|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Madison, Mt. Washington, Mt. Pierce, Zealand Mountain, Mt. Guyot, South Twin Mountain, Mt. Garfield, Mt. Lafayette, NH|
||Nineteen Mile Brook Trail, Route 16, Great Gulf Trail, Osgood Trail, Gulfside, Crawford Path, Webster Cliff Trail, Mizpah Cutoff, Crawford Path, Avalon Trail, A-Z Trail, Zealand Trail, Twinway, Zealand Spur, Garfield Ridge Trail, Greenleaf Trail, Old Bridle Path|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, July 23, 2017|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parked in long line of cars on 93 South on Saturday. Took the hiker shuttle to Highland Center and then the other hiker shuttle to Nineteen Mile Brook Trail. I was the only passenger on both shuttles. I arrived at Nineteen Mile Brook Trail around 5. There were a lot of cars parked along Rt. 16, but they had started to thin out. |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||No significant water crossings |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||On the lower half of Old Bridle Path, on the right side while descending, there is a broken tree. The top of the tree fell away from the trail but remained attached to the trunk. Part of the trunk protrudes out into the trail about 5 feet 6 inches off the ground. My waist light illuminated the protruding end of the tree a fraction of a second before I reached it. That was enough time for me to turn my head and prevent a forehead strike, but not enough time for me to get my head out of the way entirely. Fortunately, I was running slowly at this point, and it only took 3 stitches 3 inches above my ear to repair the damage. |
||Saw a few mosquitoes |
|Lost and Found:
||I planned to do a Hut Traverse as my last big training run for an upcoming race. Things didn't go well from the start. I got confused about the shuttle departure time and missed the noon departure from the Old Bridle Path trailhead. I had to take a later shuttle, which didn't get me to the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail until 5 p.m., leaving me only hour to get to Carter Notch Hut in time for dinner. I managed to arrive just as they rang the dinner bell. I was drenched in sweat, but the crew provided some pre-dinner entertainment, which gave me a chance to cool down and change into some dry clothes. Hopefully I didn't smell too badly at dinner.|
I started my Hut Traverse attempt Sunday morning at 3:30. Fifteen minutes after starting, one of my shoes blew out. I stopped and patched it up with a bit of duct tape I had. The patch job lasted until about the start of the Osgood Trail. Then, if that wasn't bad enough, my second shoe blew out half way up the Osgood Trail. I managed to make it to Madison Hut, where the crew was kind enough to give me some duct tape while they were in the middle of serving breakfast. I patched up my shoes and continued on.
I considered trying to get duct tape at each hut along the way, but I was doubtful I could get the shoes to last for 50 miles. Fortunately, one of my daughters was planning to hike Mt. Washington on Sunday with her boyfriend. When I had a few bars of cell coverage, I texted her and asked her to bring my spare shoes with her up Washington if she didn't hear from me again. She confirmed that she would bring the shoes and estimated that they would reach Pinkham at 10:30. I then ran out of cell coverage and was not able to confirm with her that I would be waiting for them on Washington.
I reached Washington at 9:30 and used the time to rest and rehydrate and refuel on pizza and chili. My daughter and her boyfriend arrived at 1:30 with my spare shoes. We took some photos, and I headed back out around 2:00.
The rest on Washington made the remainder of the day go easy. I passed over Guyot as the sun was going down and was treated to a beautiful sunset. I didn't have to turn my light on until just before South Twin. I slowed down in the dark, and fatigue began setting in as I made my way over Garfield and Lafayette. By the time I reached the descent down Lafayette, I was moving pretty slowly and awkwardly. I was using just a waist lamp, which was great at showing the rocks, but there were times when it failed to show things I needed to see. I thought about putting on the headlamp I had brought along as a backup, but I had my prescription sunglasses on my head and was afraid I would break them if I put them in my pack. That turned out to be a bad decision. About 15-20 minutes from the end of the Old Bridle Path, I ran into a broken tree (see Trail Maintenance Notes).
I continued on after the tree-strike and arrived at the Old Bridle Path Trailhead at 2:30. I still had an hour to make it to Lonesome Lake and finish the Hut Traverse in under 24 hours, but my sleep-deprived brain was doing a very good job of coming up with excuses why I should not continue on: I wouldn't have finished the traverse on the same calendar day, I would only just barely finish in under 24 hours, and my wife had texted me that she wasn't getting the updates from my SPOT so she didn't know where I was. And now I had a head injury. I succumbed to the onslaught and opted to end my hike there. In hindsight, it was a bad choice. Up until that point, I had done a good job of working through the problems, but I failed the final test of my training run.
||Bill Tidd |
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.