Here I will share my travels throughout the majestic White Mountains of NH and also delve into some of the area's rich history and forgotten places. I do this in hopes of getting others excited about exploring these wonderful places.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mt. Waumbek - 1/21/09

I have been meaning to finish up the four remaining mountains on my 4000 footer list for some time. Not that I’m in a rush to do so (although I would like to have them all climbed within a year), but there is a certain hold a list has over you once you decide to take it on. At least in my case. Steve Smith calls this the “Tyranny of the List”, and rightly so. Once I’m finished I can get out to some of the other places I’ve been wanting to visit since falling prey to this tyranny. I still cherish each one of these places and have some great mountains left to go to get there though.

I decided on Mt. Waumbek for the next adventure, and was up early the day of the hike. I packed up the gear and was on the trail on Starr King Road in Jefferson. The beginning of the Starr King Trail is dotted with deer tracks and passes through some lovely forest, and an old well. It also follows a nice grade that never really gets strenuous. Just stay toward the left to avoid getting unintentionally sidetracked on other trails used by the locals.

The lovely Starr King Trail

While it was quite cold, being in the single digits, it was an incredibly pleasant hike. The snow on the trees was so thick, some of them were entirely coated in it. After a little over two hours of leisurely snowshoeing I reached the summit of Mt. Starr King.

Near the summit of Mt. Starr King

Upon reaching the clearing with the fireplace that remains from the shelter that was once there, I shrugged off my pack to have some food and hot chocolate before setting off for Mt. Waumbek, a mile further.

The fireplace atop Starr King

It was on this quick break that a Gray Jay, a small bird native to higher altitudes, landed on a branch right next to me. It seemed to be quite interested, not in me but the Fluffernutter I was eating. I dropped a piece for him and he sat next to me eating it. I snapped a couple shots of him and he flew off, as did I.

The Gray Jay

The mile between these two peaks is a lovely stroll and seems to pass quicker than any other I can recall. After getting a quick view toward the Northern Presidentials from a nice spot just beyond the summit of Waumbek, I set off on the return trip, more than satisfied with this day spent in the woods and looking forward to the three left on my list.

The view from just beyond Waumbek's summit

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