Saturday: Tecumseh 4,003′ via Tecumseh trail. 5 miles
Liberty (attempt) via Whitehouse trail, Liberty Springs. 5 miles
SUNDAY: Moosilauke 4’802 via Roadwalk Gorge brook trail out and back. 10.6 miles
With some of the coldest temps of the year and a fresh layer of snow on the ground this weekend was heavy work for Lucy and I as we zero in on our single winter season 48. Finding out Lucys coat was left at home becomes a game changer as the high winds prove to be more than an unprotected dog should endure. With a new coat and a good warm rest we are able to save the weekend with gorgeous Sunday hike of Moosilauke. Starting off February with a bang!
So the plan was for a good group of us to meet up around 8:30 and hike Moosilauke via Beaver Brook. I was already a little worried about this given what I know of the trail in the warmer weather. It is steep and very close to some serious ledges. In winter I am sure this can be tricky. We were planning on this and I was a go in the planning.
“Want to hike Tecumseh before Moosilauke? Heather asked me.
” Well I was thinking of doing that anyways.” I replied.
It sounded like a great idea…
I woke up at 3 and made my way to Waterville valley. It was real cold. I had all my gear though and Lucy and I have been on some cold hikes already this year so I was not too worried. We were making our way north on 93 when I though about it and my heart sank. I had forgot Lucys jacket. It was seriously cold outside and the winds were seriously blowing. Not a good thing to forget. I had no options it was early and nothing would be open for hours.
“Well Tecumseh is wooded all the way up.” I thought.
“She will be fine for that hike.”
I reached the Waterville valley parking lot a little after 5. Heather was waiting for me with her dog Kali. I told here about my neglectful move forgetting Lucys jacket. We started right away. It took us little time over a well broken trail. We moved very quickly through the cold morning finishing a little after 7.
Lucy did well without a coat but there was little exposure. We moved to make it to Beaver Brook trail head to start the hike for Moosilauke.
Once we arrived there was commotion of heavy winds and cold temps. I had a very bad feeling about this hike. I talked with Heather and told her I had to bail. It was understood. The rest of the group went their own ways.
Christoph who had just arrived was ready to hike and I did not want the day to end so early so I suggested Liberty and Flume if possible. Though the winds would also be heavy on Franconia ridge these two peaks are above tree line for a limited amount of time. That was the idea anyway.
We arrived at Whitehouse parking lot and quickly got our things together. We broke trail to the liberty spring bush wack that comes from the basin parking lot. I have yet to hike in from there bit I have heard about before.
The winds were heavy and it was still just as cold as it had been all day. We moved on from the split to just about the Liberty Spring camp. Around this point the winds were proving to be menacing and Lucy was showing signs of fatigue and losing temperature. I was worried about her. We had to turn back. It is not my favorite thing to do but it was my duty to protect my hiking partner. I had to get her out of there. Christoph understood as we parted ways with him going for the summit around a mile ahead.
As we started to lose altitude Lucy perked back up and I had known I made the right choice. We took this opportunity to go and get Lucy a new coat. We had to go to Plymouth in order to find clothing for my K9 companion.
After that we drove back to North Woodstock. We were meeting back up with Christoph at the future sight of the Notch Hostel. I had a 12 pack if Shed Mountain ale that did not make it through the evening. It was delicious. We had a great evening of drinks and talks with friends that went deeper into the night than I could endure as I fell asleep in the warmth of kind hospitality.
My alarm went off but Lucy and I silenced it and slept in. We finally woke up it was around 7. There were many hiking plans discussed the previous night over drinks but when we looked outside we decided on trying Moosilauke again. The weather was similar to Saturday only not quite as cold or windy. Lucy had her new coat and as long as her paws held up then she would be fine. We all had breakfast and parted ways. Christoph, Lucy, and I making for the Gorge brook trailhead.
We started hiking around 9:30. The road walk was 1.6 miles to the start of the Gorge brook trail. Though it was cold it was clear and quite a beautiful walk.
The trail was very well broken out and it was a busy day. Though we only saw about 5 people during the day you could tell by the parking lot and the trails that this had been a very popular place this weekend. On the way up we met a duo of Jessica and Joe. Peak baggers that were kind enough to give us a chocolate and take a group picture for us. Thank you again!
The final stretch was amazing. There were big views but cold temps. We suited up for the summit. I was fully layered with full face mask. I did not use goggles though and I could feel my eyes wanting to freeze up. It was a crazy feeleing. With the wind chill it was close to -30 up there it was exhilarating but force ably short lived.
The hike down was wonderful. The sights off the summit were amazing. I was able to only get a few pictures though as my camera was freezing up. We made the hike out in great time finishing around 2:30. It was a pleasure to get together with my friends Heather and Christoph for hikes this week and can’t wait to do it again!
So even though it was a cold weekend we made the best of it. Even though we had to turn around on Saturday we still bagged 2 4000 footers bringing our single winter season total to 30 mountains. With 6 more hiking weekends to go we are on great pace to accomplish our goal. Look for us next week to find out how the winter 48 continues see you then!