Hiked On May 21, 2023
I am an anxious hiker. Each big trip gets me worried about all the things that can go wrong. The list ranges from the practical and semi-preventable (like running out of water) to the possible (like an injury that requires immediate attention) to the statistically possible (bears). I worry about getting to the trailhead, getting actually lost (as opposed to just confused for a while), forgetting some item, or maybe a meeting back home.
Anyway, these concerns are compounded when the hike is long or complicated. They are also compounded when the people "in the know" are also worried. Enter the Wildcats. Wildcat "A" and "D" are both 4,000 footers. They are connected by an undulating ridge with two more "named" peaks and a number of unnamed prominences.
We worked our way up to this after the winter and...at least some worries were justified. Even though we took the smoother route up a ski trail, it was rough. There was a large, rapidly melting monorail of snow covering much of the ridge. There were patches of ice and water. Near the end--as we summitted "D" on our return--my surgically repaired back started to give out. I was not a happy camper.
That said, it was beautiful up there. The trees did their "tunnel effect" I have written about on Cube. The views--when we had them--were top notch. Stretches and food got me back from the brink in the end. It was a hike to remember...but not in detail.
If you watch the video you will note that I go on about the boring letter-based names and speculate as to why that might be. Later, it occurred to me that Wildcat Mountain isn't on Wildcat A, which is officially just named "Wildcat." Maybe that is why? Does the whole thing need to have the same name for marketing purposes? Anyway, just a final thought...
Hiked On May 13, 2023
I have been wanting to do this loop for a long time. It was on my list in the fall but got bumped because Allison and my brother Dan wanted to climb Adams and Madison. We did that and my knees still hurt today! This, however, is no walk in the park either. Sandwich Mountain is the tallest of the 52 With a View peaks and the star of the Sandwich Range. Noon is more of a ledge than a peak. Jennings is it's own thing--reachable by a spur off the main trail--and counts to the 52 on its own. This means plenty of elevation.
Also, there were tons of fallen trees on the trail. This happens sometimes. A storm will hit the side of a peak and chaos will ensue. Down below we hardly notice but up on the slope...wood starts swirling. This appears to have occurred some time over the winter. At times the trail was concealed and we needed to bushwhack a bit to find our place again. Still, the degree of difficulty did not conceal the beauty of the trip. It will be one of the most memorable and enjoyable hikes of the year I am sure.
I will let the video tell the story. That said, it was part of our slow increase in degree of difficulty after the winter. Allison had to take a break for graduate school stuff. I hiked alone in the snow during that time. Mostly I did smaller peaks. With snowshoes on I tend to be interested in high-satisfaction-for-effort hikes like Watatic. Of course, it has all been a workout for me!
Hiked on May 5, 2023
One of the ironies of our current hiking project is that I don't get out to western Massachusetts very often. Part of the reason is that it feels so far away from our home in the east. While it is closer to us than many of our New Hampshire hikes, it still feels farther. That said, we finally got out to hike the famous Mount Greylock. We had driven up--because that is a thing--but it was special take the slow route.
I am glad we did it. Greylock is the tallest peak in the state and, while it doesn't break 4,000 feet, it has the atmosphere of something larger. Our primary reason for choosing this particular day had to do with flooding in the north. All these big mountains release massive amounts of melted snow this time of year. Greylock does too. However there had also been massive amount of rain in northern New England making both hiking and driving difficult. The southerly position of our hike today meant that not only did we not have much rain, we also were on a peak where the snowmelt had already occurred.
So... here is our hike! I highly recommend it, particularly if you live in the Bay State. We have many pretty and impressive natural sights that sometimes get neglected for what is right above us on the map. We should be proud of what we have!
HIKED ON APRIL 29, 2023
Stinson is considered one of the easiest hikes on the 52 With a View list. It is also one of the closest to where we live. It made sense as a half day trip on a busy weekend as we prepare for bigger things. As I note in the video, lots of people don't particularly like it. It is a common compliant on multi-use trails that the hikers become a bit of an afterthought in winter. Also, mountains like this lose a bit of their "wild" feel when they are super-accessible. This is even more true on the famous mountains like Washington, so it isn't Stinson's fault.
That said, it was a lovely day for a walk. The leaves hadn't really even begun to appear, leaving the greens of moss and small flowering plants to distract us from the browns and grays. I go on quite a bit in the video about skunk cabbage. It is usually one of the first plants to appear after the snow. Finally, on a frustrating note, I lost my poles on Stinson and still haven't quite relaced them...
Hiked on April 15, 2023
It is fun to get to make a new post! Through the late winter I was mostly revisiting old hikes that I had already written up. Of course I made videos for most of them--which was different--but I just placed those vids with the older weblog entries. This hike, however, was a new one. Also...it was about a week late. We tried it the week before and the water was high. Instead of risking advanced wetness, we turned around and hit Hedgehog instead. Hedgehog is always a winner.
We changed strategies for this attempt. Instead of parking in the Hedgehog/Potash lot we pulled over next to an access road that avoids the stream. We were not the only ones, either. There weren't many of us on the trail, but those that were took this little detour. It isn't "cheating" of course. It feels a bit strange to be off the regular route. That said, when we have done this in the past--as with Carter Dome--it made the journey more interesting. In this case--having hiked a bit of the other way--I think it was a lateral move.
There are a number of Potash Mountains in northern New England by the way. The wood on this and other similarly named mountains (and lakes and streams) was used to produce a variety of potassium salts that were--and still are--used in products we use today. When I was in high school I was taught to pronounce this word with a long "o" sound. Of course, since the word derives from one of the earliest methods of obtaining these salts--soaking then burning wood in a pot--the short "o" is fine. My US History teacher Steve Morris would not approve of me going rogue like that. Therefore it's the o-sound of potassium in his memory for me.
This video is one of the shortest I have done. This is not a reflection of how I feel about the walk! The hike was lovely and the view was excellent. It is just that I didn't have much to say. I didn't have any special insights. Nor were the views all that different from what I had seen in other places. Allison and I have hiked quite a few mountains now. I, in particular, have been exploring the Sandwich range and its environs. Many of the peaks in the distance seem like old friends. I could see Hedgehog, Chocorua, the Sisters, Passaconaway, and Whiteface, among others. All of those were good memories. Some new mountains appeared--like "the Captain" and Green Cliffs. Both of those require bushwhacking to the summit. So I think I will enjoy them from afar.
I would recommend the trip to Potash. Just don't climb it right after Hedgehog.
I am a full-time pastor in a small, progressive church in Massachusetts. This blog is about the non-church things I do to find spiritual sustenance.