Tim & Val, Mark & Nat, Eric & Madison, Larissa & Toby, Sabrina & Terra, Kevin, Judy & Emma
Benton/ Beaver Brook Trails
7.2 Miles 3100' Elevation gain
Fred & Pat w/ Tanin (SP?), Tim & Val, Mark & Nat, Eric & Madison, Larissa & Toby, Sabrina & Terra, Kevin, Judy & Emma
Larissa wanted a dog hike so it was decided that we would get together and hike Moosilauke. Some of the dogs on the hike would be eager beginners and some would be veterans of the trail. The Benton Trail was chosen for its moderate approach to the summit. Right off the bat the dogs made friends, some were reacquainted and then the running and rumbling commenced in the parking lot and was to be continued throughout the day.
Into the Wind
Each dog and each person filtered through the entire pack throughout the hike so that by the end each had spent some quality time with each of the others in both the human and dog packs. The trip up included a side step to a beautiful view into the Little Tunnel Ravine where we could see nice views to the north but where we could see that our route would lead us up into the clouds where it looked as though there may be rime forming on the trees.
Leaving the Trees Behind
Up higher and near the junction with the Beaver Brook Trail we did indeed find the trees covered in rime and we stopped at the junction to bundle up before breaking above treeline and into the full force of the wind that we could hear gusting overhead. I always like to try to guess the wind speed and for that matter the wind-chill as well. I think I could safely say the wind was blowing 30 with gusts to 40. When the wind starts knocking my 212 lbs around I know the gusts are approaching 40. As for wind-chill, I'd guess actual temp to be in the low 30's, that with the gale force wind would have made a wind-chill of about 14-15 degrees. Just a guess. Sure felt like winter!
Hit and Run
We didn't waste any time at the summit as there were no views and the wind was definitely a factor. There was a short huddle behind one of the wind-blocks, but mostly just to bundle into whatever spare clothing we could find in our packs before running back out into the wind for the sprint back down below treeline. I was the last off the summit because I had hoped to run into some friends coming up the Gorge Brook Trail, but the wind told me it was time to go. Around 1773 local moose hunter Chase Whitcher reportedly visited the summit and dubbed it "a cold place." In seven visits to this summit I have only experienced calm once. The wind has always been a factor. Always cold.
Clouds Roll In
All accounted for back below treeline we had a stand up lunch while the dogs focused on Judy "The Cheese Lady." The trek back down went quickly as the conversation made the time fly. The dogs were just as rambunctious on the descent and finally back down at Tunnel Brook the younger dogs practiced their water crossings. It was a great hike and a great time with old friends and new made even better by topping it off with some more good conversation over food and libations at Woodstock Inn.
Jude and I had spent Friday night before the hike at Wildwood Campground just around the corner from Tunnel Brook Road and the Benton Trail. Friday night was cold, Saturday night was colder, but day broke bright Sunday morning and we were up and breaking camp early. We took a hike up the Coppermine Trail to Bridal Veil Falls through a beautiful mixed forest that alternately reflected the deep greens of spruce and the brilliant yellows of birch along the gurgling Coppermine Brook. Most of the color was gone near the falls, but there was enough water running to make the trip well worth the effort and I was pleased with the photos I managed while we were there.
Bridal Veil Falls
Full set of pics HERE: