The Hancocks 10/15/11
I'd like to start by saying that there's a lot of water coming off these mountains! We knew that the previous 2 days of rain might pose a little bit of an issue with the 'Brook' crossings. I still never find any moving body of water to be described correctly in a trail descriptions. They are always the biggest 'streams' and 'brooks' that I've ever seen.
We started out around 8am and the first couple miles of trail are very nice and pleasant. I knew we would appreciate them on the way out! The 'brook' crossings were very high, and after a few small ones and making a couple of the big ones, we decided there was no way across but barefoot. Off the boots came and across the 'brook' we went. It was definately cold!! But it was better than falling in or bushwacking up and down stream only to find no way to cross there either. We met a few other hikers that opted to either get their feet wet or go barefoot like us. We also met a couple who looked really familiar to me and I thought maybe it was someone on the forum. I think it might have been Big Earl, just from his pictures. They were heading back out and decided that making the crossings just wasn't in the cards, and they headed for the Osceolas instead.
We made all the crossing on the way in without too much issue. One of our hiking troop did get wet on the first one, and we had a series of entertaining pit stops to swap out socks, watch her put her gloves on her feet, and try to manage her wet boots for the rest of the trip.
Now comes the fun part.....I've done more than half the 4K's now, and I'm not sure that I've hiked anything so steep before. I've hiked up Tux and don't remember it being as steep as the 'slide' like trail that heads up the North Summit! It made me realize how deconditioned I am after taking a year off to have a baby! I won't take another summer off again! It took us a while to make it up, with me dragging behind. Finally made it to the summit though and took a little lunch break and looked at the view. For a mostly cloudy day the views weren't too bad.
The trip over to the South Summit was very pleasant and greatly appreciated! We knew what we had ahead of us with the steep decline and the water crossings waiting. We didn't stop long on South Summit, as we knew we were burning daylight now and took too much time to get to where we were with the water crossing and the steep slope slowing us up. It took us another hour to make the half mile decent back to the loop junction. It was a very steep decent, but at least that was fairly dry.
We got back to the first big crossing, and had decided that we didn't feel like taking the time to take the boots off, and we were determined to find a way across all the crossing and not waste too much time doing it. Uncle Rick crossed the brook first, then I followed. What happened next is a little foggy to me, but it consisted of the rock moving and coming out from under me, my head (and the rest of me) going under water and starting to move downstream. Uncle Rick grabbed my pack and tried to pull me and the pack up the small nub of muddy banking he was standing on. I wasn't much help, since I was slightly shocked that this just happened to me! I finally got out and we moved over to a small open section next to the 'brook'. I peeled off the wet top layers and put on a dry long sleeve and fleece. Somehow my new pack kept almost everything dry!! I was so impressed! I took my cell phone apart (which was in the mesh waist belt pocket) and put on my dry mittens and off we went. I opted to keep on the wet pants and boots, as it was 50 degrees and I was now going to just walk across all the other crossings since I was already wet! Any colder and we may have had a bigger issue on our hands!
With the drama over, we headed out to get back to the car. We got back to the last section of trail (1.8 miles) and churned and burned back on the nice pleasant flat trail. We were getting real close to needing the headlamps when we could see the headlights on the Kanc! We got back to the car just as it got too dark to see the ground in front of us and it just started to rain!
Over all, a very lucky hike! Although we were prepared for anything and managed everything we went through, we definitely had some luck on our side! Now I can say I'm more than half way through the list!
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Ha! I forgot to mention the brooks in my TR. We thankfully didn't have as much water on Tue when we hiked, and were able to keep our boots on
Yeah, N Peak was a challenge! Totally worth it though, I really enjoyed this hike.
Awesome trip report, and congrats on getting more 4000ers!
We've encountered difficult crossings before, I think it's just that there were so many of them! Our "guide" had done this hike before without the high water, and also had no problem crossing. But, no harm done, aside from some bumps and bruises and a key that doesn't work on the cell! Glad you could get some in before the rain! It's such a great time of year, if not a little unpredictable