Give me a woo, give me a hoo, what d'ya got? A fantastic day for views in July of all times. Seeing as I needed to relieve my cabin-fever plagued wife this weekend, I took Friday off from work to hike (ala BobC). Brian couldn't make it, so I was then determined to be solo for a nice change, knock another off 3k, and find something with great views. Kearsarge North made the cut very quickly. The forecast looked great with sunny skies and very low dewpoints, and that held. As Friday neared, I was getting totally psyched up for this. Another reason for this trip was to try to get my new camera skills better, and to put the super-zoom to the test. As it turns out, a lot of the zoomed pictures got washed out so I retouched many of these (some obviously), so don't get too excited about them.
I opted for the Kearsarge Trail (which amazingly, goes up to Kearsarge), as I was thinking of taking the trip over to Bartlett (the mountain, not the town – I'm not that ambitious). The trail starts easily, then climbs pretty steadily on moderate grades through a wide open pine forest. The footway is easy to see, though, just watch for the erosion, and a flat treadway as it side slopes the whole way through this. I saw something I don't see too often, Red Pines with their flaky bark – I always liked these trees, a nice change from the Eastern White Pines. Eventually I broke out of the pine forest and out on the start of ledgey rock around 2000', with the beginning of some views. I love ledge rock, I love early views, I was getting more and more pumped up to get on top. I passed a few people on the way up, making decent time until the ledges, where the lack of breakfast was finally kicking in. Sour Skittles to the rescue! Sort of. I felt great last weekend, not so much this weekend.
Might I mention something all trail builders and relocaters should create? Flat spots. I love flat spots, a chance to catch your breath without stopping. There's a couple of key ones on this trail. Thank you trail people. Another fortunate event were plenty of views to stop at and take a breather.
Up, up and away. Hmmm, make that up, up, up. There's about 2500' feet of gain, not massive, but not insignificant either. Finally the trees started opening up and then I could see the tower, about 1.5 hours to cover 3.1 miles. Yippee! I immediately dug out the camera and tripod and headed up the tower after saying hello to the few folks up there. Holy mother of all views! I had a printout from Heywhatsthat.com to aid in the name that peak game, which is hard to lose when you're solo (and cheating). Ranges spread before me, Sandwich, Franconia, Willey, Bonds, Presis, Carter/Moriah, etc. etc. Actually, the first thing I looked for was just left of Chocorua, and it was the other Kearsarge. Plain as day. Nice. There's home (sort of), 60 miles away, and in the pictures I could even make out the tower. I for some reason just found it funny to take a picture of Kearsarge from Kearsarge. I spent over an hour soaking the views all in. Mountain after mountain (including Monadnock, 100 miles away). The Moats looked nice. Without clouds, that is...
I spotted what could have been Katahdin and got a shot in. The views to the east were especially clear, but it seemed ridiculous that it should stand out so at 160 miles away. After studying the picture, the angle (just north of Mt. Blue) and shape seem to be spot on. I'm pretty sure I did indeed see it. Wowie-kazowie. I signed in the register with a silly entry, and lamented a lack of a Marc entry as it only went back to June. I did spot a Wolfgang, however.
Eventually, my thoughts finally turned to darker things. Deep, dark, ugly things: Holiday traffic. Bartlett would be skipped for today. I expected to be down around 1:30 and wouldn't be home until 4'ish. Yeah, time to go before traffic gets silly. The trip down went quickly, dancing around rocks and roots, seeing plenty of people now heading up and I had a pleasant ride home. Those going north? Not so much. Meredith was already backed up beyond the Rt. 3 and 104 junction. Yuck. My wife called and requested a bank stop, which brought me right by Kearsarge Mountain Rd. in Warner, and I had the evil thought of a quick run up Kearsarge in order to have a picture of each Kearsarge from the other in the same day, but time was short, and I wasn't exactly sure I could spot it without some help. Ah well. It was an awesome day regardless, with especially great views for a day in July. This is obviously another of those sub-4k's that everyone should climb. I don't know why it took so long to do this, but then again, I still haven't been up Chocorua...