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 Ahhhhhh Crawford! 
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 Ahhhhhh Crawford!
October got to be a pretty crazy month for me. Between Preparing for the New Hampshire moose hunt, the Moose hunt itself, a wedding, and a whole bunch of hectic things, my hiking schedule got put off bad. I was lucky to make the Jefferson Jam, but that was all I got to do for trips since Jen and I finished on Moosilauke those many weeks ago. Then Brian (Quint) and I got to planning something for the weekend of November 4th. He was looking for something a bit easier than Cabot, which was his last trip. I offered up a few suggestions, some 4k peaks, some not. He wrote back and gave me the choice……and it was probably the wisest decision he ever made.

Mt. Crawford is a special place for me. It is the first White Mountains hike I ever did….ever! Even through all the 4k peaks, Southern NH peaks, and a handful in between, this one remains at the top of the “views to kill for” list. It is a wonderful gem, nestled low down from Crawford notch, both named for the Crawford family that lived and worked there for generations. I KNEW this would be one appreciated by any who attended this hike, and I’m sure those that were there would agree. This time, however, we would attempt to add Mt. Resolution as well. This is another reputed “great view” spot, and my hope was to see it for myself.

Jen and I pulled into the Davis Path Parking lot about 20 minutes early. We had already found Quint waiting, so we started gearing up to get a head start. A few minutes later Quints friend John and his 7 year old daughter pulled in. Mike (MtnPa) and Ginny (MtnMama) came in around 9:10, apologizing for being late. I told them no worry since Bob (Hikerfast) was running a bit late as well. He showed up a short 5 minutes after that with a car trunk stuffed full of clothing he brought along for Quint to try on. After a few jokes about Bob living out of his car, and of course the “got any fake Rollex’s in there!?” we headed off down the dirt road to cross Bemis Bridge.

Bemis Bridge will always be very distinguishable to me. It is a wooden and steel bridge that, unlike many other bridges like this one in these woods, is very nice looking. I guess it helps it crosses over one of the loveliest rivers in all of New England, the crystal clear Saco. So far I was hoping for a bit more snow, and was disappointed to find it pretty barren almost all the way to 2500 for or so. Even then all we got was smattering until the ridge. With a decent level warm up stretch we started the oh so fun slog up to the first slabs. I remembered this trail was steep, but did not remember it being for so agonizingly long a period. Bob was pouring out sweat and huffing like a mad man, Ginny and I were also doing our best to go a few dozen yards before stopping to catch our breath. Despite all the tough work we stayed in great spirits because, lets face it, we had a group of great people here. Mike and Ginny are always the sweetest people, Bob is just as crazy as Russ with the machine gun staccato of jokes streaming out. Lord knows I’m not that funny ( ;) ), and Quint gets his cracks in there too!

After some hard pushing we finally topped out on the first slabs, and the first great view of the day. From here we could see out to Carrigain and the Bonds, and a bit higher up is one STUNNING view into Crawford Notch that only gets better at the top. We all lingered here eating snacks and throwing on layers that (understandably) got ripped off very quickly down below. The wind was also very present now. While not nearly as bad as what was probably hitting the higher summits, it was blowing at a decent clip. After a bunch of pictures we decided it time to make the final push to the summit. We followed faded blazes out onto open rock slabs and through the chilled scrub. The snow I had hoped for was now becoming more and more present, and I was elated to see all the white stuff. Winter is here. Long live winter!

Topping out on Crawford’s summit we were treated to the most amazing views. The Presidential range was caressed by clouds, while snow flurries started falling in the Pemi and around us. I sat amused watching a snow squall make its way through Crawford Notch while holes in the cloud cover dropped rays of sunlight that danced around us on the neighboring peaks. I donned my wind gear, complete with my new goggles I bought (I spent $60 for them the night before, so come hell or high water I was wearing them!!!!) and sat out in the open while others took to some shelter to eat lunch. After a bit I too figured it was probably smarter to eat, and joined in for the feast. Ginny passed around chocolate chip cookies (did I mention I LOVE chocolate chip cookies) and it seemed everyone had some hot liquid toasting in a thermos. Bob laid out on a lower slab sunning himself, and the rest of us sat talking idly. It was most serene to be there with such good people, with no real goal in mind other than to just have fun, and enjoy a pleasant day in the Whites.

After lunch and some last pics we decided we better get moving again if we wanted to make Resolution. We headed down the slabs back to the junction for the Davis Path. The ridge walk was simply marvelous as there was plenty of snow to set a cheerful mood. But about half way to Resolution we hit a real good patch of ice. John and his daughter did not have crampons, and we realized that it was going to be tough going taking the ‘pons off and on just to manage a few dozen yards of thin ice. Plus, Bob said there was one pitch heading to Resolution, that if icy, could pose a problem. He said it could be icy as hell, or bone dry, but that we would not know until we got there. So with this weighing on us, and the fact John was worried about getting out before dark (no headlamps) we decided we should just turn around and head back. That’s the beauty of not having any real “peak bagging” ambition in a hike. Turning back just becomes the midway point of a hike and not a heart wrenching moment of saying good bye to a peak you can see so close, yet so far away. Bob, Quint and Mike scooted off to take a few nips of scotch Bob brought, and curiosity begged me to explore the slab a bit further up that we were standing on. I’m glad I did as I found a fresh track of snowshoe hare prints in the snow!

So with that we returned the way we came. Mike headed off to use the facilities and before we knew it we were cruising along back to the Crawford Spur. Now, Mike did not pass us, and at no point did I see him behind us, but he magically appeared in front of us at the Crawford Spur! He said he took a “bushwack”, so I smiled and left it at that ;) . Ginny and Mike moved on ahead while the rest of us talked a bit to four Canadians who were headed up for Resolution Shelter for the night. We talked for a bit before saying goodbye. The trail down made sure to let us know we were having fun by pounding the knees relentlessly. We actually passed Mike and Ginny as she was starting to have some serious knee pains. Quint gave her some Aleve and we pushed on.

We made it out to the parking lot with plenty of daylight left. John and his daughter made off real quick while Bob, Jen, Quint and I lounged around waiting for Ginny and Mike to get out. We talked about this and that we Ma and Pa came strolling down the road. We all said goodbye, wished each other the best, and packed into the cars to head off for food and sleep.

And that, how they say, is that!

Brian

P.S. Pictures!


Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:49 pm
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Excellant TR B. It was an outstanding day with great people. No question Crawford has breath taking views. Thats why we hung around up there so long seemed like nobody wanted to leave to quickly. Well that and Bob's scotch was sure going down good....what was that scotch again Bob ????

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Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:40 am
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Sounds like a killer time....and great TR Brian!

I had soooo much fun cleaning my rugs on Saturday instead of hiking. :cry:

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Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:49 am
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