Trip Report Whiteface and Passaconaway
pictures on my blog www.tarheelhiker.blogspot.com
and past trip reports are being added
#17 Whiteface and #18 Passaconaway
June 6, 2008
The adventure really started on the drive over. For over 20 years we had driven by Sandwich Notch Rd off route 49 on the way in and out of Waterville. I always wondered about it. Well let me tell you, it was an adventurous road. Right away we went up. This is fine, the road was paved, and it was wide enough for two cars. Soon enough the pavement ended. Right after the Sandwich Notch Farm the road got interesting. Twists, turns, little hills that were so steep you couldn?t see the road at the top. Praying that it wasn?t a moose on the other side of the hill. Oh yeah, it also was wide enough for really only one car. The two times we encountered cars in the other directions it was a little hairy but all parties survived. Needless to say dad?s week old Subaru Forrester did well but he wasn?t willing to go back that way.
We got to the trailhead at 9 and it was already filling up. We quickly headed out toward Blueberry Ledges Trail for our way up. It was quite nice at first, a bit of a warm up. Gentle inclines to get the muscles, heart and lungs warmed up. Still I was going really slow. I couldn?t get myself going any faster, I think it was the thought of 10+ miles that my body was trying to pace itself. Soon the inclines got a little steeper but nothing too bad. After an hour we took our customary snack break. We headed up again and soon met a lady coming from the Blueberry Cutoff. We invited her to come along and she decided to join our march upward. I was leading, our new friend Debbie in the middle, and dad in the back. Onward and upward we went. Things got steeper but still not too technical. About 45minutes later we took our second snack break. It wasn?t too much past here that Debbie and I had to put our poles away because we were scrambling and needed both hands. At one point we can across a nice little scramble that use to have some steps drilled in. I was very happy to be going up these, I would not have been pleased going back down them. I went up all the scrambles first, found hand holes, and the best way to go up. I think it was beneficial to be tall at times, the longer legs made some of this easier. After 3 hours we made it to the clearing right by the top. There was a small, but very friendly AMC group up there already that we chatted with a little. We had some more food, took more pictures, and parted ways with Debbie. She was heading back down and we were heading over to Passaconaway.
The Rollins Trail between the two summits was moderate at first but nothing really technical. It went down a lot more then I thought. There were occasional views of the bowl but nothing too exciting. We were surprised how many people were going in the opposite direction. That meant they were going to go down the Blueberry Ledge scrambles, no thank you. After intersection Dicey?s Mill Trail things started going back up. I was thankful for the switchbacks because I was becoming very tired. I had taken my big bag with extra weight like my sleeping bag to get use to it and get a better workout. I was defiantly working out. Nothing really to speak of on the way up. Right before the top there was a little clearing, I stopped briefly and then headed toward the summit. Boring. No views, just a cairn. I quickly got back to the little clearing and lay down. I sarcastically said I wasn?t tired, I was just working on my sun tan. I did get up because the bugs were annoying. I noticed that the view was looking toward Waterville. We were so close by way the bird flies, yet so far away. We didn?t stay long because there was nothing to see and it was buggy. Now we saw black flies but I didn?t get bit by any. The mosquitoes on the other hand seemed to ignore the Ben?s 100 and take to nibbling on my head. Grrr. Down we went. I was going at a decent pace but then my ankle started to ache. No reason that I could think of in particular but it was enough to annoy me. We went down Dicey?s Mill Trail which was fairly easy. About a third of the way down I slowed down a lot. Between being tired and my ankle bothering me I couldn?t get myself going any faster. There was no real rush. That was until we heard some thunder. The trail is pretty shaded so we couldn?t tell where it came from or where it was going. It was enough to get me moving quicker. It seemed like it took forever to get down. Finally we came to a clearing with a nice looking house. The sky had some small dark clouds so it appeared that we just heard an errant clap of thunder. I was very happy to get back to the car and just sit down. 18 down 30 to go.
Thoughts: Go Blueberry Ledges up and Dicey?s down. If it is wet Blueberry will be very difficult. Maybe an 11mile hike isn?t a good time to test out new socks. Eat more if you are carrying more weight. Random hikers that you pick up along the way can make a hike go by quicker. Thanks for joining us Debbie!
Nice TR! Thanks for sharing your adventure. Sorry it was on the buggy side, though.
When we were going up I thought of you guys on the ledges. I am very impressed with what Alex has done so far. Some of those ledges were tricky. Keep up the great hiking Trish and Alex!
Nice trip report and pics. One of the pictures sure does look pretty steep. Thanks for sharing.
Another nice TR. The scrambling looks like fun! This is one that is on our list anyway. Perhaps moving it up a notch.