Soooo, my wife and I went up to Woodstock for the long Patriots Day weekend, and I figured I could squeeze in an early morning hike. I looked at Kinsman Pond, I looked at Liberty and realized I would be wiped out the rest of the day with those stats. Not a good way to treat your wife to a long weekend. So back to plan A, Mt. Pemigewasset. Oddly, like Welch-Dickey, this is a hike I had never done before, Sunday was supposed to be sunny, and it's a 52 With a View peak. Winner!
I woke up at 5:30, was out the door in short order, and enjoyed the 5 minute drive to the trailhead. I could live like this. It was cold this morning, in the 20's I suppose, and the glove liners and hat were a necessity. I marched down Route 3, covering the 1.2 miles or so rapidly, with hardly any traffic seeing as it wasn't even 6:30 yet. A nice shot of the target from the resort:
Into the lot for the Indian Head Trail, which was almost melted out. The started out nice and clear.
Bits of monorail showed up here and there, and about halfway up then there were a number of places where I kept losing the trail. The blazing in this section was pretty poor, and throw in hardwoods and it wasn't all that hard. Finally I made it to the softwoods where the trail (and rail) was obvious, and on came the spikes. It got steep and icy, and while the snowshoes went for a free ride, I was pretty happy about bringing the spikes.
I thought I heard a voice behind me, but I never saw a soul all day. Again, benefits of an early start. Despite my legs feeling pretty shaky all day, and a slow pace, I pushed to the top and was immediately confused by the views. I figured it was a southeast exposure, but as I picked out Moosilauke and then Wolf, it was clearly more south to southwesterly.
And with Mt. Wolf, I spied the evil side I did my first “real” bushwhack trying to get Wolf Cub (the first time). Nasty young fir, blowdown and steep. Ugh. Little did I know then, but I got a nice shot of Cushman. Another nasty, nasty bushwhack. Oh well, nice hike today!
I poked about the summit trying to look for a highpoint, as I couldn't remember if this had more than 200' of prominence or not (answer: no). There was about 5 candidates, but the snowpack was firm so it was a quick trip. So, time to head down. Spikes went back on, and I cranked it down the trail. Whee! The north side was obviously more snowy/icy, so the spikes stayed on for quite a while until there was a long stretch of dirt and rocks. I had to be careful where the ice reappeared but still made decent time.
Until about a mile from the lot and I stepped on a 1 foot boulder and it rolled out. Yes, time does slow down. I could feel it tumbling and was worried it was going to snap my ankle so I was dancing around and down I went. All I could think of was I was going to crack my head on a rock and I took the full brunt of the fall, 25 pounds of pack included on my right knee and outstretched arm. I let out a yell and thought I might be seriously screwed now. I ended up in a streamlet, so I used all my effort to try to get up and sit on a rock. And of course, said streamlet was flowing over said rock. A nice wet ass to boot. I forced myself to a dry rock, and just sat there for a few minutes feeling nauseous. Finally, I managed to unstrap the pack and throw it down and take stock of everything. My arm was sore as hell, and my knee hurt, but everything still moved. OK. Count my blessings.
I had a smoke break to just get my head straight, and finally stood up, feeling a little rubber legged, but overall in decent enough condition. I threw on the pack (painfully) and slowly made my way down. The rubber legs lasted for quite some time, but I just wanted to get to the danged car and into the hot tub. Emerging on the Pemi Path, I was not happy about walking through endless parking lots to finally get to the car. A quick ride to the Inn, three Ibuprofen, and an hour soaking in the hot tub did wonders.
Once in a while I need to be taken down a peg or two, and especially be careful when hiking solo. I hope this was a lesson I can hold onto. We'll see. Let the adventure continue...