some girls inside who I knew wanted me to spend the night with them but I had mountains to climb so I bid farewell and pushed on! Sorry to break your hearts ladies

    We cranked over to Jackson where we made a quick decision to complete the traverse by heading over to Webster – like the drinking thing: been hiking all day, no reason to stop!

    Arrived at the Highland Center around 9:30 – 15 hours after starting, jumped in the car and headed back to Barnes. Stopped along the way and grabbed McDonalds for dinner as it was late, we were hungry and didn’t feel like doing anything when we got back, except maybe drink beer and burn stuff!

    Crawled into bed around 12:30, didn’t have a hard time falling asleep.
    "Not all who are lost wander." - Me

    "The Great Way is very level but people greatly delight in tortuous paths."
    - Te Tao Chin

    "Strength without flexibility is rigidity.
    Flexibility without strength is fragility." - It's all about YOGA

  2. #2
    Senior Member UNFROZENCAVEMAN's Avatar
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    Day 2:


    Cast:

    Mats Roing
    ferrisjrf
    Sasquatch
    yours truly

    It’s 4:30 and Wu and I are in the tent talking about the prior day and this day and I can hear Ferris and Sasquatch outside getting ready, suppose I should get up – “This is gonna hurt” is going through my head.

    We head out, stop at DD for breakfast sandwiches, I consider coffee (even though I don’t drink it) but decide that now is not the time to start, I’ll wait till I’m really tired someday.

    Call Mats, tell him we’re gonna be late, he’s gonna be late too so no big deal…..

    Pulled into the parking lot late with Mats already ready, pumping fists, and saying "Shake and Bake!"

    We headed out Lincoln woods at 7:15 with Ferris in the lead, all of us running. Mats said something about 9 minute miles and I responded, "If you seriously want to maintain 9 minute miles I'll see you on the trail next time we bump into each other!"

    I tried to run, but I haven't been doing any running training along flat stuff only doing the quick burst stuff allowed with trail running so I was left in the dust. My shins were bangin, my calves were tighter than a tiny piano string and I was doubting early on that I was going to be able to push through this so I slowed down to a power walk and tried to get things worked out. I figured I'd walk to the bridge and make a decision from there.

    Right where the Osceo Trail hits Lincoln Woods I heard some crashing around near the river and looked to my right to see a HUGE bull moose - I tried to get pictures without pissing him off but didn't dare go closer so I don't think I really got a good shot. When I started hiking again the brief stop had helped considerably so I continued this trend of power walking for a distance then stopping briefly for a quick rest and stretch, when I hit the bridge I knew I'd complete the loop so I powered on.

    From that point on it was a case of the fat kid chasing a doughnut - I felt like homer Simpson. The "doughnuts" of course being the three runners in front of me, I kept asking people coming from the other direction where they were and got answers all day long that ranged from 20 minutes to 1 hour ahead of me.

    Just as I was finishing up getting water at the Garfield Tentsite Farmer came up on me – funny, he said to me, “You must be the guy I’ve been chasing,” he had left two hours after I had – some people are strong, he’s one of them! He followed me up to Garfield then pushed on, I told him to let the guys know that I’d be stopping at The Common Man when I was done if they were interested.

    I pushed hard (as hard as I could with what I had to work with) but never did catch them. Finally, I came out of the woods 13 hours later feeling pretty good, legs were tired, feet were really sore.


    The toughest part of the day was the drive home - I should have stayed at the Mountain House but the draw of sleeping in my own bed after having been gone from home since last Wednesday ruled out; so I stopped at The Common Man, had a celebratory Long Island Ice Tea and a bowl of lobster corn chowder with warm cornbread - yummy!

    Let me tell ya, if you ever drive 118 at night, drive slow. Right off the bat I had two moose run out in front of my car, had to slam on the brakes and come to a complete stop, one of them immediately ran over the opposing bank, the other one ran up the road for a while while I slowly drove toward him - little rack, still in velvet.

    About 10 minutes later I picked up my phone to see if I had a signal and in my retarded mental capacity (can't imagine why that was going on!) I couldn't focus enough to see the screen, when I looked up another moose had jumped in front of my car. I literally screamed as I was yanking the wheel to the left as hard as I could then back to the right as hard as I could to keep from going off the road. I continued to turn my head and followed the moose as it passed quickly by the passenger window and was relieved to not feel any rubbin going on. Rubbing may be racing but I'm not racing moose!!! I never even had time to hit the brakes, thank God I still had the proper reaction and it was quick enough.

    After that I was shaken and found it hard to even approach the speed limit, most of the time I was driving about 10 MPH under it. I finally got on 91S but was still shaken, at times I'd look down and realize I was driving UNDER the legal speed MINIMUM of 45!!

    Awesome weekend of hard hiking everyone. Oh, and in the "guys" defense, there were several messages on my phone when I finally turned it on where Ferris was checking in to see where I was at and make sure I was OK. I however never turned it on (while on the trail) because I didn't want them to feel that they had to wait for me, it was fun resorting to the old fashioned methods of tracking peoples whereabouts, and it caused me to push a lot harder than I might have been inclined to (given the prior days work) in my attempt to reel them in!!! Besides, now I’ve done a Pemi solo – pretty damn cool.

    Two days, roughly 55 miles, 19K vertical, and 16 4K’s – not bad for a fat kid!
    "Not all who are lost wander." - Me

    "The Great Way is very level but people greatly delight in tortuous paths."
    - Te Tao Chin

    "Strength without flexibility is rigidity.
    Flexibility without strength is fragility." - It's all about YOGA

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jason Berard's Avatar
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    Nice! Crazy, too!

    I hear ya about 118. Glad you weren't racin' moose!

  4. #4
    Senior Member dr_wu002's Avatar
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    I want to add something about our decision to head over to Webster. We had been fussing all along about whether we go to Webster or not. Then, once we were at Jackson we had been drinking and talking about it again. Eventually we decided to pass by the sign without looking at it and whatever trail we ended up on was where we were going. Decision making is always good after 20 miles of partying!

    Great hike! I wish I coulda done the Pemi Loop on Day 2. Really great feeling though doing the Traverse. When you go for a long hike like that the feeling towards the end is indescribable. Thanks everyone for a great Presi Traverse, especially Hui Yeng, JF & UFC for going all the way to Webster. Wicked Fun!

    PS. We got to see toads doing it on the roadwalk back to the car!

    -Dr. Wu
    To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
    -Thomas Paine

  5. #5
    Senior Member UNFROZENCAVEMAN's Avatar
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    Yes, those horny toads!!!

    Wu - once again, I'll say I'm impressed with your strength, that's what pushing yourself is all about! And, you're absolutely correct about the feeling at the end of something long...just can't get it doing anything else.
    "Not all who are lost wander." - Me

    "The Great Way is very level but people greatly delight in tortuous paths."
    - Te Tao Chin

    "Strength without flexibility is rigidity.
    Flexibility without strength is fragility." - It's all about YOGA

  6. #6
    Senior Member Juniper's Avatar
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    Awesome! You guys really are crazy. One day was enough for me! 'Twas a fun day out...so glad we had great weather and were able to enjoy an abundance of summit leisure time!

    Presi Traverse Pics

    Rebecca

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sasquatch's Avatar
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    Lucky you didn't stay at the MTN House.I coerced Jason into doing N Moat loop which turned out to be quite a rugged "little" hike on Monday.

    Party Like a Caveman mother f'er
    "Going to the mountains is going home" Muir

  8. #8
    Senior Member ferrisjrf's Avatar
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    The two days were an interesting juxtaposition. Saturday was the "take your time and enjoy the Ridge" type day. Sunday was a little more business-like...but still lots of fun.

    Here are a few pics from Saturday. I'm hoping that Hui Yeng got some photos of the toads.

    Jason

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nutsosa's Avatar
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    I may have run into you at the water source at the Garfield Shelter. Were you asking about somebody with a broken hand, and/or a tall guy with a Swedish accent?

    I think I told you they were an hour ahead . . . but I was pretty tired, so I'm sure I wasn't very accurate

    You guys banged out some impressive hiking!
    "A man may smile and bid you hail
    Yet wish you to the devil;
    But when a good dog wags his tail
    You know he's on the level."
    -Unknown

  10. #10
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    The tall guy with the Swedish accent and the broken hand was Mats. Was he carrying a mini-keg of Heineken?
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

  11. #11
    Senior Member Nutsosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Metsky View Post
    The tall guy with the Swedish accent and the broken hand was Mats. Was he carrying a mini-keg of Heineken?
    dunno . . . they were moving too fast
    "A man may smile and bid you hail
    Yet wish you to the devil;
    But when a good dog wags his tail
    You know he's on the level."
    -Unknown

  12. #12
    Senior Member UNFROZENCAVEMAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nutsosa View Post
    I may have run into you at the water source at the Garfield Shelter. Were you asking about somebody with a broken hand, and/or a tall guy with a Swedish accent?

    I think I told you they were an hour ahead . . . but I was pretty tired, so I'm sure I wasn't very accurate

    You guys banged out some impressive hiking!
    Yup, that was me at the water source.

    And Mats was traveling very light - no kegs!
    "Not all who are lost wander." - Me

    "The Great Way is very level but people greatly delight in tortuous paths."
    - Te Tao Chin

    "Strength without flexibility is rigidity.
    Flexibility without strength is fragility." - It's all about YOGA

  13. #13
    Registered User AndyF's Avatar
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    We almost had a car encounter with a moose on 118 ourselves on Saturday night after encountering one on the trail. Seems like the moose are out to get us.

  14. #14
    Senior Member giggy's Avatar
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    pretty darn sweet stuff

  15. #15
    Junior Member 74red's Avatar
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    Congrats everyone on finishing one F-ing tough hike. I double that for UFC and Ferris - 55 miles in 2 days. WOO HOO!

    Once again another great hike with a fantastic group of folks. I was having an awesome time until I starting feeling like I was going to pass out. Darn cold. Hmmn, maybe I should have knocked back a few cold ones myself. After all beer kills germs

    Thanks for making sure I made it down ok. Due to my detour, I got to go for a ride in a cherry '78 Chevy Nova, but I did miss out on the toads.
    Last edited by 74red; 06-09-2009 at 10:02 PM.

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