Saturday, March 5

Part I, Day 1 – The Tote Road North…

Start/end/time       9:15 – 3:30;  6:20
Distance/ascent/pace 15.7;  +1168/-543;  2.5 mph
Food & water   2.5 L; mainstay & millennium bars; turkey tetrazzini (2,500 cal)

Starting 2 weeks before the trip I was collecting everything I could think of that I might want to bring so that I didn’t forget anything important.  Then during the last week, I went thru the piles of stuff and eliminated at least half of what I started with.  In the end, I had pared it down to a manageable 28 lbs – not including water and a few incidentals.  With 3 liters of water on ‘go’ day the pack weighed in at 36 lbs.  A very manageable weight for me.
I got to the Abol Bridge parking area by 9AM but Jim and Bart were already there.  A few smart-aleck jokes later we were on our way.  Air temp about 12*, NW wind at 15+ under a clear blue sky.  I had some trepidation about the Friday snowfall, expecting 12” to 17” in the Park that would really make Day 1 a long, tough slog.  Fortunately the new snow was more like 4” – enough to cover the crusty stuff and make skiing really nice.

Stump Pond, looking north to Doubletop
The breezy day with moderate temps made moisture management a non-issue, although my hydration tube and bite valve froze up after 2 hours.  Made me dig into my pack for the spare bottle….. Using a hydration bladder in winter was new to me.  I did have an insulated sleeve but didn’t realize the bite valve would ice up so quick.  I was able to free it twice by warming it in my mouth.  But the wind chill on the tube – thru the insulation was too much and that froze solid.  I learned that I need to blow air in to back drain the tube after each drink and keep the valve in my shirt.

Doubletop Mt
All of Day 1 was on the Tote Road following snowmobile tracks.  Not the best conditions but far from bad.  Only in a few places were there any drifts to speak of.   I was on waxable skis (Fischer SC – not a back country ski at all).  Jim and Bart had short, wide BC skis with scales.  As expected they could out pace me on the uphills but had to step aside on the down’s or they’d get run over – by me!  Special Green was the wax of the day and worked very well all day.  Sun was nice but ineffective at warming the day.  Lots of photo-ops along the way.  

Near Martson Trail
Towards the end I was feeling my feet – I was getting a hot spot but didn’t want to stop.  I was pretty sure there was no blister and found out later I was right.  Air temp was definitely dipping as we pulled in to Nesowadnahunk and Camp Cozy.   Water and firewood were quick and easy.  Not sure where Mandy got water but the spring was very clean looking to us.   We had a 4 liter Platypus gravity filtration system and an 8 liter collapsible bag of Jim’s, making dinner and breakfast water a single fill event. 

Old guy gets a cake!

At dinner I jokingly asked Jim if he brought me a Birthday Cake…. He says, “Yes”…. But I thought he was joking.  An hour or so later – after dinner,  I see him pull something from his pack…. Surprise! A mini chocolate cake!! I was stunned to say the least.  Didn’t take long for the 3 of us to devour it all – yummy! 

Looking ahead we decided we should be on the road early – tomorrow was going to be a very long day – 19+ miles in all.  Wakeup was for 6, and we needed to start by 8.  So naturally bedtime was early too, like 8PM.  No complaints here.

Day 1 profile - Abol Bridge to Cozy Cabin at Nesowadnahunk

Part 1, Day 2 coming tomorrow afternoon....


Jay said...

So, can I come next year?

TreeMapper said...

We'd love to have you... but you will need to bring cake for all!

Caratunk Girl said...

Steve! Awesome recap!! You guys seem to have had beautiful weather! Great Doubletop Pics, we couldn't see it when we went by. Love the cake too. What is that elevation profile from? I mean what program.

TreeMapper said...

Garmin's MapSource. Does a great job analysing track data - not quite a training tool, but for general stuff its good.