Back Story Two long years ago I made the switch to trail runners from my heavy waterproof leather boots. My first pair of trail runners were a pair of La Sportiva Wildcat GTX. While these are pretty awesome in spring snow, they are rather bulky, waterproof shoes. During a Presi Traverse I quickly learned that…
A couple weeks ago I had planned to head up to the Presidential Range to hike up the steep Huntington Ravine Trail. However, the weather had other plans. While approaching the Mt. Washington Valley on Rt. 16 I could see the clouds looming over the higher peaks. Huntington Ravine isn’t a great option in wet…
July 6th, 2016- I had been trying to make my way to Huntington Ravine for quite some time. Since it’s a long 3+ hour ride and the weather was a big factor I had kept pushing it off. Today was perfect, the forecast was hot and dry. I decided to play hooky and take a…
On December 28th 2015, I hit the road with plans to hike Mt. Moriah for #47 in my quest to hike all of New Hampshire’s 48 peaks over 4000 feet. Gung-ho and amped up I got my pack and clothing ready the night before. The forecast was finally getting wintery and looked to be around 10F degrees all day long with a chance of snow! As with most of my hiking endeavors I’d be making this trip alone.
This trip was supposed to make for a relatively easy day for me… I had no idea what I was in for.
As a last minute decision on Saturday November 14th I decided to go for Cannon Mountain. This would make #46 in my quest to complete all 48 4000+ footers in New Hampshire. After doing a little research it appeared this would be a relatively short trip. So I decided to spice it up a bit and add some mileage since my car ride is 4 hours round trip… I hate to drive more than I’m hiking!I had been talking with a new friend, Nate who decided he’d like to join in. Our plan was to head up Cannon first, then over the Cannon Balls to North and South Kinsman. Then descend back down past Lonesome Lake creating a large 13+ mile loop with a little under 5000 feet in elevation gain. We’d summit three “official” 4000+ footers and North East Cannon Ball which is part of New England’s 100 Highest list! These notoriously rugged trails would surely provide a burly long day hike!
Owls Head, located in the heart of the Pemigewasset Wilderness is a remote peak standing 4,025′ in elevation. Due to Owl’s Head 4,000+ stature it makes the cut and joins the “New Hampshire 4000 footer” list. This mountain has a bad reputation due to it’s extremely long approach, higher than average mileage, steep rock slide climb, and difficult (at the wrong time) water crossings. Owl’s Head (right) viewed from Mt. GarfieldI set out with my buddy Conan (he’s a dog)… with slight hesitation. Conan is spooked by some larger water crossings and I had no idea how steep the “slide” portion of the trail would actually be. He’s a tough dog and has completed some very difficult hikes with me, so I figured we’d go for it.
On Sunday October, 18th I had plans to hike the Wildcats with a couple of friends. However, timing was bad for them and they couldn’t make it. The forecast looked “winter like” and exciting so I decided to keep the plan and head out solo.The Wildcats are a cluster of mountains tied into the Carter-Moriah range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. There are 5 Wildcat peaks with the super unoriginal names of A,B,C,D, and E. Only two of these peaks, A and D count as “4000 Footers” due to the low prominence differences between the others. Wildcat A stands 4,422 feet tall, and D just below that at 4,070 feet.
Winter Hiking has changed the way I view winter here in the north east. Just a couple years ago October would roll in and my depression would set in. Soon I’d be scraping my cars windshield and shoveling my driveway with a grimace on my face. While I still dread shoveling and scraping, the winter season has also brought me my favorite hobby… Winter hiking! You receive a mixture of reactions when you tell people that you’re going to venture out on a sub zero day to climb to the top of a 5000 foot peak that would expose you to a windchill plummeting to 20 below zero. People are either fascinated or confused why you would ever want to torture yourself like this. I’ve had a lot of 3 Season hikers ask me about my winter hiking experiences. How to get started? What do I wear? What do I bring? How do you stay warm? etc… I’m hoping to answer some of these questions in the following. It’s important to remember that just because this system works for me… it may not work for your. The gear and advice I have is only my opinion and what I’ve determined works best for me and my needs. It’s also important to remember that I mainly hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and other areas in the North East. Terrain, climate and location all play in a roll in what kind of gear you’ll need to carry.So lets get started.
As a hiker turned newbie trail runner, more and more of my gear has started to seem heavy, cumbersome, and not well suited for the task. One of the most obvious pieces of gear is my day pack. It was time to fix that problem. After much research and buying/returning I landed on the Ultimate Direction Wasp (2015 Version). I noticed there’s barely any reviews or information about this pack online so I figured I would write a review myself in hopes that I can help someone else in search for the right pack.