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 48! (Long and multi-part) 
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 48! (Long and multi-part)
“The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate” -O. Henry “The Green Door”

Well, this is what it all has been leading to. A little over a year in the making. Rain, wind, blue skies, thunder storms, floods, crisp dry days, snow, mud……. over a year of highs and lows. I cant really say WHY I started hiking. It actually seems like I would be the most unlikely person. As a baby I was fraught with lung problems due to chronic bronchitis that I had almost since birth. I was never the healthiest, thinnest and most athletic kid in school….. nay I was the pudgy outcast that always got picked last for kickball. So what would compel me to go outside my comfort zone, push my body to limits I never knew existed….sometimes even past them? Perhaps it is that inevitable feeling that comes over most people like me….. for once to just finish something you started. These past two years since I started tramping these hills I have come to find new me. A me, more at home in the windswept serenity of the woods, comfortable in the solitude of my raingear on a wet cold day, at peace on the craggy facades of the highest White Mountain peaks. I have found friends who have changed my view of friendship, and found in these hiking boards a virtual family. This was my adventure. And in good and bad, you folks have been there to share it with me. And with that, I share the end of the beginning……. #48

Well, this day would turn out to be your typical New Hampshire/Hikes with webbed feet/Hikes with Clouds hike. Jen and I pulled on to Ravine Lodge road in a thick and ominous fog. A number of cars were parked alongside already (most being people who stayed at the lodge the previous night) but the only one from the group so far was Jim (Silent Cal.) We turned around and parked in front of him, anxious to start the day off with a bang. Not long after Bill (Pucknuts) rumbled in with Chris and Quint close in tow. Quint had his friend Jim along, who was out hiking for the first time in a few years. I don’t think he knew quite what he was getting into. With 9 o’clock approaching Russ (McRat) and his daughter, along with scoutmaster Gary, rounded out those who would be starting the trip with us. Not bad so far for a rather damp, dark and ominous day. About the best I could have hoped for.

We started off to the trailhead and subsequently got the group picture courtesy of Chris and his nifty little midget tri-pod. We slowly picked our way down and around and headed off behind a few groups of people also out to enjoy this day. With a group of good people, its hard not to enjoy yourself and a number of conversations instantly started as we ambled along. Despite the other obvious conditions, it actually was pretty warm, and most had to remove layers not too soon into the start. Tramping along we hit all the turns to go up the Gorge Brook trail. It is the easiest way to summit Moosilauke, one reason I picked it. I also wanted to make it easier on Russ, who had his sweet little daughter out with him.

Not too long into it a guy came screaming up behind us with the craziest comment Ive ever heard on trail …. “Look at this cluster***k”. This guy turned out to be….. Well, Guy, known to us as Giggy. It was a pleasure to meet him as we have been exchanging PM’s a bit lately. I knew he was going to be a trip and he did not disappoint. Not too far behind him was Mike (MtnPa), who briefly appeared, and Bob (Hikerfast). I say briefly because Ginny (MtnMa) was also with them…. But had disappeared. Mike feared she had missed the turn for Gorge Brook and was on her way up one of the other trails. Jim offered to follow Mike and see if they could find her while Giggy and Bob continued on with our group.

With Chris in the lead and Scoutmaster Gary pulling up anchor we pushed on. Slowly Russ, Squeaky and Gary fell behind as we hit the steeper of the stuff. We would move ahead, stop long enough for them to pull up, and move on again. We did this almost the full length of the trail before waiting around got to be too chilly in the now pretty heavily blowing wind, so we decided it best to just keep going and hope Russ and his croo could meet us at the top. Breaking out into the Alpine Zone the wind, fog and rain combined to make for some interesting hiking. Almost instantly one side of my glasses fogged up, and the other side slowly began to white out also. Chris said “I think you guys should lead us up”. So Jen and I moved up front, but by now I could hardly see anything because of my glasses that I had to take them off to blurrily see where the trail was. But thankfully visibility was pretty good, considering, and we could pick the summit sign out in the fog.

We tapped number 48 amidst some pretty harsh summit conditions (though I can say not the worst I had seen) and hoots and hollers from the collection of friends we had with us. I would like to say it was an emotional moment of reflection for me…… but instead it was a moment of balancing on wet rocks in heavy winds, hoping I did not bash my head in! Hey, when you are with New Hampshire, your in for the adventure, not the pretty little huggy-kissy, good weather fun. We lingered on temporarily, deciding if we wanted to wait for Russ, continue on to South Peak for a loop, or just get the hell out of there. Common sense won, and we decided to bolt. Giggy took this moment to say good-bye. He decided to book it down and see if Mike and Jim found Ginny safe and sound. We shook hands and watched him disappear into the foggy scrub.

Once we got into the scrub we met up with Russ, Squeaky and Gary. We stood and talked a bit. Russ shook our hands, congratulated us, and passed along to me a “lucky” half dollar piece. We shall see if it does indeed bring me luck…… I sure know I can use it! They pushed on intending to tag #4 for Miss Squeaky, and #8 for Gary. They moved on, and so did we.

We eventually picked a spot to try and get a little food in us. It was rather interesting as now the rain was coming down full pelt. We were well below treeline, though not providing any comfort as we thought of our friends Russ, Squeaky and Gary, when we heard the first thunder boom. It was quickly followed by a blue flash and a second, then third thunder boom. I was feeling a bit queasy thinking that, right about now, Russ and his group were probably just summiting when the first boom went off. We waited a bit, but decided they were probably alright and we kept moving.

We zipped along, stopping occasionally for 10 or 15 minutes to allow Russ to catch up. As we got lower, the rain got gentler and the skies a bit brighter. We hit the trail junctions and saw the clouds pulling back from south peak, and by the time we crossed the last bridge patches of blue were appearing overhead. We decided to visit the Ravine Loadge, and as we crested out on the lawn the skies were a deep crystal blue with patches of clouds floating around. Moose and South Peak were clearly visible and the summits cloud free. Yup, just typical. All that we went through and for what…. To see a perfect day rolling in behind the nasty stuff we just endured. Ahhhh yes, its times like this peak bagging is great!

We made our way back up to the cars where we all started ripping off wet clothes for dry, Bill did his little after hike, mega-super hygiene ritual, and I broke out the Chocolate chip/raisin/pecan oatmeal cookies I made. We kicked it around for a while waiting to see Russ and group back safe. With a sigh of relief Russ made his way up about 30 minutes later. He was going to grab some dry clothes to change into down at the lodge. He said they had just summated when the first three booms went off around them. They booked it off, thankful they did not become crispy critters. He told us to go ahead to the Woodstock Inn and save 3 seats. So all of us, minus Bill, headed over for a fine feast and celebration. I paid almost $10 for a hamburger and fries, and the never tasted better. Russ came along a bit later and we sat, joking and laughing like only good friends can, for nearly an hour and a half. It was a pleasure to share this day with them, and their smiles and laughs still ring loud in my mind. We all parted ways about 6:15, bound for our homes, happy to call this day a success.

This day proved, like a few others, that good company trumps any bad weather condition, any day, any time, anywhere. Cheers boys!


Sun Sep 24, 2006 8:53 pm
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 Thank you!
“When the sun shines on you, you see your friends. Friends are the thermometers by which one may judge the temperature of our fortunes.” -Margue-Rite Blessintong, Commonplace Book

It may have been Jen’s and my own two feet that carried us along. These were our peaks, and no one did them for us. But I would be remiss not to admit that it was the support of a great many that got us here. This is where I wish to place thanks where thanks is needed.

First, I want to thank Chris and Hike-nh, Darren and VFTT, and HikerBob and Rot, for giving me a place to ask my endless questions, post my dry humor, and meet the many people who are friends, and virtual family to me now. It is these outlets that gave me the means to my ways. Thank you guys.

The one driving factor that put the bug in me was this little Documentary video I purchased and watched. I had seen this piece on WMUR News 9 Chronicle about a young Manchester man who documented his completion of the 48 and was using the funds to reach a donation goal for the ADA. This vide showed me that, with drive and heart, it was not as impossible as I thought to reach the goal of 48. I’ve come to know this person, respect this person, share in just a few of his lows and highs. I would like to thank Sherpa John, and also his lovely bride-to-be Sarah “Sherpette”, for everything the have done, and most likely will continue to do for me and Jen.

Next, I have to pick out two guys I have come to deeply respect from the bottom of my heart. Literally from the very beginning they have been there to help me, to guide me, to share in this adventure, to be my moral indicators, to just plain and simply be TRUE friends. I can never repay them for the things they have done for me, and I can only hope that I get to see more of them as the time now is so little, but fulfilling. Thank you Jim (SilentCal) and Bill (Pucknuts) for being simply more than just friends….. Thank you for being you. Thank you for helping me become the me I feel so good about.

I could go on listing individually for hours those who have touched my life. But it would take so much time and space (I think HikerBob would kill me!) So I will end with this. Thank you for all I have shared a trail with, who offered advice, who made me laugh, who filled me with pride at being called a “Peakbagger”. From Tom of Tom&Atticus and Mt.Drew with their PM’s of encouragement and advice, to men like Kevin Rooney. Mohammed and Dave Metsky for advice of all kinds, to Russ for the laughs……to everyone on these sites….Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Sun Sep 24, 2006 8:54 pm
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 From here.....
“One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.” -Marie Curie

So , where do we go from here. To be honest, I have had this question posed to me quite a lot these past couple of weeks. I have given it deep thought. Its tough to decide where you want to take yourself after something like this. Its so daunting, more so than one would think. As any of you who know me, you realize this is only the end of the very beginning. So after careful consideration I have an idea of what is to come, and this is what it basically looks like.

I would like to say I want to be your not-so-typical peakbagger…..rather like a “happenstance” pakebagger. Peakbagging is in the blood for sure, but it takes a back seat to simply enjoyment now. No longer will a single list drive me, but checkmarks I shall still count. If I were to pursue any list semi seriously it would be 52 with a view…. Mainly because they are all sub-4000 foot peaks and all with views. But, I am also (due to previous bagged peaks and the finish of this, the NH 48) already well along the Y-Alp NHHH list. I’m also looking forward to spreading out to the surrounding states and working some on the NE 4000 footers. SilentCal has offered to take us and do some section hiking of the AT in Mass.

Our new friends Quint and Diane are allowing us to share in their quest to 48, and as well Russ, Bill and a few others on these sites are marching to 48. I hope to be there for the finish and perhaps a few in between.

I’m also looking forward to our first full winter season.

The Presidential Range and Franconia Range continue to call to me. I can not resist….. How could I.

I am planning what I hope to become and annual pilgrimage to the Adirondacks. More info will follow later for those interested.

So many peaks need revisiting, so many need discovering. I will set off into the sunset with this large load off my shoulders, looking for the next adventure just over the hill.


Sun Sep 24, 2006 8:55 pm
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 Top 5 lists and more.....
“Did you hear about the agnostic dyslexic veterinarian…….? He sat up at night wondering about Dog!” -The Great McRat

Sorry, the above quote has nothing to do with the body of this text…. its just darn funny!

Ok, My top 5 lists, memorable moments, likes and dislikes:

Top 5 View peaks (in order):
1. West Bond
2. Monroe
3. Madison
4. Ike
5. Lafayette/Lincoln/Liberty/Flume….. Take your pick!

Top 5 mountains as a whole (in order):
1. Cannon
2. Monroe
3. Madison
4. Washington
5. West Bond

Top 5 trails (in order):
1. Rocky Branch from Jericho Road to Shelter number 2
2. Star Lake Trail
3. Ammonoosuc Ravine Tr
4. North Tripyramid Slide
5. Bondcliff trail from Guyot to Bondcliff summit

Scariest moment: Deciding to butt slide down a sheet of wet ice on the Imp trail without crampons or any way to stop myself. I learned my lesson there by surviving to tell about it!

Greatest moment: Sitting on West Bond on an early morning in complete solitude.

Most fun moment: Carter Dome trip….. Even 3” of rain could not dampen our fun that day.

Most despised summit: Zealand. Normally I find something good about any peak/trip. But I am sorry, this peak is one miserable bugger. I would climb Owl’s Head 10 times (not to knock OH, which I actually did not mind at all) before purposely going to Zealand’s summit. I would suggest to anyone “Stop at either Zeacliff or Zeacliff pond and do NOT go any farther!”

Cheers!


Sun Sep 24, 2006 8:56 pm
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Congratulations Brian and Jen!!!! :D way to go!

I was sooooo glad to be there on your 48th. There have been many that I've missed and disappointed I did, so I'm gladyou planned this far in advance so I could clear my schedule.

Just too bad the weather only cooperated when we got to the base.

and what a great group of characters to be there for a very rainy finale.

All the best to you and Jen now that you've "graduated" :D

Bill

PS Hey what about Jefferson this past winter?...that's easily in my top 5!

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Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:20 am
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Outstanding Job!


It's amazing how far you guys have come. Glad you liked West Bond. It might very well be on everyone's list. You may reconsider some of your lists over time however. Once you actually redo some of the peaks and get the views, your list may change.

Zealand ain't all bad. It's got on of the most unique summit signs out there!

I want to see how that tripod picture came out!!!!

Once again, Congrats!!!!!


Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:24 pm
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Hey Bill, Jefferson is indeed up there in the "Fun moments" catagory....but c'mon, that Carter Dome trip was a riot and a half! :wink:

Jim, you are indeed very correct that the lists may change over time. I need to update my views/no views list and see what the final tally was :roll: .

B.


Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:53 pm
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 More Thank you's
Ok, I really should add a few more to the list even though I clipped it above. Some more people who need to be recognized:

Bob (HikerFast). You do not know funny till you spend an hour and fourty five minutes going to a trailhead, and then the same time back, untill you have driven with Bob! He is also a primo Magician....no seriously. At the Woodstock Inn he ordered the 1 1/2lb rib platter, and after I blinked the ribs were mysteriously gone already!!!!! Bob is also responsible for introducing me to my #1 favorite trail....and it was all on a whim too!

Scenic-nh on Hike-nh, who also sent many good words of wisdom my way. They were very much appreciated.

Tom (WildPeaks) for being another standup, helluva guy!

Quint and Diane for allowing me to see what I must have looked like in the very beginning....full of potential, excitement and drive. I look forward to being there when it comed their turn to tap the top of number 48.

This one may surprise a few, considering recent circumstances, but despite what has happened between us I wish to also thank Magic for the time and effort advanced to us.

Lastly, as my sister made me realize, I forgot to thank the one and only person to be there for every step, every rain drop, every ray of sun, every rock, every boot sucking mud puddle.....my sister Jen. She is the real trooper in all this!

B.


Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:08 pm
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 WOO HOO
Brian & Jen ~ Way to go :!: :!: :!:

I thought maybe I would join up with you~all
yesterday, but the weather scared me off :oops:

Glad you made the best of it. But please, promise
me, that you will go back, on a perfect, crystal clear
day. The Moosilauke summit is one of the best.

~ Cath

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Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:36 pm
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Great read Brian, thanks! I'm glad you consider Hike-NH a place that you can frequent, it makes building and maintaining a site like this worthwhile. I consider myself very lucky to have some awesome "regulars" some of whom you mention above and they make hikes like yesterday's worthwhile. Here's the "tripod" shot. Motley looking crew for sure!

<img src="http://hike-nh.com/images/brianJen48.jpg">

For those who don't know, from left to right:
Abby, Russ, Bill, Jen, Brian, Jim, Quint, Gary, Jim and me

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Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:13 pm
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Hey Cath, no need to worry about the Moose.....she is one peak that absolutely will get revisited in perfect weather. Im hoping to actually attempt her some time this winter when conditions permit!

Chris, all I can say is your site was the very first that got me started going in hiking. Its one I still visit daily. The Bulletin Board alone is such a great part, and then you add the perks like the Trip Finder, Hiking Glossary, Your trip report page and so much more......its one well put together site. Very good indeed!

Brian


Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:55 am
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New Hampshire wrote:
...This day proved, like a few others, that good company trumps any bad weather condition, any day, any time, anywhere.
"Any bad weather condition?" For a Sunday that was forecast thunderstorms, that means 'lightening' and rain in the afternoon, I find your above statement truly appalling. It scares me to think that you would place a simple goal over safety. That is NOT what mountaineering is about.
I've been reading your posts for over a year. You conveniently left out the one man who stuck with you through thick and thin, who showed you the ropes, and hiked with Jen and you each and every week, regardless of your shortcomings. That man is the one and only MtnMagic. Then you disrespect your mentor! Magic taught you well, shared his lifetime of hiking with you, and made mountains appear to be easy. I am certain Magic did not teach you to hike on open ledge during the threat of a thunderstorm. We in the hiking community will be certain to keep distance from you. You speak much, say little, and have a lot to learn.


Last edited by warchief on Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:40 am, edited 2 times in total.



Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:06 am
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warchief wrote:
New Hampshire wrote:
...This day proved, like a few others, that good company trumps any bad weather condition, any day, any time, anywhere.
"Any bad weather condition?" For a Sunday that was forecast thunderstorms, that means 'lightening' and rain in the afternoon, I find your above statement truly appalling. It scares me to think that you would place a simple goal over safety. That is NOT what mountaineering is about.
I've been reading your posts for over a year. You conveniently left out the one man who stuck with you through thick and thin, who showed you the ropes, and hiked with Jen and you each and every week, regardless of your shortcomings. That man is the one and only MtnMagic. Then you disrespect your mentor! Magic taught you well, shared his lifetime of hiking with you, and made mountains appear to be easy. I am certain Magic did not teach you to hike on open ledge during the threat of a thunderstorm. We in the hiking community will be certain to keep distance from you. You speak much, say little, and have a lot to learn.


Well said! It's all about one's character, moral and ethical quality, and the lack of.

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Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:34 am
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 Re: More Thank you's
New Hampshire wrote:
This one may surprise a few, considering recent circumstances, but despite what has happened between us I wish to also thank Magic for the time and effort advanced to us.


Time to come together instead of spreading apart. Our journey is short.
Leave with a smile and look for the better in all...it's there, you just need to find it to dwell on the good and ignore what you can not change.

Peace to all,
Bill

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Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:31 am
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Warchief: I had a good laugh at your post. Perhaps you misunderstood the Brian's turn of phrase "any bad weather condition". It's common knowledge that Brian has been hiking through lots of adverse weather patterns this year. I believe that he was refering to his jinx of not having decent weather for most of his hikes. In that regards, I think that hiking in conditions such as this has given Brian plenty of experience. If you think that we would put a hiking goal over safety, I think you are wrong on that count. Parts of our group split off to make sure that one in our group got safely down the mountain. I skipped the summit to make sure that someone got off safely. No one was getting left behind and no one certainly would not have risked their life to get the peak. I'm curious as to how many miles you have hiked with Brian and Jen and can determine their character based on what they write.

As for your second Paragraph, I guess you did not read the whole post. Yep, there is some disagreement between Brian and Magic. But Brian, true to his character, at least said something nice. If you consider MtnMagic to be some kind of teacher and mentor, then your more than welcome to join him on his great many hikes. Some of us know better.

MtnMagic, you had a chance to be civil and just bury the hatchet. You could have just said "congrats" and just let it be, but your character shines through again. I made the mistake of defending you once, it won't happen again.


Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:32 pm
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