Timberframe workshop

Dave uses an antique boring machine to drill mortises in one of the king posts.
Using an antique boring machine to drill mortises in one of the king posts.

I spent six beautiful days at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge with a team of wonderful chubbers & friends who were there for the timber-framing workshop hosted by Dave Hooke ’84 and his TimberHomes crew.  In the span of six days we learned how to lay out, cut, and raise timber posts, bents, braces, struts, and all manner of heavy wooden contraptions.  Amazing that Dave et al. actually entrusted us with a variety of sharp tools and valuable timbers!  We were guided by a team of excellent instructors, and managed to put up the main part of the frame (porches to be added later) and lay down the first course of roofing.  It looks like a bunkhouse!  It is located in a new clearing beyond Bicentennial and behind the ’74 Bunkhouse.

Thanks to the Class of ’66 for their generous donation, to the Lodge Crew for the amazing food, and to Dave, Josh, Skip, Shannon, Andrew, and Helen for their outstanding instruction.

Check out the photo gallery and the timelapse video.

Timberframe workshop at Moosilauke - Class of 1966 bunkhouse. (Photo by David Kotz '86.)
Timberframe workshop at Moosilauke – Class of 1966 bunkhouse. (Photo by David Kotz ’86.)

 

I guess winter is over – sigh…

Alright, I finally need to admit it.  Winter is over.  Although many folks in the northeast are tired of winter and are glad to see signs of spring, I have been relishing every last opportunity to enjoy the incredible winter conditions Nature delivered to us this season. I’ve been out hiking the past three Sundays, and for a week prior I was out skiing nearly every day, soaking up the beautiful scenery, outstanding ski conditions, and incredible hiking.  I brought my camera along for many outings this winter. Here’s a quick recap.

2015-01-02-12729January 2: hiking Moosilauke with son Andy and with friends (Lelia, Jen, and Lars) in a snowstorm. Cold temps, fierce winds, and blowing snow led Andy to bundle up and exclaim “I feel invincible!” as we climbed the summit cone. [more photos]

 

 

2015-02-28-13174February 28: Mark and I skied up and down the Carriage Road on an intensely sunny day, catching the powder before it softened and with noontime views from the summit. [more photos]

 

 

 

March 14: hiking Moosilauke again with son Andy and his friend Sam, plus friends from Thetford. We made it to South Peak but were socked in by clouds. [more photos]

 

 

March 16: When I feared winter was almost over I spent a week skiing every morning in Lyme, often with impressive dawn views of Smarts Mountain.  The ski conditions were absolutely fantastic.

 

 

March 22: A bitterly cold morning on Cummings Pond, one of the last good mornings for skiing.  A day later I had the chance to ski at sunset, and completed my longest-ever loop on that trail network. [more photos]

 

April 5: Easter hike up Mount Moosilauke; a fresh early-morning snowfall was followed by a brilliantly sunny day.  The deep snowpack was decorated by a soft covering of fresh powder, and the summit lent me great views of the Franconia and Presidential ranges. [more photos]

 

April 12: a sunny jaunt up North Kinsman with close-up views of Franconia Range and awesome butt-sliding back down the Fishin’ Jimmy trail. [more photos]

 

 

2015-04-19-13879Finally, April 19, an awe-inspiring morning in the northern Presidentials, freshly dusted by snow and rime ice, capped by a deep blue sky and bathed in intense spring sunshine.  I was up Madison and Adams before noon.  Incredible day. [more photos]

 

It’s now time for the trails to rest.  Meanwhile the ice on the river is out and I’m looking forward to boating season!

Moosilauke in a snowstorm

As we drove toward Mount Moosilauke on New Year’s day, we caught a glimpse of its summit, brilliant white under the high cloud deck, and thought eagerly of our plans to hike to that summit the next day.  Lelia and Andy and I hiked in past the Ravine Lodge, finding the going easy on a shallow but firm snow cover, with the last of the deep-pink sunset fading as we reached John Rand cabin. In a couple of hours the cabin was cozy and warm and we welcomed the arrival of friends Jen and Lars. After a wonderful pasta dinner and conversation, we settled in for a cozy first night of the new year; all in all, a great foundation for a big hike the next day.

photo of David, Lars, Jen, and Lelia
David, Lars, Jen, and Lelia on the trail after visiting the summit.

Continue reading “Moosilauke in a snowstorm”

Late winter on Moosilauke

2014-03-29-06188Only two days left in March, but Moosilauke still has 2-3 feet of snow at the base, and 4-5 feet along the ridgeline. Andy (12) and I hiked to the summit via the Glencliff trail today.  With sunny weather in the forties at the trailhead, the snowpack was soft and wet, eager to swallow any foot that strayed from the trail packed by hundreds of hikers before us. The warm March sunshine allowed for a comfortable hike, no hat no gloves. High on the slopes of south peak we finally caught some views to the west; indeed, I had a great view down into the Tunnel Brook valley and even spotted a person standing on Mud Pond where I’d skied just six days ago.

2014-03-29-06200As we reached the Carriage Road trail junction and the ridgeline, we climbed into the clouds. The temperatures were still above freezing, though only barely, and as we crossed the ridge and climbed above treeline the wind picked up and the ambient temperature dropped. We could barely see from one cairn to the next, but Andy was so enthralled by the rime ice that we took our time.  We met six backcountry skiers at the summit, and explored the cloudy terrain for a while before heading for home.

2014-03-29-06258The soft wet snow, four feet deep along the upper reaches of the trail, provided great opportunities for butt-sledding and made for a quick descent. Four hours up, less than two hours down. Great day!

See a few of my favorite photos.

Tunnel Brook

David skis across the ponds along the Tunnel Brook trail.
David skis across the ponds along the Tunnel Brook trail.

One of the classic ski tours on Mount Moosilauke is the Tunnel Brook trail, which climbs over a low north-south valley along the west flanks of Mount Moosilauke.  It follows Tunnel Brook upslope for several miles, continuing straight as the brook heads left up into the steep-walled Tunnel Brook Ravine.  (Last summer I completed that classic bushwhack route to the summit, discovering an incredible slide created by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011; see trip report.)  Today I had the good fortune to ski this route under a sunny sky and with fantastic ski conditions. Continue reading “Tunnel Brook”

Tunnel Brook Ravine

For nearly thirty years I’ve wanted to climb Moosilauke via Tunnel Brook Ravine, a classic bushwhacking route through a deep ravine on the west side of the mountain. I have fond memories of a solo bushwhack up Gorge Brook, past Last Water and the Pleiades, following the brook until it petered out and I was crashing through krummholz. As I sat on the summit, surprisingly alone on a sunny summer weekend afternoon, I watched with curiosity as a single hiker strode up the west slope of the summit cone, crossing the fragile alpine vegetation as if he was unaware of any trail.  It turned out to be my Dartmouth classmate Alex, who had just bushwhacked up Tunnel Brook Ravine.

So last Sunday I set out with Lelia, another Dartmouth classmate, to try this legendary route.  Continue reading “Tunnel Brook Ravine”

Appalachian Trail backpacking

The boys and I recently took a three-day backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) not far from home. [See photo gallery.] Pam dropped us off at a remote road crossing on Cape Moonshine Road, Lake Armington and just south of Ore Hill.  Andy and John were wearing new backpacks and carrying more than they ever had before, which was helpful, but my pack still managed to weigh in at 52 pounds.  It’s a good thing we didn’t have an aggressive agenda.

Continue reading “Appalachian Trail backpacking”

Back to Moosilauke

I can think of few times when I’ve been on the summit of Moosilauke with such deep blue skies and warm sunny temperatures.

Although the days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer – well, actually, it’s been warm all winter – I am not quite ready to let go of winter.  A surprise snowfall of 4” of powder early on Saturday morning, plus a forecast for a warm sunny day today, instigated a repeat visit to Moosilauke via the Glenncliff trail. I rallied David and Kathy Hooke – recalling our visit of last February. On that trip, we were lucky to encounter several feet of fresh powder.  Today, a few inches of fresh snow made a well-packed (and icy) trail a joy to climb.

David on the Moosilauke summit, with the Franconia Range beyond.

We saw perhaps two dozen other people on the trail or on the summit.  Clearly we weren’t the only folks with the good sense to hit the trail today.  The sun was warm, the snow fluffy, and the hills windless.  We did hit some wind on the summit, but the temp was 26˚F and quite comfortable. On the trip down the snow started to get mushy, then slushy, then running water, and finally mud. At the parking lot it was 46˚F.  Warm day!

Check out the photos (and movies).

Moosilauke at the dawn of the new century

We climbed Moosilauke on New Year’s day, once again.

A group of us climbed Mt. Moosilauke on January 1, 2000. We were some of the last to summit on this otherwise busy day on the summit. 

Nearing the summit of Moosilauke on New Year’s Day, 2000.

Although the traditional chubber alum group did not hole up in a Y2K-compliant cabin for New Year’s eve, opting instead for the house of Ken and Karen Kaliski in the sprawling metropolis of East Thetford, we still headed out on New Year’s morning for a hike up Moosilauke.

While there was some discussion of summiting at Midnight, or even at dawn, most groups seemed to get a later start than that ;-). Our group (David Metsky ’85 and Brenda Conaway, Ken Kaliski ’85, Ed Lowney ’85, Kathy Gelhar ’87, myself ’86, and two friends Andrew and Ching) got a crack-o-dawn start at 10am, at the base of the Carriage Road.  There was maybe 2″ of snow at the base, high clouds, and temps in the 20s predicted.

Boy, that Carriage road is a long slog, when on foot rather than on skis. We were especially gratified, then, when we reached the viewpoint near the turnaround. Just then, the clouds cleared and the sun came out, illuminating the brilliant white Moosilauke and Washington. At about 2pm we were in the middle of the ridge crossing over toward the north peak when we met David Hooke ’84 and Kathy Roy ’85 coming down. David told us of the crowds on the summit, larger than ever seen on New Year’s Day. Many chubbers were sighted, including Put Blodgett ’53 hiking with Sam Adams (son of Sherm Adams ’20) and Jim Hardigg ’44 (!).

While we were chatting, down came Jack Noon ’68 and Bob Averill ’72. On the summit Jack had been signing copies of his new book “Up Moosilauke”, and proceeded to hand out copies.

While we were skimming the books, who should appear behind us but Bernie ’74 and Mary Waugh….

On the way up we had met Dick Birnie ’66 coming down, as well as a backpacker who said he had spent the night on South Peak because “the North Peak was too crowded with other people.”

The summit itself was as windy and icy as ever, although warm (20 degrees or so) and given the late hour we turned around and headed down fast, racing the darkness. No luck. We walked out by starlight to the howl of distant coyotes, satisfied with a great hike and a wonderful way to welcome the new century. 

See more photos in the gallery.

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