Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"52 With A View" - An Ascent of the Royces

Sunday was a spectacular day in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, so we couldn't rest on our laurels and we just had to get out into the mountains.  We decided to tackle an easier peak with great views, so we chose to hike the Royces (East & West) which can be easily accessed from the Evans Notch Road.  This was just 20 minutes form our campsite near Gorham.

East Royce is in Maine and West Royce is in New Hampshire, but they are easy to hike together (and there is no border crossing to be concerned with!).  We saw quite a few people on the east summit, but we had the west summit to ourselves.  Apart from being attacked by a territorial grouse on the way up the hiking was uneventful, but steep.  Our knees were very happy once we'd made it back to the parking lot!

At the summit of East Royce

Near the scene of the grouse attack

A lovely rocky trail

Mike & Denise enjoying the view from West Royce

The end of one list, and the start of another....

There are forty-eight peaks over 4000-ft in New Hampshire and over the past few years we have been  gradually tackling them whenever the the summits of the high peaks were clear.  Sometimes this was in the winter, sometimes in the summer, and sometimes at other times of year.

By the middle of September this year we had just one remaining peak to go.  We had in fact managed to catch up to our friend Denise who had been at 47 for almost a year (did she wait for us?).  So, we planned a camping trip last weekend to celebrate and to tackle our last remaining peak, Mt Moriah near Gorham, NH.  We were accompanied by our friends Denise, Mike, Bill and Kim.

We chose to ascend the peak via the Stony Brook trail which gives great views of many other peaks including Mount Washington, Pine Mountain, the Carters, the Wildcat range, the Wild River Wildernesss, the Royces (East & West), and the Baldfaces.  Once on the ridge to the summit we relaxed and enjoyed the hiking and each other's company.

To celebrate our achievement we had a picnic lunch at the summit of Mt Moriah, washed down with "bubbly" and tequila.  We took lots of photos and lingered to enjoy the moment.

Our descent took us over the open peak of Shelburne-Moria and then onto the Shelburne Trail.  We hiked about 13-miles in total and finished the day by hiking down an old logging road in the dark.  It was great feeling to have completed this group of high peaks, and now we are trying to decide what list we will tackle next...


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Watch Hill and the end of summer

Today the weather was perfect (just like summer) and we both spent the day in the garden. To finish a wonderful day we enjoyed an end of season trip to the beach for a swim and dinner outside at the Olympia Tea Room. With all the tourists gone for the season it was quiet and relaxed for everyone!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mt Tom in the Willey Range

To "clean up" our last few unclimbed 4000' peaks in New Hampshire we hiked to the top of Mount Tom earlier this week. It was a short distance (about 5 miles) out-and-back trail with minimal views along the way. We did have the summit to ourselves for over an hour which was a nice surprise since we saw plenty of other hikers on the way up and the way down (via the A-to-Z Trail). Just one more NH 4000' peak to go now....

Our hike to Mt Carrigain

Earlier this week we hiked to the top of Mount Carrigain in New Hampshire via the Signal Ridge Trail. This was one of the last remaining 4000' peaks that we haven't yet hiked. We had spectacular weather and enjoyed fabulous view from the fire tower at the summit. This hike was too long for Zealand (just over 10 miles), but we took him for a well deserved walk at Thorne Pond when we got home.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mt Willey via Kedron Flume


We combined the Terrifying 25 and NH 48 4000' lists to map an adventurous route to Mt Willey. The approach to Willey from the south via the Kedron flume which connects to the Willey Range Trail with a short distance on the AZ trail.

The Kedron flume offers a beautiful water feature and a bit of a scramble. Near the flume autumn color was starting to show with some red and yellows.

The Avalon-Zealand or "AZ" trail is the Appalachian trail. We met a very lively couple from Wisconsin on the AT and then a gregarious through hiker. It is always fun to meet the through hikers this time of year. The Nobos (northbounders) are in striking distance to Katahdin and are energized and very happy for an apple or fresh food.

After linking to Wiley Ridge Trail there is a steep climb to the summit of Mt Willey. In one steep section there are ladders, which gives this trail the "terrifying" status. We found the ladders fun and a nice change from climbing over rocks.

While the summit is tree covered, there are nice views on two ledges, one to the south and one to the north of the summit. We enjoyed lunch at the south vista with views of Webster Cliffs and Mts Webster and Jackson.

Sheri's Visit with Mike and DiAnn

While Bruno was visiting the Hancock family in England, Sheri traveled to Raleigh, NC to visit her Mom and Mike.

During her stay she attended an Iron Dukes luncheon and was treated to a Duke football game. Pre-game was BBQ at Bullock's with Mike, Di, Gwen and Bill. The game was a lot of fun and no worries about a conflict of interest... they weren't playing Wisconsin. The Duke fans are committed; there are Blue Devils everywhere you look, even the bathroom.

Sheri enjoyed walks with Mike, a visit to Duke Garden and happy hour on the deck. There was an interesting stick sculpture at the Garden that was fun to explore. She also enjoyed a visit with Tonya, our long-time friend from Madison days, and her partner Ralph.

It was a great visit, good weather, company and food!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

An Evening at Tanglewood

We joined our friends Joey, Bernie, Laurel and Scott at Tanglewood for an evening of ‘Movie Themed” music. Tanglewood is outdoor amphitheater located in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, and the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

 It was a beautiful evening and great to catch up friends. Laurel and Scott live part-time in Silver City, NM, so it is a treat to be able to catch up when they are in CT. Even though Joey and Bernie live in the opposite corner of CT, it was good to finally get together with them as well. We packed a great picnic and were grateful to have Laurel’s brownies for dessert. Some of you may remember Laurel as “The Queen of Tarts” who made the pies for our wedding celebration.

 We heard soundtracks from favorites like Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Harry Potter. The second half of the concert was directed by John Williams himself which was really a treat. The themes from Lincoln and Schindler's List were particularly moving and offered solo performances that were breathtaking.    

The Wildcats

Last weekend we spent the weekend in New Hampshire with our friends Denise and Mike. We had a great day on Saturday hiking the Wildcat ridge trail and bagging two more 4000' peaks. The views of Mt Washington were perfect and we really enjoyed the rugged and rocky trail.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Summer Vacation 2017: Hiking the Welch-Dickey Circle

On the final day of our summer vacation we decided to hike the Welch-Dickey circle in Waterville Valley, NH.  It was a beautiful day for a hike, and we figured that at just 4.4 miles we could take Zealand along with us.  After a short walk through the woods the trail emerges onto some big granite slabs and then makes its way around a spectacular ridge above the tree-line.  We had great views in all directions and "Mr Z" managed to make it around despite some panting and minor fatigue on the steep uphill sections.

Sheri on the trail

Zealand on the trail

Bryony enjoying the view on the Welch summit

Views of the Sandwich range

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Summer Vacation 2017: A short hike to Pine mountain

Whilst we were in NH we decided to take a short hike up Pine Mountain (off Dolly Cop Road).  It is only 3.5 miles long so we were able to take Zealand along with us. The weather was perfect and the view from the top was spectacular. Even Zealand was impressed!