Monday, July 26, 2010

Seek the Peak Weekend 2010

I know that I'm really late in getting this posted but it's been really busy since we got home Monday. Probably would have been sooner if I hadn't been looking at everyone else's wonderful pictures from the weekend.

This was our third Seek the Peak and probably the best yet. So great getting to participate in these and being able to help the OBS. The success of the event this year was amazing!

Since we didn't have an extended NH vacation planned around STP this year as we have in past years we decided to stretch the weekend as much as we could with some extra hiking (and socializing). We camped at Moose Brook again this year and it was great.

We left home early Friday morning to give us time to get in a warm up hike before going to the registration and then setting up camp. Our warm up was the Sugarloaves in Twin Mountain. This is a great little 3+ mile hike with beautiful open ledges on both North and Middle Sugarloaf and amazing views. The weather Friday was great and we stood on the ledges gazing at the Presidentials thinking of the friends that we knew had taken advantage of the nice day Friday to get in their Seek the Peak hike and avoid the likely bad conditions Saturday. We met a new STPer on Middle Sugarloaf (Armando) and shared our Saturday plans. It was good to see this new friend along with all our old friends the next day. 

Nat on the ledges on Middle Sugarloaf

Beautiful in the Presis today

We'll be up there tomorrow!

After our hike we headed to North Conway and Flatbread Pizza for lunch before registration. Right after sitting down Chris, Cindy, Tim and Val all just happened to arrive as well and we enjoyed a nice lunch together. Great start to the weekend's social activities. We went back and set up camp and turned in early. Listening to the rain on the tent overnight didn't leave us very encouraged for the conditions on Saturday...

Saturday morning we were amazed and happy to see the sky clearing and by the time we arrived at Pinkham the skies were mainly blue! Ryan has once again earned his position as official STP forecaster  

We hiked with Tim, Val, Debi and Will (Debi's 11 year old son). It was a great treat for us to be able to hike with Will on his first trip up Mt Washington and his 9th 4000 footer. I have no doubt that he will finish his list before we do. It was a great hike up Lion Head and the skies were clear till we reached the Alpine Garden. I was sorry that the summit was in the clouds since it robbed Will of the amazing views up ther (but I'm sure he'll be back). We skipped the tour this year but snuck downstairs for a few cookies before heading back down. The hike down Tuckermans Ravine was beautiful with the sun emerging as we reached the top of the headwall. The streams and waterfalls were gushing and the flowers were amazing. 

On the trail and on the summit we ran into many of our forum friends. So wonderful getting to connect with everyone in person at least once a year! Another great after party capped with the announcement that we'd raised $200,000 this year. Fantastic!! Saturday night we hung out with a bunch of our friends at Kevin's site at Moose Brook (thanks Kevin and Judy). Hard to imagine a better day in the mountains.

Clear skies over Pinkham to start the day!

Ready to go

Will gets his first look into Tucks. Look at that smile!

Beautiful clouds and undercast

Heading into the clouds above Lion Head

Limited view on top

The gang heading down Tucks

The ravine "water gardens"

Our crew taking a break at HoJo's

The longest 2 miles

Sunday Tim and Val suggested we get in another hike (Mt Moriah) which sounded great to us! We weren't quite so sure how our legs would hold up to another 10 miles but it turned out to be just fine. We took the Stony Brook trail up and it was great. The first two (and last two) miles are mostly soft walking on nice smooth trail covered in pine needles - very unlike typical White Mountain trails and very welcome after the finish on Tucks the day before. The hike was really nice with more than a mile of beautiful ledge walking leading to the summit. The clouds rolled in and rain threatened but we never got wet. We finished tired and happy to have #17 checked of on our 4000 footer list.

Nice soft trail!

Why the trail is named Stony Brook (that's the trail in the middle)

Lots of ledge walking like this

And quite a bit of this

On the summit of #17

The Carters in the distance on the walk down

Stony Brook

We had considered the possibility of one more hike before heading home on Monday and had been thinking that with the long range forcast that Mt Jefferson might be good. Between the final forecast of winds up to 80 MPH  and the tired legs from the previous three days we opted for a scenic drive instead. We headed out of Gorham and over to Rt 113 for the beautiful drive along the Maine border through Evans Notch and then across the Kanc so the we could stop at the Woodstock Station for lunch. The views everywhere were awesome, the lunch was too and all in all it was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Field of fireweed along the road leaving Gorham

The Baldfaces from Evans Notch

Lily Pond on the Kanc

Beautiful mountain views on the Kanc

Thanks again to all the organizers, volunteers and others that make this event possible. It is great for the OBS and it's great for us participants as well. Already counting the time till next year.

Complete photo albums here:

Seek the Peak:
Mt Moriah:
Evans Notch and the Kanc: