Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gulf of Slides

Boo Yah Achieved.

In a big way. Yesterday was rare. A perfect storm of sorts, but with good conditions, not bad. Low 40's, blue bird, no wind, soft(ish) snow. Doesn't sound all that amazing but considering we were on Mt. Washington in March it's pretty damn awesome.

Bill made the call last week that we should try and get on the Gulf of Slides for this weekend and we immediately jumped on the chance. No one had been on that side of the Boot Spur to date and everyone was anxious to check it out. It can be more dangerous at the Slides when conditions are bad, but avy danger was low for the weekend, the only thing you had to watch out for was ice. Thanks to the abundant sun, ice wasnt too much of an issue.

The Usual Suspects (minus Irwin who took the shot)

The hike up was tough in spots, but to be expected when you are hiking up a trail designed to be skied down. I developed some hotspots on my heels about halfway up that ended up turning into some sweet blisters that I will be nursing for the next few days, but the pain was manageable and I was having too much fun to care. We made pretty good time getting to the basin in just over 2 hours. The closer we got to the basin you could start to see the signs of avalanches past...trees snapped off halfway up, piles of brush. Pretty cool to see first hand but also kinda sobering / scary.

You can see some of the broken trees in this little Gulley

Main Gulley. Where are the crowds? Oh yeah, they are all on Tucks. All 800 of them.

After a quick lunch at the basin we suited up for the hike up the headwall. We had about 1000 vertical feet to go. It was somewhat slow going, the slope wasn't scary steep but we all wanted to make sure we had solid footfalls and for awhile we were setting our own bootpack, which can be scary (Thanks Bill!). We took our time and topped out after about an hour.

The Final Ascent

Snow conditions at the very top were semi-boiler plate but we were able to traverse a bit to the main gulley where the snow was more manageable. The actual snow conditions were kind of hard to explain...hard in spots, softer in spots, a bit crusty. It was more mental than anything else, edges were holding, but you had to stay strong through the whole turn and really make sure you had your balance in lapse and the snow would grab you for sure. No one had any issues and we all had great runs back down to the basin.

Looking South, Attitash/Bear Peak in the Distance.

And that wasn't all! After our run on the bowl we still had a 2 mile ski back down the Gulf of Slides Trail back to the cars at Pinkham Notch. Luckily we started heading back down before things had a chance to harden back up. A perfect long easy run out after a perfect day on Washington.

I also took my Garmin along, unfortunately I screwed up all the data. I had been planning to track our hike up to the basin and then stop recording there and start it back up for our ski back down to the cars. All was going well until I accidentally bumped the start timer button half way up the headwall. So in essence the device though we shot up 500 vertical feet out of nowhere, and then shot back down to the basin when I turned it back on for our ski out. So basically the data isn't accurate at all...the elevation graph is pretty funny, it is very easy to see where things get a bit screwy. Oh well, live and learn.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hamlin-Eames Conservation Area

Gina, myself and the pooch went to scope out the Hamlin-Eames Conservation Area in Meredith Sunday. We wanted to get the lay of the land seeing as this trail network is within a mile of the house we are in agreement to buy. And after this little walk in the woods I am happy to say that, in my mind, the property value of of our potential new home just skyrocketed...and Wylee loved it too.

if she had opposable thumbs they would both be up.

As you can see here there are lots of little pond / marsh areas and some really cool ledge lookouts to Lake Wicwas. We hiked out to Crockett's Ledge and then came back via the Pond Loop trail. Biking here will be interesting, a decent amount of short steep climbs and it looks like most of the trails weren't really cut with biking in mind but it is permitted in the area so I will check things out once we get through mud season.

Crockett's Ledge

Big 'ole dead tree

In other hilarious news, I decided to get to this area by cutting through some back roads in the region we are moving into. I found out recently that we are moving into what the locals call 'Chemungville'. It is a small region bounded by Rt. 104 to the North, I-93 to the West, Lake Winnisquam to the East and Rt. 3 to the South. Once you get into Chemungville things get pretty remote pretty fast. They also get very less paved. If you will be visiting us in the Spring, bring your rally skills or your mudding jeep.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hubbard Brook revisited

I returned this weekend to Hubbard Brook with more appropriate gearing AND a GPS device to track my every move. This was the first field test of the garmin on a bike for me and I can quickly tell that I am going to love this little piece of gear.

I didn't bring the camera along this time but for pics of the area check my original post here. Conditions were similar to my first outing, sun was out, temps were cold but manageable and the snow/ice was perfect.

So without further ado...the goods.

So much awesome pertinent data and so easy to collect. The auto pause feature worked awesome while on the bike no issues like we had while walking the dog. I really like that it keeps track of avg speeds while ascending, descending and on the flats. Its also really cool to see the avg grade, seeing as this was a giant out and back climb...11% average, pretty gnar. Not sure I believe the 34.5% maximum though, probably some errant signals.

Unfortunately it can't measure how many sweet fishtails I did on the descent but I can tell you that there were a lot and they were all sweet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dog Walk Data Analysis

So last post I promised my readers unparalleled access to every single one of my bike rides from here on out thanks to my new Garmin Edge 205. Conditions in NH are no longer lending themselves to ice biking, or much of anything outdoors for that matter, except for maybe taking the pooch for a walk in the woods.

And seeing as you can't buy a new toy and then just leave it on your coffee table to stare at for months I figured, hell, I want to know all the pertinent data about this walk in the woods. I mean how am I going to know how to pace myself on our next walk in the woods with Wylee if I don't have the 411? So I strapped the Edge to my backpack and hit Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest.

I was really surprised with the accuracy, especially because the signal strength was 'poor' during the walk. Chamberlain Reynolds has some pretty dense tree cover. The speed kind of jumped around but we were moving pretty slow, I had to turn the auto pause off because it kept thinking we were stopped for a fraction of a second or so and it would pause and resume over and over. I don't think I'll have that issue on a bike though. I think I'm going to like this new tool very very much...

I'll let the DATA speak for itself.