Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mount Major Trip Report

I have had this weekend off, and the weather has been spectacular—low to mid 30s and bright sun. So we decided to take advantage and go for a hike! At first, we were planning to go up north to Franconia Notch, but when I checked the weather, I realized that the White Mountains were covered in cloud, so instead we headed northeast to Mount Major on the shore of Lake Winnepesaukee.

Mount Major is one of the most popular summertime hikes in New Hampshire, and it turns out quite popular yesterday as well, though we got a later start than most! We arrived at the trailhead around 2 but then waited out the rest of Brynna's nap with the newspaper and a pile of magazines, before hitting the trail after 3:00. Brynna was initially not sure that this whole walking-in-the-cold thing was a very good idea, but Jasper's enthusiasm was contagious, so we set off up the trail.

A few minutes later we were able to remove the Nuk for awhile and sing some songs. I need to work on my Beatles lyrics. On the other hand, does "Love Me Do" really have lyrics?

The trail headed gently upwards for awhile, and then we came to some much steeper sections leading up onto the ledges. It was a good thing we'd brought poles along, as four-legged Jasper had a much easier time than his two-legged counterparts on the icy slopes.

Then, after a quick detour through the woods to avoid an ice-fall, we came out onto a big open ledge with a stunning view north and northeast across the lake. Alex turned to look, and Brynna caught a glimpse as well, bringing a whispered "woooowwww" to her lips. It warmed the cockles of our hiking-loving hearts.

The wind picked up a little at that point because we were more exposed, but every time we asked Brynna if she wanted to go up or down, she commanded "up!" with an imperious wave of the arm.

So up we went, picking our way carefully along the slippery trail, until we were treated to an even better view from the summit.

There's a foundation at the top that served as a very useful windbreak for a snack. Brynna proved very adept at eating gorp out of our palms like a little bird—we didn't want to un-mitten her and expose her hands to the wind.

Here's our mountain dog at the summit:

The first ten minutes of the descent were the roughest part of the trip—the wind picked up full-force and was whipping against Brynna's face, and she did not like it. We pulled her neck-wrap up over her face and jogged our way (our downward trail was not initially as steep) off the ledges and back into the cover of the woods. It was a brisk trip down, as we were racing dusk all the way, and we came back to the parking lot to find my Subaru looking quite forlorn in the midst of the deserted parking lot.

We were very happy to discover that Brynna's hands and body stayed very warm—she was wearing her big snowsuit over her Patagonia capilene baselayer, with active heaters in her mittens. However, we felt very bad when we found that her feet had become quite chilly. She cuddled up in the car with her toes on Alex's stomach, drinking juice and eating gorp, while I packed up the car.

So—next time, toe-warmers in addition to hand warmers. At least until she's hiking on her own two feet—which I'm sure will happen sooner than we expect!


Mark Alvarez said...

Of course it has lyrics, and for the good of my granddaughter's musical education, I expect you to get them right next time:

Love, love me do.
You know I love you,
I'll always be true,
So plea-ea-ea-ease, love me do-oo.
Ooohh, love me do.

Someone to love,
Somebody new.
Someone to love,
Someone like you.

Beth said...

OH man, I miss you guys (including the female and canine variety)!