This week on our ambitious summer journey we ventured off to Mt. Tecumseh to check off another 4k footer. The journey also consisted of two additional brave souls; Rain and Chris’s brother Matt, or Mat, or Matthew. He told me he didn’t have a name preference, so he can be referred to as Matt, Mat, and/or Matthew.
Not sure if they totally knew what they were getting into, but we were happy to bring them aboard. The hike was estimated to be around 5 hours up and down (granted this estimate was for good summer conditions). So naturally, I told Rain it would only take about 4 hours. I know, I know, judge me later.
The beginning of this hike started out later than our usual hiking bouts. We had some errands to run so it put us at the base of Tecumseh around 2pm. No worries, it’s only suppose to take 4 hours, we will be down before dark and everyone will be happy! (Again, judge me later)
The parking lot was rather unpleasant, as most of the traffic going through there is during the winter seasons for the skiing just down the ridge line from where the peak is marked. After parking and gearing up, we were all excited to get going and begin our (memorable) adventure.
If you are burning with the anticipation of knowing Rain’s emotional status towards me at the end of our hike, click here.
Otherwise continue reading and enjoy!
The first 15 minutes of the hike was a breeze, the weather was fantastic and we were going at a great pace. Our first obstacle was a decent sized river crossing (I mean decent because it took more than 3 steps across), in addition to the river crossing, a larger group with the dog was returning to the parking lot from the other side. This added a rather unnecessary 10 minutes to our hike as we all watched the group attempt to get their dog across. After multiple tries (a few from myself to help) we decided we were probably distracting the dog and continued our hike.
If it makes you sleep easier tonight, the dog finally made it over the crossing, and as anticipated — soaking wet.
The hike was reasonably steep, which made sense for the trip’s mileage. What I had not mentioned to Rain, was the amount of snow that is realistically still there. Also I had to describe to her my new hiking lingo and show her the monorail. Which can be your best friend and worst enemy while hiking in the spring time.
Ski Trail View Point 3:30pm
After some decent elevation gain, we made it to an opening into the ski trails, which provided a beautiful shot of the mountains across the valley there. This picture is showing the Tripyramids, and Mt. Osceolas.
After spending some picture time at the slope, we ventured back into the trails. This was probably the harder portion of the mountain, not the hardest (I’ll get to that too), but definitely tough. The snow slowed us down and the mud was no help either. The trail was really straight for quite a ways, even though I was making mini switchbacks to avoid any snow/mud at all costs. I did manage to soak my feet, owning up to the fact that it will be inevitable until I invest in some water resistance/proof boots. But that’s a purchase later down the road (maybe haha). If I do, I will definitely do a review and test for the pair I purchase. After all I want you to know what the best products are for your adventures.
Speaking of gear, the bag I had previously mentioned about last week was tremendous for this trip. I was using the camera bag, our LowePro Fastpack 150, while Rain sported the Te/So bag. If you need a bag for weekend trips, whether that is hiking or going away for a weekend, this bag is definitely one you should use. I have to admit, the only thing I wish it had was a sternum strap, otherwise the contour of the straps kept the bag on both Rain and I for the duration of both hikes. It kept up with the vigorous hiking, and we packed it full. Even with the weight, Rain had no problem with the comfort of the bag (which includes the *spoiler* 6 hours of hiking) So far, I have to give this bag a 4/5 star rating. I will continue to share my experience with you all.
When you click on the link to the left use our code: “training4tomorrow” for 15% off your purchase!
Sossman Trail at 4:59pm
About an hour and half later we made it to the connecting trail that runs from the peak at the ski trails to the actual summit of Mt. Tecumseh. The journey from the first view point at our last check point, was moderately difficult to climb. The monorail was really unstable in areas, and the along the edges of the trail was either running water or mud, for those without resistant footwear, you could assume that a change of socks would be necessary.
The summit was only 24 minutes away from the trail junction. The monorail was not very stable but was useful in certain points. I can imagine that during the summer months, the climb would be much easier. Being able to use the rocks more efficiently and having a secure foothold between each step.
Something to point out, prior to reaching the summit, you are given and option between two routes to the top. This decision isn’t totally important because the route is short that you might as well go up one and down the other. Although I mentioned that it wasn’t a big deal deciding between the two, we found that because of the current amount of snow, that going up the right side and looping down counterclockwise was easier. The snow was trekked through more, so climbing down the monorail was easier.
When we arrived at the summit, we took our well deserved dinner, from which Rain was not disappointed in taking. The views from the actual peak are limited, but show a pleasant view over the area, unfortunately decently tall trees take away from the beauty a little. Plenty of rocks were facing the overlook side making this a nice lunch place where we could sit and enjoy ourselves before venturing off.
It was starting to get late, and I was thinking back to how I told Rain this was only a 4 hour hike. She was well aware of what time it was I think she just wanted to not think about it until we got back to the car. Understandable. The other companion, Mat, Matt, and/or Matthew seemed to be struggling with the fact that we were all much much slower than he was. So we were pleased to know he didn’t abandon us and head down the mountain. He probably could have made it almost home at the time we got to the bottom of the mountain.
I’m not saying we were slow, but we are definitely not fast. Somewhere in-between the speed of a koala and mongoose.
Sossman Junction 6:04pm
We reached the junction again after sliding our way back down the trail. The snow/monorail made the descent a little more challenging compared to ascent. Our choice of footwear was also not preferable as well, but that was something we already knew. During our nice long journey to the Sossman Junction we made an executive decision that we should continue straight ahead and not back down the way we came up. We would take the trail leading across the ridge to the ski lifts and head down the mountain from there.
We figured that one, this would be a different trail and we could explore more of the mountain; two, there was a good chance that the snow would be mostly gone because of the direct sun on the ski trails; and three, it’s a straight shot down so Rain wouldn’t want to strangle me any more than I thought she wanted to.
In terms of being easier, we made it to the ski lift with a descent challenge. The way across the ridge proved to be a lot more snow than the previous journey to the peak, which meant Chris and I had to explain to our brave new comrades what the post holes were and why we should be careful where we step. That lasted about 15 minutes when inevitably Chris fell right through the trail. Poor fella.
We zipped up and down left and right and fell a bunch of times through the snow, as we made our way across the ridge. At this point the sun was starting to change colors and the it was peaking 6:30pm. What did this mean? Rain did not like the fact that I told her this was a 4 hour hike, which should have ended about 0 minutes ago at this point. During the summer season without the dreadful snow, this trail would have been gorgeous to walk across. A few openings were found along the way, one with a bench to sit on, to look out across the valleys between the neighboring mountains.
Top of Ski Lift 6:36pm
Finally out of the woods and at the ski lifts. This was both good news and bad news. The good news was we could see the bottom, the bad news was we could see the bottom… and it was really far away.
I like to imagine all those precious times Rain and I have had together and hope that they are and will be enough to keep her from committing a terrible crime against me. So I smiled at her and continued the journey. No words were necessary and I couldn’t push my excuses any further than I already have… I know, I know you can judge me now.
During the descent we really, really, really did not appreciate the wind. Without any tree coverage, the next few hundred feet down the mountain would be rather windy. Thankfully we were hiking with all our gear and sweaters so we weren’t cold at all.
Even though the descent seemed to be taking forever, you couldn’t beat the sights that it presented. I couldn’t imagine skiing down this on a nice clear day, because I would just want to stop and admire all the beauty. Without the trees blocking the views, or just peaking over the trees, you were able to see practically everything on the Eastern side of the mountain.
Slowly but surely, we continued to slide down the mountain. At one point I noticed an area that looked like a really good place to take some photos.
It was only about a third of the way down the mountain too, which was crazy because the view was spectacular. Chris and I snapped a few photos, took some time to admire the view and then quickly realized that our comrades were definitely ditching us. Our charismatic and charming personalities were no longer keeping the band together. Instead, Rain and Mat, Matt, and/or Matthew, made some decisions by themselves to continue without us.
This required the ultimate sacrifice that I will most definitely regret in the morning. I looked at Chris, holding in the pain that I knew for sure would soon come, took a deep breath and said —
I am going to run down the mountain and catch up to them.– Michael Crowley (what should have been his last words)
This translated to I think we should catch up to them or they will leave us behind. For those who are desperately trying to imagine this impossible feat, I am proud to inform you that I have indeed recorded such awesomeness.
And lived to tell the tale.
Soon after, roughly three minutes, I found that running down a mountain will a full bag was not the brightest idea. My legs hurt.
It was going well when I realized that no matter how far we walked, the distance was not changing. If you’ve ever seen the dolly zoom effect, this is how I felt hiking down. Which brought me to this..
I would also like to add one additional video to illustrate how the hike down the ski slope was at certain times.
End of Hike 8:25pm
Okay, we made it. We are here to tell the tale of what most people would say is an easier hike. Ranking in at a whopping 48 out of 48 on the NH 4,000 footers, this mountain felt way harder than the numbers express. Obviously there are ways to hike higher mountains with ease and the prominence is another factor to take in, but those are just excuses.
What I can say is that those long 6 hours were well worth it, and I am glad that I was able to check off another 4k footer with my brave comrades. It took a lot, sweat and tears were prevalent. Blood may or may not have been shed. The views were mesmerizing, there were plenty of laughs and we all got one hell of a workout. So before you think this post is about how challenging this hike was, I can tell you it proved to make you work for it (especially in the Spring), but don’t let it discourage you from tackling it yourself! Go out there and start checking off your own list!
P.S. Rain vs. Michael
Rain was not mad at me, she was just very hungry and tired. I now know that I need to pack lots of food for her. Let this be a lesson to most of you gentlemen who plan on taking their girl out on a hike. Bring lots of food. If your bag is comfortably full, get a bigger bag and make sure you pack lots of food for her. If french fries are possible you bet your buttons you’ll pack them. Trust me, you’re welcome.
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