View Full Version : Wildcats 3/14/09

KD Talbot
03-15-2009, 04:05 PM
On Wildcat Ridge

Wildcats 3/14/09

Wildcat A 4422' and Wildcat D 4062'

8.6 Miles 3400' Elevation gain

Nineteen Mile Brook Trail, Wildcat Ridge Trail and Polecat Ski Trail

Kevin, Judy and Emma

Quote of the Day: "This could be categorized as epic. Stupidly epic. No, epically stupid." Jude

Things were going quite well. Spent the night in Gorham. Up and out early. Time to go to Dunky's to fill the thermos for later. At the trailhead early, saw some familiar, smiling faces. On the trail conditions were awesome. Warm temps, blue sky, hardpacked, concrete sidewalk for hiking. Few folks on the trail, had it pretty much to ourselves. J&J caught us at the junction with Carter Dome Trail and we had a nice chat, then we were off in different directions. As is pretty much always the case they recognized Emma first.

Stopped for a quick break at the height of land and junction with Wildcat Ridge Trail. Met a young fella who had already come over Carter Dome. Told him if he headed up Wildcat to just push the old folks (us) out of his way, and he did. Shortly after an easy crossing at the slide I dropped my pole. It began to slide but Jude made an awesome catch. I commented that, "I hope our luck keeps up." Kiss of death.

I call the next part of this trip report, "Doublebow gets the last laugh." At Manchester beer night in February I was ribbing him about getting lost in the spruce traps on Lafayette. Now he can rib me. Soon after dropping my pole the trail takes a sharp left southeast and I knew it. The crust was so hard that there were no discernible tracks where we should have turned. There were however tracks heading straight (west) from there, so we followed for a while. Didn't seem right. Retraced our steps, started up. Still didn't seem right. Upon turning around saw a blaze. Looked around but couldn't find another. Headed off in our original direction again following the young guys tracks in the snow. Soon cut left and started climbing. Didn't seem right, but there were open paths through the trees. We figured we could connect back with the trail soon. Started post holing but Jude and Emma were gone still following the youngster. I was ready to turn around and start looking for the right track again but figured if Jude was still going it must ease up. It didn't.

Post holing got worse, trees got closer together, the track of the guy in front of us got more and more erratic. Where there were openings he would turn away to gain elevation, leading into worse and worse conditions. He must have weighed about ninety lbs. because he seldom, if ever broke through the crust. Me weighing in at about 230 with my full pack had a different experience. Still no Jude in sight. Now I'm getting stuck between and under trees, sinking into spruce traps up to my hips and swearing a lot. If I had to put a dollar in the slush fund for every curse I uttered I would have donated enough to buy everyone on Views new snowshoes.

Eventually I noticed the trees were very small and this is where it got worst. I was now sinking in with every step right up to my chin. Like quicksand, the more you struggle, the more you sink. Emma came back and looked at me which was somewhat of a relief because I knew I couldn't be too far away from them. Then she sauntered back to Jude, gliding across the crust, ducking under the branches that were grabbing me and pulling me backwards and down with every step. Believe it or not I cursed some more. Finally I shouted for Jude, "Where are you?" Her answer, "I'm right here! I'm on the trail!" She was maybe 30 feet away. There was no possible way of going towards her voice, the spruce was that thick. So, winding around and sinking up to my chin with each step I finally reached her and the most blessed trail in about fifteen more curse laden minutes.

I think adrenaline and the will to survive kicks in in those situations and remarkably I didn't feel totally spent, just relieved to be back with them and on the trail. It had taken us the best part of three hours to go the 7/10ths from the height of land to the summit of Wildcat A. Fun! The rest of the hike took less than three hours. Crossing the ridge we we ran into a few other groups coming in the opposite direction meeting a few VFTTrs including RickB. I didn't catch everyone's name, sorry, but Emma got to meet the legendary Matthias which made us all smile! We hope he's feeling better, so cute! The rest of the hike passed without incident. The descent along the Polecat ski trail went pretty well with everyone except some brain damaged children giving us a wide berth. Kids. I hitched a ride from two angels back to 19 Mile to get our car. Despite the traps it was still a great, albeit tiring, day!

Pics here:



03-15-2009, 04:20 PM
Knew from the quote of the day that this was going to be bad. Amazingly the pictures make it look like a totally uneventful day. Probably not much desire to document the journey when you're buried up to you chin. The fact that you end the TR by saying that it was still a great day says a lot.

03-15-2009, 04:22 PM
In one of those pictures I could see me at HoJo's waving at you. I was wondering who was wandering around up on the Cats. :cool:

Patrad Fischroy
03-15-2009, 06:04 PM
Couldn't you tell that he was Nekkid?? Or was that when he was buried up to his chin?

03-15-2009, 09:42 PM
I'm sorry you had such a hard time of it there, glad you got back on the trail! Congrats on your successful hike, even if you got more than you bargained for. :)

And -- WOW -- stunning photographs!! Amazing.

03-16-2009, 01:45 PM
Chin deep? I'd pay to see that! Next time give the camera to Judy.

Glad the day turned out to be a good one!

KD Talbot
03-16-2009, 04:59 PM
Oh yeah. Definitely Youtube material. Jude was too busy swearin' and diggin' herself out of spruce traps to work a camera.

Made a bad choice. Knew it while I was doin' it. Lucky to get away with it. Will know better next time and will try not to repeat the mistake.

Should have turned around and looked for the right track again. That simple.


Jimmy Legs and Little d
03-17-2009, 01:27 PM
This hike you'll always remember. Keep the camera ready, if there is a next time. It would be pretty cool to see a video on You Tube.:D
little d