Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hike to Tecumseh

After being sick with some unknown virus this past week I was ready to get out on the trail for some fresh air. I was still feeling the lingering effects of this bug so it was a slow, later than usual start. It was going to be a short hike today and I decided on Mount Tecumseh (4,003') via the Mt. Tecumseh Trail for five miles round trip.

 Sun breaks through clearing clouds

Today's hiking destination

 Trailhead and first water crossing

 Tecumseh Brook

A final check of the weather before leaving the house called for clearing skies throughout the morning with wind and cool temps. I stepped outside into a cool, cloudy, gloomy morning. The cloud ceiling was very low. As I made my way to the trailhead the clouds were starting to lift but the high summits were still enveloped in a thick cloud cover. I drove through low clouds in Franconia Notch. It was not until dropping down out of the notch before the sun started to shine through breaking clouds. 

 Second water crossing

 First ice on the trail

 Third water crossing

When I got to the Waterville Valley Ski Area parking lot the weather was really clearing up nicely with lots of blue sky and sunshine. There was a large crowd of hikers gathered for the hike up to Tecumseh. I got to the trailhead and had to make some pack adjustments. While doing this the group of hikers began their hike so we leapfrogged for about the first two miles before I stepped off into the woods and let them go by me. 

 Looking down a ski trail at Waterville Valley

 Looking up a ski trail

There are three water crossings on this trail and even though the water was slightly high there were no problems making these crossings. Just before the third crossing the trail ice began and I put my microspikes on. They would come back off briefly and then back on once again almost to the summit.

 Trail splits and both ways lead to the summit

 On the summit of Mount Tecumseh

I continued on past the Sosman Trail that leads to the ski trails and didn't plan on using that trail today. Just beyond this trail junction there's a fork in the trail. Both directions lead to the summit of Mount Tecumseh. I took the trail to the left and was soon on the summit. It was sunny, cool and windy with high, thin, wispy clouds whipping by. The large group of hikers were just departing and there was only two remaining hikers and me left on top, at least for a few moments. Then other hikers continued to arrive, it was a very busy trail today.

It was here at the summit that I saw a familiar face, someone I've never met but a very public figure. I asked if he was Jeb and he said yes, it was Jeb Bradley former New Hampshire Congressman and current Senate Majority Leader of New Hampshire. He's also a very dedicated and avid hiker having completed the 48 4,000 footers as well as having completed the grid. Completing the grid means he has hiked all 48 4,000 footers in every month, that's 576 hikes! We had a very pleasant conversation and it was very nice meeting him.

 Summit cairn

A view of the summit

 View from the summit cairn

I started my descent and about one mile down the trail I saw two more familiar faces, Cindy and Deb. I follow their hiking adventures online and last week met them for the first time coming down the cog railway from Mount Washington as I was going up. With all the mountains that can be hiked it was quite the coincidence to meet them on the trail two weeks in a row.

 Met Cindy and Deb on the trail

I took my microspikes off at just about the same spot that I initially put them on when coming up. The sun was shining brightly making it nice and warm through this section of woods making it necessary to remove my fleece. It was along here that I saw my first blooming trout lilies beside the trail, a sure sign of Spring.

 Water flowing down the trail

 View from the ski trail

 Blooming trout lily

Back at the parking lot there was a large post-hike celebration going on. I asked one of the hikers what the occasion was, she said someone in the group had just finished his second grid. She then proceeded to tell me about the ultra accomplishments of this elite group of hikers adding that she had completed the 48 4,000 footers but wouldn't even mention it to them. Another hiker she pointed to had finished four grids, another had finished his grid at 75 years old, another had finished the 48 4,000 footers two times in different directions, whatever that meant. I finally told her that I'm going to tuck my tail between my legs and sneak back to my car, I didn't feel worthy standing among that crowd!


 A look back at Mount Tecumseh

It was very warm in the parking lot and it sure felt nice. I changed clothes and started my drive home. For me this is a long drive for a short hike but well worth it today. I actually felt much better after the hike than before, one might say it's just what the doctor ordered. It was the perfect hike for what ailed me!

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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