Sunday, July 6, 2008

North and South Hancock

We had a great hike up North and South Hancock yesterday. It was a challenging ten-mile hike in that most of the elevation change occurred in the half mile just below the summit, by my calculations it was a slope of 1/2--rise over run--1 vertical foot for every 2 horizontal feet.

The day was beautiful and clear and we arranged to meet up with Charlie's oldest son at the trailhead.

Charlie raised his sons in Conway, New Hampshire amidst and among the White Mountains with their 48 four thousand footer peaks but Caleb waited until he moved to southern Massachusetts to get interested in hiking. His first two peaks were North and South
Kinsman in the clouds last Labor Day weekend. Since then he has climbed many more with his dad and/or with me. Caleb is a great hiking companion--never at a loss for words and extremely funny when we meet people on the trail. The miles always disappear under our feet quickly when Caleb is along.

So we started our hike and made it to summit of North Hancock and as I said earlier, that last 1/2 mile was a doozy.

Once the big elevation was over, it was a ridge walk to the other summit on the mountain--South Hancock. There is some complicated mathematical formula about descending a certain amount and ascending a certain amount in order for peaks connected by a ridge to officially count--and this one qualified. Hiking through the boreal forest on the ridge we came upon a mother grouse and lots of babies. I thought it was a ruffed grouse, but based on its location and the red coloring above its eye (which I could see in Caleb's pictures), I think it was a spruce grouse--I am certainly open for other thoughts.
There were at least seven babies and they were scattered about--the mother starting clucking when she saw us and soon had them all gathered together. Looking at the brood of babies, gave Caleb the line of the day when he said, "What the heck is a bird doing having sex way up here?"

The view from South Hancock was a different angle off the mountain from the North Hancock view but every bit as spectacular.

There is just something about the permanence and solidity of the mountains.


The Texican said...

I mowed and trimmed the front yard this afternoon just before the rains started again. Aren't you sad you didn't get to participate. I had an elevation change of exactly zero throughout the job. Bebe provided the line of the day when she came out and saw me cleaning the mower in the rain and said, "Did you get wet?" No, that's just an optical illusion. Pappy

beckie said...

Beth your mountain-hiking narratives are always so interesting. Glad I can read about them and get some sense of the experience. Certainly that is much more my style than actually hiking them!

Jayne said...

I remain in awe of your hikes. Period. You go girl! :c)

Thomas F. Ryan said...

Beth, congratulations on two more towards the 48. Not many left now.

I love the hike to and from the Hancocks. Well, I love the hike all but that short, steep climb up either North or South (although I always seem to go up North).

No matter how many times I've done the Hancocks, I think at least 10 times now in the last three years, I refer to that climb up North Hancock as the place were I pay my penance for my "Ben & Jerry sins".

Which peak do you hope to finish your 48 on?

Beth said...

Texican, mowing and trimming the lawn in South Texas heat is probably tougher than climbing a mountain.

Beckie, I'm glad you enjoy them. It's a nice way for me to chronicle my hikes and make a written memory.

Jayne, nothing to be in awe of it--it's just one foot in front of the other but a great feeling of accomplishment.

Tom, I'm not really sure what to end on. Charlie doesn't care to do Tecumseh and Willey with me, so I'll probably try and get those done on a day when he has other things to do but the last five are all spectacular and I kind of want to save them for late August through October when the hiking is at its best up here. Any suggestions?