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GayOutdoors Blog ~ Musings From Brokeback Mountain

Musings From Brokeback Mtn

Musings From Brokeback Mtn blog is a daily mix of light hearted outdoor news, events, reviews, observations, wisdom, facts, and surprises; that is both informative and fun.

Posts by category "Hiking"
Hiking or Snowshoeing? Nov 25, 2012 5:52 PM

Hiking or Snowshoeing? We do both, but want to know which you prefer? >>Post Answer

Mt. Carrigain/Sawyer River Road Update Sep 23, 2012 7:28 PM

Sawyer River Road in New Hampshire has been closed since it was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene last year. It was a key means to access the trailhead to Mt. Carrigain. Since then, all hikers have had to walk 4 more miles on the road making this hike now 14 miles roundtrip.  

The Forest Service announced that the construction is still going on, but is scheduled to be finished by the end of the month. There is no limitation of foot traffic during the construction. Having the construction finished this week would be a nice bonus for peak foliage. 

The road work that has been started is for the most part) finished. But by reading the paint marks on the road they have other sections to work on. It's drivable today. 

Once the road is open it will an easy 1.5 mile backpack again to the Sawyer Pond campsite and shelter. It's very popular and usually all the tentsites are taken and shelter full.  It's unfortunate the abuse the place has taken (lots of live trees cut for firewood.) This is one of the White Mountain National Forest 'party' campsites where some people have no problem carrying a full cooler the distance to their tentsite.

Mike Boisvert

Appalachian Trail in a Single Calendar Winter? Sep 17, 2012 7:05 PM

Has anyone ever attempted this? I feel like it's actually against the law of physics, especially the south-to-north variation.

2,184 miles/91 days = 24 miles/day average...Better wait for the next leap year to get an extra day of winter...:-)

I would think you would have to either have absolutely perfect weather, a crew busting trail, or most reasonably do it by hiking sections as the weather allowed. Could it be done in a calendar winter? Sure, if you had a massive support team so the trail was always broken, camp always set up where you couldn't reach an RV at a road crossing, and associates stationed periodically to swap wet gear...No matter how you did a trip like this, it would be an incredible accomplishment.

I did some back of the envelope math. The girl who set the record last year [46 days, 11 hours] averaged 47 miles per day. If you [Haha!] could average that pace for the first half, you'd only [Hahaha!] need to average 12 miles/day for the second half. Which seems...possible?

There seems to be a definition of a "winter" AT hike in the AT community that is not specific to the 91 days in a winter season. I think many AT-ers think of winter as Columbus Day to Memorial Day so that would be easier :-) The normal approach is to do it southbound and start so that the hike is south of New England prior to the onset of cold/snowy weather. The hiker is then south of the Mid Atlantic before winter. 

There are usually some publicized efforts every so often with folks trying to make it through Maine and New Hampshire in winter, usually the hiker insists they know what they are in for. Some days these AT winter hikers make it less than two miles in the snow, go weeks without seeing a single hiker, and surprise the heck out of trail town people because they never expect anyone to come to the hostels and such at that time of year. If you ever hear from them again, they usually admit that they got skunked very soon after getting on the trail due to conditions.  

WhiteBlaze loves discussions like this. I've seen a number of posters there stating that they were going to start in Maine in March or April, and you never hear from them again. Even section hiking in Maine in winter is extremely difficult ~ you need to break your own trail for much of it. Someone indicated they saw pictures of lean-to's on Bigelow buried in snow. Not buried up to the roof, completely buried with like, the chimney sticking out. They had dug a tunnel to get into the front. Not something I would want to take on.

Mike Boisvert

Grand Canyon Trip Advice Jul 25, 2012 7:51 PM

Don't visit the Grand Canyon and hike to the bottom in August. It can be over 120 degrees in the shade. Instead, stay at one of the historic cabins (designed by Mary E. J. Colter in 1922 and on the National Register) at Phantom Ranch in early/mid-December ~ I'd highly recommend both, the cabin stay and the time of year.

You'll have to make reservations for the cabins a year in advance. Booking six to seven months in advance may only get you space in the bunkhouses. Another option is to show up at the reservation desk a day or two in advance at the Bright Angel Lodge, to see if someone has cancelled a reservation for a cabin (or if there just happens to be one available...more on that in a minute). The entire Xanterra (the folks who manage the hotels, etc.) reservation system for Phantom Ranch is a little bit behind the times and somewhat frustrating; it's difficult to get a sense of what's available unless you call every single day to check the status of cabin availability. For instance, the reservation folks you speak with to book a room make it seem next to impossible to get a cabin any sooner than a year or two in advance. However the people at the Bright Angel Lodge check-in desk will tell you that it's not really that busy in December -- there's plenty of space available. Part of this, though, is that they hold cabins for folks who ride the pack mules down -- the "mulies" as they are called by some of the staff, get priority booking for cabins. If the mules can't make it down (adverse weather, footing), or if it's cold and blustery and "mulies" decide to cancel, then those cabins are released to the folks who walk down to the ranch. So, if you want to guarantee getting a cabin, it may make sense to coordinate your stay after a foot of snow has been dumped up top. (Note: the mules also pack down/up the supplies for the ranch, so make sure that not too much snow has been dumped.)

In December, expect blustery, 10-degree temps and a few inches of snow and some ice up top on the South Rim so make sure you have winter gear with light traction at the start (South Kaibab Trail). Within a half hour on the trail, though, you can change into summer gear. At the Phantom ranch, it will be 70 degrees, sunny, and just beginning to look like fall (leaves turning). Plenty of wildflowers in bloom, too, with all sorts of butterflies, birds, etc.

The park as a whole i not crowded in December and will contributed to you being able to get a cabin. In addition, daytime temps up top were in the 30s-40s, and as I mentioned, the temps in the canyon made it feel like late summer. Mid-December is not a bad time to go, I would say.

If you can get a cabin, do -- they're quite an experience. They're about the size of a broom closet, but very charming. Also, the quality of the food at the mess hall is good ~ there's plenty to eat, too. And the beer and wine were only a buck or two, as well. Not bad after a day of hiking: full belly and some cheap alcohol. 

For hikes once you're down below?

Don't miss Ribbon Falls -- it's off a spur trail a few miles north, on the North Kaibab Trail. Also, the first mile or so on the North Kaibab Trail, out of Phantom Ranch, is a geologist's dream: Vishnu Schist and Zoroaster Granite. Cool stuff.

Mike Boisvert

Routes To Mt. Kinsman Jul 23, 2012 10:51 PM

Looking for options to climb up Mt. Kinsman besides the normal Fishin' Jimmy trail to access the peaks?

If you have not yet done it, the loop by Reel Brook, Kinsman Ridge and out by Mt. Kinsman trail is a delight. You can do a car spot by leaving one at the Mt. Kinsman trailhead (new one) and go to Reel Brook trailhead. Hike up Reel Brook to Kinsman Ridge... stop at Eliza Brook shelter for lunch, then continue up to South Kinsman, North Kinsman, down the Mt. Kinsman Trail to your spotted vehicle. might be tougher than you think. 

Even just an up and back by the Mt Kinsman Trail is beautiful. Make sure to do the spur trail to Bald Knob for outstanding views -- best view in the whole range!

Mike Boisvert

Mt. Hale Trip Report Jun 30, 2012 8:58 PM

Heading up to the Whites this morning, the weather forecast was sunny, breezy, and with a high of 77 degrees higher up.

My cousin Lorraine and I drove up from my house and arrived at the Hale Brook trailhead for 10AM.

For the first 3/4 mile, the trail heads through a birch forest ascending at an easy pace. The trail eventually follows a small ravine as it approaches Hale Brook.

After crossing Hale Brook for the first time, the trail continued to parallel Hale Brook, heading up the steepest part of the trail for the next quarter mile. It then crossed back over a side branch of the brook and proceeded at an easier pace through a section of switchbacks.

The switchbacks ended about the point where the forest changed from birch to conifers and the grade returned to a pace similar to the beginning of the trail all the way up to the summit. By the time we reached the summit there was a nice breeze. We ate an early lunch by the summit cairn then proceeded to head back down the trail.

The trip back down went fast and we were back down at the trailhead by 1:30. Overall, the footing on the path was good, with only a few spots such as the stream crossings that required a little extra attention.

We ended up exactly at book time for this trip: 3 1/2 hours. Congratulations to my cousin Lorraine who finished another 4,000 footer.

Mike Boisvert

Oregon, Nevada, Arizona Highpointing Advice Jun 29, 2012 8:33 PM

Oregon has Mt. Hood, Nevada has Boundary Peak and Arizona has Humphrey's Peak. For Mt. Hood, consider taking a 2 day mountaineering course and then getting guided to the summit.

For the altitude, plan your acclimatization. You don't want to fly in from sea level, and then jump on the hike the next day. Work in a couple "hike high, sleep low" days prior to the actual hike. Find nearby non-technical mountains to use for this, so it's easy to get it done. Of course there are no guarantees. Even the same individual can do well at altitude on one trip, and then poorly in another. It's not well understood why.

Another option is spending 4-5 days acclimatizing on the actual trail. For example, at Humphrey's Peak, on your first day, drive to the trailhead [just over 9,000 feet in elevation] and hang out all day. The second day, hike up to 10,000 feet, sit by the trail and read for a few hours. The third day, hike up to 11,000 feet. The fourth day, take the lift up to neighboring Agassiz peak [over 12,000 feet] and walk around for most of the day. Each night, sleep in the lodge at the base of the ski area [about 8,000 feet]. Then on the fifth day when you do the hike itself, you will be completely acclimatized.

On all 3, but especially on Mt. Hood, respect the weather. Bail out if weather conditions are bad.

An early start is important. The early start hurts for a few minutes, but it pays off. Pre pack everything the afternoon before. Stay hydrated and if you get a headache from lack of sleep just hit the Ibuprofen. Just accept the fact that you won't have much sleep that day. I love to sleep, but the benefits of the early start are huge. You can deal with delays and still achieve your objective. Especially out West, you can be up and down off the most exposed parts before the Noon lightning storms arrive.

Have fun and take lots of pictures!

Mike Boisvert

Long Loop Hikes In NH Jun 24, 2012 7:57 PM

If you would like push your limits in New Hampshire's White Mountains with long hikes [15-17 miles] and 4,000-5,000 elevation gain, here are some suggestions for long loops:

First loop up Nancy Pond Trail, to Mt. Nancy, then up Desolation Trail to Carrigain and down Signal Ridge, Sawyer River Road and 302.

Second loop being Hale, Zealand, and the Twins from North Twin Trail, up Hale Firewardens, down Lend-A-Hand, up and over on the Twinway, and across North Twin Spur and down.

Third loop ~ Hide your bike at the Caps Ridge trailhead and drive to The Inn Unique/Davis Path trailhead. Hike the Davis Path over Montalban Ridge to Mt. Isolation, then Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson to Caps then back to you bike. Ride the Jefferson Notch and Clinton roads down to Rte 302. 

Fourth loop ~ Lock your bike on the fence at the AMC Visitor's Center in Pinkham Notch and drive to Lowes Store, pay the parking fee hiked up to Thunderstorm Junction. Proceed over Jefferson and Mt. Washington. Down Tuckermans to Pinkham Notch to retrieve your bike. Ride the bike down to Dolly Copp Campground  then over Pinkham Base Road back to your car at Lowes Store.

Fifth loop ~  Lock your bike up at the AMC Highland Center and drive to Dry River trailhead. Hike up the Dry River trail to Mizpah Hut, then down to the bike for the ride down out of the notch. 

Sixth loop ~ Lock your bike up at the AMC Highland Center again and drive to the Webster Cliff trailhead. This time go up over Webster Cliff, Mts. Webster and Jackson to Mizpah hut and out. Another breeze ride out of the notch.

Mike Boisvert

Mt. Cardigan Holt Trail May 20, 2012 6:34 PM

The AMC guidebook says, "This is the shortest but far from the easiest route from Cardigan Lodge to the summit of Mt. Cardigan. The upper ledges are very steep, and the scramble up these ledges is much more difficult than on any other trail in this section and one of the most difficult in New England; it may be dangerous in wet or icy conditions."

It is not among the toughest trails in New England unless you are going for the hardest 20% or so and include rail trails :-) But you can get hurt or killed in bad conditions or if you're unlucky/

I would say if the trail is dry and you have soles with adequate traction you can walk right up it, although I once remember holding hands with a timid person to get them up it

On the other hand if it is slippery you could slide far enough to get hurt or killed, I once got within about .1 mi of the summit wearing 10 pt crampons and backed down and went around because I wasn't sure I could safely make it up the last pitch if the ice peeled.

It's quite short and if it isn't wet then your boots ought to hold just fine on the rock. If you have a fear of steep rock, you may have to summon up a little extra courage. I had no problems at all but when I last did this I had to talk a woman upwards as she froze in fear and was refusing to move for a few minutes.

Here's a bit of trivia for you about the trail:

The original Holt Path followed roughly where the Holt Trail now runs from the AMC Cardigan Lodge and then along the route of what is now the Holt-Clark Cutoff (Cathedral Forest Trail), where it ended at the Clark Path. It did not go up Cardigan's eastern face to the summit, as it does now.

It was named after a family that lived in the area in the late 1800s; apparently, the cellar hole of their farmhouse can still be seen not too far away from the AMC Cardigan Lodge.

By 1925, the trail was a bit rough and out of use and the folks at Camp Mowglis re-cleared and re-blazed the trail -- and dedicated it to the founder of their camp -- Elizabeth Holt (no relation whatsoever to the original Holts; how is that for coincidence?), who had passed away earlier that year. The camp also named the series of waterfalls on Bailey Brook that parallels the trail near there "Elizabeth Falls."

One more bit of trivia: in 1925 one could walk the Holt Trail to the falls and get a view of Cardigan all along the way -- the trees had yet to grow in (as they have now) from the farmstead there from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

I don't know when the Holt Trail was re-routed to its current course to the Cardigan summit. It was certainly post-1925.

Mike Boisvert

Hiking Vermont’s Killington Peak Via Ski Trails May 17, 2012 7:25 PM

Using the ski trail would shorten the trip a little. According to the Green Mountain Club [GMC], mud season is over and hiking is fine. However, the folks at GMC indicate the Killington ski trails are too muddy to responsibly hike, but weren't really sure. Killington's summer season opens late June. If hiking Killington there's no reason not to take an arbitrary route up the ski trails. They have 10 marked & signed hiking routes which will get you there by either following designated ski trails, work roads, or going up through the woods. Note that route "C" is the gravel work road. Unless route "C" is closed due to construction equipment for the new peak lodge (note: there is currently no summit lodge) that's going to be fine for feet. If anything, my personal feeling is that if it's muddy or soft they'll be holding off on construction equipment, so get in there and get 'er done. I can't imagine the work road not being firm enough for feet.

 >>Killington Peak Hiking Map

One thing to note about Killington ski trails in the summer [if not using route 'C'] is that there is lots of trash from winter skiing, and eroded out ditches or steep gravel paths with loose stone. However there are good views along the way.

The Bucklin trail is closed due to Tropical Storm Irene damage. The GMC website states "Bucklin Trail is now a river until a field crew fixes it in Summer '12". However there is a well-established bushwhack around the washed out section. It’s quite used from the looks of it. It starts not terribly far into the trail and pretty much goes around the "river" just before the Bucklin trail heads up. It’s flagged quite a bit.

The other option is going in via the Long Trail/AT and Pico and do an out and back. The Long Trail/AT relocation that avoids Pico, is not all that great and it’s a PUD.

You might also consider the Shelburne trail that starts from across the "Inn at Long trail". You can certainly do Pico and Killington. It would be a long approach but doable and pretty. The walk out and back via Sherburne Trail and the old AT from Pico and Killington and back is a pleasant walk through the woods on the ridge with occasional view spots down the slopes. Very reminiscent of the Mts. Abraham/Ellen hike but shorter. Plus having the Inn at the Long Trail as a goal at the end of the hike is a big plus. The Pico cabin is still there and is quite a testament to building a shelter with local materials. The same can not be said for the one by Killington that was pretty trashed and full of broken glass and litter (probably a drinking spot for the skiers). The Pico shelter on the other hand is very clean and in good shape.

Mike Boisvert

Steep Climbs in the White Mountains Part One May 6, 2012 7:06 PM

The following is some steep climbs in the western and southern White Mountains. More to come tomorrow...

  • Willey Range Trail [Ethan Pond Trail to Mt. Willey] 1600 feet in 1.1 mile
  • Mount Osceola Trail [Greeley Ponds Trail to East Peak] 1850 feet in 1.5 miles
  • Beaver Brook Trail [NH 112 to Beaver Brook Shelter] 1900 feet in 1.5 miles
  • Owl's Head Path [Lincoln Brook Trail to Owl's Head] 1500 feet in 1.0 mile
  • Desolation Trail [Carrigain Notch Trail to Mt. Carrigain] 2500 feet in 1.9 miles
  • Twinway [Galehead Hut to South Twin] 1150 feet in 0.8 mile
  • Hancock Loop Trail
    [Loop Junction to North Hancock is 1150 feet in 0.7 mile]
    [Loop Junction to South Hancock is 1000 feet in 0.5 mile]
  • Mount Tripyramid Trail
    [Livermore Trail to North Peak is 1800 feet in 1.2 mile with north slide portion being 1200 feet in 0.5 mile]
    [Bottom of south slide to South Peak is 1000 feet in 0.6 mile]
  • Flume Slide Trail [Foot of slide to Franconia Ridge Trail] 1400 feet in 0.7 mile
Mike Boisvert

Its Difficult to Pack for Hiking in the Higher Summits in Spring and Fall May 1, 2012 7:44 PM

In the winter, it's easy to pack for hiking because you know it's going to be typically cold and snowy. In summer, it's easy to pack for hiking because it's going to be warm with the potential for rain. But as we transition in spring and fall, it's a whole other story at times as we find ourselves packing everything we have due to the variability of the weather. These shoulder seasons bring a huge and variable buffet of weather each week. Not the kind of buffet you'd see at a barn dance or other social gathering. No, I'm talking more like a buffet like you'd see in Las Vegas where you need a map just to get around. The kind of buffet that when you return to your seat, your plate is loaded with a hot dog, fried rice, yellow curry, a taco, a brownie and a salad (just to stay 'healthy); a combination that you would never usually want to think about and will learn to regret later that night or the next day. That kind of buffet. Only instead of a wild combination of food, our buffet is a wild combination of weather.

If we were to put all our weather on a metaphorical plate we would see a pile of rain and sleet next to a serving of snow topped with a bit of glaze ice. Next to that would a large serving of sunshine mixing in with clouds and a small sample of fog. We would find most of our servings are served lukewarm as they were provided when temperatures were in the fifties but some parts of the plate have been warmed to around 80 degrees for good measure. On a portion of the plate, we have things mixing as a serving of winds. And lastly, you find everything coated with the colors of rainbow, just 'because'.

All right, so maybe it's not the best metaphor, but hopefully you get the general picture of the large mix of weather we see during a spring/fall week when hiking up in the higher summits; it's a bizarre mix of everything you can pretty much think of. As a result, we have to pack for a mix of everything. So this means that a lot of what I have in my gear closet makes its way up: rain pants, synthetic underwear tops and bottoms, long sleeve synthetic shirt, wool socks, baseball hat, wool hat, bandanna, sunglasses, fleece jacket, fleece vest, hard-shell/wind breaker jacket, varying thicknesses of gloves, microspikes, and so on and so forth. Before I leave on a hike, I look at the weather forecast then lay all of my needed gear before packing so I know how to pack it all up efficiently in my backpack. It is very reminiscent of the scene in the Vin Diesel action flick 'XXX' where there is an array of weapons laid out on the ground next to a Pontiac GTO and he states 'All of that (referring to the weapons), in here (pointing to the GTO)'. Only, in my case, my 'weapons' are the 'weapons' against the elements of weather not evil, my transportation device is a backpack, not a car and the person I am saying that line to isn't a weapons tech, it's just myself, and silently in my head. While it is a lot of gear that needs some creative packing at times, in the end, all my gear makes its way up. And no matter what weird combination we are provided in regards to the weather buffet known as spring, I am at the ready with a counter offensive so I can continue to hike safely.

Mike Boisvert

One Day Presidential Range Traverse Advice Apr 30, 2012 6:56 PM

I like North to South because the south end is more forgiving on the feet and the ups and downs are less (most elevation behind you) - advantageous for tired legs and feet. Once you hit Washington, the remaining stretch is a lot easier walking (as its trending downhill). If you are with a group you can spot a car at the Cog and have multiple bail out options if the weather, motivation or physical issues require you to get off trail. It also gives you the option to skip Jackson (not a presidential) but a popular addition. Starting out on Valley way gets the first rays of the sun in the AM compared to starting at Crawford Notch. It cuts down on headlamp use. If the weather does degrade in the afternoon you still have done quite a hike that is hard to beat hiking to the "rim" of the Great Gulf. The exposure is significantly high in the northern section and generally bad weather shows up after noon so it’s best to be on the southern presidential stretch later on.

I like the views going North to South. If you time it just right you get to see the Cog train crawling up the tracks coming down from Mount Clay with Mount Monroe and Lakes of the Clouds behind the train. Awesome picture taking opportunity! Try to save it for a good weather day to enjoy the views although if you do in the clouds that can be fun as well. You have a 1 in three chance of having great weather. Be flexible and consider moving the event by a weekend if need be. Realistically the days are long enough for most of July into August so don’t be held fast to doing it on the "longest day of the year.

Unless the weather is bad, drop your pack at the Madison Hut for the side trip up Madison. Some will tsk-tsk and wag their finger at you and offer valuable safety advice...just smile, thank them, and do it anyway.

After leaving Madison Hut take Gulfside to Thunderstorm Junction, then up to Mt. Adams. Slightly longer than directly up Airline, but much easier... that portion of the Gulfside Trail is almost mountain-bikeable...and the views into King Ravine are sweet.

Waste 10 minutes on summit of Clay. It's got the best views of the trip.

Keep on a strict schedule on the summits. Seriously consider limiting your break on top of Mt Washington. Many folks end up spending far too much time there. Basically get your pictures, fill your bottle and head out down to Lakes. Even though some consider it a tradition, it’s not the best thing to eat a chili hot dog and plenty of junk food and then start hiking again. Lakes of the Clouds Hut usually has snacks and soup for sale and their water is just as good as the summits. If you do this you will save at least a half-hour.

We started at sun-up and didn't put headlamps on until the Webster-Jackson/Webster-Cliff split. This was on summer solstice [longest day of the year] so there was 16+ hours of daylight. Descending the Webster Branch of the Webster-Jackson Trail is a wet, rocky, eroded mess on its best day, and will seem ten times worse after humping 21 miles. Take the Jackson Branch down.

Water is a basically non-issue with the Huts and you can always grab more food at Mt. Washington. Just go with the food you like to give you energy and doesn’t sit like cement weight in your stomach and you’ll be fine.

Mike Boisvert

Appalachian Mountain Club 4000-Footer Club Membership Climbs Past 10,000 Apr 17, 2012 7:07 PM

The number of hikers who have climbed to and from the summits of New Hampshire 48 recognized 4,000 foot peaks and are members of the Appalachian Mountain Club's [AMC's] White Mountain Four Thousand Footer club recently surpassed 10,000 according to the Four Thousand Committee Chair.

Read Press Release>>

The New England Four Thousand Footer Club also welcomed its 2,500th member this year.

In reality a lot more people have finished these lists. They are happy just knowing they finished and don't see the need to fill out an application to be officially recognized. I think (and hope) most of us hike for personal reasons such as the experience, fitness, spirituality, etc. Sorry for getting deep.

While I am on this topic, congrats to GO member and trip leader Brooks [outdoorsguy79] who finished climbing up the NH 4,000 footers today. Way to GO!

Mike Boisvert

Walking/Hiking Music Mar 27, 2012 6:17 PM

I have an iPod Shuffle dedicated to walking/hiking music. It really helps. I have a very strange assortment of music, including:

  • Black Keys new album "El Camino"
  • Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone"
  • Bruce Springteen's "Thunder Road"
  • Coldplay [Paradise, God Put A Smile On My Face, Viva La Vida, Clocks]
  • Cowbow Junkies album "The Trinity Session"
  • Death Cab for Cutie [You Are A Tourist, Grapevine Fires, Soul Meets Body, Some Boys, Underneath the Sycamore]
  • Florence and The Machine's album "Ceremonials"
  • The Fray's album "How To Save A Life"
  • Gotye's "In Your Light"
  • INXS [Need You Tonight, What You Need, New Sensation] and my secret nickname on the trail, "Suicide Blonde"
  • YES [Mood For A Day, Close To The Edge, Roundabout, Starship Trooper, Heart of the Sunrise, And You and I]

And there are times I want to hear everything around me outdoors for naturalistic reasons. It helps to put me squarely in flow while still having complete awareness.

Mike Boisvert


Hiking Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park Mar 19, 2012 7:18 PM

Are you planning a summer trip to Colorado near Grand Lake? I am astounded at the hiking opportunities in the area.

One hike that looks good is a 3-fer: Chapin, Chiquita, and Ypsilon in the Mummy Range, trailhead on the Old Fall River Road. Note that the road is one way uphill, and the trail doesn't go to the peaks ~ scrambling involved.

You have to do one hike in the Never Summer Mountains too. What a beautiful name! Note these are semi-technical climbs [i.e., scrambling].

An easy trail to a low peak with substantial elevation for conditioning is Twin Sisters.

I've yearned to go to Estes Park which is not far from there. The wildflowers at Estes are supposed to be magnificent. For example, check out Hallets and Flattop from Bear Lake within the park itself. You can do one or both, and once you reach the ridge you get good views of the Never Summer Range.

Also check out Lady Washington, which is the 13,000 footer in front of the diamond on Longs Peak. You skirt Lady Washington on the way to the Boulder Field as part of the route to Longs Peak. Another great destination is Chasm Lake if you're feeling like a less intense hike ~ it's on the same overall route. And, of course you can do Longs Peak if you're feeling sporty.

It's a beautiful area of the country, especially in fall. The range of colors rivals the Northeast. Drive to Rocky Mountain National Park and then take I-80 thru Nebraska into Laramie, Wyoming and turn south towards Colorado traveling thru Medicine Bow National Forest. It is an exceptionally beautiful drive from Laramie. There are lots of pronghorn south of Medicine Bow.

I'd recommend Boulder as a stopping point if you have the option. Hike ot Bear Peak near the Flat Irons using a trail that goes up from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which is also an interesting place to visit. The trails can form a loop that will bring you into a canyon for a view of the hills to the west of Boulder. The summit is a sharp point with 360 degree views.

Mike Boisvert

Great Gulf In Winter Jan 12, 2012 7:46 PM

The Great Gulf is considerably different than most of the popular trails up the east side of Mount Washington. Know your own abilities before attempting this arduous and enduring trail. The Great Gulf headwall is prone to avalanches in the winter months.

It goes without saying it'll be a long snowshoe/crampon/ice axe hike and there is avalanche danger off the cliffs of Mt. Clay to the right [as well as the top of the headwall] With western wind after a snowfall obviously this hike would be a very poor choice.

The Great Gulf has some steep slopes in directions that differ from those in Tuckerman/Huntington Ravines. While a stable avalanche report for Tuckerman/Huntington Ravines is better than an unstable report it still does not mean that the snow in Great Gulf is stable.

There are some steep ski gullies below Mt. Clay ~ skiers tend to wait until spring when the snow tends to be more stable. I don't think I'd go up there without knowing my stuff regarding digging/reading a pit on-site, and transceivers. It's the real deal.

I wouldn't go in the Great Gulf in full winter without a good foundation of avalanche knowledge. I could be very likely that you'll snowshoe all the way into the Great Gulf just to turn around because of avalanche risk.

Mike Boisvert

Carter Notch Hut Is a Good First Snowshoeing Trip Dec 29, 2011 7:05 PM

If you are deciding on what to do as your first snowshoeing trip consider Carter Notch Hut. From Route 16 take the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail to Carter Notch Hut where you can have lunch inside. The hut is unheated but you'll at least get away from the wind, if any. If you're lucky there may be a pot of hot water on the stove for you [bring hot chocolate mix or tea bag].

Its setting, below the steep faces of Wildcat and Carter Dome, is impressive. Closer to the hut there is the impressive jumble of rocks known as "The Ramparts", as well as the two frozen lakes.

The trail is well traveled, easy to follow, and almost always broken out. It's 3.8 miles one way to get there, 1900 feet elevation gain and will take you about three hours to get there. The final climb to the height of land is a bit steeper than the rest of the trail, after that it drops to the lakes and the hut.

Trailhead: From the junction of Rt. 302 and Rt. 16, follow 16 North heading toward Pinkham Notch. After you reach the Mt. Washington Auto Road it is about another mile to Nineteen Mile Brook Trailhead which will be on your right.

However with the recent weather you won't need snowshoes. What is up with this winter? Tuesday night it rained heavily with high temperatures in the mid-40s.

Mike Boisvert

Rules For Completing 4,000 Footer List Dec 26, 2011 8:13 PM

If you drive up to Mt. Washington and walk the few remaining steps to the summit, does it count as hiking up a 4,000 footer?

The basic rule is very simple: You must climb (on foot!) to and from the summit of each peak on the list. In winter skis and snowshoes are both allowed (the Committee takes no official position on the use of sleds or 'swiss bobs').

For peaks with trails starting at maintained roads the rule is simple: Drive to the trailhead then walk (note that you are not allowed to use the auto roads on Mts Washington, Mansfield and Equinox).

If you drove up to the Alpine Garden trailhead in your car to summit a peak you CAN'T count the hike. You can't drive to any point on the Mt. Washington auto road and have it count. You cannot use the auto roads on Washington, Mansfield, and Equinox for Appalachian Mountain Club peakbagging purposes, that means that you cannot use them for peakbagging any peaks, not just peakbagging of the peaks upon which the roads are built. The way the AMC’s rule is written, it appears that it is verboten to even walk on those auto roads, but I think the implication is that you cannot drive on the auto roads. If conditions were such that it was safer to walk down the road than descend through a ravine, I don’t think anyone would deny you the ascent, but I’m not on the committee, so maybe I’m wrong.

For peaks in areas with rough logging roads you may drive as far as you dare with a normal car (that includes four wheel drive), but ATVs are not allowed. See below for the rules on using mountain bicycles.

The increased popularity of mountain bikes makes it necessary to come up with some sort of policy. Please remember that this is a club for hikers; not that we object to trail bikes per se, but we want to preserve the tradition of climbing on foot, not on bikes. In winter we have absolutely forbidden the use of snowmobiles, even when a road is passable to ordinary cars in summer. However, a similar policy on trail bikes seems a bit excessive. Therefore we suggest that we all attempt to live by the following standard:

  • not part of an officially maintained trail and
  • legally open to the general public for car/truck travel on the day of the trip and
  • fairly easily passable to an average four-wheel-drive vehicle (not an ATV) without "heroic measures" such as winches. (If you think a jeep might not make it, then please walk.)

In particular, note that using a bike on the Lincoln Woods/Wilderness Trail on the way to Owl's Head or the Bonds is not acceptable - and violates Wilderness regulations if you ride past the crossing of Franconia brook.

The spirit of the policy is that you can ride a bike instead of traveling by car, but not instead of hiking. We hope that everyone can be reasonable about self-enforcing this standard so we don't have to come up with more excruciating technicalities.

You are allowed to count any number of peaks on a single trip and do not necessarily have to end up at the trailhead from which you started (many peaks are commonly done as a traverse, e.g. Bonds, Presidentials).

You must do the whole climb in one contiguous trip (though not necessarily in one day). For example, you cannot count climbing Monroe from the summit of Washington after a trip up the Cog Railway because you climbed Washington on a past hike, or hike up Cannon and take the tramway down then come back later, take the tramway up and hike down.

People are always going to quibble with rules, but the rules do help to standardize things a bit. There still is quite a bit of leeway. You can bag several peaks on one hike--there is another list where you are only allowed one peak per hike. You can also go up to a shelter and spend the night and continue the next day and count the hike. You can also in some cases connect with more than one hut without going back to a trailhead and count the hike. To get Adams an easier way to do it than an out and back from Washington would be to go up to the Madison Hut and spend the night, then the next day bag Madison and Adams and head back down. There are a lot of different ways you can do it, but you do have to start from a trailhead.

Mike Boisvert

Sad Story Oct 3, 2011 4:47 PM
A Binghamton University senior died on Friday while leading a group of fellow students up a difficult route in the Adirondaks.  22 year old Mattew Potel was co-president of the university's outing club, and an avid outdoorsman.  Further info from the local paper appears here.
Whether leading or simply participating in a trip that involves steep hazards, just one more reminder to stay focused and be sure of your balance and footing at all times. 
Reach me via 'alex4mts' or the "Contact Us" link

Rainy Day NH 4,000 Footers Hikes Sep 23, 2011 7:29 PM

Waumbek is the ideal, as there are no water crossings and the woods up high are actually wonderfully eerie in the grey. The col between Starr King and Waumbek is enticing on a rainy, misty, cool grey day. 

One rainy hike I really enjoyed was Hale. I went up Hale Brook and then down by Zealand Hut. The section from the summit to the hut is really magical and was very pleasant. Having also done it in good weather, I can say that the views were not incredible enough to mandate a clear-weather hike.

I have also done Hancocks in the rain not bad.

Passaconaway would also be a good choice. 

Tom-Field-Willey is fine, personally I'd stay to the north side of Willey; that steep, ladder-filled trail on the south side (down towards Ethan Pond) seems like it would be unpleasant when wet and slippery.

To be honest, the Kinsmans aren't a bad choice, especially if you approach from the west (Mt Kinsman Trail), though approaching from the east isn't bad as you've got both the hut and the pond shelter for respites, just be mindful of some slippery rock sections of Fishin' Jimmy (expect to get your hands wet). While the views are nice from the N Kinsman ledges and the S Kinsman summit, those would be the only viewpoints, you're in the trees the entire rest of the hike.

I've done Cannon via Hi Cannon in a rain/snow mix and rather enjoyed it. There a few "fun" spots but I found the cover made for a nice walk. Unless there are high winds stopping the Tram from running, the summit cafeteria will be open, offering an opportunity to get out of the rain, dry off, have a burger or a beer (or both), etc. It's sheltered all the way and only some short, isolated "get over the big rock" portions that will be a slippery challenge (and the ladder).

Mike Boisvert

New White Mountain National Forest Trails Status Page Sep 21, 2011 8:44 PM

I would like to thank Alex for posting some outstanding entries while I was away on vacation and manning the Help Desk. I've invited him to continue posting.

The crew, Jon and myself had a fantastic time hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc!!!. More on that soon.
The WMNF website has a new trail status page, indicating closed as well as damaged-but-open trails:

Of particular note, they mention the Great Gulf Trail is closed for 600' through the headwall due to a landslide, but they do not mention the Sphinx Trail.

At the moment, the trails page contradicts the roads page in regard to the accessibility of the Sandwich Notch Road trails. (Guinea Pond, Mead, Algonquin, Crawford-Ridgepole)
Guinea Pond, Mead, Algonquin, and I assume Crawford-Ridgepole trails are all very much accessible as the forest roads page correctly states.

Sandwich Notch Road is probably in as good a shape as you'll ever see it right now. The long uphill near the start, on the Thornton side, got a fresh grade and is remarkably smooth compared to what it usually is. A couple of the other hills between Rt. 49 and the Guinea Pond Trail Head also have been graded fairly recently.

Any car, with a little care, can drive this road as it sits at this moment.
Mike Boisvert

Leaving for Tour du Mont Blanc Aug 31, 2011 8:42 PM

After months of preparation I'm leaving for Chamonix, France on Friday with Jon and 4 GO members to begin the Tour du Mont Blanc!

This is one of the top hikes in the world! The TMB is a hiking classic. It's the perfect mix of awe-inspiring mountain views and the vibrant influence of three distinct European cultures ~ French, Swiss and Italian. We'll be hiking about 110 miles in ten days with only a light pack as we circumnavigate the sparkling glaciers of Mont Blanc [15,771'], Western Europe's highest peak. We'll cross borders by foot and experience challenging but spectacular hiking in the Alps.

The total elevation we'll climb during these ten days is 32,800 feet. We are strong, experienced hikers in excellent physical condition. We'll be hiking 8-14 miles each on trails with steep ascents and descents. Trails are often rocky and our daily elevation gains and losses will average 3,000 feet. One of our last days we'll be ascending over 6,000 feet elevation gain. During the course of the adventure, much of our elevation will be 6,000-9,000 feet. We've been training the past few months to prepare.

This is the most famous long distance hike in Europe however we will have our creature comforts. We'll be staying in mountain huts each night that provide us both dinner and breakfast; most have hot showers. This allows us to carry a light pack. My pack weighed 23 pounds before water.

During the day, we'll lunch in the huts and villages we encounter along the way. The signage is good and we have guidebooks/maps to assist us. We are doing this on our own without any paid guides.

We'll get to see Ibex, large mountain goats, in the wild; stunning hanging glaciers; working farms where local cheese is made; the medieval town of Courmayer; impressive jagged peaks and so much more!

Check out this REI Slide Show of Tour du Mont Blanc>>

You'll certainly hear more about this upon my return. In the meantime, I leave you in the very capable hands of Alex, who will be blogging in my absence.

Mike Boisvert

Owl's Head Hiking Tips Aug 18, 2011 9:46 PM

Rising aloof and remote deep in the Pemigewasset Wilderness, Owl's Head Mtn. [4025'], suffers from a terrible reputation among peakbaggers. But Owl's Head does have its rewards such as hiking through a deep valley with a wonderful sense of isolation! Owl's Head is the only New Hampshire 4,000 footer reached exclusively by an unofficial, unmaintained path.

The hike itself is really pretty straightforward, and you're unlikely to have any issues keeping on the "trail."

Take note of your pace as you're hiking the Wilderness trail and then the Franconia Brook trail, then project how much time it will take you to get to the base of the slide from the start of Lincoln Woods trail.

As you approach your expected time, look for a somewhat more cleared section of woods, a small cairn on your right (sometimes gets disassembled), and a small rock-walled entrance to the slide trail on your right. That's the start of the slide.

There are many variations to the slide within about 20 yards, but they all funnel to the same spot, and again, it's not hard to stay on track. The slide itself is pretty loose, fyi. There's a small sign where the old summit is, and you need to go ~1/4 mile north to the new summit, which also has a small sign. That 1/4 mile is probably the most difficult to follow - a few pointless side trails - but again you shouldn't have any trouble keeping yourself pointed in the right direction. Try to take note of a couple of landmarks on your way up. The slide is not difficult to find on the way back down - there's really only one "trail" down from the old summit.

Water levels are currently very low  so stream crossings will be trivial; but that can change fast.

Enjoy, Owl's Head is under-rated in my opinion.  

Mike Boisvert

Hiking Jokes Aug 9, 2011 7:34 PM

(1) A guy decides to go hiking. He reads his trail guide at the trailhead which says five minutes up the trail is a traverse across the base of a cliff face, watch for falling rocks. As soon as he gets there sure enough a rock comes down on his head and kills him instantly. Poof, he is standing before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

St. Peter looks over his hiking gear and says "You are going to like it here, we have a large hiking club. We divide ourselves into groups depending on how quickly we like to hike. How fast are you?

The guy says "Well I got all the way up here in just five minutes."

(2) Before criticizing another person, it is wise to walk a mile in his shoes.

If he doesn't like the criticism, you're a mile away and wearing his shoes!

(3) 95% of a backpack's contents could have been left at home.

The 5% left at home will be needed.

(4) I saw a ragged looking backpacker on the Crawford Path and asked, "are you thruhiking?"

He said, "Maybe after Katahdin..."

(5) Whats the only difference between a thru-hiker and a homeless person?


(6) Several national parks in Grizzly Bear country advise tying bells on your pack to scare off grizzlies. They also advise carrying pepper spray to ward off a possible attack.

So... how do you tell the difference between Grizzly Bear scat and Black Bear scat in these parks?

The Grizzly Bear scat contains bells and smells like pepper spray.

(7) Dick and Patrick are out hiking the Ethan Pond Trail and come across some tracks. Dick says, "I know what kind of tracks these are. These are bear tracks." Patrick says, "No way, these are deer tracks!"

A few seconds later, while they are still arguing, a train runs them over.

Mike Boisvert

Be Aware of Hiking Times and Distances Jul 24, 2011 5:41 PM

If you are doing a trail for the first time, start looking at topography maps, reading guides/GO Events Trip Report/GO Forum Trip Reports, and talk to others/post a question in GO Forum. If can be a very quick hike for some but it can be very long depending on your fitness levels.

It is also very deceptive. You see the summit off in the distance and it looks real close. I can't tell you how many times I have been on the trails and hear the line, "Are we almost there?" But the peak, for whatever reason is not "just right there." It reminds me of the passenger side mirror that reads, "objects are farther than they appear." 

So give yourself plenty of time to get up/down and pack a headlamp or flashlight just in case your hike runs longer than expected.

Mike Boisvert 

Hiking Above Tree Line in Heat/Humidity Jul 22, 2011 6:59 AM

In addition to the heat, humidity is significant enough to add to the effect of the heat. With high heat and humidity, dehydration will most likely be one of the biggest risks for a hike, so be sure to pack and drink PLENTY of water. Carry one more extra water bottle than what you normally have. It might add a little weight to your pack, but it will be quite necessary.

With the sun shining high in the sky, there is very little in the way of cloudiness, so be sure your skin and eyes are prepared as well. As you ascend, you are leaving behind quite a bit of atmosphere beneath you, all of which aids in deflecting some of the energy from the sun's UV rays. At altitude, you have far less natural protection from the atmosphere, so be sure to add plenty of that artificial protection to your skin [in the form of sunscreen] and eyes [by way of sunglasses or a hat].

Be sure to be prepared to deal with the heat and sun, and do not hesitate to take frequent water and shade breaks during your hike! The good news is, there is usually a decent breeze above tree line, so that will aid in keeping the air cooler and less stagnant.

I'll see you up there this weekend!

Mike Boisvert

Tuckerman Ravine Trail Closes For Reconstruction Jul 18, 2011 7:26 PM

A portion of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from Hermit Lake shelters to Alpine Garden trail will be closed for 4-5 weeks starting 7/18/11 for reconstruction.

From the Forest Service website:

A major reconstruction project planned for this summer will require the closure of a significant area of Tuckerman Ravine to all use. This will include the section of the hiking trail from Hermit Lake Shelters to the Alpine Garden trail junction. Work is scheduled to begin July 18 and last 4-5 weeks. In addition to being a significant safety hazard for you and the trail crew, travel through this area during the closure period is a violation of Federal Law (36 CFR Part 261) and will be enforced. Please seek alternate routes for hiking on Mt. Washington."

My understanding is that the work is on the section of trail near the top of the staircase that ascends the headwall - the part that traverses under a cliff (Schiller's Rock?). Two recent deaths here (see  Summer/Fall 2011 Appalachia). It is a dangerous section. I'm not sure who exactly is doing the work but it will be very dangerous and I hope folks stay away.

While I'm sure it's a pain, there are several other trails (Lion Head, Boott Spur, Boott Spur Cut-off, Nelson Crag) that offer similar level trips. Sometimes trails need to be worked on. Lion Head is a fine alternative.

That segment of trail gets rebuilt about every 12-15 years. Aside from the heavy traffic, it is on the headwall of a ravine, an active erosion zone in the post glacial landscape. Very heavy snowfall, torrential downpours, considerable frost action. More energy being gathered and discharged than on gentler terrain in more benign climates.

Thank you for your patience with this job.

Mike Boisvert

Hiking in Thunderstorms Jun 23, 2011 8:19 PM

This week is the National Weather Services' Lightning Safety Week (June 19-25). And while only this week is officially designated as lightning safety week, lightning safety should be on the mind of any hiker, especially during the summer season. I'm not saying we don't get lightning in the winter, it's just less common than the summer season. So, since it is summer, and I overhear a lot of hikers up here and down in the various stores and visitor centers around the valleys, I thought I would clear up at least three common misconceptions I hear people mention when thinking about hiking up/down on a day with thunderstorms predicted.

Number one: "...I can hike until I hear thunder then take shelter." In ideal atmospheric conditions, thunder has been heard as far away as 20 miles, but ideal conditions are rare in the mountains. Wind, haze, humidity, vegetation, etc can absorb those sound waves and shorten the distances they can be heard. So in general, thunder is seldom heard beyond 10 miles. 

Number two: "...well, if I can't hear it, I will just look for lightning instead." This is a slightly better method except for some limiting factors. Summit fog, haze, the direction your head up a mountain compared to the fronts direction, other mountain ridges or other clouds can limit your line of sight. While this method may work in the Midwest, most of the time you won't see them coming until it's too late. Even if we might be able to see them coming (ie, no fog), we usually have to rely on radar for enough warning.

Number three: "I'll just use my cell phone." While this can be true, service is very spotty on and around the summits so you may not have the 3G/4G you need. Keeping it on drains your battery as it searches for services. And most online services delay strike reports by 12-20 minutes. So, a cell phone should be used as a tool but not your only resource.

So what to do: Check the weather report by the National Weather Service or any other provider you're comfortable with. If thunderstorms are likely, hike another day. Understand weather patterns in the area you will be hiking. If the storm's moving west to east and the front is coming towards you when you look, lightning is inevitable. Hike early since most thunderstorms (not all) form in the afternoon after daytime heating. Look at cloud formations. If they are building around you, that should be a warning. And if all else fails, start using the sight and sound methods. And remember, if thunder roars, head indoors. I could go on, but to learn more about lightning safety or risk reduction, you can check out the NWS lightning safety page, and the outdoor risk reduction page. 

Mike Boisvert

Quebec City Hiking/Sightseeing Tips Jun 7, 2011 6:51 PM


If you are looking for a fun place to visit this summer for a few days, try Quebec City. I've been to Quebec City a few times and love it there. It's a beautiful city with wonderful people. Knowing French would help. Quebec is nothing like Toronto. Quebec is a very provincial place and the people are defiantly French. I'll argue that you'll find more English speaking people in European cities (Paris, Berlin, Rome, etc) than you will in Quebec City. Language is an even greater problem in the countryside. Language barriers aside, you'll really enjoy your trip.

Definitely have some Poutine. The Old City is a great place to explore on foot. I'd recommend a visit to La Marche on the waterfront, which is a cleaner, higher quality version of Haymarket Square in Boston.

As far as outdoors stuff goes, Le Parc du Jacques Cartier is about an hour north of the city and is very much worth exploring. And if you go north of that, towards Alma or Sanguenay you'll be riding thru a gorgeous fir and balsam forest that has many backwoods logging roads and ponds to explore. There is wonderful hiking in the Sanguenay region and many other spots along the way. Hiking around Mount-Sainte-Anne is nice, as well, and nearby.

You will shake your head at Montmorency Falls, for the contrast of their scale/beauty with the man-caused detritus around them. You can drive to near the top and appreciate their beauty without shelling out the bucks for both parking and the tourist staircase trudge at the bottom.

Ferry ride to Levis is fun and gives great views back to the city. Ile D'Orleans is lovely, in an understated way.

Check out the fort in the city. I suggest seeing some re-enactment movies at home before you go.

Some French phrases to know are:

Où est la salle de bains?
Puis-je avoir une bière?
Les Boston Bruins battre Les Habitants!
[ I would wait to say this after the Stanley Cup Playoffs are over :-) ]

Amusez-vous bien!

Mike Boisvert

Black Fly Reports Jun 6, 2011 9:55 PM

Black files are out in the northeast. Here are some reports from around the state:

Upper Valley: Black flies and mosquitos are both out in large numbers in the Upper Valley, and they are HUNGRY. Deer flies are just beginning to come out. Ticks are still around, though not in as large numbers as in mid-May.

Mt. Cardigan: There were at least a few dozen swarming around my head all the time, but no bites.

Squam Lake: Just terrible around Squam Lake.

Southern NH: They are mostly gone. Deerflies are coming soon.

Northern Lake George: Hardly anything. Here and there they would come out but nothing that would make you want to go inside. Hardly saw any mosquitoes as well.

Mt. Flume:  Wore the bug net for the first time in many years on the ladder section of Flume, the black flies were swarming. Deet kept them from biting, but not landing and crawling.

Mt. Moosilauke: Tons of them down the Moosilauke Carriage Road from the intersection with Glencliff to the intersection with Snapper. Not fun. Only bad part of an otherwise lovely hike. Gorge Brook and Snapper weren't too was just that one mile stretch of Moosilauke Carriage Road. I've never been in the midst of such a nasty, hungry swarm.

Mike Boisvert

Maine Forest Service razes old fire tower on Bigelow Mountain Jun 3, 2011 6:51 PM

"The watch tower now owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Land on top of Bigelow Mountain was burned Friday, April 15, according to Mark Russo with the Maine Forestry Fire Control based in Farmington."

"But Wing agreed that the tower had been vacant since about 1972 and with so many hikers on the Appalachian Trail there was a lot of vandalism. It was decided to close the tower, said Wing, and turn the observation of fires over to aircraft. It was harder and harder to get someone to live at the cabin which was about a third of a mile down from the tower, said Wing. That cabin is now used by Appalachian Trail hikers."

>>Read Article

Since it was kept locked and boarded up, it was just an eyesore and a target for vandals. It's too bad it wasn't left open for hikers because then there would have been a desire to maintain it.
Mike Boisvert

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