:: Presidential Range Traverse ::   Saturday June 11, 2005 hello ::  ::
So one week after my almost very successful Presidential Range Traverse, I finally gather my thought to write the report.
I have been avoiding thinking about the hike because I accidentally deleted all 166 pictures I took during the hike, I can't bear to think about the hike without feeling angry at myself for losing my precious pictures. But the good news is that 2 members from the hike had taken some pictures. At least I got to keep the memory, the way they captured it.


The highlight of this year hike to me was the pre-hike anticipation.

As the date inching in, my blood pressure raised. I was excited to revisit what we left off last year, a rematch with our own fate and stamina.

When the emails started to back and forth about the arrangement of car spotting and lodging for the night before, the anticipation fume my heart. Last year, I was at the ridge of this magnificent mountain range, the scene was supposedly grand yet I witness no view but the treacherous weather. Knowing that I was in the grand landscape yet not being able to see it was temptatiously frustrated.

So this year... I can't wait to revisit what I was supposed to see last year.

Tad, June and I stayed at Mike B's cabin in Tamworth, 1hour and 15 min away from the Appalachian Trial head. The rest of the gang stayed at the Gorham Motor Inn. We started the hike at 5:10 AM, 5 min ahead of schedule. The day started out very humid and cloudy. we hiked into the cloud to the summit of Mt Madison. The cloud spread out as we approached Madison Spring hut. I was almost emotional when I saw the hut from miles away, because last year, we were basically stumbling our way, cairn by cairn to find our way to the hut as the fog was so thick and the rain wasn't helping, we barely sighted a silhouette of the hut when we're only few yards away from the hut. What a huge different this time around.

A short water break later, we hit the trail again to Mt Adams. The sky was clear, we can see the rocky path ahead of us led up to the summit of Mt Adams. With no trouble, we made it to the summit and moved on very quickly toward Jefferson. As we arrived at the Great Gulf, my eyes were filled with tears of joy... looking into the Great Gulf Wilderness for the first time, the feeling was so fulfilling, it's a matter of finishing an unfinished business, a mission accomplished. Last year... this year. What a different a day made. It was great, it was wicked great.

We crossed a few yards of snow field as we approaching the summit of Mt Jefferson, and made it to the summit where views as well as variety of bugs were abundance (but no wind). We waited for Matt and Dan who were falling a little behind at the summit while keeping the bugs entertained. As soon as Matt arrived, Carol, June and Dan took some of his gears (including a full roll of duct tape) out of his very heavy backpack to ease his weight and hopefully he could keep up his pace.

The magnificent view of the Great Gulf Wilderness accompanied us all the way to Mt Clay and as we moved toward Mt Washington, the sky began to thicken with clouds. The stronger hikers had already waited for a while at the junction 1.1 mi below the summit when I arrived, we watched the sky get darker and darker while waiting for others. And the first sound of thunder roared through the dark cloud and followed by big palettes of rain drops... Matt was asked to descent the mountain, co-leader Dan volunteered to lead him down. The rest of us waited at the junction for the thunder shower to ease out. Not dare to ascend even an inch higher as the thunder kept on roaring. At least we didn't see any lightning, and the rain was bearable. But the fact that we could see the summit observatory building was some what frustrated; so close yet so far. 20-ish minutes later, the rain and thunder finally quiet down a bit. With the "go ahead" permission from Joe, we all charging ahead to the summit, with very very clean and squishy boots.

I had 2 slices of pizza and a bowl of clam chowder with 2 packets of crackers. Some had the Presidential Range Traverse official food, the chili dog. Yumm....

The second half of the day was clear, bright, hot and humid. We left the summit observatory building of Mt Washington around 3:15ish. The hike to Lakes of the Clouds hut was quite hard for me. My knee began to ache and the trail was filled with running water and very slippery. We arrived at the hut to see there were many people resting outside of the hut, scattering their wet clothes all over the place to dry. It was quite a fun scene. Hiking up Mt Monroe and looked back to the Lakes of the Clouds was great. Again, it was a lousy day the last time I visited the hut (3 years ago). What lake?? I couldn't even see the person 15ft ahead of me. But this time around, it's all good!

Up Monroe to Frankiln via Eisenhower to Clinton... We're in great spirits and loving it. But the day light was running low... by the time we reached the summit of Mt Clinton, Joe decided that we'd wrap up the day and declare a success (despite we're 2 summits away to finish the official traverse). Sounds good to me! June, Carol and I descended from Mt Clinton, the rest made the short trip to Mizpah hut for lemonade.... I much rather save my energy for a nice cold beer later :-)

I think we arrived at the Crawford Path trailhead at around 8:30 PM. Matt and Dan were there waiting for us. That's very kind of them to not only waited for us but also help us moved some cars from the Appalachian trailhead to here. While we're chatting at the parking lot, we saw lightning pierced across the sky, man, so glad we're not up there when that happened.

Anyway. it was a GREAT hike.


Pictures credit:
All picture without borders and captions are courtesy of Matt Smith.
All picture with borders and captions are courtesy of Tom Dmukauskas. Here are the rest of the pictures taken by Tom.

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