Monday, January 30, 2017

Ice, Ice Baby

I am itchy to get out. Did I mention that in the last post?
Well maybe it was the last hike that made it worse. I am also trying to be safe and smart. Winter isn't ust a walk in the woods especially when you venture over the Bridge.
A funny side story-A non-hiking friend tells me I thought I had a hike suggestion for you but it turns out it is like 10 minutes long and for 5 year olds. Hmm, Sometimes I am 5, talk to me.
He says Mount major is supposed to be a good hike. I know the views from the View point are great. ( The view point is a little turn off on the side of the road that faces the lake)
So I start to do a little homework. As it turns out this 5 year's hike is a basic 3.8 mile lollipop loop. It has some trails off of it to other non-view Summits if you want to get crazy but the view from the Summit of Major is supposed to be great.
I'm a sucker for a great view.
I also want to be safe so a 5 year old's hike is exactly what I need. Don't want to be all crazy on Mount Washington just yet.
A few days before I plan to leave I find out I will have my kids but my sister graciously volunteers to take the kids bowling and says-GO!
I want maximum time in the woods but still want to be a good Mama so I leave my house at about 4:15am Saturday and go straight through Boston. Quickest route. I am at the Zakum Bridge by 5am and trail head by 7am.
 This little nugget of information was posted on the map board. It was a great description of the trails. I took a photo and read it at the forks to help make the decision. When I headed out I was the sole car in the lot. The sun was like a baby just waking up with sleepy eyes. It was about 32 in the lot and clouds were breaking up to show blue sky.

  I decided to go up blue. It looked like the tougher trail and I had microspikes on almost from the parking lot so if I was going to have a tough time I would rather be going up than trying to come down a steep trail.
I do not think you  can clearly see but far up the hill are beautiful frozen water falls of ice. I think this is the trail but the blue blazes are few and far between. The trees that so have them are almost worn off. The picture to the right below has a blaze. No, really it does, look close. Seriously if it hadn't been for a mild frozen track I would have had a very slow go of it.

 Luckily the trail swung left and around those rocks above but none of it was ice free. The picture below is another place where the blaze was confusing and I stood for a minute or two thinking I can't be going that way?!?
Luckily after hunting with my eyes I saw a blue blaze to my left and the trail took an hairpin turn away from this view but places looked this icy and they were the trail and they went up.
 My poles were almost useless on some of the inclines as they just slipped away but surprisingly the spikes held me. I learned not to side step but just climb straight up and step firm. It made for more noise than I am used to but the crunching was worth the safety for sure.

After a particular tough ascent I stopped to catch my breath and turned around to get a picture of the trail I had safety maneuvered and was shocked. At times like this I am glad I am alone because I would be embarrassed by my own reactions but I just laughed out loud and said-Holy Fuck, that is awesome.
 I went back to work following the trail after this with more time in and out of the trees, keeping a vigilant eye for the blazes. I didn't get a picture but at the beginning of this trail there was a pretty stern warning about people easily getting lost and that it would be my responsibility if I needed rescue.
 Just shy of the Summit I could feel the wind pick up so I stopped and put on a fleece and my heavier hat but left the thin running gloves on because I could still do shit with them. I crested the Summit and was in awe. Beautiful all the way around. I took a video and some photos. Quickly I could feel pain in my hands so I checked out a few cairns and this structure for a Summit marker and then just headed towards the yellow/blue blaze. My hands were hurting pretty bad so as soon as I got behind a tree I dug out a couple hand warmers and my big gloves. The rest of my temperature seemed okay but I didn't want to have a hand issue. I figured I could look up the meaning of this rock foundation at home.


 In little time I was tucked back in the woods. Now I was headed down but at a more gradual grade. Being careful but learning to trust the spikes more and more.  Again not sure you will get the true gist but below is ice with rocks poking out. They had some snow overnight in this area so there was also a slight amount of granulated snow on top which along with the early morning made travel pretty good in my opinion.
 A short time later I came to a fork in the trail. A little ways down the trail on my left was a big sign firmly stating THIS ISN'T THE TRAIL TO THE PARKING LOT AND ROUTE 11.
Ok then. We go from squinting for a blue blaze to a stern talking to. As it turns out this trail would bring you over 5 Summits and 12 miles and I guess they wanted it to be clear. I considered a little side trip but I also knew it had no views ( thanks again to the info on the parking lot kiosk) so I kept right on the Brook Trail.
 I love a brook and the sound of water. I also like funky trees.
 I have yet to have had this many water crossings. This was the largest at maybe 15 feet across. Mostly you could go rock to rock or step on leaves piled up and thank God you have waterproof boots.

 I made it back to the car about 9:40. Passed 3 people towards the end just getting started and shared some trail info with 2 women headed on the Belknap Range Trail (Otherwise known as the "stern warning trail").
The lot had about a dozen cars by the time I was off loading my pack. A little aggravated to see 2 groups of teens/20 year olds with sneakers and Dunkin' Donuts cups head off into the woods but hey Hike your own hike right?
I was in the neighborhood of a friend so he met me at the Good and Plenty Diner for a fantastic breakfast to kill this hiker hunger.
Now you would think this was a terrifically full day but it was really only about noon so I hooked up with my girls at Ikea in Braintree for some shopping.
Step goal toast!









1 comment:

Barry said...

Great report! Awesome pics, too.

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