Emma raised over $1200 for the Observatory. A big "Thank you" to all who contributed!
Mount Washington Seek the Peak '09
Boott Spur Trail/Lawn Cut-off/ Tuckerman Ravine Trail
9.3 Miles 4300' Elevation gain
Kevin, Judy and Emma with guest stars Tony "The Cheeseman" Provenzano and Bobby "The Rifleman" Cusolito
After the last few STP's I decided I needed some protection if I were to safely deliver Emma's "insurance" money to the "Family" at the "Observatory". The trails were full of highwaymen and brigands. You may have heard some of the infamous names. Brad "The Brad" Bradstreet, Charlie "The Hawk" Hawkins", Mark "The True" Truman and even some from as far out of state as Virginia, with names like Erich "Blue Dog" Rainville and his sidekick simply known as "Graham".
To avoid being waylaid we stole secretly along the Boott Spur Trail in an attempt to outflank these notorious gangsters. In the end Brad "The Brad" Bradstreet and his mob stole my new Subaru, but I was able to safely deliver Emma's "insurance" money. Luckily, these ne'r-do-wells were easy to spot along the trail because they made the fatal mistake of wearing their "colors" creatively stitched by "Maw" Gilmore and her "Caffeine Addict" husband, Joe.
I'm sure others like Tim and Val had trouble protecting their friends along the way as well. Like T&V I had a first timer along for the trip, and since I don't write very interesting trip reports, I'll let one of the first timers take over for me here:
"Mt. Washington meets the Pegu Club", or "Why Coming and Going Don't Mix"
"A month or so ago I receive a PM from Kevin of Kevin, Judy and Emma fame asking for help with the annual Seek the Peak fundraiser for the Mount Washington Observatory. Feeling flush, I throw in a few ducats, and let Kevin know that I might try to make it up to the mountain for the event. Messages are exchanged, and the next thing I know, I?m heading up to Moose Brook State Park in Gorham to spend Friday night in a tent preparatory to my first climb of Mount Washington in the morning.
Since Seek the Peak will bring hundreds of extra hikers to the mountain on what will already be a busy summer Saturday, KJ&E plan to ascend via Boott Spur, and either swing over on the Davis Path to Crawford, or take the Bigelow Lawn Cutoff to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail for the final push up the summit cone.
Pinkham is already a zoo by 7:30, and we are forced into the third overflow lot down the road. We are met at the visitors? center by BobC, and spend a few moments mixing and mingling with the crowd, which is liberally sprinkled with VFTTers.
We hit the trail by 8, and within 30 minutes, I?m huffing and puffing and wondering if this is, perhaps, not my day. Maybe it?s not having had much for dinner last night. Maybe it?s the condominium full of gear that I have strapped to my back in anticipation of a random July blizzard. Maybe it?s the fact that last night was my first spent in a tent since I was eight. Anyway, after about another half hour, I?ve settled down and am moving steadily, but slowly. I know that, however long this might go, I?ll see the hike through.
The top of the mountain is shrouded in fog, and the views into Tuckerman Ravine are limited. Footing is good, and the trail is reasonably dry given the recent weather.
We break through the trees, and the relentless climb gives way to a relatively flat section on the way up to Boott Spur. BobC comments that he thinks the heavy climbing is behind us. I am more than a little skeptical. I may have even laughed in his face. In any event, it is about the last comment I wanted to hear when I?m thinking we have at least half the climb ahead of us.
I lag behind for a bit, and catch up with our merry band just as they are ready to adjourn their luncheon at Boott Spur. I barely have time for an apple and a photo when we are back on the trail. Kevin makes the executive decision to take the Bigelow Lawn Cutoff to Tuckerman, and off we march to the trail junction, past the marble topped cairns through fields of stone. Now, joined by a sea of humanity, we make our way upward through the mist over countless rocks to that mini amusement park known as the Mount Washington Summit in summer. I lag behind the others again, but, eventually, the toot of the choo-choo whistle, the roar of motorcycle engine and the hoots of tourists at play let me know that the ascent is over. BobC meets me at the top, and I stagger over to get in line to have my summit photo taken by the friendly folks from Subaru of America. What a country!
That business concluded we meet back up with Judy, who is on Emma watch outside the Adams building. Kevin is wandering about, renewing old friendships and generally schmoozing. We pop inside, and Kevin asks if we wanted to get the ?cooks tour? of the observatory. Sure. Why not? We sidle over, and it quickly becomes apparent that Kevin knows everyone worth knowing at the ?Obs?. Rope line? We don?t need no stinkin? rope line. Just follow Kevin, and doors open. I later learn that Kevin is one of only ten or so participants who have raised over a grand for the event. Talk about friends in high places!
Sufficiently refreshed, we pack up for the descent. Just as we reach the top of the parking lot staircase the skies break out, revealing the grandeur of the valley below and the surrounding peaks.
Mountain Avens Geum peckii.
A little bit down the trail things go a bit awry. The group had spread out again, with Kevin in the lead, followed by Judy and Emma, then BobC, with all parties trailed by ?yours truly?. At the second bridge I encounter Emma standing watch, eying the trail wistfully. I call her on, to no avail. Quite used to this treatment from women, I march ahead to locate Judy, who I surmise would have more persuasive power over the pooch. Judy doubles back and calls for our little friend, who remains unmoved. She is looking for Kevin, her Alpha Male, not realizing he is way down the trail. Confused, Emma proceeds up the trail, looking for the boss, Judy now in full pursuit.
The episode plays itself out over about forty minutes. Kevin, far down the trail and thinking he is being a good doobie by fetching the car from the far parking lot, is oblivious that he is sinking deeper and deeper into the mire due to the unfolding debacle above. Finally, a not very happy Judy, with a compliant and chastened Emma in tow, emerges from the trail. BobC and I beat a hasty retreat to the bathrooms while Kevin absorbs the full force of Hurricane Judy. We regroup, and arrange rides to the turkey banquet awaiting us in a large circus tent at the base of the Auto Road. Kevin meets us at Bob?s car upon our arrival. One look at him and you can tell he is still in Excrementus Profundis.
I panic. Does this mean Kevin and I will have to share a tent tonight? OMG, the damned thing is barely big enough for me. And I?ve seen how Kevin dresses on the trail. I ain?t makin? no Be Kind, Rewind version of Deliverance.
Thankfully, I have come prepared to deal with this sort of emergency. I mosey over to Judy, and let her know that, back at the camp, I?m going to prepare for her a concoction known as a Pegu Club Cocktail, and that she will have never experienced anything quite so exotic since Trader Vic put a patent on little umbrellas. She seems mildly amused, and perhaps a little interested.
Painted Cup Castilleja septentrionalis.
Back at camp, I am good to my word. We were now joined by Rocket21, whose presence always eases the mood. Jokes and obscure cultural references fly thick through the air. I pull out my shaker, chill some cocktail glasses, squeeze fresh lime juice, and commence to mix. The Pegu Club Cocktail. Six parts Bombay Sapphire, three parts Contreau, two parts fresh lime juice, and a few dashes of Angostura Bitters in an ice filled shaker. Gyrate with some panache. The result: Love Potion No.9. Judy sips, the muscles in her neck relax, her face eases, and a smile begins to form over her lips. Crisis averted. Thank the Lord! I am saved! Kevin is back in the harmonious glow of domestic tranquility. All?s right with the world. I will sleep well tonight."
Great thanks goes out to Tony "The Cheeseman" Provenzano, marriage counsellor and bartender extraordinaire, and Bobby "The Rifleman" Cusolito, muscle and inspiration, who helped me deliver the goods!
Complete set of pics here: