Tecumseh - Osceola's - Tripyramids - Whiteface - Passaconaway - Hancocks - Moosilauke
It doesn't make sense that you don't, if you can ~
Tho I had made my mind up last September that I would give this hike a try, it wasn't until I heard this quote earlier this year that I truly said Yes, I will.
I had arranged for us to stay at a friends house in Waterville, and the Tim's settled in quickly, but I didn't..... I guess I didn't really sleep. I got up at 3AM and prepared my food for the day, knowing ALL too well how important it was yesterday! Just as I was about to leave for the 4AM start at Tecumseh, Charbs is up and tells me he is joining me. We both drive up to the base of the ski area. The hike up is lovely in the early morning hours, and the air is gorgeous. Once we arrive at the summit clearing (5:09am)a huge wave of fatigue hits me, and I sit down on a rock. The day is looking very grim for me.......... Knowing the miles that are left to cover, and the HEAT that is expected once again during the day, I hit a mental wall. Apparently...........I did a bit of discouraged mumbling about possibly coming to the end of my adventure with this summit......... Charb's is quiet. After a short time I announce "well I guess I might as well head down", and down we walk. I don't remember what or if I talked about much / anything on the way down, or as we arrived at the base area (6:12am), but what I do remember is this, I hear Charb's say to me "would you like me to drive you home?" That sort of wakes me up, and I tell him that I'm going to drive to the Tripoli Road - Mt Osceola parking lot, where I will eat, and I will figure out what to do. Our plan was, that IF I continued, we would meet at the Greeley Pond - Kanc hwy parking area around 10AM.
I was pooped. The short drive to the Tripoli parking was scary...... I stop the vehicle, it's approx. 6:23AM, and I call my husband. "I'm pooped" I say. He's concerned & inquires where I am. I then say in my best Lily Von Schtupp voice "I'm so tired", which he understands. I promise to be careful, and that I will call later. I finish my food, and recline the seat, and fall asleep. A little over an hour later, I wake myself up, because I was snoring...... I know, it's not pretty. I find myself thinking, this is my neighborhood, I know it well, it will be Ok. I start up the trail (7:34am). Still, I wonder if I should be doing this, questioning myself as to how tired I am.....
and then, I hear The Voice. It's not my own, but it isn't from long ago... And he says (many times) "You can't do that". I find myself grinning, and I reply "oh, ya?!" Now, I'm awake. Yes I haven't had enough sleep to be able to have a carefree hike, but I know I can do this. I tell myself ~ this is for all the time you had to spend recovering from knee surgery's, and ALL the days lost to migraine headache's. No matter how much time this day ends up taking, finish the hike ~ I wasn't physically tired, my legs felt very strong. Sleep will be what I do tomorrow.
Up & over the Osceola's. (Osceola 8:37am & E Osceola 9:01am) My neighborhood. Charb's & Val are waiting for me in the parking lot (10:28am), and I'm only 30 minutes behind my original estimated arrival time. I swap gear and EAT. Val & Tim had already spotted a car at the Olverian Brook trailhead. Val drops us off at the Pine Bend Brook trailhead (11:03am), and it is already too HOT..... We actually make very good time, and pass over the Tripyramids (N Tripyramid 12:54pm & M Tripyramid 1:16pm). On N. Tripyramid, I hear my phone beep, and there is a message from Steven. He relays that he had just finished the daily walk with the dogs, and there was a cool breeze in the shade of the Apples trees, where they were resting. I can't tell you how much that message lifted my spirits!!! The heat is horrible on the south slide. A short distance after we enter the Kate Sleeper trail, Charb's announces that he is done...... his problematic achilles has come back with a vengeance. We have a short discussion about him walking out the Downes Brook trail, and I will take the RAV keys and continue. Off I go, feeling horrible about leaving him behind to schuffle out on his own. As always, the Kate Sleeper trail is lovely, and in the shade. Whiteface & Passaconaway are incredibly HOT, and I just keep my head down and go (Whiteface 2:49pm & Passaconaway 4:03pm). As I ascend Passaconaway, I bump into a group of three folks headed in the other direction, and they give me very strange looks............ I giggle to myself and ponder how ragged I must look! The descent off Passaconaway provides much welcome shade and a reprieve from the heat! I arrive at the trailhead at 5:34PM, and quickly drive to the Downes Brook trailhead, where I swap gear, and start to EAT the inbetween hike food. No Charb's in sight........ what to do...... I leave a note and speed off to Lincoln Woods for phone reception.
I contact Val to scoop up Tim, and my husband for a progress report. Back to the Hancocks I race, leaving at 6:38pm. Thankfully, all but the ascent of North is very friendly terrain, and I know it well. It also helps that it's dark for the loop, and that I leave my pack down at the junction. The tunnel effect created by the headlamp beam in the darkness erases all but what you need to concentrate on, placement of your feet. (N Hancock 8:23pm, S Hancock 8:58pm). The woods was very quiet and as I scurried along, I almost felt like I was watching a movie.. the trail is so familiar, it just flowed along. Charb's is waiting for me in the RAV, snoozing.... when I arrive at 10:11pm. Once again, the Gorge-And-Go routine ensues, but thankfully I'm not driving this section!
We arrive at Ravine Lodge to find Summer Guy is waiting! This is it. The last peak! I will be headed for home very soon!!! Away we scurry at 10:47pm, as Charb's calls out "see you soon", and he resume's his evening nap~ I don't talk much, but Summer Guy tells me a story or two, which is really helpful. He knows this all too well ~ The summit is GORGEOUS!!! Clear - cool - calm. "It's something quite peculiar. Something shimmering & white. It leads you here, despite your destination. Under the Milky Way tonight".
Moosilauke summit 12:03am. About face ~ down we trot, the momentum is crazy! And then, there we are, at trails end. WOW.......... I had been going since 4AM (except for that Tripoli road nap thing.....) and it is now 1:12AM. The Tim's give me hugs, we giggle, probably about things that aren't even funny..... And then this is the really weird part, the hiking is over, and we all just kind of drive away. Well, Summer Guy returns to VT, and Charb's chauffeur's me home.
As anticipated, I received the BEST greeting from my three dogs!!! All wiggles & squeaks, and muzzle's to my face. The cats recognized me, and then wound around my feet trying to guide me to the frig. My husband woke up, and sat with me while I ate once again. End of my Summer adventure 2010 ~
I dedicated this hike to my Afgani "sister" Shahr.bano Hamaza