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 The Freezer called the Temple Range 
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 The Freezer called the Temple Range
Having done section one of the Wapack trail a few weeks ago I was very anxious to get out and try out another section of this historic trail. I put the open call out and got some interest for this rather short (by most standards) hike. So Jen and I set out on a frozen Sunday morning, bound for the southern terminus of our hike near the Windblown Cross Country Ski area on Rt. 123. The thermometer at the house said 11 degrees when we left, so we knew it was going to be an interesting day. We jumped on to 101 west and cruised out past Miller State Park, which would be the starting point of our hike, out to the junction of 123 and drove down to Windblown. The guidebook had said to park on the side of the road, away from the "highway" (you have to love what New Hampshire calls a "highway" sometimes :lol: ) and this was further impled by signs stating "No Parking On Pavement". However, with the recent snowfall there was precious little space that one could actually do so. We drove past a couple of times picking the best spot we could and finally pulling over fully on to dirt. Seconds later Dugan came driving up from the other direction. She was doing the same thing we were, looking for a good spot, when she spotted us. So she pulled over to our side of the road and we got out to wait for Hikerfast (Bob). Dugan told me that Smitty had to cancle because of the family, so we would not need to go over and pick him up at the trailhead at the bottom of the Temple range. After waiting a bit for Bob, who had not shown up, we decided to head over to Miller State Park and hope we met up somewheres. So the three of us packed into my car and we beet feet over to Miller.

Pulling into Miller State Park off 101 we spotted only two other cars. One car looked familiar, but I brushed it off as we got out and started getting ready. Dugan went to check and see if the bathrooms were open and came back saying someone was already in there. The someone sure enough turned out to be Bob. Glad to see he had made it we all got ready and started out.

We crossed 101 (which is as heart racing an adventure as any slide hike!) and entered the remains of the now gone Temple Ski area. The snow was nice and fresh with only a couple of prints in it from the previous day. Slowly we started the trudge up the old ski slopes, skirting power lines and the old water lines for the snow guns. There was a thin layer of ice under the fresh snow, which was a few inches deep, and the grade was just enough that we moved slowly and methodically up the hill. The trail zig zagged in a few spots and we followed the old prints which at times looked a little confused as we did. We never strayed far from the trail, though a couple times we were a dozen feet away from where we should be. So to a "purist" we did not exactly walk every blazed inch of trail.

As the grade eased a bit following what looked like an old service road I found a good patch of ice that sent me clear on to my belly. Dugn said I got my feet a good foot or two up off the ground!!! As gracefull as I could, I got up, brushed myself off, inspected to make sure everything was where it should be and working like it should be, and moved along. All the way up we were getting glimpses out to Pack Monadnock, Monadnock and off to the Uncanoonucs. It was an omen of the great day to come.

We topped out on the main peak of Temple and started the beginning of an absolutely LOVELY ridgewalk. The hardwoods and softwoods mingled all around so that you got the feel of a semi-wooded 4000 foot peak, but with better visibility on the sides due to the leafless trees. The snow really added to the aura of the hike. The trees were also a blessing in that they blocked a lot of the wind, which was proving to be very chilly when it was able to build up a head of steam. You could tell it was cold as heck, and everyones faces were taking on the lovely winter red :wink: .

Bob was in the lead most of the way, sometimes walking at a good clip, other times running. The other three of us took a more easy approach and glided along at a respectable pace. We made Holt peak, which required following a short side trail of about a dozen feet, and marveled at the amazing cairns made mostly of flat rocks, stacked perfectly. We stood around only for a short moment as the wind bit into us. We headed down off Holt and back to the Wapack to continue on.

Right after Holt is a couple of spots offering neat views, one of which had a sign pointing to an outlook. The Ansel Adams in me took this moment to visit these little look-outs, which put me in the interesting position of now being well behind the others who had moved on. At one point I looked ahead and laughed as I saw Bob running along a good 75 yards ahaed, Dugan and Jen trying to nip at is heels. So I hitched the camera back up. sucked in some air, and started a mad dash down the trail. Now, I am no runner....I hate running because its tough enough for me to just WALK up mountains. But thanks to a slow decline I took off like a bat out of hell and closed the gap quickly. I caught up to Bob, Dugan and Jen when they stopped under a giant sign pronouncing the start of the "Cabot Skyline" section of trail. This trail was dedicated to a local landowner who has allowed the use of his land for the Wapack trail over many years (something that is very important for the trail to exist.)

As we started off again we quickly came upon another group of hikers, one woman and three men. We started talking to them and found they were avid hikers from RI Chapter of the AMC. We stood talking with them for a bit and told them about ROT. Now, the stickers are a great idea, but I think its time for HikerBob to move into business cards! Everyone always asks a few times what the web address is so they can get it right, but I wonder how many remember it at the end of a long hike :lol: . Anyways, we all were getting cold, so we parted ways and said goodbye.

By now we were real close to the Sharon Ledges. We stopped to eat some lunch as Dugn passed around some macaroons, I passed around some piping hot apple cider, and Bob lopped off a hunk of some sharp cheddar. Mmmm mmmm good! After about half an hour we decided to get moving again and picked our way along the ledges with some quaint and interesting views out to the road below and to Watatic beyond. We finished off there and came out to an old abandoned house that has clearly seen better days. We mulled around looking inside and out for a bit. This dilapitated relic sure had seen better days, and it was wonder it was even still standing.

With our curiosity amused we made the last .2 mile walk out to Temple Road, the end of the Temple Range and the beginning of a short road walk. We marveled at some lovely homes, complete with solar power and a greenhouse. We followed the yellow triangles conveniently placed on Telephone poles across Nashua road and reentered into the woods. This section of the Wapack would mark a more mellow, but equally strenuous, walk along an old road now blocked from vehicular traffic. The trail itself meandered along it, then off to the sides, obviously to avoid what is probably very muddy spots in the summer. Rabbit, squirrel and dog tracks spotted the snow all around us. The grade picked up a bit, though not overly so. Yet it was constant, and with the snow we made frequent stops as we sucked ice cold air into our lungs. It was here I got treated to a "good old days of winter hiking" speech by Bob. If you want to know how good you have it right now with GoreTex this and Polypro that with your $200 Tubbs or MSR snowshoes then just listen to Bob talk about what things were like back when he started winter hiking!!! :shock: :shock:

The sun was now starting to take on the warming orange of late day. We came upon the side trail for Kidder Mountain and decided to save it for another day and pushed on to finish up. So across the power line cut we went, back into the woods for a ways before emerging out into what appeared to be the edge of someones backyard that the trail crosses. What made this so neat is that it was a long, cleared sidehill that had what appeared to be a sled rope tow to the top. A family was out in the backyard playing around so we did not linger too long and we again emerged into woods. But these woods were spotted on each side by homes, signaling to us that the hike was nearing an end. The sounds of the road came to our ears and as we topped a short hill I saw a car drive by. The trail emptied us out onto a dirt raod where we discovered a small parking area that we could have used instead of parking right out on the road! Oh well, now we know for next time. The good news was that it literally placed us a scant 25 yards away from Dugans car. We crossed the raod where Dugan started the car to warm it up and we all piled in for the drive back to Miller.

Having now done section two of this South Bound section hike I can say I am really impressed. I liked the Pack/North Pack section very much, and I absolutely LOVED this section. This trail is a little gem that is oh so close to civilization. Its history is amazing, and the logistics to keep it open impressive. If you get the chance to hike this trail I highly suggest you take it.

Half the trail down, another interesting half awaits!

Brian

P.s. Pics and GPS Track/profile later.


Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:06 pm
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How many miles and what kind of timeframe do I need so I can catch up?


Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:41 am
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GPS Track and Profile

Pictures!

Looks like we got 7.2 miles in exactly (instead of the books stated 6.9) and 1296.8 ft of elevation gain. Dugan is right, this would be good training for the Pemi Loop. With the snow on the ground it would be even MORE of a workout! :shock:

B.


Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:42 pm
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I love this area, I have section hiked most of the WaPack already, but come summer a friend and I are going to blow off the entire trail on one day... mmmmmm 20+ miles :) fun fun.

Beautiful area, esp with the stonewalls.

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Fri Feb 09, 2007 7:54 am
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Marc Howes wrote:
I love this area, I have section hiked most of the WaPack already, but come summer a friend and I are going to blow off the entire trail on one day... mmmmmm 20+ miles :) fun fun.

Beautiful area, esp with the stonewalls.


Silentcal needs to get some training in for the Pemi-Loop challenge. Dugan keeps telling him a one day Wapack traverse is just the ticket! It was her first VFTT group hike where they did the whole Wapack in a day. It was some time in the spring, which I commented might be rather nice.....out before the bugs and heat of summer, but free of winters hold.....ought to be priceless!!!! :lol:

B.


Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:05 am
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I'm certainly up for it. I would hate to try 20 plus miles when the trail is covered in ice. I need to find a campground though, nearby in that area.


Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:25 pm
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Hi Brian- Your reports are ever so desciptive, love it.

As a result of the recent reports I've picked up the Wapack Trail Guide.
Good read on history and the trail. I too plan on this for a one day 20 miler after it awakens from winter sleep. Please keep me in mind - thanks.


Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:59 pm
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Hey Doug, that Wapack guide is a hot, huh! How about that picture of the massive cairn that used to be on Pack Monadnocks summit....it's on page 24. It has to be easily 14 feet tall!!!!!

Jim, you will love this section simply for the vast amount of time you spend walking around the stone walls!

B.


Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:14 pm
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It's a BIG one alright, Brian.... artistic, too!

Though I have only read parts of the guide I'm always refreshed by the cooperation of many land owners who see through property rights and open their lots for responsible public use.(p.50) I thank them for their generousity! We have always thought that the south western area of NH would make for a fine retirement. I think I'll be sure to hike around the area, soon.


Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:55 pm
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Up on Temple there is a bunch of similar cairns (though obviously much smaller.) What is so amazing is all the flat stones that were used. They are the most unique cairns I have ever seen!

Its funny you mention South western NH in general, though. I told Hikefast last week how much I LOVE driving around in that part of the state. It seems like every road you travel down is an absolute joy. Even 101 west of 93/293 is very quaint....almost like your not really driving on a "highway". Jim and I have talked about checking out some of the trails over in Pisgah SP over in the FAR Southwestern corner of the state!

B.


Fri Feb 09, 2007 7:15 pm
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While I was picking up the Wapack Guide I also found a Sunapee Greenway reference. Haven't read it yet, but I bet that is a sweet area to hike, too. I tell you Northern New England has so many beautiful
regions. I hope I have the energy to explore as many as I discover!
Anyway, Wapack Ridge is on my to do list.....I'll start there.

How about a little less cold and more snow, huh?!
It'll be spring in a little over a month. Time "marches" on!


Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:38 pm
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I came oh so close to picking up the Kearsarge Sunapee guide at EMS the other week. They had a huge stack of them. Don't know why I did not, but that trail looks like yet another great place to explore.

The Wapack serves as a great example of Landowners, trail users and maintainers, and the trail itself can mesh into one to make for an amazing experience. It was cut in 1922 and still serves as a model of how a trail that runs through so much private land should be.

B.


Sat Feb 10, 2007 6:08 pm
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