Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mt Watatic-Ashburnham, MA

Phew we are all over the place with this blog but I loaded all the pictures from my cell to various posts and have been trying to find the time to sit and tell the tails that go with them.
We are totally out of order but this adventure took place last Saturday April 23rd.
I have been reading about the Mid-state trail for a while. I joined their FB page and the sites are great. It is a trail that runs from the Rhode Island state boarder to the New Hampshire Boarder. You can also continue into each state but for now I would like to just try and see as much of these 92 miles as I can.
I stated my Saturday early with a drive to New England Backpacker in Worcester. I was curious about this little independent store and I would be able to buy the Mid-State trail guide there.
I have been looking into a few more pieces that would help in future adventures like a backpacking trip I am going on in June. When I got there they had the stove I decided to buy and at the same price as big box stores. I would rather give my money to an independent place so I got it. Sadly I couldn't complete my cook package there as the pots were few and expensive so I moved on with just that and some maps.
I decided to head to Ashburnham and hike Mt Watatic. Seemed like a nice little Saturday walk. I left the Cape in the rain but here I just happened to be driving into more and more sunshine and blue sky as you can see.

This is part of the Mid-State so it was a double dip for me. There is a little parking lot that fit 8-10 cars but that was full and just as many spilled out and parked on the side of Rt 119.

The trail in was busy. It was a beautiful Saturday so I expected it. The trash was a little of a bummer too. This was just ion from the lot and it seemed as if the little pond was overflowing the path so we took the stepping stones in.

The trail was pretty straight up and had a lot of little creeks so cross and rocks. I even got to stand in the quiet and listen to a woodpecker at work.

I will say the Summit took me totally by surprise. The view on the way up was okay but more just admiring the woods. Once I came out over the top I was shocked to see a beautiful double summit with views for miles. I could faintly make out the Boston skyline, I could bee Mountains in Nh and the ski slops of Mt Watchussett.

After soaking that in for a while. I decided to move on. I avoided the people as best I could in the photos but they are everywhere. 4 people even sat on the Cairn at the 1st Summit. Really asshole?
I took the path less traveled on the way down. It was a more gradual decent and I only saw about 4 people which was nice. It also had many cairns which I love.

Geek that I am I was so excited to see I could walk to New Hampshire in 4 miles. I didn't have the time or supplies to add that little 8 mile gaunt onto my trip so I just kept heading back to my car.
Wait I just prove read this post and noticed NH .4 mile POINT!!!! Crap I would have done that.
Another trip for another day I guess.

Impromptu River Fun

I'm sure I have blogged about this numerous times but I am slowly but surely working the outdoors into the lives of my girls. Sometimes they go willingly, sometimes they go kicking and me screaming. The end result is the same. They are in love in no time.
Wednesday when I got home from work I just walked in the door and said put your shoes on.
I changed my clothes and loaded all 3 of them in the car. They grumbled but saw there was no protest allowed. We drove around the corner to River Bend. Ava and Lilly were happy but Olivia told me this place is boring. I will admit I didn't get it back in the day either. Like its a field?!?
The funny part is when you enter the path I feel like you are stepping behind a curtain and you are out of Sandwich Rd East Falmouth. We usually cover all the trails because it is small but we can get our paws wet, sometimes see the swans and cover the little foot bridge.

Today was no exception. These photos are care of Olivia and show a little of her artistic angle of things. Spring is definitely poking out here as well.
Quickly we dispelled Olivia's thought that this place is not fun and decided we could walk from our house. Sandwich Rd is a little dicey but they think we can handle it.
Until next time.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wood Neck Beach

Friday after the busy week we had I decided to stay local but still enjoy the beautiful day by taking a trip to Wood Neck with all my girls. They wore bathing suits but I wasn't so adventurous.

I was sad to see our heart with blurred lines so we fixed it up for the season. 

Mt Percival-Mt Morgan Loop

I did it, I did it, I did it!
I really needed this week off, like more than I could explain and I really don't even want to go back to those feelings. I decided if I was going to cash in all of my remaining time off I would need to use some for myself. I asked Gramma if the girls could sleep over her house Wednesday night so I could leave at 6am to head back to the Squam Lake area and do the Percival-Morgan loop. I investigated it beforehand and it looked fun and a bit challenging. It had caves, cliffs and ladders and was just a bit on the long side for me at 5.6 miles.
My plan was to go to the Squam Lake Association office to acquire a paper map. I had a photo of a map and was going to use this new GPS mapping app but I always try to back that up with paper. Awesomely enough, the store was empty. No employee to be found all though I walked into an open door and the hiking map shelf-empty.
I stopped at a local market and inquired and she said she didn't yet as it was their first day open for the year but she could answer any hiking questions I had. Mostly I wanted to know about ice which she informed me was gone in this area and the mud had dried up too. Happy Hiking!
I had also heard this was a pretty popular trail and well marked so I decided to just head out.
I parked in the Morgan lot and walked .3 miles down the road to the Percival trail head and started up.
Yellow Blaze was all I needed to know.
There were also large signs at trail crossings so really no way to mess this up and I kept checking the GPS which was working fine even on airplane mode.

Today's hike was happily stress free. I stopped to listen and attempt to spot a woodpecker hard at work, crossed many small brooks like this one and took a picture of the only flower I saw all day.

As my heart rate increased and I broke out in a sweat I periodically stopped and turned around. Little by slow the view got better. This is one of the advantages of hiking in all seasons. In Summer I would most likely be seeing beautiful foliage and no lake.

At this point a better map would have been helpful but nothing beat bumping into another hiker. (my first of the day actually) I asked which way and she said the caves were her favorite but she had her dog so she went the cliff route.
So left it is.
From this point on I am not sure if the pictures make sense but I will try to explain. This next picture is in fact the trail. That long piece of rock in the center is where I hooked a right into the cave opening.

I had to take off my pack and stick it into the opening as it wasn't big enough for all of me. I then sat uphill and put my feet into the cave first. I relate this type of hiking like a game of Tetris. Where is my foot going to go next? I love it like that.
One of the weirdest things was the feeling of ice cold air pouring out of the cave opening.
Once in the cave I took photos looking forward, back and forth.

This next picture is heading into the tunnel.

This is looking to my right. Not an exit but a place for sun to stream in.

This is looking back the way I came in.
This is the "NO ICE" left below 4000 feet. Yeah, okay.

This is the exit from the outside. I had to pretty much put my pack out but not lose it into a deep crevice of ice and shimmy under this dragon tooth of rock. The only issue was the ice. Not slipping on the slick ice which was in the sunlight was tricky. I had taken my ice spikes out when I got the no ice report but luckily the ice was over in 6 ft or so in only a couple places.  

Now can we talk Summit?
Oh My, this is the view of Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesauke in the far background. 

This was the approach to the Summit of Mount Percival.

People really are jerks sometimes. Don't they know geeks like me are walking all over this Summit looking for photo opps of our journey. Sadly this sign damage is fairly new as I have seen recent pictures and videos and the sign was complete.

To get from Percival to the summit of Morgan I had to travel a little less than a mile on the Ridge trail. This was a beautiful walk with very few views but it was beautiful all on its own. The day couldn't have been better.

At this point you can head down or head up to the Summit and continue on to other peak in the Squam Range. I decided to head to my second Summit and check out the ladders.

At Morgan's Summit I sat and ate with 2 other hikers. A woman with her 2 dogs and another with her 5 year old son. I knew I still had a couple miles to go so I decided to get back on my feet after a quick break. I made my way to the side with all bald rock and followed the yellow blaze painted on down. Again a map would have been helpful I think.
There aren't any pictures as concentration and hands needed to be focused on the job of not falling down the mountain. I soon found myself sitting on a rock with 2 sort of caves about 4-5 ft deep on either side of me. I began to get nervous. I couldn't figure out how to get down into them safely, I looked back the way I came and couldn't figure out going back up ( I had essentially slide down on my butt) and maybe sleeping here wouldn't be so bad.
I can hear voices below and 2 guys pop out of those caves on my right side. After explaining I am stuck and getting nervous one of them say give me your hand and walk down this rock in front of you.
Um. No. I will slide on my butt if you hold my hand. See over his shoulder was the cliff. I saw me tripping, and both of us going over the edge.
After many thanks I enter the cave and know my next step was to go down the ladders that I had hoped I would be going up. Sadly I could not do it. I couldn't figure out how to back out of the cave and slip down the 2 feet drop the first rung. I am not sure if it is clear in the picture but the top ladder is more like a V and no rung for the first 2 feet also at the bottom you must step left to the second ladder. I could not get a clear view of it from above and couldn't risk panicking on the ladder.

In the end I came back up and walked around the slabs of rock and back to the icy trail. I got to see this little guy dance around for a bit and took the picture of the ladders from the bottom when I came back around to the front of that cliff. I might have been able to do it going up as I wouldn't look back but down was a no for me.

This trail was a longer and more gradual decent and had some cool sights.

By the time I was back at the car I had a total of 7 miles under my belt and I felt great both physically and mentally. Bring on Mount Washington.

Ava Flava is 10 !!!

So if you're going to turn 10 you might as well have some fun right?
Ava, Olivia, Lilly and Kayla had a great time at in Kingston.
The first racer was just these girls and 2 additional racers. Their next race the field jumped to about 10-11.
I was surprised at how cautious they were. No one set a speed record that's for sure but they loved it and would do it again.
Because we didn't have a traditional birthday party I asked what they wanted to do instead of cake. Ice cream, Cupcake Charlie's, ect and it was decided that we would hit Smitty's back in Falmouth. 

Race Results

09/07/07 Main Street Mile 11:44
05/18/08 YPD 5k 52:57 17:05
06/14/08 Walpole Village 5K 35:27 11:26
06/21/08 Mashpee Fun Run 34:21 11:05
07/19/08 Mashpee Woodlands 36.49 11:52
08/10/08 Falmouth Road Race 1:29:31
08/25/08 Women Running Wild 35:40 11:30
10/25/08 Mashpee Firefighters 37:47 12:10
05/02/09 Cape Abilities 5K 34:59 11:17
05/17/09 YPD 5K 36:41 11:50
08/09/09 Falmouth Road Race 7mi 1:37
10/31/09 Mashpee Firefighters 5K 37:15 12:00
09/11/11 Main Street Mile 12:31
10/29/11 Screech to the Beach 5K 39.13 12:20
08/12/12 Falmouth Road Race 1:34:24 13:29
05/18/14 YPD 5k 44.25 14:17
06/1/14 June Jog 4mi 1:04 16:00
08/17/14 Falmouth Road Race 1:42:04 14:35
09/27/14 Girly Girl 5K 37:24 12:02
10/26/14 Pell Bridge Run 4mi 48:41 12:10
11/27/14 Turkey Trot in VA 5K 35:22 11:23
12/06/14 Jingle Jog 5K 34:42 11:11
03/29/15 Thomas Guinta Memorial 5K 34:14 11:03
04/19/15 St. Margaret's 5K 31:11 10:21
05/17/15 YPD Blues 5K 34:58 11:17
06/07/15 Newport 10 Miler 1:56:09 11:36
06/20/15 Mackenzie's 5K 33:55 10:54
08/17/14 Falmouth Road Race 1:33:51 13:24
10/31/15 Screech at the Beach 36:19 11:40