April 24, 2010

Mount Tecumseh

Katy and Owen atop Mount TecumsehAfter a long winter with many changes going on in my life, this weekend it was time to get back to our new constant. Katy and I checked off another mountain in our pursuit to join the White Mountain 4000 Footers Club. This trip was actually a very spur of the moment trip. Our weekends have been very busy lately and when I noticed that we had a free Saturday, and that the weather was supposed to be nice, I suggested that we make an early season trip to the Whites to check off the shortest and easiest mountain on the list: Mount Tecumseh. I knew the trail conditions might be tricky this early in the spring, but after some minor deliberation, we finally decided "why not?" and were on the road at 8AM this morning to make the 2 hour ride to the trail head.

Katy on the trailMount Tecumseh is home to the Waterville Valley ski area and as such, the trail head is actually at the ski area parking lot. Not being a skier at all, I've never been to Waterville Valley but it turned out to be a really nice ride through the valley once we were off the highway on a perfect spring morning. With the busy winter ski season over, it was a generally empty road all the way to the mostly deserted ski area, with only a few other hikers' cars in the lot. By 10:30AM we were on the trail under clear skies and temperatures in the 60's. The first mile or so was an easy ascent on a dry trail with a few easy river crossings. Once we reached the higher elevations, though, the trail was essentially completely covered in a foot or so of hard packed snow. We barebooted all the way to the top without too much trouble, only some slipping, but microspikes probably would have been helpful on the way up. We, of course, didn't have any. We passed several groups on the way up, some wearing microspikes, some not. We reached the summit two and a half miles from the trail head in good time, just before noon, and stayed awhile to eat our lunch.

Katy's ninja pose at the summitI thought the trip down would be a little tricky with the snow pack on the trail, but I actually found it very easy to boot right down. Katy's descent tactics were pretty amusing, though, as she seemed to be in a semi-controlled slide for most of the top half of the trail. We made very good time on the way down; it probably didn't take us much more than an hour, and we were back at the car a little past 1:30PM. We stopped for some food on the way back home, and were back around 5PM.

Fun and easy five mile hike. Perfect weather. Great company. Just what I needed.

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