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Five Days in the Whites, 16-20 October

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  • Five Days in the Whites, 16-20 October

    I had been neglecting my visits to the Whites in the last couple of years. My wife had friends visiting and this week looked perfect for a getaway, except for the weather. So I went last week for the outstanding weather and I'm confined to the basement this week. I prefer a campaign-style of hiking, doing as much as I can in the time available. It may not look fun, but I assure you it was. I have hiked all these peaks before but still like to revisit. Being a lot different from the Adirondacks is a positive.

    Monday, 16 Oct. I drove over in the morning and re-hiked my first-ever Whites mountains: North Kinsman, South Kinsman, and Cannon. This is a very nice loop with the ups/downs of the Cannon Balls and the steep climb of Cannon, avoiding the commercial side of the mountain except for the tower. I especially like descending the Hi-Cannon trail which traverses the steep sides of Cannon returning to the Lafayette trailhead.

    Tuesday, 17 Oct. Next up on this cold morning (26 F at the start) was Garfield, Galehead, S. Twin, and North Twin. I parked at the Gale River trailhead and walked the road 1.7 miles to the Garfield trailhead. Rime and icy log bridges higher up slowed down progress a bit and I think the temperature was below freezing all day till I descended. Galehead is nothing but South Twin is a great mountain with a tough climb up from the Galehead Hut. The ridge traverse out and back to North Twin is a beautiful trail.

    Wednesday, 18 Oct. Staying at AMC's Highland Lodge, the plan was to climb Field, Willey, and Tom and then drive down 302 and climb Carrigain. I'll admit it, my legs just didn't have the usual stamina on F-W-T and I decided not to add 5+ hours to the day. Instead I went to Lincoln and enjoyed talking with Steve Smith at the Mountain Wanderer book shop. I picked up a copy of "Where You'll Find Me" which tells the story of Kate Matrosova's death between Madison and Adams in 2015. Waynald and I did a Presidential Traverse in beautiful weather three days after she died, so I was interested in the story of her death of exposure in a brutal storm.

    Thursday, 19 Oct. I hoped the easy previous day would put me back in hiking shape. I climbed Mt Isolation via the Rocky Branch trail. I was amazed that my legs were back to normal. I felt so good that with the continuing great weather I decided to stay another day. I didn't want to waste another afternoon so I drove over to Lincoln and climbed Mt Moosilauke from the Gorge Brook trail. Starting at 2:30, I didn't see a lot of people but the windy summit was very nice in the late afternoon.

    Friday, 20 Oct. Prior to driving home I needed a "quickie" and decided on North and South Han****. These two are connected by a nice ridge walk and share a final steep approach.

    The weather couldn't have been better for a full week of hiking. I hope to go back this winter and visit some peaks for a W2.

    One more day of basement confinement, and I'll be rested up and ready to hike something here in the Adirondacks to see the last of the fall colors.

    Last edited by JoeCedar; 10-25-2017, 04:48 PM.

  • #2
    very nice report, as always, and what a great 5 day trip! we were in the neighborhood last weekend (first visit to NH for me) and also did Kinsmans and Cannon loop, but in the reverse. On the 2nd day (when we drove home, and needed something "easy"), we hiked the Osceolas. I appreciate the ideas for "quickies". All the best wishes for surviving the rest of the visit by your wife's guests
    46/46 as of August 1st, 2014!

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    • #3
      Another whirlwind tour of the Whites! Enough elly gain to stand atop Everest!

      I sure do miss those above-treeline views out there.

      BTW, it would appear one needs to call them North and South Hanclock to escape the forum software's auto-censor.

      Looking for Views!

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      • #4
        Is it always windy on Moosilauke?

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        • #5
          The weather sure was lovely for your trip. And a day spent chatting with Steve is always a good thing. Rest? For you? What does that mean a simple 10,000' ele gain day?

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          • #6
            What a great bunch of hikes! I've done all of them fairly recently, the F/W/T one & the Han**** one as I chip away slowly at a 2nd finish of the NE115. I finished the first one on South Twin, which I sat on happily that time for 1 1/4 hours, even though it was very cold. I think of you as a kind of bionic superhiker (enviously), so it's a bit comforting to hear that your stamina -- occasionally -- wavers. ;-)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by rickhart View Post
              What a great bunch of hikes! I've done all of them fairly recently, the F/W/T one & the Han**** one as I chip away slowly at a 2nd finish of the NE115. I finished the first one on South Twin, which I sat on happily that time for 1 1/4 hours, even though it was very cold. I think of you as a kind of bionic superhiker (enviously), so it's a bit comforting to hear that your stamina -- occasionally -- wavers. ;-)
              Thanks. South Twin at 4900 feet is a pinnacle with a 360 degree view, one of my favorites. It was the finish of my winter round and didn't disappoint--cold and windy and pleasantly lonely. I am not a superhiker, but I know my limits and prepare thoroughly and carefully, so I can achieve my goals without wrecking my body.

              The first pic in my report is from North Twin showing the whole Franconia Range (Flume to Lafayette + Garfield, L to R). The white spot on the left edge is the Galehead hut.

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              • #8
                Joe, I remember you posted stats where you compared your ave. hiking speed in the Whites to the Adirondacks. In the Whites you hiked faster. What was the difference?
                1111111111

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                • #9
                  Nice bunch of hikes....
                  Don

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Neil View Post
                    Joe, I remember you posted stats where you compared your ave. hiking speed in the Whites to the Adirondacks. In the Whites you hiked faster. What was the difference?
                    I compared rounds of the ADK46 and NH48 which were similar in overall difficulty. The total miles and total ascent for the Whites were about 13% higher, but the total number of hiking hours was the same. My average speed in the Whites was 2.3 mph vs. 2.1 mph in the Adirondacks.

                    The differences are due to a number of factors. I think the trails in the Whites are generally better constructed, graded, and maintained, allowing me to walk faster. I observed the same speed difference in 2011-2012 winter rounds.
                    No. of 4000 Total Total Total No. of Avg miles Avg ascent Avg Asc(ft)
                    ft peaks miles ascent (ft) hours hiked per hour per hour per peak
                    Whites 2009 48 242 80807 104.2 2.32 388 1683
                    Adirondacks 2008 46 215 71680 103.9 2.07 345 1558
                    difference 12.6% 12.7% 12.2% 8.0%
                    difference(ft) 27 9127 125

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                    • #11
                      Great report! I totally agree about South Twin; one of the best views in the Whites.
                      We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

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