Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chocorua Recon

After building up a week of cabin fever between Christmas and New Year's, Mr. Carr, Mr. Michaelson, Kyle Langdell, and his dad got a little crazy.  Why not meet at 4:30am and hit the road at 5am?  Why not drive 5 hours up to the middle of New Hampshire?  Why not hike 7 miles in the snow up Mt. Chocorua -- "New England's Matterhorn"?  And then drive 5 hours back home that same night?

Why not, indeed, when the weather is perfect and you can scrounge up good hiking buddies in less than a day?

This was a reconnaissance hike to check out the site of the Venture's annual Valentine's Day Mountaineering Trip.  "After two years up Mt. Washington, including the now infamous "Mere Mortals" summit conquest in '09, it's time to challenge these young dudes in other ways," said exhausted Scoutmaster Carr.  "They're good, but frankly, this is a tougher 3 miles up than the hike to Hermit Lake."

The hike up Brook Trail included sheets of ice hidden under powdery snow, a dozen or so stream crossings, and some tricky trail finding. All of the elevation gain was confined to the last half mile.   After nearing the rocky summit, the crew turned south to find Jim Liberty Cabin, where the Ventures will spend the first night of their trip.  This may be a little cushy for the V's, who have spent the last two year in an open 3-sided shelter at Hermit Lake.

The route down from Jim Liberty Cabin on the Liberty Trail was more manageable, and will likely be the route up in February.  Mr. Carr is now working on options for day 2, which may include a hike out on Champney Falls trail and intro to ice climbing... if the boys aren't too tired.

Eagle Scout Kyle Langdell commented, "I know Mr. Carr had a full pack and all, but really, I could have done the hike twice" as he ran back to the car to end a perfect day in the Whites.  A thought echoed, silently and politely, by the elder Langdell and marathoner Michaelson.

Stay tuned for the first and only shakedown hike on Sunday, January 24.  The Chocorua trip is scheduled for the first weekend of February break.

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