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 The Omen(s) 
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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 The Omen(s)
The plan was to hit up sections 18 and 19 of the Metacomet-Monadnock trail that were next up from the last section we did. Jen, Jim (Silentcal) and I were supposed to meet Dugan bright and early at the trailhead for the end of this 11 mile hike. But as, occasionally do....things went wrong!

I woke up Saturday morning to the patter of rain outside. Looking at the thermometer I saw it was above freezing, but barely. I thought this was going to be "interesting" and I was right. As soon as we hit 101 west the thin coating of rain was freezing up in spots, so cornering on some of the sharper turns was a thrill ride...even at highly reduced speeds! The first slip caught me thinking it was the car (a lot of money was recently spent to fix it!) but when I saw a guy pulled off the side of the road checking all 4 tires it then dawned on me he too was slipping and slidign thinking it was his vehicle. So at the slower than normal speed Jen and I puttered along to Rt. 202 where we took that to reach 119. We followed Rt. 119 for a ways, but somehow missed a turn at a stop sign, and before we knew it we are driving on dirt roads.....not good when you supposed to be drivign a fairly major PAVED main route! We did some serious backtracking and found our slip up. By now we were already running late and my hope was that Dugan and Jim were simply waiting for us. As we drove along we came up on a car that pulled over to the side of the road. When I passed it I immediately saw it was Jim, so I too pulled over. Turns out he was lost as well and had been driving around looking for the trailhead. I knew we had to find Monument road, whish was only a little ways further down from where we pulled over. With our bearings now set we pulled up to find no Dugan (who we now know had to cancel.) Since we wanted to make sure she had not went up the road to park we headed up 119 a bit to double check. No Dugan, no car, back to Monument road where we left Jim's car for a carspot.

The three of us drove out and around to where the M+M exits Mt. Grace State Forest where we had ended our last section hike. Of course, as luck would have it, the pull off for parkign was a neap of snow and ice. I tried pulling the car up in far enough to get it off the road, but like last weekend I got it stuck on ice. Thankfully this was an easy fix as me and Jim shoved it off the ice while Jen gunned it in reverse. Long story short we had to park on the road. With everyone set we moved across the street and up and over the hill, a full 45 minutes after the intended meet time.....

......Omens usually are harbingers of things to come. Well, the events leading up to now should have told us this was not goning to be an easy day. I was right. The rain of the previous night, along with the warm temps of Saturday, overnight and right now, had created a THICK (around 1 inch!!!) hard crust layer with ultra soft snow below. Oh yeah.....and there was no broken out track to boot! Jim set off in the lead, punching holes in the thick crust that me and Jen followed in. Jim wondered if it was stupid of us to have not brought snowshoes, but I assured him snow depth+the crust+soft snow below meant we would have done absolutely no better with them. Thankfully we came upon a snowmobile trail that, although still growing soft, we did not punch through as much. We followed this track (whcih blessedly happened to be the official trail!!!) untill we came upon our first road walk. The road was free of snow, but icy as hell and we scuffled up, trying to avoid faceplanting into the hard ground. With the short roadwalk done we once again jumped over a snow bank and followed a snowmobile trail that doubled as the official trail.

Moving along we were getting beat up as we crunched and splashed through the soft snow and slush. But we were in good spirits regardless and just kept on moving as much as we could. By now the temps were really getting up there and I was down to a long sleeve shirt with t-shirt underneath. After a good ways we found where the trail split off the snowmobile track and once again took to punching through the thick crust. We eventually came to a power line cut, and when I checked my GPS and watch we found we were moving at a miserable pace. Not even 2 miles in and we had already burned close to 1 1/2 hours......and all this for relatively flat walking! We kept pushing forward hoping we could make the 7.4 miles in time to meet Smitty who said he might show up to meet us for the walk out to the falls. But as we kept pushing on through the mess pretending to be snow it was apparent it was going to be impossible. At a little short of three miles we came upon what was to be the steepest climb of the day. Jim stopped and Jen and I drew up behind him. I heard him mutter a few choice words and, when I saw him grab the guide book from his pack I knew it was decision time. Here was where we were at:

short of 3 miles in. 11:15. 2 1/2 hours in. over 4 more miles to go......and 45 minutes in which to do it if we were to catch Smitty. So It was then we decided to turn back, backtrack to the first roadwalk (wich would take us back to Rt. 78) and see if we can catch Smitty or at least walk out to Royalston Falls.

And thast what we did. Back along the horrible track (hey, at least it was something) and back along those hard earned couple of miles. With rising temps and even more softening of the snow we praised allah, buddah, Jesus, God, and Jerry Springer when we arrived back on the road that would take us back to 78. With no more snow to trudge through we easily made the walk back to the car. We ate real quick and jumped in to head over to Rt. 32 and Royalston Falls. By now it was far to late to meet up with SMitty, but maybe we could at least make the walk out to the falls.

So there we were, sitting across from the parking area for the falls. Sadly, it too suffered from our previous parking situation, and it was decided that parking right on 32 was not a smart idea. It was now after 1:00, there was no way to park, and the day had turned into a wild one. So we admitted defeat, ran up the white flag, and retreated back to 119 and Jim's car. We sat there on the side of Monument Rd. and gabbed away for an hour before promising, like the great Douglas MacAurthur, "We will return"......ummmm probably when the snow is gone, but yeah, we will return. :lol:

So, that capped off yet another strange day of events. It seems like since I started hiking, I have had A LOT of strange days. But hey, if it was all dull and eventless, would it be fun? :P At the very least I got to play with my new toy, a Canon EOS Ealn 7NE 35mm SLR!

B.


Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:53 pm
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At the very least I got to play with my new toy, a Canon EOS Ealn 7NE 35mm SLR!




Someone is rubbing off on you. :roll:


Mon Mar 12, 2007 7:18 pm
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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SilentCal wrote:
Someone is rubbing off on you. :roll:


Yeah, better to have Erin rub off on me than Jen. Could you just imagine 2 of us with trucker mouths!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Jens CPM (curse per minute) for this hike was around 42.....so it was pretty high! :lol:

B.


Mon Mar 12, 2007 7:32 pm
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I'm still not buying the whole "Jen curses like a sailor" thing. :wink:

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Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:52 am
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Brian wrote:

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Jens CPM (curse per minute) for this hike was around 42.....so it was pretty high!


tell the truth now... were you singing in her ear???? :shock: :D


Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:03 pm
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New Hampshire wrote:
SilentCal wrote:
Someone is rubbing off on you. :roll:


Yeah, better to have Erin rub off on me than Jen. Could you just imagine 2 of us with trucker mouths!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Jens CPM (curse per minute) for this hike was around 42.....so it was pretty high! :lol:

B.


Jim, if my plan works Brian will be carrying my gear in about a month or so. :D

New Hampshire wrote:

Jens CPM (curse per minute) for this hike was around 42.....so it was pretty high! :lol:

B.


That is just a normal day for Jen. Only 42? :lol:

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Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:21 pm
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