Sunday, August 23, 2015

High Point # 6 - Mt. Mansfield, Vermont

Hi and welcome back!

At the beginning of summer, my family and I went on a vacation to Waterbury, Vermont.  While we were there, my dad and I climbed the high point in Vermont, Mt. Mansfield.  Mansfield is 4,393', and it's part of the Green Mountains.

The high point is located in Underhill State Park, so we had to drive about an hour from the hotel to the trailhead.

When we got to the trailhead, it was drizzling, and although we thought the climb would be an hour to an hour and a half round trip, the ranger said it would take more like five hours.  

Because we only had t-shirts on, and hadn't brought rain gear, we decided to go to Burlington instead and climb the next day.

The next day, it was around 80 degrees, and sunny (the only sunny part of the whole trip, it would turn out).  We started the climb midmorning, and took the Sunset Ridge Trail.  It was steep, rocky, and still very wet from the rain the previous day and the many streams that flow down the mountain.

We climbed through the woods for about 45 minutes, then came out to see a view of the summit ridge.

Right after we came out of the woods, there was a great rock outcropping, and we could see  about 50 miles across Lake Champlain and the border into Canada!

From there it wasn't quite as steep as the trail in the woods had been, and after 2:02 of climbing, we got to the summit.

Stowe Ski Area, as seen on the far side of the mountain.

For the descent, we decided to take the Laura Cowles trail, which was more technical, but would shave some distance off the total.

What we didn't realize was that the Laura Cowles trail was even steeper, rockier, and wetter than Sunset Ridge.  We really had to take our time, and we slipped in a few places, but thankfully we were holding onto trees and roots as we were jumping from rock to rock.

Even though we stopped to talk to some people on the descent, we decided that we wanted to finish in under four hours.  We were just about running the last few hundred yards (once it was almost level), and our total time was 3:58:30!

Be sure to check back soon, when we add our post about the latest twofer in Connecticut and Rhode Island!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy 2015!

Hi and welcome back!
Unpacking Breakfast

On Christmas eve, dad and I did our annual knife edge hike, although this year it was rainy and mild.  We left the house around 6:00 a.m. and got to the trailhead at 6:30.  We reached knife edge at 7:30 and tried to use the Esbit pocket stove, which is little more than a two-sided windscreen that holds a pot.

It was windy when we got to the ridge, and we couldn't keep a match lit long enough to start the fuel cube.  So we didn't get to have breakfast on the ridge, but it was an adventure!

The next day, on Christmas morning, for the second time I got a tent!  It's the Marmot Ajax 3-person, and I slept in it that night.  I have to say that it's better than the Alps, and a lot roomier and more comfortable than the REI minimalist bivy that I've been using for the last year or so.

The Ajax

My brother, sister, and I each got some cool rock holds for Christmas, too.  Mine included a leaf, a pine tree, and there were also an acorn, a tennis ball, and a few others.  I can't wait to get them up on the rock wall.

On New Year's Day, Dad and I made our hike part of our first-ever "polar bear plunge"!  We joined about 20 other people and walked from a friend's house to a swimming hole in the Mahoning Creek.  After breaking through the crust of ice on top of the water, about 15 of us waded in, held our breath, and dunked ourselves under the water.

It was...interesting.  My feet went numb almost immediately when I stepped into the water, and it took me about 30 seconds to get into deep water and submerge myself.  After that I waded out and dried off as quickly as I could!  The air temperature was about 37, which was good, but there was a little wind.  The walk back was really, really cold, but we had a great time!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Climbing Wall is Up!

Hi and welcome back!

As you can see from the title, the rock wall is now done!  It's about 12.5 feet tall, there are two sides with holds that come to a dihedral (there will eventually be two more) and we even put a chimney in one of the corners.

We started working on it in early September, and it took about four weekends.  We would have never gotten it done so well if it was just my dad and me.  Luckily, our friend Jesse Straussberger, who I've been working for since springtime, made it possible.  Here are a bunch of step-by-step pictures.

Drilling the first of the 4-foot deep holes for
the 16'x6"x6" posts

Posts in and supported. The sides are both 8' long 

The 2"x6" studs for the plywood sheets.

Painting the plywood sheets.  We used a
special paint with sand in it that looks and feels like rock.

Sorting the holds before placing them on the plywood

Figuring out the routes

Jesse hanging the plywood sheets on the studs

All done!  Here I am getting ready to climb
one of the first the rain.

My friend Cassidy in the chimney

My friend Tate getting ready to climb

Climbing in my back yard!

My dad took the video above of me climbing on the overhung route one of the first times.  I hung a cowbell at the top so you can ring it when you get all the way up.

I have to thank Jesse again for his help.  He came up with a really cool design, and then was able to make a real thing! 

I'd also like to welcome our new visitors from France.  I've noticed that a lot of people have been reading from France in the last few weeks, and I'm glad you're stopping by!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

High Point #5!

Hi and welcome back!

A few weeks ago, my family and I went to New Jersey to climb the high point--which is called High Point.  It's in the northwest corner of the state, and it's only about two hours from where we live.

It was a warm day, but it wasn't too hot, and it was sunny, so it was a perfect day to hike.

Jed looking for bears

We took the Monument Trail, which was supposed to be 3.7 miles in all. We started out with all of us walking in the wrong direction, because my dad wasn't really paying attention, and the trail wasn't well marked.

We walked for about 20 minutes in the wrong direction before we asked a through hiker coming in the opposite direction if he had seen the high point.  He said he hadn't, which meant we were going the wrong way.

Almost there?

After about an hour of hiking, we got to a clearing and could see the summit obelisk.  It looked like it was about an hour away, but it only took a half hour from that point.

Edie and me

In all it took us about an hour and a half to get to the summit, and then dad and I hiked back to get the car.  We drove back to pick up mom, Edie, Jed, and Maisy so they didn't have to walk all the way back.

Jed was a real trooper.  He only had to go on my dad's shoulders for about fifteen minutes.

This week I'm going to do another presentation on my year in the tent and Yosemite climb.  But this time it's going to be at my old elementary school, and I will have another post on that and my new tent sometime soon.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mt. Washington Post #2

Hi and welcome back!

Reading Camp Presentation
Before I get to my Mt. Washington climb, I want to tell you about a presentation I did two weeks ago.  I was invited to speak at a nearby town's elementary school reading camp!

I put together a slide show of pictures from my year in the tent and my Royal Arches climb, and also the Royal Arches video. I also set up our family's L.L. Bean tent that I spent the last few weeks of 2013 in.

It was a lot of fun, and I want to thank Ms. Robins for inviting me to give the presentation!

Now on to my Mt. Washington climb.

My dad and I started at Pinkham Notch Visitors Center at about 9:45 a.m.  For over half of the 4.2 mile ascent, we were climbing a pretty steep, REALLY rocky trail.  It was pretty hard on our knees.

After that, we took a turn where the Lion’s Head trail comes off the Tuckerman Ravine trail.  From there it was scrambling in fairly thick woods.  That led us above treeline.

Next we started climbing up Lion’s Head, which helps form the Tuckerman Ravine.  We then descended a tiny bit from Lion’s Head and spent about an hour scrambling in the open up to the summit!  It was just about four hours to the top.

We took a few pictures at the summit sign, then went into the visitors’ center and got lunch.

We descended the Tuckerman Ravine trail, which actually goes down into the ravine, then connects with the main, steep, rocky trail.

We started the descent on the same scramble we had just climbed up (the Lion’s Head and Tuckerman Ravine trails are the same there).  Then we continued into the ravine.  It was VERY steep, and we had to switch back down the trail, which was only about 6 feet wide in places.

Part of the way down the ravine, we ran into some snow that was at about 5,000’.  Meltwater had hollowed the snowfield out underneath, and there were caves that were big enough to crawl into (although that would have been dangerous).

From there we continued down onto the rocky trail again, which took us back to the visitors’ center at Pinkham Notch.  It was just about 8 hours round trip, and REALLY tiring.

I think our next high point will be New Jersey, but first we’re hoping to do some climbing outside!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mt. Washington, Post #1

Hi and welcome back!

As some of you probably know, tonight is the Great American Campout. I don't have any friends over, though, because we're getting ready to go to New Hampshire and climb Mt. Washington.

Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the northeast at 6,288 feet tall. My dad and I climbed Mt. Washington three years ago when I was eight, but we drove down so I won't count that ascent for my 50 Highest project.

If my dad and I summit, I'll do a follow-up post with the details of the climb.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hi and welcome back!

Fishing the Mud Run
Brook Trout in the Mauch Chunk Creek
Two weeks ago, my dad and I went fly fishing on the Mud Run Creek in the Pocono mountains. Neither of us caught anything, but I hookedan 11-inch brown that broke my line right before we got him in the net. He then swam away with a White Wulff fly stuck in his mouth. Thankfully, one of our friends said that the fly would rust out of his mouth eventually.

Today my dad and I went fly fishing once again, but this time in the Mauch Chunk Creek. This time I caught an 8-inch brook trout, which we were able to get in the net.  Dad texted a picture to my teacher Mr. Rabenold, who we saw at the Memorial Day parade this morning, and he said that with a few more I would have a tin of sardines...

Thanks for reading!