Why Hello there again...as you can see since announcing the Ocho I have been sitting on my butt playing MechWarrior and falling on it playing Roller Derby. So as you may have noticed very little actual hiking is getting done, but that's okay because it's about to change. My folks have rented a cabin up in Laconia New Hampshire and I have taken a week of vacation to just relax in the Lakes Region.
While there it's my plan to hike the Belknap Range Trail End to End. The route is 12.2 miles long and spans eight of the twelve required peaks for the Belknap Range Hiker Patch. My mother was the one that turned me onto this peak bagging collection goal ( Hi Mom), as she reported on it as a type of digital badge for one of her Master's Degree classes.
Now I have no idea what a 'digital badge' is, though I am familiar with hiking and peak bagging...so I'm gonna guess a digital badge looks something like this:
The route I'll be taking spans from Mt. Major to Mt. Rowe. Even though the route's final peak is Rowe the End-to-End trail still terminates in Gunstock Ski Lodge Parking Area. I have picked this route for a very particular reason.
So as to not abandon Hannah (the girlfriend) with my family for too long. Sorry babe...you'll survive. I am going to start very early in the morning, probably between 0530 and 0600 at the Mt. Major Parking Area. Knowing that my hiking pace is approx. 2MPH under my pack (which I'll be bringing with all the backpacking accessories...because how can I claim it's training otherwise) on this kind of terrain I'll be able to be standing in Gunstock's parking lot around lunch time.
Which is really great as my folks know right where that is to pick me up, and they also have a great bar at the ski lodge named the Powder Keg where I can get some victory brews. Now the downside to End-to-Ends like this is that there is no bailout trail and I really haven't hiked a distance like this in a while. However I have a good track record on my pace on both the Pemi Loop and a down and back on Monadnock. I should be okay, it's just been a while.
I am considering this Belknap Range Trail End-to-End preparation for finally attempting the Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains. This far longer and far more difficult End-to-End that will cover some sections of the AT. There are also more logistical issues in regards to this hike, I will have no family to pick me up from a bar at the end. However there are shuttles that go between some of the different parking areas in the Whites.
So the Traditional Presidential Traverse covers seven of the peaks included in the forty-eight 4000 footer list, with an option to grab four more if one is feeling enterprising. The route is around 23 miles from The Appalachia Trailhead to Crawford Notch. Now in my research I found that the Crawford Notch shuttle stop is at AMC Highland Center, which is a brief road walk from where the trek will end. I was able to find a hike shuttle/taxi that would make the trip as well, so that will be a decision point for me at the end of the trek.
I will also need to consider food and water and how much I will be carrying. The time I am thinking of for this attempt is still a little far out, so I'll probably have another post that I hash out that stuff. In the mean while I am trying to focus on the BRT and getting back up in the regular hiking saddle. As you wait for that Trail Report....check out the stuff happen on my other blog 'The Ocho'