Thursday, July 5, 2018

Summer Goal #2: Go climb EVERY mountain! (or one)

Before the world turned to molten lava (seriously, it has been 95 degrees here in Maine since Saturday. Basically pure torment for us cold blooded Northeners) Eric, My cousin Evan, My Dad Lee and I climbed Mt. Jefferson. 

This was a last minute opportunity for me. I managed to finagle things in my schedule enough to be able to take a rare (and kind of needed) day off. I was very excited to be able to include myself in this adventure, as hiking was on my must do list for 2018.

We got off to a decently early start, (although not that early) and hit the trail around 9:00. 

Pre hike excellence 
The day was just perfect, 50 degrees at the start. Forecast to be about 80 at "sea level" and between 50-70 degrees for the climbing duration. 

I certainly was the least experienced, and least bold hiker in the group. The only thing I really had going for me was my ability to actually hike (because I am reasonably fit) and my ability to carry snacks in my bag. At least I had something to offer. 

We definitely picked a great day for views and weather, it was dry, clear, and perfect!

The trail (Caps Ridge) began pleasantly enough. Typical White Mountain, below tree level path. Some roots, rocks, and elevation gain but nothing to get too hyper about. 

As we rose above the treeline, the views (and the warmer sun) became apparent!

Scenic Vista #1
Generally speaking, if I was given a route choice I would always pick the easy, and less death defying option. Evan, NOT so much!! He was like a little mountain goat, filled with climbing skills and boundless energy. 

King of the mountain
What nobody mentioned to me about this trail were the "caps". I assumed that since I was hiking with both my father and husband, nobody would have a death wish for me. For a moment, I thought I was BADLY mistaken. 
I have some issues with heights, and fears of falling backwards to sudden and certain death. There may have been a moment or two where I had to talk myself down. (not literally) Luckily, more fearful of shame than death, I motored up the beasts and we hiked onward. 

Just some caps. NBD. Or.... SCARY.
There were a lot of rocks to climb over. At some points in the final half mile I was laughing at the absurdity of the "trail" that we were on! (and yes, I know all the White's are just giant rock piles.) I would look up, at the endless heaps of boulders and think that if someone before me had not deemed the heap a trail, I certainly would not attempt to struggle up it. It was rather amusing. 

We made it to the top, where it was closer to 50 degrees than 80, and we hunkered down for a rest. We had made it to the summit in exact book time even with our snack/scenic vista stops (and my less than speedy trip up the scary caps.)

Challenge Complete!!!! Well... Half way. 
Wo relaxed for a few minutes, ate some huge sandwiches, and watched the train head up Mt Washington (no pics of said train I am afraid....)

The rocks are the trail
The trip down was a good time. 
Evan, as usual, did some nice core strength work...! (photo cred to the super nice group of women that we met on the way down. Hikers are very nice, fun people!)

OMG EVAN!!!!!
I managed the caps much better on the way down, although I still was not exactly cozily inside my comfort zone. 
Lee is casual. I am hanging on. 
We made a spectacular finish, keeping our book time pace alive! 
We celebrated with a beer, as one should. 

Victorious!

Stats:
Mt. Jefferson:
4.2 miles (I forgot to start my watch but this is what  have....)
2,931 elevation gain (again... watch stopped but it's close enough)
2 hours 50 minutes (close...)
No falls off cliffs and only one scraped ankle! Winning!

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