Thursday, June 29, 2006

Zealand and Middle Tripyramid Finally!

Yesterday I picked up my dad's car around 8am, had breakfast with my mom at Mailey's Diner on Route 149 and headed up to NH to climb a couple more mountains.   My first goal was to Cimg4037
climb Zealand Mtn.      The trail up Zealand was fantastic.  The trail into the notch between Tom and Zealand is a very flat one that follows the Zealand River Trail (pic on left with Zealand above).  There are numerous spots to jump in for a swim.  The last time I was on the trail I was climbing Mt. Hale with Katie Sauer with a broken knee (I didn't know it at the time but I had no
Cimg4049 ACL in my knee).  When I left Lake George in the morning it was cloudy and raining but as I started my hike the sun was out.  It took me little time to make it to the amazing Zealand AMC hut at the beautiful Zealand Falls.  This hut was
fantastic.  It was clearly built right to the flanks of the steep mountain next to the falls.  Guests at the Cimg4062
hut are provided meals, bunks, electricity, showers etc.  Apparently the pricing is very expensive and it sells out quickly.  A short walk from the hut isCimg4061
the falls which is basically a staircase of falling water over smooth rock.  It's a great place to cool yourself off and the views of Crawford Notch are amazing.  When I'm a little older and lazier I'd love to come back to this hut with friends and family because the hike in is incredibly easy - just a light walk - and the views and amenities are great.
    From the hut I continued nearly straight up the side of the mountain gaining elevation fast Cimg4074
until I hit Zealand Ridge.  I loved having my new Garmin GPS with me as it told me my location Cimg4071
and elevation the entire way.  I met a few people at a lookout who said I had a couple more hours before reaching Zealands summit.  40 minutes later I was standing on the wooded summit..... It wasn't much to write home about.  Just a cool carved out sign amongst a stand of spruce trees.  As I stood on the summit I looked up and the sky was quickly turning black so I wasted no time and booked it back towards the AMC hut.  I popped a couple Aleve for my bad knees and headed down the steep trail to the hut, making it there just as the Cimg4076
rain began.  On the hike out on the easy trail along the river it poured hard for about 20 minutes leaving me drenched but it was warm and when I got back to the car the sun had come out again.  The hike turned out to be 11.09 miles according to my GPS.  I started at 12:36pm, reached the summit at 3:08pm and was back to my car at 5:18pm averaging 2.8 mph while I was moving.  Love that GPS... :)
    I drove into North Conway and found a place called the Colonial Motel to stay for the night... Ironically when I went to pick up the Chinese I ordered down the street I found two hotels, each 10 dollars cheaper... oh well.  On my way down route 302 I came across Silver Cascade FallsCimg4083
which I hadn't noticed before and grabbed a quick pick.  I picked up some booze and watched the Red Sox beat the Mets for the sweep of the series.  I love my Red Sox!  12 straight wins at that point, which they've only done 3 times in the history of the franchise.  And it was their 16th straight game without an error which ties the MLB record since record keeping began in 1960.  Coco Crisp the star of the game had a great diving catch which prevented the tying run.   Schilling, my boy, got the win and Papelbon of course got the save.  According to the announcers it was the best game of the season, and according to Terry Francona he's never seen a play as great as the one Coco made... what a statement from a man that's been in the game for so long!  Anyway... it was a great end to a great day hiking.
    I woke up today at 5:30am and headed down the Kangamangus highway in NH towards the Tripyramid range.  I have climbed this mountain twice before and have turned around at the summit both times.  The first time was in college when I climbed it with my friend Lindsay who was exhausted when we got the summit of North Tripyramid so we turned around.  The 2nd time was when I climbed it alone in the spring of 2004 and had to turn around because it was late in the day and the trail was competely unbroken (2 feet of snow) and it didn't "feel" safe to me.  So, accordingly with the name this was my 3rd attempt at Middle Tripyramid. 
    The trail into the base of the mountain was easy as usual but from there on it was literally one of the steepest trails I've ever climbed.  I was panting and out of breath by the time I reached the summit ridge of the range.  At one point my GPS actually couldn't find a sattellite because I was hidden underneath the huge mountains on a steep slope.   As I was approaching the summit of North Tripyramid with my headphones on as usual I suddenly looked up and saw a dog in my face barking!  People were camping at the summit (illegal above 4,000 ft but I didn't say anything).  I told them the updated weather report from the morning and headed off down the ridge.  It was 8am at this point and I needed to reach Middle Tripyramid and get back to North by 9am for my descent.  I briskly ran the ridge as fast as I could to Middle Tripyramid.  While on the summit taking pictures I could see South Tripyramid in the distance.  The summitCimg4093
as you can see from the picture on the right is wooded.  This mountain is not on my list of peaks to bag because it is too close to Middle to be designated a completely seperate peak but it is still over 4,000 ft.... so for peace of mind I decided to run over the ridge further to reach it's summit also.  This meant that I went over North, Middle, to South then back over Middle to North (technically climbing 5 mountains that morning).  I got back to the first - North Tripyramid at 9:02am... :).  I said hi to the campers again and hauled ass down the mountain to my dad's car which I arrived at around 10:15 for a total hike time 3hrs 45 minutes for 10.12 miles.  Not bad and at a much faster pace than Zealand the day before.
    The rest of my day involved an 80mph drive home to make it to work for a very exhausting Friday night shift at Wheatfields by 3pm.  I had 5 minutes to change at my apartment and make it to work.  Talk about cutting it close!  What a great two days of hiking!.


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