I did a quasi-Presi Traverse this weekend with three other MITOCers: John Romanishin, Ye Yao, and Maike Sonnewald. Friday night, we drove up to NH, dropping off four bikes in the woods near Pinkham Notch along the way. Then we campedFriday night at Appalachia Trailhead. In the morning, we hiked up to treeline and continued along the Presidential Ridge to Mt Washington, which we reached at about 5pm.
The weather was phenomenal. The wind was essentially imperceptable, and definitely the calmest I have ever experienced on Mt Washington. Meanwhile, temps were in the low 40Fs, and with the sun shining brightly, it felt like summertime. While John took a nap on the observation deck, me, Maike, and Ye posed for webcam photos. (John, asleep, was in all of the photos too.)
We left the summit by 5:30pm and continued towards Boott Spur. We found a legal campsite just before Boott Spur – i.e., > 2ft of snow and away from any huts – situated on a small hill just before Boott Spur. As we cooked dinner, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset.
In the morning we were rewarded with a magnificent sunrise above an undercast sky. The cloudline was at about 2,800ft, meaning that everything was covered in clouds except for the higher peaks which looked like islands in a vast sea of clouds. It was only the second time that I have ever experienced such a dramatic undercast in the Whites.
We descended Boott Spur towards Pinkham, eventually plunging into the ocean of clouds, which had actually coated the trees in rime ice. By noon, we rendezvoused with the bikes and began the next leg of the journey.
With a stellar tailwind, we proceeded bicycling northward on Route 2 with minimal pedaling, and turned off on Dolly Copp road after about 5 miles. Dolly Copp road, which is normally closed in winter but we had heard was now clear and passable, promised to act as a shortcut for us, shaving off about 5 miles. However, the road conditions ended up being a little spicier than planned due to some recent snow and rain that caused it to turn to soft mud in many places. Undaunted, we pushed through the mud and coasted back to Route 2, finally arriving back at the car by 1:30pm.
The last leg of the journey was visiting the Dynasty Chinese Buffet in Gorham. Earlier that morning, John and I challenged each other to a face-off to see who could eat the most plates of food. A couple of years earlier, John had narrowly beaten me to finish a Summit Sundae at the Appalachian Trail Cafe in Millinocket, Maine, with a time of 12:30 mins – just one minute faster than me. At the Dynasty Buffet, I sought to equal the score.
In preparation for the feast, John had fasted the entire day. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to hike without eating anything, I had eaten a couple of granola bars and some trail mix. We piled on the food and devoured plate after plate. In the end, it was 5 full plates for me and only a pathetic 4 plates for John. John conceded defeat and hung his head in shame. The king of consumption had been dethroned – for now. In terms of eating contests, John and I are now tied at 1 to 1. We’ll seek to break the tie after the next epic adventure.