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Monday, December 20, 2010

John Quincy Adams, December 19, 2010

Valley Way, Gulfside Trail, Air Line Trail, "rockwhack." About 8.4 miles, around 4100 feet elevation gain.

In a few short days, calendar winter will arrive and Alex will resume her quest for the winter 4Ks. We decided to warm up for the imminent challenge by visiting John Quincy Adams, a peak on the shoulder of Mt. Adams. This challenging hike is a steep 8.4 miles roundtrip. I felt if we handled this well, then we'd be good to go for the coming season.

We had our boots on the trail by 8am.

'Twas a winter wonderland out there!

The two of us got up Valley Way in about three hours, which is pretty good considering neither one of us has had a serious hike since early November.

Alex stopped to read the "Beware" sign...

We reached treeline and saw the false summit of JQ Adams off to our right.

Madison Spring hut (closed for the season) sat before us; we waved at it before heading south.

Footing on Gulfside was good. As we made our way toward the intersection with Air Line, Mt. Madison poked its head out of the clouds.

At the intersection of Gulfside and Air Line...

Mt. Madison to the north...

Getting up Air Line was tricky. Alex wore her microspikes and I used my snowshoes, but the going was slow. There was plenty of snow overtop the ice, so the footing was decent, but the slope was steep and I wanted to be extra cautious. When we reached the topmost boulder, I told Alex to sit against the rock while I took a few pictures. I couldn't step back to take decent shots, since I was worried about slipping and didn't want to take any chances.

Here's the top of JQ Adams' summit boulder....

...and the side of that boulder, with Alex hunkered down next to it...

...there's Adams, behind the boulder...

....looking westward over a sea of clouds...

After a quick bite of chocolate and a few swigs of water, Alex and I made our way back down to Gulfside, where we were treated to a nice view of Madison and the hut.

We stopped at the base of the hut to have some food; after eating our fill, we headed down. The descent was easy, but Alex was disappointed that she couldn't sled down as much as she'd hoped. She's grown, and her tiny sled is now too small for her, it no longer holds her well. I've got to out and find something that fits her before our next hike.

Alex seemed strong today; she was her typical cheery self throughout and her energy levels were high. She looks forward to the weeks ahead.

Happy holidays, everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing pictures. Motivating to say the least. I need to get out there to do some winter hikes.


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