A year of peakbagging for the grid during Covid-19


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Oct 4, 2006
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New Hampshire
OK, I am "inspired" to write a trip report. My last one was when I finished my winter Trailwrights in March of 2020, before everyone got slapped with the stay-at-home order from early spring. Since that time I have resumed my pursuit of the grid. Well, almost.

I needed about 70 peaks to finish, 52 of which span April and May, for the usual conditions-are-not-ideal-for-hiking and conditions-are-suddenly-very-nice-for-cycling reasons. Add to that many years of being an involved dad (Little League Coach, for example) plus homeownership, and April and May were lagging well behind the montly average. Now the kids are mostly grown, have drivers licenses and I found myself with some time in the spring, except suddenly peaks stopped counting due to stay-at-home.

Group bike rides also ceased, and so I found myself wanting a challenge for 2020, that would not put me at odds with pandemic requests. So, I did my first century the last weekend of March. April and May had beautiful, dry weather, and I kept the challenge up and found myself at 10 centuries over 10 weekends. June came along and I had peaks I needed and they were again allowed to count, so I knocked those off. July and August were already complete, and I focused weekends on kayaking with my wife. I've been kind of doing a "redline" of sorts by exploring as many lakes and ponds as possible. Late August came, and I did century number 11, and since I had only a smattering of hikes for September and October, I ended up with another 10 straight weekends of century rides. All but one solo, all but two from my house, and 18 unique routes with the two repeated routes done in reverse. I hit MA and ME, and all 10 counties in NH -- the seven southern ones from home.


One of the kayaking highlights was a trip on the Oyster River and down into Little Bay and back. It was our first time on tidal water, and we were careful to use the tide change to our advantage. We also went to Squam for the first time ever, and I enjoyed the views of (and identification of) the mountains visible from the water.


Squam view of Sandwich Range, Oyster River entering Little Bay

Since Gryffin and my wife both live in my home, hiking with them was not breaking any social distancing protocols. I never have to ask Gryffin twice, of course, but I did have to work harder at keeping him closer to me. Since Tom and Laurie were on Garfield for Flags on the 48, and I needed Galehead for September, we made a loop of it. Galehead was deserted, in part due to our very early, and unseasonably chilly, start. By the time we got to the shelter spur, it was obvious we were in for a mob scene on Garfield. We didn't stay too long, but did talk to Tom and Laurie for a short while. October included a few trips with just myself and Gryffin. November's needs included a Zealand-Bonds traverse which meant a car spot. I reached out to a few good friends whom I knew were being as cautious as I was, and we arranged a car spot and traverse, while still managing social distancing. It was great to see some other people, but sad at the same time to avoid handshakes (well, we did the elbow bump) and hugs.

So, 2020 saw the completion of June, September (less Moosilauke where I hope to finish), October, and November, leaving 5 peaks in the Presidential Range left for December. Last weekend, Gryffin and I slogged through "mashed potato soup", where I tried my best to save the trail from postholing by wearing snowshoes while also trying to to dull them too badly. Conditions were hard. At least Eisenhower opened up for us as we got close. By the time we hit Jackson, it was raining and the wind was picking up. We saw a lot of people heading up as we went down. The road walk back to the Mount Clinton lot was not too bad - traffic was medium to light, mostly heading towards North Conway.


Garfield for Flags on the 48, Lake of the Clouds for Monroe-Washington December

Enter the final two peaks for December and 2020 - Washington and Monroe. Neither Gryffin nor I had been there since November 2016. I managed to get two friends to go with us, and one of them really wanted to descend The Cog. We all met at the hiker's lot at The Cog, paid our $10 each, and went up the Ammo. It was a very nice morning, albeit quite cold, with -9 at the trailhead and 16 (with 12 mph wind) on the summit of Washington. We saw a handful of folks hiking, including people we knew (Hiker Ed among them). The ascent of the Ammo from Gem Pool to the hut was perfect snowshoeing + televator conditions, and due to reports of ice bulges, we put on crampons at the hut and left them on until we left the summit of Washington. The route down the cog was scratchy above Jacob's Ladder, and pretty well covered with nice powder from Waumbek Station (3800') to the base. There were a handful of early skiers out enjoying the day.



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Great report. Lots of accomplishments there. Thanks for posting.