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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Warrior Dash New England

On June 10th, some members of the team we assembled for Tough Mudder (named Beer Wings, but we’ll get to that in another post) got together to tackle the Warrior Dash.  The 2012 New England event was held at the Thompson International Speedway in Thompson, CT.

Beer Wings: Before.  So, clean.  So shiny.

It was a hot day in New England, and we were ready for anything. We had decided to run the Dash as a team, and after the rally cry from the MC, and the flames exploded above the starting line, we were off! Or rather, we were walking along as the group of 400 of us hit the first challenge about .1 miles into the course. The first challenge wasn’t so much an obstacle as it was a muddy embankment into a cool creek. It was met with many screams as the cold water filled everyone’s shoes, but our little group was attempting to run at every moment to create some room for ourselves. We held our own really well, and slogged through the various mud puddles, patches, and creek beds that came up thigh high. The first obstacle was a muddy embankment which had a cargo net draped over it for some traction. However, the five of us skipped the cargo net section and just charged up the muddy slope using our hands for extra leverage. In no time, we were though that section and onto a slightly wider trail where we could begin to find our groove.

Scott & I running along

We settled into a nice easy pace, and came upon our next obstacle. Up and down some pitched balance beams, but not too difficult. I could see it being a bit more of a pain if it were later in the race, and your legs were tired. Next up, we had to hop over some barricades, and duck under barbed wire fences. Scott & I had gotten into a rhythm of scaling the wall, taking a couple of paces to the barbed wire, dropping and rolling through, hopping up and repeating the process. I don’t remember how many sections there were, but I remember being glad to finally get to the end of that one. Not long after, we were making our way through a tire field, up and over wrecked cars, up vertical walls, and down 20 foot poles. We held together pretty well through them all. Jack was falling back a bit towards the end, and waved us on.

Barb’s husband, Ryan, her children, and Drea were all on hand to spectate and snap some photos of us. Unfortunately, they weren’t allowed too far onto the course, so all their photos came at the end. However, some great obstacles were at the end, and they were able to grab some great shots of us!

As we neared the end, we passed some firemen who were cheering us on letting us know that there was 3/4 of a mile to go.  But, in the last half mile there were four obstacles to take on.  The first was the 20 foot tall “Warrior Wall” which you had to scale up and over.

Scaling the Warrior Wall

I hit it really well, and was up and over in no time.  And, like we had been doing, I turned to back and was rooting on my teammates and waiting for them to join me.  Scott & Barb came over next, and as I was standing there waiting for Mike, I noticed that they kept running!  I had heard that Barb had a competitive streak in her, and it seemed like she was smelling the finish line.  So, I began giving chase.

Next up, he had to jump through fire hurdles.  Scott had cracked me up by jumping up and clicking his heels over the fire, or so I thought.  When I questioned him later, he wasn’t actually trying to do that.  He was legitimately unnerved and was just trying to get his body as far from the flames as he could!  That made it even funnier.

I’m on F I R E !

Once past the flames, we had the last vertical challenge of the day, the “Cargo Climb.”  You had to go up a few steps of a wooden ladder, and then scale across about 30 feet of horizontal cargo netting, up another 10 feet, and then down via more cargo net.  Well, as I came upon the obstacle, I found the spot where the center beam was, and decided to try to walk across the beam, tight rope style.  My legs weren’t nearly as fresh, and it got dicey at least once, where I almost crashed down into the net.  But, alas, I made it across with no issues.

Walking across the Cargo Climb

Once again, I was first off the obstacle and turned to wait for my teammates. And, once again, Barb just kept on running by!  So, I turned to jump run with her into the final obstacle of the day… a mud pit that you had to crawl through.

Underneath the barbed wire, you go!

There was some relief experienced being in the mud bath. Did I mention it was really freaking hot that day?

Barb & I are crawling out at the same time. (There is someone in between us, trust me, Barb is there).

Barb & I crossed the finish line just about together. To be fair, she beat me by 0.15 seconds. Not 15 seconds, mind you. But zero point fifteen seconds! But, on this day, it wasn’t about time. It was about team building and having fun. And, we certainly accomplished both!

Beer Wings! Not so clean. Not so shiny.

Mike, Scott, & I

Scott & I

For completing the Warrior Dash, we received medals, a t-shirt, and warrior helmets which we would wear on the summit of Lafayette a couple of days later. All in all, it was an awesome experience. It’s got me all amped up to do the Tough Mudder, and perhaps a Spartan Race or two. Additionally, I definitely want to go back and see how I do for time.  So, I’ll probably see you in 2013, Warrior Dash.  Only then, I will be running it much faster.

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Hiking Franconia Ridge

Scott, Mike, & I at Cloudland Falls

Mike, Scott, & I had decided to head up to New Hampshire to squeeze in some hiking.  So, on the morning of Tuesday, June 12th, we got started heading up to the Whites without having decided where we were going to hike exactly.  After some discussion, we had narrowed it down to either Franconia Ridge or Moosilauke.  Partly because they know I am working on the various lists, and partly because the weather was supposed to be great during the morning, we decided to hit up Franconia Ridge.  Scott & Mike had done this hike previously, but had never had good weather on the ridge.  They were hoping for a different outcome.  I had not read much about this actual hike, only had the views of the ridge (from across the notch) on my last hike fresh on my mind.

After parking at the Lafayette Campground hikers lot, we got onto the trail at 10:00am. We started up the Bridle Path to the junction of the Falling Waters Trail.  Crossing the bridge onto Falling Waters, I quickly realized how readily available I wanted my camera to be.

As the name implies, the trail follows, and crosses a couple of different brooks with waterfalls that increase in size the higher up the trail you go.  It really is a beautiful trail.  The first mile, mile and a half, seem to meander through the woods slowly gaining elevation.  It then begins a steep climb just before the largest of the waterfalls reveal itself.  Cloudland Falls is an 80 foot tall waterfall that was quite stunning.

Two Scott’s on the summit of Little Haystack – Mike’s photo

The steep climb continues over the next mile or so towards the summit of Little Haystack.  At about 2.8 miles, we took the .1 mile spur path to the Shining Rock overlook.  Shining Rock has a consistent flow of water seeping down it.  From the floor of the Notch, it glistens in the sun earning its name.  Unfortunately, the overlook wasn’t much of one on this day, as it was quite hazy at that time.

Back up the trail we pushed.  My heart was definitely pounding as we ascended the last quarter of a mile up to the summit.  As the trees began to thin out and get smaller, my desire to reach the summit and, finally, stand on the Franconia Ridge only intensified.  Also, I was freaking starving and couldn’t wait to dig into a PB&J wrap!

Even as hazy as it was, standing on the 4,760 foot summit of Little Haystack, it was readily apparent to me why Franconia Ridge is revered as one of the best stretches in all the 2,184 miles of the Appalachian Trail.  With 360˙ views, and the trail now above tree line, it is just a spectacular sight.  To the west, looking at the granite cliffs of Cannon & along the ridge to the Kinsmans, with Moosilauke hulking in the distance, I was able to reflect on previous hikes.  Looking to the east, overlooking Owls’s head, and off to the Bonds, and the south towards Liberty & Flume, I was dreaming of future hikes.  And to the north, miles of trail along the knife’s edge up to Lincoln and Lafayette were waiting to be imminently tackled.

Warriors upon Lafayette

The next 1.7 miles were a nice easy jaunt, up and over Lincoln, and on up to Lafayette.  We paused up on Lafayette to don our Warrior Helmets earned a couple days prior at Warrior Dash.  It’s funny to me that people looked at us, but no one dared questioned why we were wearing such ridiculous garb.  We enjoyed the summit for a bit, taking in the views and enjoying the highest peak of the day (5,260′).

On the way up, I had been setting the pace for the majority.  Beginning the descent, I was going much slower.  I think I was making sure I wasn’t feeling anything in my knees on the rough terrain coming off the peak of Lafayette on the Greenleaf Trail.  Anyway, I caught back up with the guys just before the Greenleaf Hut.  We stopped here for a bit to use the facilities and grab a bit more water.  It was only my second time in a hut, having stopped at Lonesome Lake on my last hike.  Scott & Mike were extolling on the pleasantness of staying in one, and despite my desire to “tent it,” I’m certain that I will give a hut a try someday.

After leaving the hut, I felt like my legs were back and was able to continue on my normal pace for the last 3 miles or so, on the Bridle Path, back to the car.  It was a fairly easy 3 mile descent, with some great views looking back on the hike we had just conquered.

Scott looking back at Little Haystack, and Mount Lincoln

—–Hike Stats—–

  • Date: 6/12/12
  • Elevation: Little Haystack – 4760′, Mount Lincoln – 5089′, Mount Lafayette – 5260′
  • Elev Gain: I’ll have to, once again, go back and calculate the total elevation, but from Lafayette Campground to the summit of Mount Lafayette: ~3560
  • Mileage: ~9
  • Trails: Up:  Bridle Path -> Falling Waters -> Franconia Ridge Trail -> Greenleaf Trail -> Bridle Path
  • Time: about 6 hours.
  • NH 48 Peaks #6 (Lincoln) & #7 (Lafayette)
 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Hiking

 

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