Click for Mount Washington, New Hampshire Forecast

Mt. Washington Temp.
Click pic for forecast.

...More Topics...

 

 

Get Firefox!

Backcountry ski and snowboard gear, camping

Donate towards my web hosting bill!

Made with CSS

Validated by W3C

       
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:03 pm



Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
 A day with Chocorua 
Author Message
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:52 pm
Posts: 4700
Location: Goffstown Avatar:I love you, you love me!
Reply with quote
 A day with Chocorua
Winter has “officially” come. And for weeks we all have been planning and plotting our first “bags” of the new season. Such was so as I found myself figuring out what I wanted to do. Origionally the plan was to hit up Owl’s Head on Friday 12/22. So I sent out a few invites to see who was up for it. Bill (Pucknuts) Brian (Quint) and Erin (ScenicNH) all chimed in they would like to go. But as Monday rolled around the weather was showing hints of non co-operation. We decided to switch over to Tecumseh for Bill, who was having scheduling problems. But due to a forgotten appointment he eventually had to cancel, as did Brian. So there I was, wondering what to do. Its no secret I’ve been feeling a little “4kd out” lately. So I shot out a PM to Erin and asked if he would be up for just some plain old fun on Chocorua. It did not take much persuading as Erin was more than happy to go!

So there we were, pulling into the Trail head parking lot on Chocorua Mountain Road. Erin was already there, packing his dizzyingly amazing array of photography equipment into various stuff sacks and his pack. We got out and said hello, making assessments on the cloud cover. After deciding the cloud cover would probably stay (thus eliminating good natural light) Erin decided to leave his “work horse”, Medium format camera in the trunk of our car….the one I would later learn cost him a petty $5000 dollars!!!!! :shock: :shock: Phew, professional photography sure aint cheap! :wink:

With gear packed and slung we headed off and up the Liberty trail. The trail was in decent condition today, with only a little bit of mud and crusty dirt (from ice crystals in it.) We slowly picked our way up this moderately graded trail, talking and snapping pictures as we went. It was turning out to be a gorgeous day, and the higher we went it looked like the thinner the cloud cover was getting, a bummer for Erin who had left his “good” camera back in the car. But he sure was not complaining at the 9 pounds less of extra weight! Before any of us knew it we hit the first trail junction, just .5 miles to go before we got to Liberty Cabin. We stopped here for a quick rest break (one of MANY) before making the last half mile push up, which brought us to the doorstep of this rustic old cabin.

Liberty Cabin I nestled in this rather quaint spot at the foot of the summit. While its panoramic views are non existent, the view up to the summit makes up for any loss. Erin quickly set to work taking pictures. He was telling us it had been years since he had photographed the cabin, and with the sun glaring he was once again bummed he had not brought “the horse”. Jen and I kicked back and ate lunch while he shifted around with the tri-pod and camera, snapping away at all kinds of interesting things. Most unusual were the monster chains, which anchored the tiny cabin to the ground so the harsh winds did not carry it away. When we had all spent enough time mulling around we decided to continue on with the final push to the summit, an interesting half mile fraught with adventure.

I say adventure because, now that we were high, we ran into the 4 season hikers dreaded enemy……patchy glare ice. Ice not long enough to make the trouble of wearing crampons viable, but wide enough to make you do some interesting maneuvering so you did not slip and fall off the edge of the cliff. Slowly and steadily we climbed up rock shelf’s, flat footed slabs over harrowing steepness, and tender footed icy spots with very little room for error. We met one lone hiker coming down from the summit, a man loaded down with an external frame pack. We had a quick little conversation and continued on. Each new rock slab hid a new, ever more expanding view, that made each little breath catching rest stop all the better. Erin kept telling us “I bet you will see at least a dozen people on the summit….I BET YOU!” He was utterly shocked we were the only people parked in the Liberty Trail head lot. He was more shocked when we topped out the final scramble to find a barren summit!

Yes, we had the summit of Chocorua all to ourselves. And what a beautiful summit it was. The views expansive, the panoramas extensive. Off to our left was Whiteface and Passaconaway, fading ever so slightly to the north and the Franconia ridge, snowcapped only to Mount Lincoln and Lafayette. The Pemi region spread out before us, and a glimmering white Presidential range just a bit west of north. Washington wore a bright white blanket, fading over Monroe to Eisenhower, which held just a spattering above treeline. We stood around for the better part of 45 minutes, with no one around save for two hikers who came up from over the Three Sisters, and even they stayed for a bare 10 minutes at most. By now the high level cloud caver had pushed in, blocking the sun from the sky. We decided it was time to head down as the gentle winds were now starting to bite into us without the warming sun to help us. So slowly, we made our way down. We came up to the trail junction with the Brook Trail and Erin asked if we wanted to go down a different way. Variety is always fine with me, so we made the decision then to head off that way, rather than back down Liberty, hoping to avoid some of the nasty ice we had already walked over.

Almost immediately we ran into more ice. Slowly and steadily we picked our way around and over nasty glare spots, careful as ever. Some places required a quick bushwack around, and others required some serious finessing. Quickly we came to the trail junction where the Bee Line would take us out to the Bolles trail. We looked at the Brook Trail side, covered with more patchy ice, and the Bee line, still icy but looking less so, and decided Bee line it is. It would turn out to be a very wise decision.

Again we hit more ice. But now it was coming in smaller and smaller spots, as well as less frequently. Eventually the rock ended, the dirt returned, and the ice disappeared for good. Once this happened we started making good time again. We plodded along, talking as we went and having a grand old time, when all of a sudden I thought I heard a rustling noise. Erin shouted “is that a deer!” but I only heard “Deer!” I said “Is it really a deer?” as I ran down the trail a few more steps to get away from the bushes blocking m view. Just in time I got to see something amazing…….there went this pudgy, furry blob running up the other side of the small stream cut, a bare 30 yards away. As we stared amazed the black blob was followed by one, then two more other blobs. We had just witnessed 3 black bears running around the woods! That was a truly amazing moment, one I will never forget. I have been a hunter for the better part of 5 years, but had never seen black bears in the wild before. This was why coming down Bee Line was a smart decision.

With that moment of adventure done we continued on to the Bolles Trail. This thing is a really perplexing trail. It makes up the Eastern boarder of the Sandwich Range Wilderness area, and the Western edge of the Chocorua Scenic area. Yet it looks like snowmobiles (and even a 4 wheeler) use these trails regularly. So much so some spots have the snowmobile trail separated completely from the hiking trail. We kept coming to these odd orange signs with handwritten descriptions like “Liberty Trail Connector” and “Mudgetts Camp”. None of these looked like snowmobile side trails (especially considering “Mudgetts Camp” went off into the Wilderness area) and they obviously were not official trails (even though the Liberty Connector had a brand new plank bridge on it.) Our guess was possibly the WODC was putting in some new trails, but it seemed rather odd none the less.

With the light fading we cooked our way back out to the trail head parking lot. Erin pondered why there was a road here, figuring in the end it probably was the main access for the mills that dotted the area around here. We sat talking for over an hour and a half, out in the whisper quiet woods, the rain pattering lightly on the cars. We parted ways only when the rain got a bit heavier, and we all started turning into Popsicles. Good bye, it was great, lets do it again, and off we went, bound home for warmth and food. What a great day this truly was, to a peak that is so famed and storied. I know people say places like Franconia Ridge, the Presidential range, and Chocorua are magnificent places, but perhaps write it off as the :tourist” thing. I know now that a place that sees that much foot traffic for a reason. Chocorua jumps up high into the top peaks with a view list. It is a beautiful destination, and I look forward to returning. Thanks to Erin for plodding along with Jen and I on such a spectacular day!

Brian

P.S. Pics a bit later.


Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:06 am
Profile
Leg Burner
Leg Burner

Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 4:22 pm
Posts: 54
Location: seacoast NH
Reply with quote
 
Yes! Everyone has the same reaction to Chocorua, Brian!
And that you had the summit by yourselves, how cool is that?
Was it a mom with cubs? My closest encounter to date was a steaming
massive pile of blueberries on the Imp Trail - my heart can't wait to see a
furry blob! Chocorua really betrays it's elevation - glad you got out before the rain. Doug


Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:02 am
Profile
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:52 pm
Posts: 4700
Location: Goffstown Avatar:I love you, you love me!
Reply with quote
 
Hey Doug,

Im pretty sure it was mamma and cubbies. It looked like mom in the lead with the kids close behind. It was very exciting to say the least! I Did not get any pictures of them since I was too busy staring with my mouth agape. :wink:

Chocorua summit all to ourselves. that HAS to be some kind of lucky happenstance! Its like getting Modanock or Washington all to yourself! How could it be! :lol:

B.


Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:04 am
Profile
Leg Burner
Leg Burner

Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 4:22 pm
Posts: 54
Location: seacoast NH
Reply with quote
 
as a 70 yr old hiker on Eisenhower said to me on a calm 40 degree day a couple of February's ago, "This is a day for the memory-banks!"
What a nice experience for you & Jen & Erin! A day for the memory-banks! :D


Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:35 am
Profile
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:52 pm
Posts: 4700
Location: Goffstown Avatar:I love you, you love me!
Reply with quote
 
Ok, Pictures are ready !

B.

*EDIT* Sorry, the preivous link took you to the Belknap album. Its fixed now. Sorry.


Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:38 am
Profile
Peak Bagger
Peak Bagger

Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:29 pm
Posts: 337
Reply with quote
 
I still think we should have sent Jen after the bears

:lol:

_________________
..
Trail stewardship doesn't involve turning hiking trails into paved walkways....


Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:21 am
Profile
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:52 pm
Posts: 4700
Location: Goffstown Avatar:I love you, you love me!
Reply with quote
 
ScenicNH wrote:
I still think we should have sent Jen after the bears

:lol:


A little honey, some bird seed....I could see it now "Come back, I only want to hug you" :lol: :lol: :lol:

B.


Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:35 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 7 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Hike-NH.com based on STSoftware.