Sunday, May 29, 2011

Madison Gulf

On Sunday, May 29th, my friends Alex and Pete and I (and Gary B. Dog) set out for a loop hike of Mt. Madison, ascending via the Madison Gulf Trail and descending via the Osgood Trail. Aside from the usual above treeline goodness, the best part about this trek was the surprising feel of remoteness once you start up into Madison Gulf from the larger Great Gulf proper. The side ridges start to close in around you and it starts to feel tucked away up there. Remote. Wild. 

Madison Gulf Trail (photo by Ben Kimball)
into the waterfalls on the way up Madison Gulf Trail. 

This is the main drainage coming down off the south side of Osgood Ridge. Immediately to the left is the actual Madison Gulf stream. The two meet here at a ledgy, double waterfall grotto. It might have been neat to try to capture the full spread with a really wide angle lens and a tripod, but on long hikes like this you just gotta snap when you can and try to not slow your buds down too much. 

Madison Gulf Trail

Madison Gulf Trail
there are a few steep bits on the headwall

Madison Gulf TrailMadison Gulf Trail

 Madison Gulf Trail

The Parapet Trail on Mt. Madison
a rugged traverse on the Parapet Trail

junction of the Parapet Trail and the Osgood Trail on Mt. Madison
junction of the Parapet Trail and the Osgood Trail

Osgood Trail on Mt. Madison in the Presidential Range
on the Osgood

The Osgood Trail on Mt. Madison in the Presidential Range
final descent

Note: Steve Smith put together a nice blog entry about a very similar loop hike last year. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

dirty friends

A few weeks ago I put on a bootleg 4K cross-country race up along the rough, hilly trail network behind the hospital in Concord. Fabulous prizes were awarded to the winners, but the MOST fabulous prizes were awarded to the muddiest contestants at the end. The only rule was that at the halfway point -- an undisclosed location along the trail out in the woods -- you had to stop and chug a beer (I'd set 'em out beforehand). The race was called the Hell of the Hill (HOTH), and I had held it once before. Totally different cast of enthusiastic hooligans this time around.

I'd marked the course the night before, but in the meantime someone had come along and taken 90% of the flagging down, so I'd been racing like a madman for the hour prior to this putting up new flagging. Needless to say, I didn't race it myself. 

The starting gun was my camera flash. But don't look too closely at the shot above. I was about 20 feet in front of them, with the focus unknowingly locked to infinity... oops. The cars look sharp. Not my finest photo hour. Just wanted to share the energy and enthusiasm of this spirited crew; I'm gonna miss 'em.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rock 'N Race 2011

This race was an important one for me. I'll be moving from NH next week, and this was a last hurrah / vindication type thing. Good weather and good competition, though I admit the whole thing was slightly tinged with resentment at the way I'm leaving the state and at someone I didn't particularly want to see who I saw just before the start. It ended up being a pretty good 5K for me, with my second or third fastest time for the distance (19:31 -- a 6:16 pace), and I felt good overall.