Date Climbed: 05/02/2010
Distance: 14.2 miles
Low Elevation: 900 feet
High Elevation: 3238 feet
Elevation Gain: 4150 feet
Elevation Loss: 4350 feet
Start Location: Lambert Ridge TH
Finish Location: AT TH, Rt 25A
Route: AT (Lambert Ridge Trail, J Trail, Kodak Trail, AT)
Weather: Periods of clouds, then periods of full sun. Hot - probably 80.
Companions: New Hampshire, JustJoe, HardCoreIdiot
3 with the brains of a sugar Cube, but Brian got the SmartsDorchester Rd. to Smarts: 2:30
Smarts to Quintown Rd: 1:50
Quintown Rd. to Cube: 2:00
Cube to 25A: 1:40
It Looked Good on Paper, and funny, by the numbers above it Looks Good on Paper Now
Brian needed Smarts, I hadn’t been to Cube, and by gosh they’re right next to each other. Traverse! Thought it was around 12 miles, that grew to 14, and the elevation gain didn’t look too horrible. We suckered JustJoe and HardCoreIdiot into coming. The night before Brian finally realized I was trying to kill him, and said he was going only to Smarts. Fair enough. I could happily(?) spend most of my day convincing Joe and Greg that I was insane, and that I wanted them to swear to never hike with me again or just wanted them dead. It almost worked. I think all I did is got myself excluded from planning a trip ever again.
Smarts via Lambert Ridge Trail
Second time for me. I was warmed up in about 2 minutes. A little chilled standing around turned to hotter than a politician’s breath that quick. I extolled the virtues of this wonderful trail, which meant that after only a year, I had forgotten about all but one of it’s not so easy sections. I had forgotten about the PUD’s to which Brian spat upon on the way down. At least I hadn’t forgotten that you quickly hit ledges and views. The last time I was here, the sky was perfectly clear and the views were equally perfect. Today, it was perfectly uninspiring. Cardigan could be seen, but even Kearsarge was out of sight. Yuck. Stupid unseasonable warmth.
Oh but we laughed and laughed, making all manner of fun of everyone, including ourselves. We mourned the absence of our dear friend BobC, and then quickly made more fun of his abandoned trip up here due to two right boots, and none of the left variety. We were happy to have Joe, but quickly made fun of how he’s falling apart in his old age. Greg was sporting his latest injury, and thus managed to keep all of his gear. It was good to have loads of laughs then, because they would not last.
The privy had been cleaned out of all its mirth and merriment. Where there was once bath toys, a shower curtain, and a shower head connected to nothing, now there was nothing. The humor had been cleansed. Phooey. Heading up the tower, we all discovered we hated going up towers, but it seemed silly to bag a 52 with a view to only view trees around a tower. Again, the views weren’t nearly 10% of what they are on a clear day, but were of some interest. We had lunch, and each of us felt the need to exclaim “did you know there’s snow here?!” when each had to do their business in the woods. I managed to stink up the summit in all manner of ways, so it was now time to part ways. We mocked Brian’s lack of testicular fortitude, bade our farewells, and set off on the J Trail.
Smarts to Cube via J and Kodak Trails
Well, almost, we had to check out the cabin with its interesting reading. I noted some new ones, Greg found a particularly amusing one, and I noted some favorites from the last time. I really like the blaze on the building, too. OK, back to the J Trail. There were only small patches of snow on the north side of the mountain, but lots of mud patches. It had rained hard the night before according to some campers. It’s basically another ridge walk, and along the way I spotted something large moving across the trail, then clumbering up a tree. ‘Twas a porcupine. While standing under him, I was suddenly hoping the branch would hold his weight. We finally came off the ridge, more boulders, more mud, more glades, more streams, on and on. It was definitely quieter without Brian, but Greg was doing his best to provide amusing noises – so much so that I almost walked face first into a blowdown laughing. It was downright hot now, and I was already through my 2nd of 4 liters of water for the day. I’m usually lucky to drink two. We came to a nice woods road, then the S. Branch of Jacobs Brook, which we had to go downstream a bit to cross, and then finally Quintown Rd.
Now we were pondering how lovely it would be to have a vehicle here. Ah, for now we were jealous of the one we mocked. We were 1500 feet below the summit, and had a not negligible PUD in front of us to deal with. Did I mention it was hot? Don’t worry, I’ll bring it up again shortly. We set off to the PUD that is the Eastman Ledges, which was steep. Our legs were not happy at this return to going up. Still, we climbed the 600 feet or so surprisingly quickly. We now reached the N. Branch of Jacobs Brook, and here I plunged my head into the cold water. Ohhh, did that ever feel so good. Too bad it was so short lived. A quick and pleasant climb to the shelter spur, some following the contour, and pretty much all I remember after that is long stretches of easiness, following by serious boulders. Repeat. This stretch seemed to take forever. We finally caught sight of Cube, Joe yelled out exactly what he thought of it, and then Greg pointed out there were people up there. Hopefully the wind was blowing the wrong way. We could see a dog up there, well, that doesn’t look so far. It was a Golden Retriever and I was looking forward to handing out some free doggie love.
So of course, that stretch seemed to last forever. I know the map says it goes straight up, but to me it seemed like it skirted the summit in every way imaginable. On the summit, we finally got a decent breeze, and again, the views were much their haze sameness. No dog. :( Joe spotted the north summit, where Jason Berard said there’s even better views. I thought it was a whack on a now abandoned trail to 25A, and there was no way in hell I was doing that. On our way down, we found such is not the case – it is a trail to that peak. There was no way in hell we were doing that, either. We were beat, and it was still 3.3 miles to the cars. This is a nice little mountain to return to someday when the skies are clearer, so no loss there. As Gov. Arnold once said "Caleeeefornya". No wait, that wasn't it.
Cube to 25A on the whatever the AT is locally called here
More boulders, more mud, the occasional half-serious (maybe) “I forgive you” from Joe and eventually some decent earth to walk on. Except it wouldn’t end. We could see the lake, and it looked so close, but we were still over 1000 ft. above it. It just couldn’t go down fast enough. Trudge, trudge, trudge. An annoying PUD or two. Trudge, trudge, trudge. A few grunts that could be mistaken for words. Looking at the track, the numbers don't look too bad. Then, it seemed to drag on forever and ever and ever...
I have to say it was probably the hardest hike I’ve done ever. I think the combination of two big climbs and the heat did a number of all of us, but for me personally it was nice to push the bounds a bit and build up some more strength for more adventures this summer. I may just be doing it alone from now on. :wink: