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Saturday, April 24, 2010

South Peak (Moosilauke), April 24, 2010

Glencliff Trail, South Peak spur. 6.4 miles roundtrip.

Alex and I are now pursuing the Trailwrights list. There are 72 peaks on this list, 48 of which are the NH4K mountains we've already climbed. However, Trailwrights only allows one peak to be counted per hike, so there are a few loops/traverses we'll need to repeat.

I brought this list to Alex's attention so that we might have direction when choosing trails. We are people who thrive on structure; lists appeal to us. We are in no rush to complete our new quest, and we look forward to many years of relaxed peakbagging.

Today's challenge was Moosilauke's South Peak. And a challenge it was! There was nothing onerous about the trails themselves, nor were there any unforeseen circumstances with which to wrestle. The difficulty was our lack of recent hiking experience. Both of us felt very tired and out-of-shape.

The day began rather well. MadRiver joined us, and as usual we were happy to have his company.

Alex and I marveled at the sight of the Glencliff Trail. We've only hiked it during winter conditions, so it was interesting to see what this path looked like without snow.

Along the way, Alex discovered these "bark pants" (for very short people):

Patches of snow began to appear halfway up...

...before beginning in earnest just before the steep and final half-mile.

Alex and I felt strong as we reached the South Peak spur path.

This path looked relatively unused. However, the snow was firm enough to permit barebooting.

The spur path is only a few tenths of a mile long, and we reached the summit quickly and easily. The views were lovely -- here's the main peak of Mt. Moosilauke and the snow-covered Carriage Road.

Looking out and about...

We lounged for a bit, relishing the vista and chatting with Rick, a nice fellow who joined us on the summit. We also had the pleasure of meeting Kim, Kelly and Pete -- it was lovely speaking with all of you!

After consuming our traditional summit chocolate, the three of us began the trek downward. Unfortunately, Alex and I have become too accustomed to butt-sliding on winter snow; our legs have apparently forgotten how to hike downhill. Alex uncharacteristically stopped every twenty minutes or so to rest, and my knees complained with every step. Six weeks without hiking plus five months of butt-sliding equals two out-of-shape hikers.

We did manage to get down, but I was so tired when we arrived back at the trailhead that I forgot to take our traditional end-of-the-hike photo; this picture of Alex walking through the fields will have to suffice.

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