Monday, March 22, 2010

Kedron Flume 3/20/10

It was one of those mornings where we would decide what to hike spur of the moment. I couldn't settle on anything the night before and thought, well, we will let fate guide us to the hike of the day. Not wanting to make the longer drive to the Western side of the WMNF we headed up Rt.16. We came to Mt. Chocorua which Scott mentioned as a hike the night before. I didn't want to hike it again just yet. It did however look pretty devoid of snow with crystal clear sky's above and I almost stopped figuring we could just do a trail we hadn't done yet...Coulda' Shoulda'!

Continuing North we arrived in Conway and the view from the Intervale to Washington, which was thickly clouded in. That scrapped my idea for a Boott Spur/Nelson to Lions Head loop. Probably a bad idea still with no snow shoes anyhow. So that led us into Crawford Notch. Mountains and trails buzzing through my mind like a slot machine and the numbers fell on Mt. Crawford. Something shorter would be nice so we could get back home at a decent time as we had a long day of work ahead of us on Sunday. We parked in the lot for Davis Path where a large group was heading up and two others parking. The lot was almost half full. Not ones for crowds we pulled out the map again...Coulda' Shoulda'!

Next stop the Willey House Site and Kedron Flume trail to Mt. Willey. Empty parking lot and sunny sky's looked good to us. We geared up and crossed the street easily finding the trailhead at 9:30am. The log book had seen a group of 4 and a solo hiker on the 18nth but the trail didn't show much but some post-holing spots. We too were already post-holing in the sun softened snow. The trail passes by some boulders making some very long switchbacks left and then right. We finally crossed the railroad tracks with a nice view North of Mt. Willard, then made a short steep climb up a wet banking. Then more switchbacks and post-holing. The trail swings left and crosses into a pine gully (which is seen from the parking lot, a perfect line of pines following a stream gully) and here we passed a large ice formation where water was running off a vertical rock face. This was a wild, pretty area.

Crossing back into hardwood and eventually back into pines again, dropped slightly and came into Kedron Flume at 11:15. Alomost 2 hrs. for a 1 mile, 700' elevation gain hike! Are you kidding me?! The Flume was still snow covered but the waterfall visible and the view to the south end of Webster Cliffs was nice. The trail ahead from here went straight up a was holding onto some deep snow. Scott gave me that look like, "I have had enough" to which I gave my usual, "just a little further" look. We talked about it and he was right. If we continued at this rate we would be very exhausted and would put us back at point "A" much later than we wanted. I too was getting pretty exhausted so we agreed to turn back.

Going back down was easier but the snow was even more soft now as we predicted and we were post-holing every few steps. I kept saying in my head, snow shoes next year... snow shoes next year... Already soaked boots and pants we decided to just cut the switchbakcs out and (the culvert visible) headed right down the gully to the railroad. Picked up the trail then cut the switchbacks off again following a small ridge, and picked up the trail again a hundred ft. from the trailhead and arrived back on tar at 12:15am. We changed our wet socks and footwear and crossed the bridge to the picnic area to have lunch.

Injuries for the day (mostly from post-holing): Scott: scratched head from (an abrupt stop from me) and him walking into my poles on my backpack, scuffed up shin and knee. Jason: Scuffed up knee and wrist.

First day of Spring, Coulda' Shoulda' settled with Chocorua or Crawford, but we still had fun, and this trail looks wild and awesome for a Spring/Summer hike. I have to go back and re-read Joe's TR from when he did this hike. Re-do is emminant once snow is gone!

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