Sat, Feb 23, 2019
Edmunds Col/Eisenhower Loop
Richard & Susan
Hike Length: 6.6 miles - dayhike
Trails: Edmands Path
Susan and I discovered an ontological truth about hiking this past weekend, do not, under pain of death, have more than two glasses of wine the night before a major hike for you will pay dearly the next morning as you ascend the mountain.
Saturday morning the weather looked agreeable. We left the house at about 7:00am and headed north towards the Presidentials. The trailhead is off of Mt. Clinton road, which is off the access road to Mt. Washington. We got to the parking area about 8:00am and we were surprised to see that there were already several cars ahead of us.
We entered the trail and headed north along a nice trail that wasn't too steep at all. We were both fine for the first 20 minutes of the hike until we encountered several moderately steep sections. I was having a hard time because the previous night's revelry was being to take its toll on me. I couldn't regulate my breathing and I was sweating like a stuck pig. I was drinking a lot of water at Susan's insistence, which I only sweated out moments later. Normally we can go for an hour or so before we needing a break, but this morning we stopped every 15 minutes or so to catch our breath and to drink some more water. Luckily we always bring an ample supply of water just for situation like this.
Several times during the first hour I had thoughts of abandoning the hike, yet I couldn't bring myself to accept defeat. We continued albeit slowly for the next hour or so as we continued our hike. Luckily we didn't encounter anyone during or ascent, for they might have suggested that we looked a little to haggard to continue. In which case, I would have had to let my Warrior Librarian persona reestablish our honor by throttling said offender. Fortunately, our honor remained intact as we approached the summit.
Just below tree line we encountered a White Mountain National Forest sign that cautions hikers that severe weather is possible above tree line. We were going to take a picture, but discovered to our horror that the battery in the camera was useless. Gee, you think I should have checked that prior to the climb? Duh!
We arrived at the summit a little worse for wear, and proceeded to sit for awhile and rest. The clouds were moving in from the west so the view was less than breathtaking as Washington appeared then disappeared behind a bank of clouds. We had wanted to continue to Mt. Franklin, but discretion being the better part of valor won the day and we quickly decided against going any further.
Moments later a father and son team arrived on the summit with packs that signaled to the causal observer that they were doing an overnighter. Susan being the shy and silent type (insert sarcasm) immediately struck up a conversation. Susan noticed that the father had an Appalachian Trail patch, which indicated that he had complete the entire Appalachian Trail as a through hiker. Meaning he began the hike in Georgia and completed the trail in Maine non-stop! Way to go dad! Susan was really fascinated with this guy and we talked for about an hour before we began our descent. Susan also made a point of notifying me that the son was ruggedly handsome. And I needed to know this, why?
We started our descent alone, but the father and son team soon caught up to us. I suppose if you have completed the entire Appalachian Trail, catching up to a couple of middle aged hikers is no big challenge. Susan seemed to enjoy the company as the father regaled her with trail stories. I went on ahead for I tend to just put my head down and hike without thinking about my surroundings.
During the descent I ran across several groups of hikers ascending the mountain. The first group was a family of five whom seemed to be unaware of the amount of energy required to summit Mt. Eisenhower as one of the daughters exclaimed, "this is not my idea of a vacation!" I did think of her an hour later when the sky opened and doused the entire mountain in heavy rain. Yep, not much of a vacation is it dear?
The second group I encountered made me smile for it was a group of twenty-something females decked out in major packs destined for several days in the woods. The reason why I smiled was because years ago you would not have seen five females doing this type of hike. It's not that they were incapable of doing the hike, I just never knew that many females who liked to do overnighters. It made me feel good that hiking has become a gender-neutral sport and not just a sport for males with bad teeth (wilderness joke).
We reached the car at about 1:30pm dripping wet from the heavy rain. We bid a fond farewell to the father and son team as Susan once again reminded me how good-looking the son was. Hmmmm, are you trying to give me a complex? We headed back to the house and rested before we met our friends who were cooking us lobster and steak for dinner. Don't you just hate trail food?
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Chris Oberg & Robert Havasy