Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hiking the 4,000 Footers: Mount Waumbek 11.16.2012

Via Starr King Trail
7.2 miles round trip

Number 37 on the List!

Our hike up Mount Waumbek marked the transition between two season- fall and winter. Up until this hike tackling the 4,000 footer list was mainly a summer and fall event for us and while we have plenty of experience winter hiking, the transition between the two seasons is never and easy one.

We loved spending the summer hiking with our lightweight packs and camelbaks, but on Waumbek we mistakenly brought the camelbaks only to have them freeze on us. We forgot our pants which I recount in this post and, oh yeah, we forgot our camera - a-freakin-gain. So no pictures of this gorgeous mountain.

We had some difficulty finding the trailhead for the Starr King Trail because our guidebook is so dated. After driving down what amounted to a dirt trail (thank goodness for four wheel drive and plenty of clearance!) we found the trailhead. The week before we had attempted this hike after a couple of inches of snowfall only to discover the road hadn't been plowed.

Waumbek is waaaay far up in Northern New Hampshire located in the Pliny Range (bordering the Pilot Range). Even though it was essentially the "off season" for hiking in this area we ended up having several hiking buddies (the kind where you leave the parking lot at the same time and you just can't shake them).

For a stretch we managed to have the trail to ourselves. This area is amazing and isolated. You feel like there isn't a soul for miles and your only neighbors are the moose and coyotes, who have left tracks crisscrossing the trail. The trees are a different sort this far north- far more stunted and scrubbish. We had several inches of snow to contend with- but not really enough for snowshoes or any sort of traction.

The summit for Waumbek is a pile of rocks with no view, but the isolation, quiet, and peeks of views the whole through make it completely worth the adventure or in our case- misadventure.

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