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 Waist deep on Waumbek. 
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 Waist deep on Waumbek.
With the Moose Mash slowly falling apart (again) I started looking at other options for the weekend. At the time, Russ (McRat) was most likely going to attempt the elusive Carter Dome again, but the thought of a sixth walk along the 19 mile brook trail in ONE year was too much for me to bear. When Courtney (leaf) posted she wanted to get number 45 on her list, Waumbek, I decided to give it a go. I have never heard many good things about Waumbek in the summer. But having done it previously in the winter, I found it charming and worth the effort. With fresh snow on the ground it looked like we were going to have to do some serious work heading up, and the early start time pretty much assured it was going to be a TRUE snowshoe trip. So the word went out, and we gathered on this day a motley crew consisting of: Me, Jen, Courtney (leaf), Gary (Scoutmaster), and my intrepid friend Erin (ScenicNH).

Now, the events of the morning leading up to the start of the hike had me wondering if this was a bad idea....an omen of horrible tidings. You see, Jen and I rolled up into the parking lot near the war memorial that HikerBob posted a picture of, bright and early (about half an hour to 45 minute early at that) but decided to see if we could get a spot near the trailhead. So I pulled up to Starr King Rd, put on the 4 wheel drive and headed up to the lot, which was unplowed. I did not like how much I was blocking the unplowed driveway, and indeed remembered locals despised this, so I decided to just return to the parking area. But stupid me, I figured I could make a turn on the narrowly plowed road. Even with 4 wheel drive I managed to do the impossible.....get stuck. The rear end (spare tire, pumpkin, tail pipe) were all burried dep in the snow and all I was doing was spinning tires. Jen and I worked at it for 15 minutes when Courtney came up. She had tried getting up the road too, but her car only let her go so far. She saw us and came over to see if she could help. After trying for another 10 minutes she decided to head over to the store down the road to get something to stick under the tires for traction. When she left, I went back to trying again. Long story short, I turned the front wheels down hill and started bucking that truck (hard to do with a stick shift, mind you) like a bronco and finally....FINALLY.....broke free. We zipped down Starr King road hoping to catch Courtney, but saw her coming our way once on the road. So Jen and I returned to the War Memorial parking area to wait. Courtney did not show. So I told Jen to stay in case the others drove by and I headed up the road a ways only to find another lot designated for hiker parking where Courtney, Erin and Gary were already getting ready.....thanks HikerBob :P :lol: :wink: . So, back to the truck, we drove up the road a hundred yards or so, and got ready for the beginning of a long day.

Erin asked if there was a track that I could see when I was up there. The answer he got was the one we knew was going to be....no. So we crossed Rt. 2 and headed up Starr King Rd. where we found a car parked in the spot I had occupied (before getting stuck, that is) and hikers getting ready. Erin commented "Uh-oh, the locals get REALLY mad when people do this." Oh well, it was none of our business. We pulled off our snowshoes as the two hikers started up. Hey, at least there were two of them to start a track for us :roll: . With snowshoes on it was time to start up.

Jen led off with Courtney behind. The three guys played tail end Charlie (as we did all day) with me and Gary pulling up the rear. We moved along slowly but steadily, stopping often to drink and catch out breath. It was incredibly warm on this morning, and I found myslef down to my base layer and long sleeve shirt rather quickly. Erin would make quick little spurts up the trails a ways, pull out the camera to take some shots while Gary and I slowly ambled up to meet him. At one point, Erin said to me "Look at you, not even breathing hard or anything." My response was classic me..."Yeah, because I stopped breathing 10 minutes ago!" :lol: It really was not so bad. I was pretty much keeping pace with Gary so I could talk with him. I had met Gary on our Moosilauke 48 finish, but did not get to see him much that day. Today I was allowed the pleasure of having him to talk to all day. A wonderfully funny guy who indeed deserves the title of Fools Scout (ex)Scoutmaster.

Jen and Courtney floated along, usually disappearing from view quickly (oh to be 200 pounds lighter and about half a foot shorter :( ) then stopping to wait for us to catch up. I am glad I bought the MSR Denali Ascent Snowshoes I own. I had the tails on today for maximum floatation (a combined shoe length of 30 inches) and I can say I would HATE wearing 30 inch snowshoes for all conditions. They are long, heavy and cumbersome, and I only wished I could just take the tails off and still float like I did with them on. But sadly, heavy people just can't win, so the tails stayed on.

It was not long before a few other people passed us. Hey, no problem, just less trail breaking for us to do :lol: . I was actually a bit surprised we did not see more people than we did, and indeed after these last people passed us we were the last to come up for the day (well, the last to summit, that is....more on this in a moment). As the trail steepend, Gary and I slowed up. This was turning into a real long push, a push that belied the 7.2 mile round trip easiness of this hike. But persistance paid off and we summited Starr King in time for a most beautiful vista of the Presidential Range. Off in the far distance we saw snow squalls moving through the Pemi, and we all identified the various peaks poking their heads out from the ground below. With everyone fed and well watered we decided it was time for the final push. Gary decided to head off ahead of us while we were still getting ready so he could make up some distance and save us some time. But it was not untill he took off that I remebered what he already knew........

The trail below Starr King has been famed for its difficulty to follow when snow is on the ground. I encountered this the year before where our group ran into many diverging snowshoe tracks, all looking to find the trail. It was no different this time, only now we pulled up to a diverging set of tracks and wondered "Uh-oh, did Gary take the right one?" We spotted a yellow blaze on one tree, but found MSR prints heading down the opposite track. We were set to go down and find Gary, but thankfully he remembered what was written about this section of trail and turned back when even MORE tracks diverged from that wrong one. Smart man. With all of us regrouped we started the task of picking and following the proper trail. The snow up here was real soft, and postholes were common (some wasit deep.) We slowly and agonizingly moved and searched, looking for a glimpse of yellow to tell us we were heading in the right direction. After what seemed like an eternity the trails all disappered into one, and the proper trail became ever apparent as we got closer to the summit of Waumbek. A somewhat quick mile later and we topped off to the viewless peak, a new claim for Courtney and Gary. We hunkered down for some more food and water. Gary checked the voice message left on his phone (he heard it ringing in his pack as we were coming up :lol: ) and found his daughter wanted him to do her taxes, and then he called McRat for a victory boast. Erin went to snapping a few more shots, and I plunged into the snow to make the most poor looking snow angel man has ever seen (word of warning, snowshoes and snow angel making don't fit together well :roll: .)

By now the squall we saw over the Pemi was moving in on us, and a gentle flurry started to fall. We decided to giddyup and get out of here before it got too heavy. As we started our descent the wind picked up heavily and the snow drop increased. Winds were smashing snow right into our faces and I moved along trying to keep my eyes on the track as well as I could. Erin thought this one might be on us for a good couple inches, but thankfully it lightened up and stopped after only about 20 minutes. We got back to the confusing section of trail, and we decided this time to take a different track that seemed to bushwack up and around a small dip (why go down when you can stay level, right?) This track was as broken out as the other, so no harm, no foul, right? Well, tell that to the spruce traps we encountered. Erin was in front of me when all of a sudden he went down, one leg staying above the snow, the other burried in a spruce trap. And this was a nasty one too. His left shoe was pinned under a spruce and some roots. He took his pack off and had to dig himself out and work hard to finally free himself. Freed he compsed himself and stepped over the trap. I jokingly said "Be carefull not to step there, we dont want you falling in again". I stepped over it, went two more steps and then WHUMP! Down I went, belly to the snow. Some profuse grunting, a lot of jerking motions that would make honest women blush, and I managed to rip my shoe free. With that we were able to get back to Starr King with only a minimum of postholing.

With Starr King below our feet we knew it was blessedly all down hill from here. It was time to kick on the afterburners and beat feet down. As usual, Jen and Courtney led off. Erin came next with me clipping his heels. Gary took a more slow and steady approach, so Erin and I made sprints ahead and stopped often to make sure Gary caught up. We did this untill we ran into Jen and Courtney, looking up in the trees and chattering away. We asked what was up and they said "Gray Jays." Sure enough the little (errr, fat) guys were up in the trees looking at us. I quickly checked the GPS and found we were around 3800 feet. Kind of odd, but we will take it. So I pulled out some Fritos and held my hand up. The two took turns swooping in and grabbing some food. For those who are worried, fear not. The Fritos are certified Trans Fat free :P . With that fun over we continued the race to the finish. Erin and I blistered along, yapping about anything and everything, stopping occasionally for Gary. I had one more good spill for the day, though. While walking along and talking to Erin (uh-oh, dummy can't walk and chew gum at the same time I guess :? ) the front of my snowshoe hit a soft spot and caught in the snow sending me face first into the snow. I threw my arm out in front of me which only managed to plunge my whole arm into the snow along with my trekking pole which was now completely burried. I yukked it up and un-burried my pole before brushing myself off and moving along again.

With the overcast sky taking on a reddish orange hue we came upon the open woods that signaled we were getting low. By now we were avoiding postholes all over the place. Apparently someone had started up without snowshoes and poked hloes from the trailhead up to about half to two thirds the way to Starr King before turning back. And I am talking POSTHOLES! Some showed this person sinking up to a foot and a half into the snow. Once again, a good track trashed by ill equipped hikers :evil: . We could tell it was REAL warm down below today since the snow started turning into mashed potato snow. The negative elevation slowly petered out and we found ourselves victoriously standing in the summre trailhead parking lot. We jumped up over the snow bank, removed the snowshoes and made the walk back to the parking lot. Another successful bag that was earned in no easy manner. Thanks again to "da croo" for a fun time. Can't wait to do it again!

B.

P.S. Russ, you will be happy to know I returned your (ex)Scoutmaster back in one piece, none the worse for wear save a little more tired :lol: .

P.P.S. Pics and GPS track later.


Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:12 am
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Good Report B! I had a great time and thanks to you, Jen, Scout, and ScenicNH for the company! It makes a rather "unimpressive" peak filled with fun and laughter! Not to mention that going with a great group takes the attention away from all the hard work! I'm exhausted today.
Use the kitty litter wisely!


Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:51 am
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So this time your truck did the turtle routine huh?

Great TR, sounded like a good time. Congrats to all!

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Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:36 pm
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leaf wrote:
It makes a rather "unimpressive" peak filled with fun and laughter! Not to mention that going with a great group takes the attention away from all the hard work!


Im glad we made the experience a good one, oh Queen of the Foliage! :lol: :lol:

Exhausted, eh? The way you and Jen floated up that trail I swear you guys had wings and did not even touch the snow!! :wink:

Hey Bill, did you and Tom get Adams and Madison? At the beginning of the day me and Erin kept saying "What a day to be above tree line!"

B.


Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:33 pm
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PICS are up

and

GPS track and profile

B.


Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:01 pm
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New Hampshire wrote:
Hey Bill, did you and Tom get Adams and Madison? At the beginning of the day me and Erin kept saying "What a day to be above tree line!"


Emphasis on "beginning of the day", I hope you didn't get caught in the wind-induced horizontal snow at the end of the day if you were up there!

Queen of foliage.. I can get used to that.. :wink:

-Your leafyness


Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:17 pm
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Well,
I just spent the last hour in the Urban Dictionary looking up the definitions of the many vulgarities the General was throwing around this past weekend. :shock: :shock: :shock:

It is amazing how she can include these words in normal conversation. :lol: :lol:

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Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:45 am
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I know, huh. The mouth on her......pitifull!!! :lol:

So, did you stay out for the night, Erin, or did you just head home? When Jen and I were bombing down 93 we kept getting glimpses of the moon partially eclipsed and I wondered if you were getting any good visibility.

B.


Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:02 am
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Nice goin on #45 leaf, "Q-of-F"
Don't you guys think that trail is the zig-zaggiest of them all. Maybe you beat a straight line, but in Oct when I was there I couldn't get over the
many left/rights on the trail.... or maybe it was my "tea"!
Enjoy the winter ..feels like spring is a comin :( .....:D


Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:16 am
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leaf wrote:
Emphasis on "beginning of the day", I hope you didn't get caught in the wind-induced horizontal snow at the end of the day if you were up there!
Queen of foliage.. I can get used to that.. :wink:

-Your leafyness


I enjoyed the whiteout conditions even though it was for only 15 minutes 8)

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Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:46 pm
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dougeh wrote:
Nice goin on #45 leaf, "Q-of-F"
Don't you guys think that trail is the zig-zaggiest of them all. Maybe you beat a straight line, but in Oct when I was there I couldn't get over the
many left/rights on the trail.... or maybe it was my "tea"!
Enjoy the winter ..feels like spring is a comin :( .....:D


Oh, we did PLENTY of Ziggin AND zagging! You would think that some greater effort would be made to re blaze that section of trail since EVERYONE seems to get lost every year. Id consider adopting THAT trail too.....but one is good enough for now :lol: .

B.


Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:47 pm
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dougeh wrote:
Nice goin on #45 leaf, "Q-of-F"

Thanks dougeeeeh :) AND my water didn't freeze!


Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:10 pm
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Quote:
my water didn't freeze!


And that's a GOOD thing!


Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:23 pm
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Congrats Leaf!

What's left and do you have one set for #48?

Doug, your tea sounds better than mine...I'm hiking with you.

and I'm still not buying the whole Jen has a potty mouth thing. :D

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Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:32 pm
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Pucknuts61 wrote:
Congrats Leaf!
What's left and do you have one set for #48?

Thanks :D I have Monroe all lined up for #48! What's left is Isolation and Galehead. Both pains in the arses. :wink:

-leafy


Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:46 pm
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