View Full Version : Seek the Peak 2009.1 (redux)

09-17-2009, 06:58 PM

Okay.. so its taken me a while to post my recap of Seek the Peak 2009. For those that may remember, I didn't make it to the summit in July. Seems that several small things just kept happening along the trail up Boot Spur that morning, which lead us to believe that the mountain gods just did not see it being our day. So we decided to be smart and turn back, which at least allowed us to beat everyone to dinner!

Well, since July its nagged and bothered me that I left the hike unfinished. With plans to come up from Virginia for the Flags on the 48 hike, I decided to make a week of it and get STP9 wrapped up. Only this time, I invited my dad along, as its been just over 40 years since he was last in the mountains and hike Mt Lafayette. I lent him one of my packs and he headed out to the wood by his house, pack loaded with jugs of water and got ready for the hike. With a day of rest in between, I figured he could help me finish this one and revisit Lafayette for FOT48.


Since it was dad's first real hike in 40 years, I decided that it'd be best to hike it in two days. This would give us plenty of time both on the ascent and the descent. Plus, I've been wanting to experience the AMC huts, so I made reservations for two bunks at Lakes of the Clouds.

The route I picked was the same as STP9 in July, Boot Spur. Every year I've picked a route I haven't done before. STP7 was Lions Head and STP8 was the ever challenging Huntington Ravine. As in the years past, we would come down Tuckermans for the most direct descent.


In The Beginning

The morning air was cool and crisp, but not too cool for my favorite hiking gear. As we left the hotel in North Conway, I made a quick Facebook update that we were heading off to PNVC to acquire some breakfast and hit the trail. This quick digital ping across the Intarwebs sent an alert to an adventurous photog who was perched up on Square Ledge for some morning pics. Upon pulling into the parking lot, I see a familiar face jump out of his car and skipping off to the visitors center. "Brad?" I called out... "Hey! I saw your post and ran down the trail to meet you guys for breakfast!"

As we sat and chatted over bacon, eggs, pancakes and coffee, dad got to hear up catch up on the latest news, gossip and the status of my new Subaru he'll be driving for the year. Once we filled our bellies, we bid Brad a farewell and off to the trail!

Where are we going, Dad?

Annnnnd Away We Go!

The start was nice and smooth. Spent the first half hour, advising dad on use of his trekking poles, some techniques on traversing the rocks and things to watch out for. As usual, the first stop comes quick and we took an opportunity for photo ops at Crystal Cascades.

BlueDog @ Crystal Cascades

Dad Enjoying the Falls

No sooner did we get our packs on straight and warmed up when we arrived at the junction for the Boot Spur trail.

Dad Spots the Boot Spur Trail Junction

Once on the Boot Spur trail, we start the uphill climb. Dad quickly determines that a little more time on the Stairmaster might have been prudent, but we're here now, the weather is perfect and we've got all day.

Dad Starts the Upward Climb

Rope & Ladder

A little way up the trail we come out to a small opening in the trees. This provides us with our first glimpse of the skies and surroundings. I direct dads gaze to the summit and say, "THAT'S where we're walking to." His reaction is in the photo below.


Taking in his First Glimpse of the Trek Ahead

First Glimpse of the Summit

Short rest, down some water and a quick snack, then we move on.

Trail Bridges Through the Greenery

Onward and Upward

As we start approaching the treeline, I quickly educate dad as to the distinct three zones that are on the mountain, encouraging his that we are almost 1/3 the way there!

Approaching Treeline

Welcome to the Alpine Zone!

A quick break for a pic and Facebook update to ease the mind of a worried mom at home.

Dad made it to the Alpine Zone

to be continued....

09-17-2009, 08:08 PM
What's this about "your car"?

09-17-2009, 08:26 PM
The Alpine Zone

Having pretty much all day to make it up to the hut by dinner time was a very nice luxury on this hike. This extra time gave us plenty of opportunities to drop out packs, sit and check out the scenery.

Harvard Rock and Split Rock were some of these times to stop and play as well.


"Harvard baby!"

Notice the freedom of movement the kilt bring! ;)

BlueDog the Conqueror!

Split Rock

In the Crack @ Split Rock

Okay, enough horsing around! Time to move on up the trail.

Rocky Trail

As we move up through the Alpine Zone the views just get better and better. Here, we get a good view on PNVC and Wildcat, where we started and how far we've come.

Where's Waldo.. er.. I mean Dad?

On many occasions, dad was to hear me yell back, "It levels off right up here!" :) Only, to start climbing up again about 20 yards further.

Pushing it to the Ridge!

Off to Davis Path

One last push up the next ridge and we were looking forward to another break.

Are we still having fun?

Looking back at the Boot

Miles to go before we sleep

Once we made it to the top of the ridge, the summit actually looks deceivingly easy and dad is still movin' right along.

The summit is within reach!

Dad makes it to Davis Path

The original plan was to check-in at the hut, drop our packs and take a light bag for the run up to the summit. However, since we had been taking our time, and after review of the topo, we decide its best to head to the summit first, then the hut after.

Davis Path & Camel Trail Junction

Push to the Summit

Now that we were on Davis Path and making our way to the summit, the trail leveled out and a fist full of trail mix in our belly, we were jazzed to get there. Only one mile to go!

One Mile to Go!

We can soon see that skipping the hut was the wise choice of the day.

Looking down to Lakes of the Clouds hut

Almost there!

Nice new trail signs mark the way. Thanks AMC!

0.2 to go!

Having gone ahead to get pics of dad as he rounds the corner to the top, I regret to inform him that he hasn't quite made it yet.

No really, you're ALMOST there!

This is when I tell him that there one last pile of rocks to climb...

Dad stands on the summit of Mount Washington!

Father and Son make the Summit

And of course, the shot that was SUPPOSE to happen back in July...

Thanks to all my Seek the Peak sponsors for 2009!

The Tallest Man in all of New England!

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading along. This was one of the most enjoyable hike that I've had. I'm so proud of my dad for making and he is STILL amazed that he actually made it! For those that followed along in real time over Facebook, it was fun and responses kept us going and mom on the edge of her seat with no help to Brad.

Also, a big thanks to Brian Clark for giving us the tour of the Obs! Dad got to see right where his sponsorship money goes every year!

There are many, many more pictures on my Flickr page (http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebluedog/sets/72157622268494271/) if you care to click thru. (Note, if you are a Flickr member let me know and I can add you as a friend if you want to be able to see the hi-res versions.)

The one downside to this trip is that I think my dad will no longer be sponsoring me on future Seek the Peaks. When I asked if he think he'd like to hike MW next July, all I got in response was a HUGE smile from ear to ear. So with a little encouragement, I think he'll be joining the STP family!

Sunset from Lakes of the Clouds AMC hut

Up next ... Lakes of the Clouds and Mount Monroe

09-17-2009, 08:27 PM
What's this about "your car"?

LOL... was wondering if you'd catch that. Knew I should have buried it further into the story! :)

09-17-2009, 09:17 PM
LOL... was wondering if you'd catch that. Knew I should have buried it further into the story! :)
And I was a huge support to your mother! I kept on giving her updates that you two were okay.

Your pictures and TR are excellent!

09-17-2009, 10:45 PM
Congratulations to you and your Dad for a simply wonderful trip! You can definitely tell from the expression on his face in all the pictures how much he's enjoying it. Great to hear that he'll be joining the regular STP crowd next year.

The TR and photos are awesome. One thing for sure - next time up is going to be via Boott Spup. What absolutely incredible views!!!

Thanks for taking us all along with you and your Dad.

09-18-2009, 06:46 AM
That was a fantastic trip report and excellent pictures. Boot Spur does look like a very interesting route. Thanks for bringing us along.

Snow Miser
09-18-2009, 07:52 AM
I agree with everyone, fantastic TR and photos!!! It's really nice that you had the opportunity to do this hike with your Dad. You both look like you had a great time together. Thanks for sharing with us and bringing us along.

rockin rex
09-21-2009, 04:08 PM
You now have your dad addicted. Blue Dog I am so happy for you and your Dad. The picture of you and him at the summit sign speaks volumes. I missed so much being at Seek The Peak and seeing you with the Seek The Peak flag lets me know 2010 I am there. This trip report and pictures has to be up there at the top of my list. Boot Spur is an amazing trail. Hey Blue Dog what do you say 2010 we plan on doing "the other side". Ammo to Lakes to cookies to Turkey dinner. With 2 cars and camping at Moose making this work shouldn't be a problem. Again thanks for taking me along for the hike with you and your dad.

09-21-2009, 05:41 PM
Thanks Rex! You were def missed this year. We are being teased about STP10 being BIG. I'm tempted to work out a Prei Traverse or something like that for 10. If not, yeah, I need to start checking off the trails on the "other" side now.

10-08-2009, 10:16 AM
Thanks for sharing your hike pix. I always wondered what that route was like and now have a better picture, no pun intended. It's really neat you took dad along. We each only have one and sharing a day with yours must have been real special. I am already planning to attend STP '10. Can't wait.

10-09-2009, 05:22 PM
Hey, I missed this report the first time around. I think I was away from technology for a few days.

Beautiful Pics Erich! Looks like you and your dad had a great time! Congratulations on making such great memories together!


10-09-2009, 05:40 PM
Thanks again everyone! It was a great time. Glad I finally got to experience the huts. Will be doing that again.