[…] our conversations waxed poetic as we explored some of the history of humans in the White Mountains […]
This is a continuation of a prior trip report. The end-goal was to have an Outward Bound-esque experience for a father and son. Taking over lead from Ryan with with this warmed-up team was Redline Guide Nico Dubois — this program is his brainchild so do contact us if you would like to have a similar experience — we can assure you it is quite detailed and thorough — do contact us. This segment of the experience was six days and five nights and in that time our team got to explore two Wilderness areas utilizing the Baldface Circle, Eagle Link, Wild River, Bog Brook, Halls Ledge, Rocky Branch, Mt Isolation, Davis Path, Stairs Summit Spur, Mt Parker, and Mt Langdon Trails, in that order. In addition to the backpacking itself, each day was loaded with opportunities to learn, each day a progression as the lessons became more and more complex. Nico offered this summary:
We started off the trip heading up to the South Baldface Shelter, and then continuing the next day over the Baldfaces. This was in good weather, but there were signs of coming rain. The second night we stayed at Perkins Notch tentsite, and that night the rain started. The next day was a very wet walk out to our resupply point at the Bog Brook Trailhead, and then a hike over the Halls Ledge Trail to an impact site near the Ellis River, close to where the Halls ledge trail exits onto route 16 (but outside of the Forest Protection Area). It continued to drizzle the whole way, and into the next day as well. That morning we crossed Route 16, and headed up the Rocky Branch Trail to the Rocky Branch crossing before turning onto the Isolation Trail. Having water shoes (Crocs) I shuttled the backpacks across the brook while the other two team members picked their way across the rocks unencumbered. From there we headed up the Isolation Trail with the goal of finding a suitable spot far enough from the trail and river to set up camp. We were surprised to find a designated tent site about 2/3 of the way up the isolation East trail, so we set up camp there. Here, the rain finally subsided and we started to dry out our stuff.
I had seen that New Hampshire lifted the fire ban that same day earlier when checking in with Basecamp, so since we were at a designated site, we treated ourself and our gear to a smoky campfire in the pit. This helped our gear dry somewhat, and heightened the spirits quite a bit. The next day we had great weather heading up over Mt Isolation and Davis Mountain, before making it to camp at the Stairs Mountain wilderness tentsite. The view from stairs really blew our guests away, and we prepped our dinner right on the lookout. Unfortunately, this good weather didn’t last, and not long after we retired to our tents for the night, the drizzle started back up. The next morning we were completely socked in, and headed out into the rain again. Mts Resolution and Parker were viewless (sadly), so we didn’t pause long at each, and had lunch as we were heading down Parker. Since it was only about 12:30pm at this point, and we were only about 3 miles from their truck, the guys decided they wanted to make it all the way out a night early instead of another wet night at Langdon Shelter (we can’t blame them). They had considered this a possibility earlier when we woke up for another wet morning in the fog and mist that day. We reached their truck at 2:00pm.
The curriculum was a big success. I didn’t get to all of the activities, because sitting in the rain on the trail wasn’t going to be very productive, but the readings each night were a huge hit, and our conversations waxed poetic as we explored some of the history of humans in the White Mountains, and pondered the ever evolving trends of conservation, and what the future might bring with new technologies, and more and more types of people hoping to join in on the benefits of going on a hike, or just spending time in the mountains. —Nico
Good lead, Nico, and to the team: well done! Hopefully you’re more acclimated than ever.