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Archive for June, 2012

While visiting my family for Father’s Day, I ran across an old scrapbook in my childhood bedroom. One gem that I unearthed was a NENSA Newsletter featuring a story that the Sargent sisters and I had written together many years ago. It brought me back to one of the most memorable misadventures from our Bill Koch League Days…

Adventure on Hunger Mountain
From New England Nordic News, late winter 1997-8

By Susan Dunklee (6th grade), Elsa Sargent (6th grade) and Ida Sargent (4th grade), members of the Glover-Barton Bill Koch League

A group of Bill Koch cross country skiers decided to take a hike up Hunger Mountain in Worcester, VT. The group included Hazen, Luke and Danny Brodhead and their parents John and Gina, Susan and Eric Dunklee and their father, Stan, Ida and Elsa Sargent and their mother, Lindy, Ashley Maxwell and Sabina Schultz. The kids charged up the mountain ahead of their parents to the top of the rocky mountain. The Dunklee’s dog, Cinnamon, went ahead with the kids. We didn’t stop to take in the views that our parents thought were wonderful.

At the top, we had a picnic lunch. There were some little patches of snow so we had a snowball fight. It was lots of fun. Then we picked up our supplies and headed down. Hazen, Luke, Eric, Susan, Elsa and Ida began running. The boys ran ahead and waited for the girls- we passed them and kept on running. It wasn’t long before someone mentioned that we weren’t on the trail. Even the dog didn’t seem to notice when we lost it.

The first mistake we made was running down the mountain. The second was instead of tracing our footsteps back to the trail, we just kept on going. All we had for supplies were a few swallows of water, a jacket for everybody, and a first aid kit that included a pack of matches. We found a stream and started following it. We followed it for awhile and then we decided to split up into two separate groups and stay within seeing distance to search both sides of the stream.

There were lots of arguments along the way. Half of the group wanted to go one way. The other half wanted to go the other way. Then one group would give in. We had bushwhacked for over one hour and fifteen minutes. We tried looking up at the mountain to judge where we were, we tried to find landmarks, we debated about following an old logging road.

One person was losing hope. They were praying. Everybody was on edge and nobody knew where we were. We looked for tire tracks but all we found were bicycle tracks. We went over a bridge that didn’t look familiar. But FINALLY we came to where the trail began. We looked in the checkout box to see if our parents had checked out but they hadn’t. When we were walking back to the car, we found our parents. They were overjoyed to see us! We asked about the checkout box, and they said they had totally forgotten. We shared our stories all the way home.

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Susan, Elsa and Ida during their Bill Koch League years

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There is a lot to love about being on a mountain top. Refreshing breezes, a flow of puffy white clouds that tow splotchy shadows across ridge lines, and a lush carpet of contrasting peaks and valleys stretching across the land. I can see every shade of green in the forests below and several gray cliff faces.
I’ve been training in Lake Placid the last couple weeks and this camp has been one of the best yet for exploring the Adirondack high ridges. Usually I end up hiking on rainy days with no view, but the weather this past week has been fantastic!
My new favorite place in the region is an area of new rockslides above Johns Brook in Keene Valley created by hurricane Irene. Hiking up a slide combines many of my favorite things: spectacular views, rock hopping, bush whacking, waterfall scrambles, and the thrill of possibly getting lost. I like to marvel at the power of water. In just minutes last August, a small forested stream became a 50 m wide corridor of exposed bedrock littered with uprooted trees. Unfortunately I forgot my camera during that hike, but I took pictures of other recent mountain adventures.

20120615-210606.jpgHanging in there on top of Giant Mountain.

20120615-211050.jpgThe team at the top: Tara, Corrine, myself and Annelies

20120615-211924.jpgLuka trying to steal a snack from Sophie.

20120615-204412.jpgOne evening, after the toll road closed for the day, we rollerskiied from downtown Wilmington to the top of Whiteface. Over halfway there!

20120615-204708.jpgWe gained about 3500 ft of elevation. It was an almost constant grade, as you can see from Hannah’s HR monitor data.

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Visiting the granite castle at the top. It was built by NY state during the “New Deal” era of Great Depression projects. FDR himself attended its grand opening. Among XC skiers, the castle is better known as the finish line of the annual painfest: the “Climb to the Castle” rollerski race.

20120615-210427.jpgThe gals: myself, Hannah and Corrine

20120615-210038.jpgLooking down at the road below and enjoying a sense of accomplishment.

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