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Thread: Ethan Pond Trail, trailhead

  1. #1
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    Default Ethan Pond Trail, trailhead

    We were hoping to successfully execute Plan B today, Mt. Willey. I went to bed last night thinking that we'd have a shot at it, if the trail/ladders weren't too icy and if we were well protected from the wind.

    I awoke at the usual 5am, got the gear in the car, got myself ready, woke up Alex, got her ready, and then left the house. It was raining quite hard, and I had my first serious doubts about Willey.

    Just before 6am, we went through the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru. We ordered our standard bagels with cream cheese and I got my very necessary large coffee. We drove off, the windshield wiper going full force and my doubts increasing.

    It seems a few fog monsters ate Cannon and the Franconia Ridge. Those mountains were nowhere to be seen as we drove slowly through the Notch.

    We continued along route 3, then turned onto 302. I noticed the entire Presidential Range had been replaced by a family of very mean-looking, dark, thick clouds. From bottom to top, these mountains had vanished. I began to wonder if we would be able to find Mount Willey, let alone climb it.

    We found the trailhead, and now there was no question -- we were not going to get very far today. The clouds were dark and thick, the rain was cold and steady, and everything was dark even though it was past sunrise. The entire environment seemed to scream "Go Away!" If it were summer and I thought it would clear and warm up, I would have had some hope. However, I knew the temps were going to plummet, and that this mess may not clear up at all.

    However -- I wanted Alex to assess the situation for herself. I had explained the forecast and she knew what to expect regarding the trails ahead of us (she chose the route for today).

    I told her we would do what she thought we should. That we could start up the trail and I would turn us around if I felt it was becoming too dangerous. Or, we could just attempt the whole thing on another day. That I was game either way, and she could decide.

    Alex looked around at the sky, thought for a while, and then slowly said that she thought we should wait. Her main reason was that the clouds looked "very scary." I told her that was fine, no worries. She then said she felt "strange" because she wasn't used to turning away from a hike, and that she felt "sad" that we haven't been hiking very much lately. I reminded her that safety comes first -- it's hard to reach a goal if you injure or kill yourself during the attempt. I think she truly gets this. I also told her that we've been hiking every weekend the weather's allowed, with the exception of the recent sick weeks we were all forced to take. I assured her that we will continue to do 4Ks as long as she wants to, though we may need to take a serious break once the snow really starts to hit.

    [She is very, very proud of herself for being able to hike these mountains. She loves feeling like she's a part of the hiker community. She loves it when folks meet us on the trail, and she looks forward to meeting more and more fellow hikers, as time goes on.]

    We left the gear in the car and walked up to the trailhead, a little ways away from the parking area. The cold rain came down, but we didn't mind it very much since we were so close to the car. We looked at the sign, and Alex thought it was funny that you have to cross railroad tracks to get to it.

    We came back down, sat on some rocks, and talked for a bit. We were waiting for someone who had said they would meet us on the trail. We talked, explored the parking area, then eventually got tired of being rained on and retired to the car. Alex drew pictures of past hikes (Garfield and Hale), and most importantly -- we ate chocolate! We waited until it was half hour past the time I thought our fellow hiker was going to arrive, then I left a note for her and drove away. [We ended up just missing her, she had sent a message this morning telling me she was showing up a little later than originally planned...we had already left and I did not get the message until after we returned home -- rats!]

    Not quite the morning I'd had in mind, but Alex and I had a nice time nonetheless.

  2. #2
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    Any time together is a good time.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    Any time together is a good time.
    Unles it involves breaking up a sibling fight for the 7th time in five minutes.

  4. #4
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    Default Mt. Willey - Another Day

    You both made a wise choice in not attempting Mt Willey on a wet and possibly icy day. Those ladders would have been a bugger and the last portion of trail is very steep. Save it for a day when the weather cooperates so you can take in all the terrific views. We hiked Willey several winters ago and it was tough getting up the snow covered ladders (actually we didn't even know there were ladders there til later on).
    little d

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    Rain in November is not the nicest thing to hike in even with rain gear. If it were summer I'm sure you both would have gone for it. At least you had the experience and that counts for sure.
    Steve
    Is there really any BAD weather???

  6. #6
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    Last winter, I had to write a trip report about our UNSUCCESSFUL attempt at Mt Lincoln via Falling Waters. EVERYONE on this forum was so supportive to tell me that there are no UNSUCCESSFUL trips as long as you come back safely. The mountains just wait for you to come again.

    I think it's great that you are instilling in Alex the idea that it's OK not to get to the stated goal/summit. SAFETY is #1. Everything else comes second.

    Congratulations on another day out with your daughter!
    Valerie
    Last edited by Tim&Val; 11-19-2008 at 06:37 PM. Reason: my grammar sucks

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim&Val View Post
    Last winter, I had to write a trip report about our UNSUCCESSFUL attempt at Mt Lincoln via Falling Waters. EVERYONE on this forum was so supportive to tell me that there are no UNSUCCESSFUL trips as long as you come back safely. The mountains just wait for you to come again.

    I think it's great that you are instilling in Alex the idea that it's OK not to get to the stated goal/summit. SAFETY is #1. Everything else comes second.

    Congratulations on another day out with your daughter!
    Valerie
    You said it all Val (although I got a laugh from your revision comment - wish I'd seen the original ).

    Alex is quite the kid - not just in how she is so ready to get out there and do hikes that would put many adults here to shame, but that she's wise way beyond her years in understanding when it's time to quit (or not start in the first place).
    Mark

    Keep close to Nature's heart...
    and break clear away, once in awhile,
    and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
    Wash your spirit clean. - John Muir


    Hiking photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42
    Hiking Blog: http://theramblingsblog.blogspot.com/
    Seek the 2011 Peak page: Mark Truman's Pledge Page

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