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!
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....