"And then there were Four" (pictures)
Having forgot about the sign ups for Flags on the 48 I was late in signing up and thus missed the opportunity to pick a peak I wanted. There were two remaining that needed a peak coordinator and as I pondered which to choose it was too late. All that was left was North Tripyramid. I had done this peak in 2009 and was hoping for a different one, but was fine with doing a repeat. I had a good size group lining up this year. 2009 there were 4 of us, 2010 on Passaconaway there were 5 and in 2010 on Willey 6. This year it was looking like 8-10! Unfortunately for various reasons we were down to just the two of us. We did hear back from two ladies whom we befriended at Moose Mountains Reservation where we are volunteer land stewards.
We met them at the parking lot at 8am. It was unclear if any of us were going to go through with the hike. There was the threat of rain, particularly in the evening when severe weather was to roll through. I assured them the weather reports looked pretty good for most the day. Our friends Marty and Jill decided to just walk with us for a little while and then head back. The issue was the danger of wet rocks causing a slip and fall, and potential injury. We too were unsure if we would make the hike. We at least wanted to make the effort and just turn back if conditions got bad.
We started up the Livermore trail which follows a logging road. The road was severally washed out in sections, probably from hurricane Irene a year ago. Repairs looked to have been underway all summer. It was a bit humid out and the summits were socked in as we peered up at them from various view points. We made the 2 mile walk to Triyramid trail just under the book time. The skies were clouded in still but seemed non-threatening. We were now faced with the decision to take the longer, but much easier route up Scaur ridge trail...or take the shorter, but steeper, more difficult trail up the North Slide. A couple passed by us headed up towards the slide. After some talking with Scott and determining conditions were just not favorable for an already difficult climb up the steep rock slide, we decided to take Scaur ridge trail. The ladies said they would continue on with us a little further.
We arrived onto the Scaur Ridge trail and passed into the Sandwich Wilderness. The trail was rather pleasant with easy to moderate grades and excellent footing. A few large blow downs that appear to have been there over winter are in need of removal. We arrived at the Pine Bend Brook trail where we met another hiker who had just come up from that way. He went on ahead of us and we continued behind him. The trail now levels off as it follows the ridge line then begins a steep climb over many difficult rock sections. We coaxed Marty and Jill on as they carefully climbed the difficult scrambles. It had been some time since they had climbed a 4000 footer and were doing an amazing job!
After the long slog up this section the four of us arrived at the summit at 12:00pm where a crowd was waiting for us! They exclaimed, "the flag is here!" We dropped our packs and began the assembly. First it was figuring out where and how to secure the base pole. Once done we began piecing the poles together and raising the American Flag. A man from the group jumped in to help us as we tried to secure the poles with rope to hold it in place against the wind. Once secure we affixed the Flag of Honor to the pole and our mission was complete! The group cheered and took photos, then continued on to the Middle peak.
We took our own pics and we were all so happy to have made the hike and able to share the experience together! We had a well deserved lunch and had nice conversation, so glad to have these two along with us! There wasn't much in the way of views, but at least it was dry and the breeze felt nice. At about 12:30 Marty and Jill decided to begin the hike down to allow enough time for them to take it slow and careful down the slippery rock sections of trail. We stayed put until 1:15pm when we decided to pack up and head down in an effort to get out before the rain rolled in, forecasted for 3pm.
We broke down the flag poles and headed out. We caught up to the ladies below the Pine Bend Brook trail junction and we walked together looking back at the North Slide through the trees. The long hike out on Livermore trail was exhausting as always. But we only got hit with some little sprinkles of rain that actually felt refreshing. It wasn't until we literally stepped onto the parking lot that it began to pour! What are the odds!! So happy it held off until we were safe at our vehicles!
We arrived home pretty sore from the hike. While we were unpacking I heard the sound of a cat crying. We both searched the house wondering where it was coming from and why one of our cats (Countess) hadn't greeted us. Turns out she had gotten into Scott's closet in the morning when he was getting dressed. She spent a long 13 hours in there! Poor kitty :o