Picture it. Sicily. 1947. No wait that's not it...
I started hiking again in March of 2008. I very quickly decided the 48 wouldn't be enough, I wanted to learn to bushwhack, and the NHHH didn't bring me up way north enough. So the 3k it was. Monadnock as a warm-up and then Mt. Martha. Next, in May of '08 I headed off solo for N. Blue Ridge/Wolf/Wolf Cub. Wolf Cub would be my first real whack. The first two went easily enough, and I was thrilled to sign into my first jar on N. Blue Ridge, and I think I'm part of a small group to actually sign into Wolf. As is my way to this day, I wanted to try something different, so ignoring Jean-Sebastien's TR of going NE/easterly off the ledges, I headed south to try for a quick connect with the old AT, then north before turning to the Cub. Big ugly mess coming off Wolf. Young fir and blowdown pretty much the whole way to where I think I connected to the old trail. I was toast and had enough. I had an equally unpleasant time getting to the pond. and only found the old snowmo trail near its end. Final insult was a wrong turn heading down the Gordon Pond Trail and sinking knee deep in that damned mud. Undeterred (but humbled), I jumped back on that horse and next week signed in at Resolution.
April 18, 2010. With Brian, Greg and Joe, it was time for their first go and my second attempt. We had watched the snow conditions, and were hearing very good things below 3000'. So with bare ground below, we left the shoes behind and headed up the initially pleasant Gordon Pond Trail and then found plenty of mud to play in higher up. Around the east side of the pond in moderate stick woods, we came out to the open ravine and were met with something like 2 feet of snow where we'd occasionally fall through the crust. We had hoped to follow the snomo trail to a point where we could ascend heading ESE. This was slow going so we decided to slab the ridge. Woods were decent, but we ended up on the ridge and kept hitting thick stuff. Brian breaking through and finding a log thrust all the way between his legs ended that trip at 2800'. It was the only time I've heard him be quiet for 10 minutes. :) Serious sinking once we got down. I really hate this mountain at this point. I can deal with missing a monutain once, but twice?
Dec. 17. Greg suggests this, and given Babarossa's report of little snow in Hubbard, it's decided to get this one out of the way due to its remoteness. Plan drawn up after much research and staring at satellite pictures. Brian, Greg and I (Joe was skiing nearby) arrive at the Georgiana Falls TH and set off on the snowmobile trail at 7:20. We were planning on making a direct route to the bend in the power line at 2080', but we decided it was just easier to stay on the trail. When the trail got near the bend, we headed off on the 0.4 mile whack to the power lines. I led, leading us a bit too far south (basically straight upslope) despite trying to keep a close eye on the compass. It was slow going on my part, due to little hiking in the past month, but the woods were little more than a little hobblebushy. We went up the lines with only about 2-3" of snow to the first hump, avoiding a few wet spots, lost 100' and reclimbed to the second hump, coming to the NE ridge of Wolf Cub.
I yanked out my map, and showed the guys the areas to avoid (a possible blowdown patch at 2800' and a very scary looking area on the 2960' plateau on the NE side). Greg took the reins, and did beautifully avoiding these areas and staying in open woods. We occasionally hit very short patches of lightly moderate stuff, a few blowdowns to avoid, but generally it was great, with no more than maybe 5" of snow. Finally we were above 3000'. I was petering out badly, but the guys were waiting and Greg said "go ahead, this is your white whale." What great friends, this very thoughtful gesture put a big smile on my face. So we hit moderate woods quickly, and then a band of thick young, push-through spruce, with a layer of snow covering me quickly. Emerging from that, we came to an 8' steep wall. No apparent way around it, we scrambled up and I immediately started looking ahead to get around some stuff. "Mike?" "Yeah?" "Ahem." There it was 10 feet away and I almost walked right by. Ah well. I was disappointed to not find it, but I was relieved it was found. It was over. Wolf Cub, my nemesis, was completed. Jar and contents are in fine shape, but with a hungry stomach and cold temps., I could only sign in without checking entries (Greg said John G. was the last entry in the summer) and we beat a hasty retreat. I had a shorter exit route, but with such great woods, we just followed the same way back. No need for surprises. At the bend in the power lines, we just took a bearing to the car and beelined it, skipping a huge dogleg in the snowmo trail. It got bouldery in places, but good the whole way overall. We were back at the car at 1:00. Third time's the charm. :)