Monday, August 17, 2009
Seventeen participants started the 2009 "More and More Difficult" event at Midnight Friday. Event organizer, Jon, AKA The Evil Bastard, sent us on a journey over 34 miles on some of the most rugged terrain in the Northeast. We climbed a total of about 14000 feet summiting the Carters, Wildcats, and Northern Presidentials. Some finished and some didn't. Regardless, it was an adventure for all.
Frank, Rich, and Bob N. were already feeling it after climbing to Wildcat Ridge. I suspect Frank was smiling because he had already made his decision to drop when he reached Rte 16. Several of us traveled as a loose group most of the night. The company was nice and it gave us a chance to catch up on each other's lives.
Pat from Canada looks like he was still having fun on Wildcat Ridge. He and I broke off from the pack and traveled together to the ski slopes. There, we were supposed to chose any route we wanted down the mountain. Word was that Deb knew of a mowed path down the slope, so Pat decided to wait for her. I had a ham sandwich waiting for me at the bottom and didn't have the patience to wait. I picked my own path and ended up wading through 3 foot tall grass and brambles all the way down the mountain. Damn that impatience of mine!
In this photo Kirby and Unka check in Rich and Deb at the bottom of the ski slopes. I waited around for someone to leave so I wouldn't have to continue alone. No one was in much of a hurry because we knew we had some big climbing ahead of us. Ohio Bob was the first one to head out and I asked if he minded if I tagged along. He didn't so we set off together up Tuckerman's Ravine Trail heading for the Huntington Ravine Trail. I dropped Ohio Bob somewhere before the junction and ended up starting Huntington alone. I had promised several friends that I wouldn't do Huntington alone. There have been numerous fatalities on this trail and it is extremely difficult and dangerous. I decided to work my way over the boulder field and when I reached the sheer cliffs I would wait for some company.
After waiting a while I heard my name called from below and before long Bob N. popped out from behind a boulder. Rich was right behind him.
After we started up the sheer slope, Tom unexpectedly sat up from where he had been laying on a narrow ledge. He had taken off with the lead pack and was now worn out and wanting to drop when he reached the top of Mt Washington. He had been napping and waiting for someone to climb Huntington with him, feeling too fatigued to risk it alone. Bob N. and Tom went ahead and Rich and I picked our way more slowly and cautiously.
Tom did drop at the summit of Washington and Bob N., Rich, and I ended up traveling the rest of the day together. Rich was having a bad day, which is very unusual for him. We stuck together, took frequent breaks, and just kept moving over the rocky trail.
Mt Madison was our last summit. We then headed down the Daniel Webster Scout Trail. Definitely not the easiest way off the Presidentials, but at least we were going downhill! Part way down, I spotted kevin up ahead of us. He had been hiking in the presidentials during the day and planned to descend Daniel Webster around the same time he expected me to come through. His timing was perfect. He fell in behind and had no problem keeping up with us as we moved faster and faster down the trail, just wanting to get it done! We finished with a run over dirt roads to the campsite.
Back at camp, everyone sat around a campfire and enjoyed good food, drink, and company. Finishers and non-finishers alike, went home with coveted MMD painted rocks. We also all took home bruises, scrapes, and sore quads. I can hardly wait for next year. I'm sure Jonathon is already thinking up some new twists to throw in for 2010.