Saturday, August 26, 2006

The assault on Mt. Washington: Day the First, Part I, with Haiku

The title alone speaks volumes, I think. A blog post might be superfluous. But here goes, anyway.

The Excuse

It was not the best day for a hike. It had been raining on and off the day before. The forecast was for some rain in the morning, and then partly cloudy.

Bah, humbug. They ought to call them whether forecasts, instead of weather forecasts, as in “We’re giving you this forecast, whether or not it’s right!”

It rained, then stopped, then rained again and more or less kept it up. I kept expecting it to stop anytime, and turn partly cloudy. No such luck.

Cruel crag teases.
Rain starts, stops, then starts again.
Wet pack weighs me down.

The hike begins

Tonto The Cockney Sparrow and I set out on Sunday morning. I was determined to be on the mountain by 8 am.

Well, that’s when we left the condos, actually. Then, with getting there, getting the parking permit, getting the backpacks optimized and balanced, and getting one final official restroom break before the Lake of the Clouds Hut, we weren’t on the Ammonoosuc until 9ish.

That meant that we’d have less than 8 hours to make it to the top. Piece of cake, once it stops raining!

We begin our hike.
The route of this climb to Mount Washington takes you up the steep and scenic Ammonoosuc Ravine where you'll discover a tributary brook, a Gem Pool, several waterfalls, and wildflowers. This trail will lead to a breathtaking view.
from GORP - Trails

I love the Ammonoosuc trail – it’s beautiful. I’ve hiked to Gem Pool before, so I know that. I can’t see much today, however. It’s all about my internal state on this trip: Will I make it? How does it feel? Should I wear my rain poncho? What’s with these hiking poles anyway?

The Cockney Sparrow is an excellent hiking companion. He’s being very supportive and encouraging; letting me know how far we’ve come, previewing the coming challenges (in a non-scary way), joking and chatting.

I’m having fun!
Cruel crag teases.
Up, down, up, down, up, up, up.
Wet rocks slow me down.
Well, except for that part.

Actually, up to Gem Pool, it’s more the mud than the rocks. Mud coats my pants up to my knees. The Sparrow has on his cool "technical trousers." They're the kind that have zippers around the legs, to quickly switch from shorts to long pants, and v.v. I gotta get me some of those.

But the Ammonoosuc thus far is a nice trail, much like Sleeping Giant. And even though I complain about the trail going downward from time to time, I actually don't mind, because those are mini-breaks.

I suppose the scenery is very dramatic, but I can’t see it anyway, with the rain and the mist.

Thus endeth the first part.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mt Washington Haiku

This was written on my way to the summit:

Mean mountain teases:
up, down, up, down, up, up, up.
Wet rocks slow me down.