Monday, April 15, 2013

The Sleepers 4/14/13

Once again I found myself on a peak-bagging mission on Sunday. Going with one of the few trailed hikes I had left, The Sleepers. I say Sleepers but from what I was told the day before it's Sleeper as far as lists go. Apparently West Sleeper does not meet the col rule. Using my GPS maps, when making a way-point, I get an elevation. From what I could see it does make the 200' rule. But if not, it can't be any further off than South Hancock. ;-) At any rate, it was on the list I first got so bag it I did. Someday it may be back on so why take a chance. :)

I'd planned on waiting 'til this summer and doing the them via Tripyrimid South Slide but decided to go in on the Blueberry Ledge Trail, over the Whiteface ledges and over via Kate Sleeper.

I was close enough to make my usual stop, to take my usual area photo.

Once on Rt. 113A I spotted something I'd somehow missed on all previous trips to the Ferncroft lot. 

I arrived in Ferncroft and headed out in a light rain on the Blueberry Ledge Trail.

The trail at lower elevation was nearly bare but icy in spots so I wore Microspikes. The rain showers turned to snow showers at elevation and once at the first of the open ledge views I had very limited views.

Once at the top of the ledges I was in a full blown squall so there were no views to be had. I did take the opportunity there to switch to snowshoes as I doubted very much the Kate Sleeper Tr. had seen much, if any traffic this winter thus not being packed out. I knew of only one person being on that trail all winter. And it was from his information, and a couple of gentlemen I ran into on trail, I knew of the blown-down damage caused by hurricane Sandy on the Kate Sleeper trail pretty much from the junction with the Downs Brook Trail and the East Sleeper Spur. The gentlemen I ran into had gone to East Sleeper after the damage but before winter. They said they'd never seen anything like it but bushwhacked north of it and made it fairly easy passed it. When I got to it I started to whack north. Not sure how far north they meant but I ended up right in the middle of it. But, there is still 4'+ of snow in that area and the whacking conditions were outstanding. I was able to walk over and around everything with no problems at all. But you'd have to be there to see this damage. Just devastating. The pictures do it justice. Several acres leveled. A far as I could tell the below map shows at least the area involved.
East Sleeper in the back.

I actually enjoyed the whack through this absolute mess. Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with. But after bobbing and weaving my way through I popped out on the Kate Sleeper Trail right at the East Sleeper Spur. And subsequently, made the summit. 

After a quick stop for basically that photo it was off for west. Whether or not it is on any list any more it was a most pleasant hike. The sun was out for good, I thought, (more on that later) and the woods were beautiful. 

And fairly quickly I was on West Sleeper. Looks the same I know, but it is a different summit. :)

The trip back was a bit wet since the coating of new snow was now melting. And with the depth of the snow I was walking right through the branches of the spruce trees. In the photo below, the blaze shows how deep the snow still is.

On the way back I took a line more south through the blown-downs and avoided the thick of it. Which will be impossible to get through once the snow is gone. Came out this time by this cool reflective pool.

Now I was in for what proved to be the toughest part of the day, the climb back up to the Whiteface ledges. At this point in the day the 500'+ climb was a slow one. What made it worse was the fact that the sun had been for some time and while climbing the snow squalls moved in again. No views awaiting me atop. :(
But when I got to the top, the squalls came and went.

I did get my views.

Once past the ledges on the way down, it was a pretty quick trip. And had the views from the open slab on trail.

Then back to Ferncroft, which I love, and done. 

It was a long 9 hour day but worth every minute. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

East Terrace Mountain 3/30/13

Saturday it was time to knock another peak off what I like to call my hiking nemesis, "The List". 8) I'm down to 21 but not many easy ones, be it the drive, long whacks, or peaks I need roads to be open for. So I went with a trailed hike, East Terrace. I still thought I may have a tough time with this as it's not a popular peak. I parked at the York Pond trail-head and checked out the trail, concrete. So I started out with bare boots. When I got to the junction with the Bunnell Notch Trail and headed left, the concrete went away. It was tracked out but by what looked like 2-3 back-country skiers but not solid. At this point it was snowshoe time.

I was a bit concerned about the first crossing at the dam but it was well bridged.

This is the only my second time on this trail and I really enjoy it to the junction of the KRT. Beautiful woods and easy grades. And as you can see the snow is still quite deep up there. I'd say 2-3 feet on average.

From what I've heard from a couple others, staying on the trail if unbroken in winter after making the turn onto the KRT, can be tough. But this group of skiers seemed to be going my way. They sure made my day much easier than I'd expected.

In just under 2 hours I was at the Terrace Spur then the summit.

I was a bit reluctant to do anything from my list and just hit something with 360* views because it was gorgeous Saturday. The views you get from East Terrace are barely 180* but nice just the same.

I spent a half hour or so searching out the views and taking pictures. There was no real good spot to sit and relax so I headed for the next objective. As I do now on all hikes, I checked the area on Google Earth to see if the were any hidden treasures. I spotted what looked like a small talus field on the S.E slope at around 3300'. I needed to add more time to this hike since it took me 3.25 hrs. to drive hear. So I set out to find this talus. It was tough going slabbing the steep south slope with the now mashed potato snow. It was an interesting trip. Only a couple involuntary butt slides. But managed to find it.
Cool melting
Need to get across hear without sliding.

Of course what I hadn't realized was that I'd have the exact same angle of views but at a lower elevation as the summit. It was still worth the effort though.

Being as open as it was, it got a lot of sun so much of the rock was exposed making it pretty easy to navigate. Even in snowshoes. Just above the talus were some ledges that on a summers day may have been   easy to climb. They may have provided slightly better views. But with the snow and ice in spots it would not have been wise to try.

After leaving it was an easy walk in the great woods of the Kilkenny Range.

Started at 8:30am and was out by 1:00pm.

Heading back out on York Pond Rd., I noticed on my right about 1/4 mile from the trail-head, a water feature with a view of Terrace. With time time kill I pulled into the plowed end of a forest road, put my snowshoes back on and headed in. The road lead me to a dam and small pond on the Number Nine Brook.
East and North Terrace
Cabot, The Bulge & The Horn

Another great day in the woods! :-)