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.