View Full Version : Dreams Realized on Washington and Jefferson 3/12/12

KD Talbot
03-14-2012, 02:50 PM
Along Base Road

Mount Washington 6288'/ Mount Jefferson 5716'

Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail/Crawford Path/Gulfside Trail/Clay Loop Trail/Jefferson Loop Trail/Jewell Trail

12+ Miles 6000' + Elevation gain

Tim L, Justin F, Kevin, Judy and Emma

I've never really been good at planning out my life. I am more the type of personality that takes it as it comes. Many times I have seen my plans crumble to unforeseen circumstances. Generally, I make a loose plan, a tentative plan, with a back up plan in place in case things don't work out. Sometimes I have been able to reach the original goal, and sometimes I have not. When I started hiking mountains the goal was always a single mountain. That soon became two mountains, then maybe a range. Eventually, it became a list, and over and over again I began to believe I could accomplish my hiking goals as I faced them.

Down Low on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail

Not so with the winter 4k list. My first winter 4k was Mount Lafayette in 2001. I was interested in some winter hiking, but not sure how much. The thought of hiking all the NH 4ks in winter was not even in my mind. I wanted to survive one winter 4k hike, then go from there. Unfortunately my hiking buddy and winter hiking mentor injured his back on that hike, and has pretty much been done with winter hiking since then. Not having anyone in the small hiking community I belonged to who was interested in winter hiking kept me below 4000' for the next two winters. During this time I continued to winter hike the lower peaks, learning what I could about winter hiking and trying out and familiarizing myself with various winter equipment. It wasn't until March of '03 before I could convince my wife to attempt a winter 4k.

Mount Washington from the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail

On this first winter 4k together we chose Mount Pierce. My theory was that we could get a good feel for winter hiking on this trip. We could get above tree-line for a few moments, get some awesome views, and quickly duck back into the trees if it was too windy. As I stated previously, plans don't always work out perfectly, but I had learned to adapt to what was actually happening as opposed to what I had planned. Flexibility was and is always a key to success. On that first hike we stepped out of the trees on the Crawford Path and made the quick run up to the summit of Mount Pierce. The mountains were socked in, and there was a steady, piercing wind, (Bad pun intended). We found a spot somewhat out of the wind and had a meager lunch. Cold, but invigorated we headed back down, but could not find our tracks. The Crawford/Webster Cliff trail sign was obscured by deep drifts, invisible to us. We dropped down too low passing right over the Crawford Path without recognizing it. Fortunately I soon recognized my mistake and began to climb back up and towards the entrance to the trees as the wind whipped me, my wife and dog about. We forged through deep drifts as frozen pellets whipped our faces. Luckily, we were not far off course, many lessons learned on this hike!

Along the Crawford Path

Over the next few winter seasons we pecked away at the 4ks. The thought of completing "The List" was still not even in our minds. One by one we added to our winter list. I/we had been turned back on several occasions, but also we had forged on several times when we really wanted to turn back. The years went by, and as they did, different things would get in the way. There were health issues, family obligations... in general, there were more important things to do. Basically, life got in the way. At the start of this winter season I found I was within a few hikes of actually completing the winter 4k list, but I also knew I had saved some of the toughest ones for last. In January we managed to hike Mount Monroe and I found myself at the nice round number of forty. For various reasons, Judy and Emma were slightly behind in numbers, and encouraged me to go ahead and finish, for which I am most thankful.

A Look Back at Mount Monroe and the Lakes of the Clouds Hut

I found what was left before me as daunting a task as anything I had ever set out to do. I was facing a Bond Traverse and the Northern Presidentials. Having previously hiked them all a few times in the warmer months I knew what I was in for. In February, on my birthday I set out to face the Bonds/Zealand with a large, supportive group to whom I am most thankful. I managed to complete this first part of what I felt, at least to me, was an enormous task. With this huge monkey off my back I now found myself actually feeling as though I could accomplish this goal which I had never dreamed I would achieve. Still, in the back of my mind I knew I wasn't as close to it as I thought, though I could now see the finish line.

Emma, Judy and I on the Summit of Mount Washington taken by Tim L

As with all things in life, it is difficult to foresee how things will play out as you strive to accomplish what you have set out to do. Something that I had never dreamed would ever happen occurred on the first half of my Presidential journey. I managed to stand on the summit of two of the highest peaks in the White Mountains in calendar winter with my wife and dog, my two closest trail companions, and my two best friends. I had known all along, that on the right day we could do this together, but as the years wore on, it was beginning to look like it was just one of those dreams that I had hoped for, but would never materialize. I couldn't be more elated at our success on this venture!

Tim L and Justin F on Mount Washington #47 Single Season Winter Summit for Tim Justin's Second Time There in Six Days!

We have been struggling mightily with the logistics of me finishing this list. Should I just go and get it done? Will Jude join me on this particular hike? Is it right that we should push our aging dog and fearless, faithful companion through these long and arduous hikes? In the end we decided against pushing her through the 23 mile slog of the Bonds, but we knew, in the right conditions we could all make it to the summit of Mount Washington, so, we waited for a "Prezzie Day" and hoped upon hope that we would be blessed with the right circumstances. I was heartsick as opportunity after opportunity passed and one circumstance or another kept things from happening. Then, it happened: All things fell into place. The weather forecast looked favorable, Jude had the time off from work, Emma was looking good, and a good friend was going to make the hike and would be glad to have us along. Having faith that things would eventually come about paid off.


KD Talbot
03-14-2012, 02:51 PM
Starting Out Towards Mount Jefferson

As we left Marshfield Station on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail I was not feeling very well. I hadn't slept well as is normal before a hike, but I was also fighting a pain in my abdomen that has been plaguing me for awhile. I labored as we hiked, on the steep section I was sucking wind and felt very poorly, but there was something happening on this hike. I was with two experienced and excellent hikers in my friend Tim L and a new acquaintance, Justin F. If we were successful, Tim would finish his Single Season Winter 48 with the summits of Monroe, Washington and Jefferson, but there was someone else along as well, my wife and faithful dog. My constant trail companions who had journeyed almost every mile over the years with me. They were doing well. My goal was now not so much for me, but for them.

Descending from Mount Washington

We reached Lakes of the Clouds Hut and ducked into "The Dungeon". Wind had picked up considerable as we rose above tree-line. Justin asked me how I was doing and I replied that I though I might have appendicitis. I was feeling very poorly. I drank as much as I could and tried to eat, but gagged on the food. Jude said, "If you need to go back down, we can." I said, "Let me try to eat and we'll go from there." Tim and Justin headed out to Mount Monroe, which we had planned to skip. I choked down half of a sandwich. Jude said, "We can do this!" I said, "I know..." We started out the door of "The Dungeon" and headed towards Mount Washington on the Crawford Path.

My Hiking Partners for the Day

The sun was bright and despite the wind it wasn't all that cold. The wind died down as we went along. I looked over my shoulder and saw Tim and Justin leaving the summit of Mount Monroe. I knew they would catch us before long. No matter, they were being very patient with us and despite us apologizing several times for our slower pace they assured us that they were in no hurry. It was a beautiful day and they were here to enjoy it. We were most thankful for this, though I think if conditions were worse, things would have been different, but then, if conditions were worse, we wouldn't have been there. Before too long we were all standing at the junction of Crawford and Gulfside, just below the summit. We began the final approach. Neither Judy nor I could believe we were there, with Emma as well, standing on the summit of Mount Washington in March!

A Look Back to Mount Washington from the Mount Clay Loop Trail

State Park Manager Mike Pelchat was out and about business around the summit and recognized Emma immediately. Mike and I have become friends over the years through my stints as volunteer at the Observatory. He let us have our lunch inside, which helped me tremendously. After eating and drinking I felt as though I could go on. Up to this point it had not been clear what we would do, whether Judy and I would just descend by the Jewell Trail and call it a day, or continue on to Jefferson with Tim and Justin. Different options had been discussed, but as we left the summit and the relative comfort of the Sherman Adams Building it was clear that we would ALL continue on to Mount Jefferson.

On the Way to Mount Jefferson

The wind had died down to a gentle breeze, the sun was warm and the going was easy. We took our time as we picked a way across the snowfields, no need to follow the cairns. We broke off onto the Clay Loop Trail at the edge of the Great Gulf and followed this over what I had long thought of as the most under-rated mountain in the White Mountains. I love Mount Clay! The views into the Great Gulf and back over the Great Gulf Headwall to Mount Washington are magnificent! To our north we could see Mounts Jefferson, Adams and Madison and the urge to continue on and bag all three was strong, though I knew my legs would never hold out. We dropped down into Sphinx Col and then once again headed north on the Gulfside Trail towards the summit of Mount Jefferson.

View to Mount Washington from Mount Jefferson

Along the way we were amazed at the lack of snow cover. Huge Diapensia mats stood out among the exposed rocks and I don't think I would have been at all surprised if there had been some early blossoms, though there were none. We soon broke off onto the Jefferson Loop Trail and rose the last few tenths to the summit. Along the way we had all at one point or another lost control of the shear elation that hiking above tree-line can bring on this sort of day. There were several periods of mad laughter and whoops of joy! Jude and I looked at each other, then at Emma. We had accomplished something we never thought we would do together, and it felt incredible! Emma took it in stride, and began pawing Judy to feed her more boiled lamb and rice.

Descending from Mount Jefferson

As we left the summit I looked north to Mount Adams, I knew somewhere behind it was Mount Madison. These are the last two on my list. Though I cannot hope for a better day than we had on this hike, I now know my goal is within reach. It is something that I never thought I would accomplish. I know many now have accomplished this, and many even have done this in a single winter season, but I am not them, and they are not me. The goal which I have so long sought is now on the horizon. I hope to finish this coming weekend if the Mountain gods see fit to allow me. I would appreciate your positive energy and thoughts to help me get through, they have carried me before!

Tim Finishes His Single Season Winter 48 on Mount Jefferson!

Full set of pictures HERE: (http://ghostflowers.smugmug.com/White-Mountain-Hikes/Mount-Washington-Mount/21926117_j2T5hK#!i=1748682676&k=4NP4CVX)


Snow Miser
03-14-2012, 04:40 PM
Great TR and photos Kevin. Congrats to Tim on his Winter 48, and good luck to you on your last two! Hope you're feeling better. :)

03-14-2012, 08:39 PM
very nice trip thanks

03-14-2012, 09:35 PM
Kevin as usual very nice hike report and great pictures.

Thanks for sharing.

03-15-2012, 07:38 AM
Thank you again Kevin for a fantastic trip report. Congrats Tim, the W48 is a great accomplishment and what a day to do it.

KD Talbot
03-15-2012, 03:09 PM
Thanks, all! It was great to get these behind me!


03-18-2012, 08:33 AM
Thank you Kevin, great as always.

03-18-2012, 05:14 PM
as always great TR and pics - thanks 4 sharing : )

Hope you got that last one since posting- conditions were defintley warm to say the least

Anna LeBlanc
03-19-2012, 08:28 AM
Thank you Kevin for the amazing photos and TR.So happy that you and Judy and Emma were able to do this together.Feel better and good luck with the rest :)


KD Talbot
03-21-2012, 10:33 AM
It was great to get to this point, and even greater to share it with Emma and Judy. Sadly, they did not make it to my final two, but there will be other mountains to hike. Emma is doing well, slowly being able to put more weight on her leg, and apparently doesn't consider it an injury at all, just a minor inconvenience. Thanks to all for following along, you helped get me through!


03-22-2012, 02:24 PM
Thanks for the congrats... note that this was a single-season winter 48 finish for me (as a way to stay busy while laid off) - I had previously finished the NH 48 in winter (2010).


03-22-2012, 09:41 PM
Amazing pictures :)

04-06-2012, 06:26 AM
Kevin, did you ever find out what the pain was in your abdomen?