Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wilderness Excursion

This weekend started off right. Not only did it start a day early, but it was a day full of hiking, cabin-dwelling, and cabin-dwelling activities. Meghan's brother and his two friends are currently on a road trip from Wisconsin attempting to see as much of the East coast as they can in the time they have allotted. Naturally, NH was on the list of places to visit. In lieu of the standard visitation activities (see Dartmouth, eat VT cheese, drink NH/VT beer) we adopted to spend the night in one of the several cabins owned by Dartmouth. 

Good hiking trails nearby was a must. No electricity was pretty high on the list. Wood stove was entirely necessary. Our options were quickly limited to a couple options. We settled on one of the two cabins at the base of Mt. Moosilauke. In the end, we had no choice, only the John Rand cabin was available. Turns out this was a great choice. Ole Johnny's cabin was exactly what we were looking for.

At 11:00am, we arrived at the base of the mountain, by the Mousilauke Ravine Lodge. No time to unload at the cabin first, we were going to need to start hiking if we were going to definitely finish before sun down. The hike up was beautiful. Scenery changes occurred every so often - leaf covered muddy ground, followed by non-muddy leaf covered ground, to ground with a bit of snow, then on to ground with a fair bit of snow cover surrounded by snow covered fir trees, and then finally the barren arctic alpine region. 

Adam, Erik, and Mike basically dominated the mountain, needing about 3 hours to complete the round trip. It took them a bit longer since they waited for Meghan and I before summitting. Crossing the barren arctic wasteland that is the summit was pretty awesome. Unrelenting wind, fridge conditions, and snow blasting in our faces. Still, we took time to hang out and take a few pictures while we were up there. To the left is Mike standing behind the sign indicating we were at the summit. We couldn't really tell what it said due to all the snow and ice, but I at least assume it said we were at the summit.

The way down was also leisurely (for Meghan and me), however, team Weird Beards practically ran down the mountain and made the descent in no time at all. While they were running, Meghan was taking pictures! The alpine zone was covered with ice and snow and made for great photography. On the right is a nice image of the snow that had piled up on the tip of a pine tree.

After the 7 mile hike it came time to unload our gear into the cabin. No vehicles were allowed up the road, only foot traffic, so we hiked the gear up. First order of business was getting the wood stove fired up as the temperature had dropped well below freezing. A couple of hours later and the cabin was finally warm! Evening was spent eating, drinking, and playing Pictionary. Oh, and story time near the end of the night. Erik enjoyed that activity the most, I would say.

Morning came quickly. We all slept soundly after the long day of hiking and awoke well rested and ready to hike down from the cabin. The fire had burned out in the wood stove and the dishes were washed with boiled stream water before we turned in the night before. That meant clean up was speedy and we were on the road by 9:30am. Team Weird Beards were off to Maine to see Acadia National Park and Meghan and I traveled home to prepare for this night - potluck and contra dancing!

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