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Thread: Wildcat closed for two weeks - good time for a winter hike

  1. #46
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    Since I live in Coos County, here are my observations. I dont currently see a lot of activity from law enforcement or EMS. No doubt plenty of planning going on but right now the activity seems to be hauling injured snowmachine accident victims off local trails. Traffic for snowmachiners from out of state was active until last weekend but really slowed down this weekend. The local trails are in real rough shape so it may be coincidence, as the snow pack degrades the hard cores still running the trails just move north until they find snow. My neighborhood has several law enforcement officers that bring home their vehicles including state police. They have state issued vehicles and its generally pretty obvious when they are on high alert or special duty. To date I haven't seen any change in activity. The town has a very prominent EMS and fire department building and to date the level of activity when I drive by is normal.

    One doctor at the hospital in North Conway has tested positive and more concerning is one employee of the Federal Correction Institution (FCI) in Berlin has tested positive. Contrary to popular belief FCIs do not have large on site medical facilities, they have a small clinic but depend on the local hospital for major care. The positive is its a fairly new facility that was designed and built after TB and airborne viruses were in the news so the HVAC and mechanical systems are designed to minimize airborne transmission. There is a fairly effective technology called UVC sterilization that is used in public spaces in ductwork. As long as the equipment is maintained, its very effective in dealing with airborne transmission within a building but obviously does not deal with direct transmission within an emergency room. The local hospital is a local critical care facility which means they deal with emergencies and maintain a few local beds but mostly transfer cases to a larger hospital facilities elsewhere. If the FCI and the nearby state prison get impacted, there are not adequate resources in place to handle an outbreak.

    Update, the one case listed for Coos County was removed as the person who tested positive lived elsewhere. I still believe they work at the FCI, Reportedly when the prison first opened some percentage of the staff elected to own homes in the Conway region and Twin Mountain, the staff came from all over the country and didn't realize that a reasonable commute during non winter conditions turns into a very long commute in winter conditions.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 03-23-2020 at 07:55 AM. Reason: Update on Coos County

  2. #47
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    I went out this weekend and did an overnight bushwhack to a place I rarely ever see people. Not only did I see more people on the .7 mi of trail I did take than I ever have, there were people on the bushwhack and I was woken up in the morning by more people coming into my camp. None of these people made any effort to keep their distance. The local trailhead lots in MA are full of cars and people fraternizing with each other. Are people under the impression they can't get this if they are outside? I'll be staying home and only going to areas with private access if I do go out locally for the foreseeable future.

  3. #48
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I was in NH last week and saw no one on a foggy raw day in the Green Hills Preserve on Tuesday but the rest of the week, I saw around a dozen people on Pierce on a great clear Wednesday, a few people on Willard Thursday between the AM rain and the PM rain. Friday at Pudding Pond there were a few couples. Kearsarge North had 20 cars at the trailhead when two friends & I got out. Generally speaking, people tried to keep their distance a little more when passing, stepping off the trail when you could have just kept moving and walked close on wide trail sections. I was out early on the good days and mediocre or worst weather will keep people home, there were no crowds when I was on the summit, however, the people I passed on Saturday were going to populate the summit with more people I would have wanted to share the top with during these times.

    When outdoors, people's personal space is larger than when indoors, however, how many people on the summit qualifies as a social gathering? Is it ten? As a solo hiker, I'm tempted to answer more than one.
    Have fun & be safe
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  4. #49
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    I did my local exercise and went up Wildcat D on Sunday. Hard to beat the conditions, frozen crust top from the base to the summit. I was not the only one, about 2/3rds were skiers and boarders. Not that hard to keep social distancing on a ski slope. I did encounter one organized group that didn't seem to have heard or followed the recommendations. I scanned plates at the parking lot on the way down and mostly Maine and NH plates. The only real change in my routine was I skipped buying a bag of chips on the way home. The lot was full at 19 mile brook trailhead and I could see some cars parked at in the Great Gulf lot.

    One observation which took me awhile to realize is the amount of air traffic over the area is real low. The whites are on a major flight path from New York and other east coast airports, the flight path gets used heavily for morning flights to or from Europe to match up with time zones. I am seeing far fewer planes up high although there were a few fighters in the area on occasion. Somewhat reminiscent of 911. The skies are usually pretty clear in winter and Sunday was no exception but curious if the visibilities are aided by less traffic?. The other odd thing I noticed is unlike my neighbors and folks who walk by my wood lot in Randolph who usually say Hi from a distance, many of the hikers I encountered were not very sociable, frequently they would not reply to Hi. Sound waves travel a lot longer than aerosols and are far less hazardous .

  5. #50
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    One observation which took me awhile to realize is the amount of air traffic over the area is real low. The whites are on a major flight path from New York and other east coast airports, the flight path gets used heavily for morning flights to or from Europe to match up with time zones. I am seeing far fewer planes up high although there were a few fighters in the area on occasion. Somewhat reminiscent of 911. The skies are usually pretty clear in winter and Sunday was no exception but curious if the [sic] visibilities are aided by less traffic?. The other odd thing I noticed is unlike my neighbors and folks who walk by my wood lot in Randolph who usually say Hi from a distance, many of the hikers I encountered were not very sociable, frequently they would not reply to Hi. Sound waves travel a lot longer than aerosols and are far less hazardous .
    https://www.int-res.com/articles/cr2004/26/c026p001.pdf

    The reduced air traffic from 9/11 was studied. Interesting results.
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  6. #51
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    The local trailhead lots in MA are full of cars and people fraternizing with each other. Are people under the impression they can't get this if they are outside? I'll be staying home and only going to areas with private access if I do go out locally for the foreseeable future.
    Well, looks like that's coming to an end, and yes, you will be staying home.

    https://whdh.com/news/baker-issues-s...f-coronavirus/

  7. #52
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    the people I passed on Saturday were going to populate the summit with more people I would have wanted to share the top with during these times.
    I know you're a solo hiker, but one thing that concerns me is every hiking group is not from the same household, so social distancing goes out the window right then and there.

  8. #53
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maineguy View Post
    Oh please! Like this article is going to tell me something I haven't already read or seen from so many news outlets. I am going to be driving from an area with maybe a couple of infected persons ( a large area) to a virtually person-free area and hike. With any luck, the closest I will get to anyone is a safe distance on the trail. I just don't see any danger to myself or to others. From the looks of trail reports, neither do plenty of others. If you are worried, then stay home.
    Here's the playout of the hypothetical accident scenario dismissed in previous posts.

    Cog Railway helps rescue hiker who fell 200 feet down Mount Washington

    This hiker was a "local."
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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  9. #54
    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Here's the playout of the hypothetical accident scenario dismissed in previous posts.

    Cog Railway helps rescue hiker who fell 200 feet down Mount Washington

    This hiker was a "local."
    Well, thanks ChrisB. In 50 years of hiking across the country, I had no idea that people could have an accident in the wild, certainly not in the White Mts. I always thought that all those accidents reports in Appalachia were made up, kind of like those Penthouse letters. Gee, and this was even a local. And he was rescued by other locals. I guess it's true that most accidents happen close to home: You've convinced me to stay home. I'll catch up on my reading of The Guardian.

    Sarcasm off. Okay, enough already. I heard the news about the hiker. On this website in another thread. I simply don't agree with your opinion and conclusion on this. Since neither of us are experts on this pandemic thing, let it rest. If things change and the governors place restrictions on travel, I will of course abide. And for the record, I am not desperate to go hiking in NH. As someone pointed out, I live in Maine.
    Last edited by maineguy; 03-23-2020 at 10:09 PM.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty View Post
    Well, looks like that's coming to an end, and yes, you will be staying home.

    https://whdh.com/news/baker-issues-s...f-coronavirus/
    This is probably the weakest order issued by any state yet and will only add to the traffic in the woods. TTOR closed their properties so it looks like the state parks and forests around here will be even more crowded.

  11. #56
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maineguy View Post
    Sarcasm off...
    No problem. We are all operating in uncharted waters here so differing responses / opinions are to be expected.

    As this thing progresses, I am as concerned about the economic devastation as I am the public health situation.

    Stay well.
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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  12. #57
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    A different opinion from the media https://patch.com/new-hampshire/conc...o-outside-play

  13. #58
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I dunno, she seems to get it...

    "If you go, bring someone else with you but practice safe distancing of six feet or more apart. The two groomed classic tracks are about eight feet apart."
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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  14. #59
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    Looking at the WMNF closure orders as of today, there does not appear to be a closure order in place for Wildcat despite prior comments that "they were working with the WMNF to put one in place" There is prior order from last year but nothing for the current situation.That said the primary parking lot entrance is barricaded with no parking signs. There is no visible sign stating that access to the area is closed. The slopes are starting to get patchy so that may have reduced the temptations for skiers. The north lot (old RT 16) is gated with the prior "no parking" "foot travel welcome" signage. I expect bureaucracy is having "heartburn" coming up with a way of closing access to WMNF land on what is arguably one of the most accessible 4Ks with more than adequate room for social distancing. I think the goal of barricading the main lot was to prevent folks heading to the Cutler River drainage which is a specially designated area in the WMNF (Pinkham Notch Scenic Area) while Wildcat is just part of the general WMNF with agreements in place that it reverts to public use when the ski area is closed. The north gate accesses an old route of RT 16 that was pressed into parking.

    So at this point Wildcat does appear to be open to hikers unless the WMNF has elected not to post a new order which I believe is required for it to be valid. There is parking along the road at the north gate as well as at scenic turnout just north of the gate on the west side of the road. The north gate adds some elevation and 3000 feet (one way from the gate to ski area) to a hike up Wildcat. I expect anyone calling the Andro ranger district trying to get a clear answer may have a difficult time. Unlike Attitash which prohibits uphill travel as of April 3rd, Wildcat's website does not.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 04-19-2020 at 06:18 PM.

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