Posts Tagged ‘mondays’

Neverending spring..

Monday, May 6th, 2013

We have been having an very late spring. Its early May now, and the trails are still rideable and skiable around my house, though they are getting a bit soft in the late afternoon. With a Monday free, Remus and I set off to see if the trails in the White Mountains are still in good biking shape.

The biking was in a word – fantastic!

Our long days have been balanced by moderately cold nights, keeping the snowpack intact, and the trails firm. A wonderful combination..

Remus and I headed out to Colorado Creek cabin at a mellow pace, stopping to take pictures, enjoying the sunlight, the views, and in Remus’s case, roll around in the snow to cool off. Life is tough..

The trails had a dusting of fresh snow on them, but still fast going and almost no pushing.

Other trail users were out as well..

We turned around after reaching the cabin, and headed a short ways towards Beaver Creek, but turned around, hoping to make it back before the twins bed time.

This spring has been fantastic and while I have been enjoying it, I know that breakup is just around the corner, with summer fun following soon after. Every season has its own fun, and while I am looking foreword to summer.. meanwhile I am really digging what I have now – yay!

One Last Snow Bike Ride..

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

On a fantastically sunny and warm Monday Remus and I headed out to the White Mountains NRA for one last juant on the snow bike.

After a false start after forgetting my bike shoes, I made it out on the trail in the early afternoon, and enjoyed wonderful trails, clear skys, and a superb trails.

It was a bit hot for Remus, but the pace was mellow enough for him to have fun.

Summer is coming, but right now I am still digging spring.. I have had a lot of snow, but I will still be sad to see it all go.

Chena Dome..

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Remus and I spent a wonderful day hiking the Chena Dome trail. This is a classic hike I do every year, and it just seems to get better each time I hike it.


It has been a wet spring, bringing on the green in all its glory.


Someone has lost his tail..

This hike has lots and lots of climbing and decending. For some of the descents you can see the next climb which heads right back up to the same level you are just leaving. Up, down. Up down. Repeat. The rewards are wonderful ridge hiking and amazing views.

As usual I didn’t see any other humans, but I did see several other mammals.

Momma bear and her offspring had me a bit nervous, as they were heading my way. I stopped at the trail shelter briefly, and by the time I was on the next hill a quarter of a mile away I could see them sitting on its porch. I was a bit worried they were going to start following me, but they continued to along their way, which fortunately diverged from mine.

After the bears a small thunderstorm moved though, dropping the temperatures and making Remus happy.

Not a lot of words, but it was a wonderful day. A little under 11 hours and 30 miles I ended it sore and happy.

Ouch!

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

I had not hiked the Summit Trail in the White Mountains NRA yet this year, and as I was running out of snow free time for hiking I decided to get off my butt and day hike it. It is a wonderful hike ridge hike with marvelous views of the White Mountains and the surrounding lowlands. It was going to be a fairly long day, but doable – 34 miles or so round trip taking somewhere from 10 to 12 hours. Remus and I left a little less early than i would have preferred but we eventually reached the trail head and started hiking at 9am. I think in the end Remus might have wanted to have stayed home… more on this later.

It appeared that BLM had been working the muddy sections in the beginning or perhaps the trail was just naturally drying out.. in any case it was in better shape that it was last time I was here. Kudos to BLM!

BLM (or possibly someone else with a sence of humor) had installed a boot brush near the start of the trail.

I found this contrivance amusing, as really only a quarter mile of the trail’s 17+ mile length has any mud. Hopefully it is put to good use.

The fall colors were out in force making for nice scenery.

The Summit trail winds its way from the trail head to the side of Wickersham Dome, then follows a ridge down from the dome to another small rounded mountain and then down to the winter trail a few miles from Beaver Creek. My plan was to go to winter trail then turn around and head back. The trail is in good shape and the walking was fast and pleasant.

Remus was having fun…

I had to slow down for some of the board walked sections as they still had a bit of frost or ice on them on the way it.

The older boardwalk sections had taken a bit of a beating recently. It looks like the trail has become popular with the equestrian crowd, and the hooves had taken a bit of a toll on the older boardwalk.

Not too big of a deal, as the older boardwalk has always been fairly beat up. The rest of the walking was wonderful.

BLM had done some additional work in a couple of the boggy sections between the dome and the shelter. These sections seemed to be holding up pretty well and a nice improvement.

When we arrived at the trail shelter I stopped to check out the log book to see who had visited recently but just before opening the door I noticed someone’s stuff inside and moved on, a bit worried I had woken up someone trying to sleep in.

Apparently I hadn’t woken anyone up as I encountered the couple staying at the shelter a mile or further down the trail out on a day hike. They had three cute and well behaved husky mixes that Remus enjoyed saying hi to.

Near the top of a hill I stopped to snap a quick picture of an interesting trail marker, and then picked up the pace a bit to catch up with Remus.

Just as I was about to catch up with Remus I spotted a porcupine just ahead of us on the trail. Alas, Remus spotted it too, and ignoring my yells pounced on it. Ouch. Remus came zipping back to me with a nice face full of quills, with enough inside his mouth that he was having trouble closing his jaw. Much saddess. I yanked all the ones I could get to inside his mouth as fast as I could with my hands, then dug into my pack to find the small mini-pliers that is in my fix-it-kit. Alas, i had trimmed down the kit a bit on last weekends Kanuti trip, and had not put the pliers back into the kit. No pliers – even more saddness! Attempting to do the best I could in the situation I started pulling the quills out with my fingers as fast as I could. Alas, slimy quills are pretty hard to grip and it was a slow process. After 15 minutes or so of this the other hikers caught up with me and loaned me a leatherman. The woman, who’s name I forgot alas, helped me hold Remus’s lip up while I removed the rest of the quills inside his mouth that I could reach and most of them from the outside of his mouth and nose. The man, Sven, watched from a few feet away holding onto his three dogs. His dogs looked on with wide amazed eyes – watching me yank quills appeared to be making quite an impression on them. After 10 minutes or so we got all the ones I could get out and I gave back the leatherman, thanked the couple, and headed back to the trail head as fast as possible in an attempt to make it to the vet before it closed. Poor Remus was a sad, sad camper.

We made it out and to the vet before they closed, and Remus got the most of remaining quill removed while comfortably sedated. He had quite a few on the inside of his mouth broken off or lying under the skin in his gums that I could not get out, as well as a fair number broken off on the outside of his muzzle. After returning from the vet he spent to the rest of the evening crashed on the floor, so out of it the cat snuck up on him to give him a sniff to make sure he was not dead. The cat normally gives Remus a wide berth as he is pretty high strung and “bouncy like Tigger” as the twins put it, so having him crashed out on the floor insensible was quite a novelty.

While I was writing this I noticed he had a little sharp point on the top of his noise – I pulled at it and it got longer. Another tug and I pulled an inch and a half quill out of the top of his nose. I expect the dequilling processing will be ongoing. I showed the quill to the twins and they were quite impressed.

I feel a rather sorry I didn’t thank the couple with the leatherman more thoroughly – they came by at exactly the right time and saved my day. Next time I will make sure I take a pliers, though I hope that Remus learned his lesson.

More photos: Summit Trail Porky Hike

Doing Far Mountain Trail in a Day

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Last year Tom, Ms Marsh, and I did a hike and float that included Far Mountain, and ever since then I have been very interested in doing the full loop as a day hike. Eventually I ended up with a free Monday and along with Tom found myself heading up the Far Mt. Trail. The trail starts near Chena Hotsprings parking lot (the actual start of the trail is a bit hard to find with a few side trails and roads that make things a bit confusing – check with the folks at the Chena Hotsprings activity center for a map if you have problems) and after crossing the bridge over Monument Creek the trail heads up a ridge and the climbing begins.

The Far Mountain trail loops around Monument Creek valley on a series of ridges. There are lots of ups and down, with between 8k and 14k feet of climbing, depending on who you ask (I measured around 8,000 feet of climbing – that is 8,000 feet of going up). The trail is a little less than 27 miles. The views from the high points on the ridges are fantastic.




There are also several interesting granite tor formations.



Far Mountain itself is a little underwhelming, as it has a large communication facility on top, complete with generators and a couple of large towers.



The majority of the trail is well above the tree and brush line making for wonderful alpine hiking, though there is a section of spruce forest near the end.



The day we hiked it it was was partly cloudy, but it can get quite socked in.
On a clear day:



On a foggy day:



The last mile or so is very muddy.



It appeared that the muddy section was in the middle of some trail work of some sort, however as it appeared the equipment had stirred the mud up into a froth and re-routed a small stream to run down the trail perhaps these repairs might do more harm than good…

This is a highly recommended long day hike. It took us a little less than 12 hours of walking at a brisk but not rushed pace. As an overnighter it is more challenging due to the limited water sources. There are tundra pools in several places around mile 7 or so, but after that there was not much water to be found.




My dog Remus was a bit dehydrated near the end, and I had to give him a some water from one of my bottles near the end of the day. Getting water would mean a long drop down to the one of the creeks at the bottom of the valleys.

The hike has a fairly remote feel, besides the stuff on top of Far Mountain. On the day we hiked it some military planes were out training and made a bit of noise, but otherwise it we didn’t see anyone on the trail.



One day or several, its a beautiful hike and well worth doing.

If you do this hike during berry season, the blueberries can be fantastic.



A map – like all the photos in this blog click it to see the image in greater detail. A better map can be found here. Kyle Jolly’s book Outside In the Interior has a chapter on this hike.



More photos can be found here. Sorry for the low word and high picture count – I have been a bit slow on the blog front lately, but more coming soon!

Whites 100 Trail Recon

Monday, March 21st, 2011

With the White Mountains 100 a week away, Tom and I headed out to the Whites for a quick overnighter to check on the trail conditions. Last year the race was a week earlier, and the weather quite a bit colder, so I was a bit concerned about the trail conditions.. We left town at early afternoon and were on the trail at around 3pm – just in time to encounter a fair number of folks returning from weekend jaunts on snowmachines, which combined with the warm weather made for very soft trails.

The first several miles were too soft to bike, but the further we got in the firmer the trails were. Alas, there was a constant stream of snowmachine traffic which keep things fairly soft.

After a overnighter at Moose Creek cabin we left fairly early in the morning, and the trails were much, much faster. We took a less traveled side trail which is not part of the race, Moose Creek Trail, and it was pretty soft due to some heavy paddle track action..

.. but once we hit Wickersham Creek trail things got a fair bit harder and faster. From the Train Shelter (the final checkpoint) to the big climb out of the Wickersham Creek valley the riding was very good and very fast – I averaged 9 mph without a lot of effort. This was pretty good news, as it means the trails are going to be pretty good when they are not disturbed by heavy traffic.

The overnight low at Moose Creek was -5f, which is pretty good news, as it is cold enough the trails will setup up over night, but not so cold as to create problems for folks. Last year the overnight lows were around -20f, which led to some unhappiness. So the verdict is that the first mile or so will be fairly painful – soft with lots of moguls, but the rest of the trails will be pretty firm and fast until things warm up in the mid to late afternoon, at least for the bikers. From a classic skiing perspective, everything looks pretty good – the snow is not super cold so there should be reasonable glide, though the snow is pretty coarse so it will be hard on kick wax, and from a skating perspective, the trails look wonderful – wide enough to give good skating and enough snow to make the trails fairly smooth, at least for the first 25 miles and the last 10 we explored.

In other good news, the overflow appears to be pretty mellow. The section before the Trail Shelter has in the past year had fairly epic slanting ice sheets – this year its pretty mellow and entirely ridable. While there is lots more overflow to be had on the race course, the fact that this section is in good shape is a very good sign.

I have been playing with making movies lately, so here is some video from the ride:

Whites 100 Trail Recon from J C on Vimeo.

Only a couple more days to go! Time to go carbo load – go drink some beer and eat some ice cream!

More photos can be found here:

Pre Whites 100 Trail Recon