Back to the woods: Mt. Whiteface & Mt. Passaconoway

Warning!  Lot of pictures!

After a ten year hiatus of hiking, I found myself back in the mountains last Thursday.  I used to date a guy who hiked a lot and had the chance to do both Mt. Eisenhower and Mt. Moriah when we were together.  I have held those incredible memories of making it to the summit and taking it all in for all these years.  Life goes on, relationships end and it was a decade later before I made it back to the top.  Two years ago I told Tony and Lise I wanted to start running to get in shape to hike.  My thought was about ten miles a week and some weight training.  Little did I realize my goals would change so drastically.  I finally got back to my original goal when I blew off my race plans.  I AM SO THANKFUL I DID!!!  Last Thursday was incredible and once again I am HOOKED!

The day dawned cloudy and muggy.  Tony, Katie, Steve and I headed to Albany NH.  I had picked our route a few weeks before after searching various blogs.  I decided we were all ready to knock out two in one day.  Mt. Whiteface (4,020 ft) and Mt. Passaconoway (4,043 ft) are in Albany NH.  We got to the parking area around 8:30 AM, amped and ready to go.  I should mention we had to drop nutbag (aka Tony) off at the chiro before we actually started our trip.  Here is how our pick up went at his house:

Tony – “Shhhhhh guys!  I have to call the chiropractor and cancel my appointment.”

Me –  “When the hell is your appointment?”

Tony – (sheepishly) “7”

Mind you…. it’s about 6:50AM. 

Me – “Seriously????”

Katie – “We can drop you off and get coffee!”  She is nicer than me.

Tony – “Really?  Ok!”

Me – “Seriously?????”

I’m ad-libbing that.  But, you get the idea.  We left Tony at the chiro and got coffee.  Then I got a text from him saying he was standing on the side of the street like a hooker.  He was.  We picked him up and were finally on our way.

We got our packs on, bug sprayed everything and headed off!  Here is the view from the parking lot looking at Mt. Passaconoway.  Mt. Whiteface is barely visible on the left:

mtp

Our ascent to Mt. Whiteface started gently.  When we did begin to climb, it was multiple series of rock steps.

rocksw

The climb was beautiful.  And wet.  Tony and I wore our Speedcross instead of boots.  Normally these shoes are incredible…. on dry rocks and mud.  Not wet rocks.  Took a bit for me to get the hang of sticking but once I did, I found my groove.  The final climb to the false summit of Whiteface gave us some excellent views:

lookatp

On the left is Mt. Passaconoway.  Here is a shot of Katie and Steve:

katiesteve

They make for incredibly fun hiking (and running) mates.  They are as crazy as me and Tony.  Anyway…. more on Whiteface.  If you do this mountain, be prepared to literally scale rocks for the last tenth of a mile.  We were hand over hand.  It was AWESOME!!!!!  Not much of a view at the top, but a blast anyway.

We made a quick stop at the top (Katie had to fix her poor blisters):

katie

I kept taking pictures.  Here is me being artsy:

artsy

Soon we were on the move again and heading towards Mt. Passaconoway.  We took the ridge trail towards the mountain.  Here is where I really got my legs and started to cruise.  At times I was way ahead of the group, enjoying the peace and quiet.  Reveling in how amazing it felt to be in the woods.  If I wasn’t such a wuss, I would actually hike them alone.  Not because I don’t love the company, but because there is something primal and thrilling about tackling these giants by yourself.  Someday I will be confident enough to go it alone.

The climb to Passaconoway was much more wooded with fewer rocks over the length of the hike.  The last tenth mile took up straight up again with more hand over hand climbing.  Rewarding and thrilling again!  At the false summit, Tony finally produced the treat he had packed:

beer

Here he is looking homeless in his “buff.”  Yup, his buff.  That’s the thing on his head that he didn’t shut up about for 7 hours.

And here is the treat:

moat

Good thing we split this thing four ways!  It was delightful with our snacks and the view.  And ice cold thanks to the ice pack Tony had it wrapped in.

After snack time, we descended Passaconoway quickly.  The trail was super easy to navigate and we killed this entire hike in 7.5 hours.  The recommended and recorded times are around 8.5 hours.  Cannot wait to hike more and to run some of them!!!

This was me the ENTIRE time:

mesmile

I was finally back where my heart belongs.  I have been under a tremendous amount of stress for awhile and have finally put on the brakes and realized I needed to do this.  I NEED to get back to my roots.  I have spent much of my life enjoying the outdoors but life has gotten in the way over the years and I have forgotten to take care of my soul.  No more.  It’s time to feed my soul again and enjoy the life I have.

I will leave you with this gem.  A truly breathtaking day:

IMG_20130711_213504

Hike Stats

Trails:

 Blueberry Ledge Trail to summit of Whiteface

Dicey Mill Trail along ridge from Whiteface to Passaconoway (follow the trail to the sign pointing to the Summit at intersection of Walden).

Walden Trail back to down to Ferncroft Trail.

Total Mileage:  Approximately 11.9

Conditions:  Cloudy, humid with highs in the mid 80s.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kmichaud87
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 20:06:44

    Nice! One of my life goals is to complete the 4000 footers in New England. I have bagged a few but still have many more to go!

    Reply

  2. Janine (@PurpleGiraffeJ9)
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 15:06:40

    Great post! I’m loving that you guys also bring beer on your hikes – and with all the great beer options in cans these days, it’s easier than ever! Also – I have that April Fools’ 4 miler shirt!

    Reply

  3. Mind Margins
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 18:54:03

    Absolutely stunning last photo, and I love the photo of you smiling. That says it all! Someone recently gave me my very own buff now that I’ve started chemo. Can’t wait to try it out!

    Reply

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