I had originally planned to hike Mounts Liberty and Flume with a friend on Christmas Eve however that plan changed last minute when his boss asked him to come in and work. This actually kind of worked out for me as well because unbeknownst to me my sister was having everyone over her house for lasagna that evening. So I needed a shorter hike and since I would be solo I wanted one where I would be almost certain to run into other people. I needed Mount Tecumseh for my Winter 48 and since it is a quick 5 mile round-trip hike and part of the Waterville Valley ski resort it fill the bill perfectly.
I pulled into Lot 1 at Waterville Valley shortly before 8 a.m. There were already some cars pulling up in front of the ski lodge but only one other car in the lot besides mine which belonged to fellow hikers. I suited up and started towards the trail head under blue skies and a few wispy clouds. The air was quite cold as the weathermen promised but I could not have cared less. It was sunny so I was happy.
The trail was nicely frozen solid thanks to the frigid temps the night before. If you recall from my last post, trail conditions in the Whites the day before were more reminiscent of spring with soft snow, slush and mud due to warm temperatures and rain. I put on my microspikes and it was smooth sailing most of the way to the summit. I could hear the snow guns blasting away on the slopes for a little while in the beginning. They faded gradually as I got further away though the noise doesn't bother me like it does some people. All three stream crossings were unbridged but very easy to rock hop across. A little after a mile into the hike there is a short side path out onto the ski slope which offers an amazing view of the Tripyramids. The ski slope was deserted as it was still bony and showing some rocks and grass (though there were some rebel ski tracks in the wider patches of snow). I took a quick break here to gulp down some water and admire the view. As I was re-entering the woods another hiker came up the trail. We chit-chatted briefly then began hiking up the trail together. We covered an array of topics in a short amount of time and all the while I kept thinking to myself how familiar this woman looked. As soon as she said she posted her trip reports under 'Lady Grey' I immediately knew who she was! I had been reading her trip reports for quite some time and recognized her from pictures posted of her on her 'grid' finish back in the fall. It is always great getting to put a face to a name and this is one of the things I truly love about the small hiking community in New Hampshire. I continued to hike with Lady Grey for a little bit until I needed to stop for some water and a quick bite to eat. We parted ways and vowed to find one another on good ol' Facebook so we could keep in touch. It was great meeting you and hiking with you, Cynthia! I look forward to crossing paths with you again!
I continued on towards the summit and now that I was solo again, I stopped every 10 feet to take pictures. Okay, maybe not every 10 feet, but I stopped a lot to snap photos. Anyone who has hiked with me knows I take pictures of anything and everything. I tend to see the beauty in everything out in nature which makes me want to photograph everything I see. The wind was bitter on the summit so I didn't stay long despite putting on extra layers before I got up there. Up until recently, Tecumseh's wooded summit only afforded partial views to the north and east. An unknown individual (or individuals) took it upon them self to do some summit clearing to open up the view. This practice known as 'viewscaping' is illegal and can have consequences for the individual(s) if found. I certainly do not condone this behavior but I have to say, the view is definitely more photo friendly now.
My descent was quiet and peaceful and I only passed a few hikers on their ways up. My mind was filled with so many thoughts. I thought about some things that Cynthia and I had talked about. I thought about how different my life is going to be in a few months when I embark on the A.T. Most of all, I thought about how freaking wonderful it is to hike in the sun!!!