Friday, May 26, 2023

Spring hiking 2023

And just like that, it was spring! Sort of.

April 8th Eric and I ventured to the Franconia area for the weekend to celebrate his birthday (late!) We had procrastinated since we were both sick, and assumed that by this time we would be well over it. 
Ha Ha.
Eric was still suffering from a lingering cough (remember. at this point it had been literal WEEKS since coming down sick. I had taken 6 covid tests by this time, and Eric his fair share as well- all negative. So we were not spreading the plague around.) And while Eric was ill, I won the award by coming down with a gross sinus infection. It was ROUGH. Ellie joined in the fun and got an ear infection, which she was unperturbed by. When we arrived in Lincoln, I assumed I might be spending the whole weekend in the airbnb waiting for the antibiotics to work their magic. 

Well, the good news was that by the next morning my face and tooth pain had subsided, my nose was less stuffy, and the only intense symptom was a continuation of ear blockage (the worst of my life!) All in all, we were on the up and up. 

We met up with Evan for a chilly- but beautiful- climb up Liberty and Flume. We did an out and back of Liberty Springs trail (from the bike path at Flume Gorge.) This trail is lovely in the winter conditions because all the rocks are buried! Despite not being able to hear particularly well, I was feeling well enough to have a great time, as we all did. It was chilly enough for it truly to be winter conditions- some of the best of the year! 

This was a successful trip to claim these peaks for this round of the 48, and for April. 

The following day the weather warmed up a bit, and the wind was forecast to be very minimal so the three of us decided to do Franconia Ridge. 
Last year we did a big traverse from Flume to Lafayette, also in the Spring. While it's a little disappointing to repeat seasons at this point, this is NEVER (on a good day) a disappointing hike- and it WAS a good day so we took advantage of the chance to beat the summer crowds. 

While it got to 50 during the later part of the hike it was pretty solid winter conditions. Spikes to the ridge, bare boots across, and then spikes all the way down. The descent was a combo of pretty bulletproof ice to the hut- and then mashed potatoes in the warming temps. It was a little chilly up high- but another beautiful day and a good chance to get these peaks crossed off the list for this round, and April. 
And yes, I have decided to make bucket hats a thing. I'm sick of my ears getting burned and bucket hats look badass. 
And, unexpectedly, we set a solid PR of something absurd like 45 minutes! 

So the very next weekend, Summer arrived. Full send, 81 degreees, summer. 
We ventured out to visit Madison and Adams since it was supposed to be 47 degrees up high, with very little wind. Basically the best weather one could hope for! 

Well. It turned out to be a heck of a lot warmer than planned. 

It was a hot one. Zero wind. Toasty. We have been up there in july on much colder days. 

Of course- conditions were a mess. Bare boots to 2100' going up, then spikes up the skinny, rotting monorail. Bare boots from Madison Hut to Madison and Adams, and then a disgusting walk down Airline in gross spring conditions. Typical.

All that crap aside, it was a truly stunning day. 

Neither of us had a terrific day- Eric had done a big workout the previous day and was tired. I was a ton better but seemed to be developing a cough (with no "I'm getting sick" feeling symptoms, I did indeed pick up a cough which is still here on April 29th. two more covid tests still say no, so here we are.) Ellie had a great day so that was good. We ran out of water. We had grossly overpacked. Nothing we could not figure out, it was just a VERY long day and the usual reminder that the Northern Presi's are the hard ones. 

It was a very low traffic day, despite the incredible weather so that was nice. 
So this checked both these peaks off for this round and for April. We were glad to get them done, and now can look forward to a Jefferson to Pierce mini Presi once the Jefferson Notch Road is open. 
At a later date, we also discovered that this long day also brought us to the halfway point of this round of the 48. Cha-ching. 

Well. I wrote this weeks ago and forgot about it. So anyway. More to come later. 


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