Sunday, August 7, 2016

Uphill - Wachusett Mountain - 8/7/16

122 Diner
Up and out of the house early-ish today and on the road by about 8:15 headed north - on our way to find Wachusett Mountain in the middle of Massachusetts. But first, a stop in Holden, MA at the 122 Diner, on route 122, duh. . . We were seated promptly by friendly happy people and coffee arrived very quickly and once we ordered it seemed as though only seconds passed when breakfast arrived. I had my eggs and toast, which by the way the toast was perfect and I added bacon this time too as I knew I would be putting out some energy on the mountain. Nana's breakfast did not live up to her expectations and she left a bit disappointed in the food, but no complaints about the service. The waitress had a strange accent and neither Nana nor I could place it, kind of a midwestern valley girl sound.. .  strange for New England. The price was good and the service was good but the home fries were a bit mushy. So, once we refreshed and paid we were off to find the mountain. A short 12 minute drive delivered us to the entrance to find the lot at the visitor center full, so we found the second lot and a friendly ranger took six bucks from us to allow us to park.
 We walked back to the visitors center and read all the good stuff and picked up a trail map. This trail was no slacker. It started up right from the trail head in the parking lot. I only took me a few minutes to start puffing and wheezing - Nana on the other hand didn't seem to crack a sweat. And neither did those young girls that passed us by, and did I mention the six year old and his father that just walked right past. . . damn but I gotta get back in shape. The trail was a jumble of rock and stone which had been arranged loosely into 'steps', kind of. I can only say that it was headed up the side of the mountain. I have to admit at this point,  that Wachusett Mountain is a weenie mountain, as mountains go. I know all the other mountains in Massachusetts laugh at Wachusett and New Hampshire and Maine mountains won't even talk to Wachusett, but it felt pretty large to me. Nana kind of left me in the dust a few times but was feeling sorry for me and would wait up as I came puffing along.
Nana on the climb
The steepness of the trail did not hold much appeal to Nana as she has a natural and understandable fear of falling down. Nana can sometimes be a bit unsure on steep rocky trails and this one made her a bit uncomfortable. Near the summit we crossed the road to the top and went separate ways..Nana took the road to the summit and I pushed on toward the summit on the trail, just because I wasn't completely wet yet, projectile sweating championships here I come. As it turned out we both arrived at the top of the mountain at the same time. Once out of the woods and on flatter ground my heart rate began to return to normal - It peaked at 124, normal for me is mid to low 50's - 53 - 54 is about what it normally is when resting. Nana and I walked around the open area at the top and were is the company of several hundred other people that had hiked, biked and drove up there.
Made it!
I would guess that there are at least eight trails that come to the summit and of course we took the steepest most direct trail. Looking to the East we could clearly make out Boston about 40 miles away and to the northwest we could see Mount Monadnock in Keene New Hampshire. The clouds were fantastic. We walked up to the observation tower and found a place to sit on a bench. I asked Nana to help me off with my backpack and she was shocked by how heavy it was. "What do you have in there" She asked. I told her that I had thought it would be a good place to shoot a time lapse so I packed my gear, tripod, camera lenses, filters and intervalometer.. you know the basics. I unpacked and sat up my tripod where I thought I had a good view of the clouds passing by to the North. The play of the shadows over the hills was fascinating to watch. I got the tripod stable and hung my backpack on the bottom hook to help stabilized the tripod, it was very
Time lapse gear
windy. We sat on the bench while my camera clicked away, eating trail mix and dried pineapple and I think I downed a large bottle of water. The fifteen minutes or so that we sat there yielded the time lapse below. It is only 10 seconds long but shows the motion of the clouds. We packed everything back into our packs and started the descent. We took a trail for a short distance but decided to return by the road which certainly was a beautiful walk down the mountain.
Harlow Lookout
We passed the Harlow Lookout shelter, what a beautiful place with a fantastic view. Nana and I both took many photos and panoramas. The walk back down was only about a mile and a half or so but it was still steep enough that I felt as though I was slipping into the toe of my boots. Today we walked a bit over three miles, maybe three and a half..going up it felt longer -- coming down it felt too short. It was good to get back to the car and get the air conditioning on -- it was a hot day. . .  Driving home we spotted a road sign that said Nana Trail..
Below are some pix and the time lapse I made at the summit

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."  Edmund Hillary

It is best to watch the time lapse full screen

Wachusett Mountain Time lapse from Edward Huff on Vimeo.

Ski Lift in summer - looks sad

Part of the Mid-State Trail

Panorama from Harlow Lookout
App says 3.7 miles..taken with a grain of salt
The road sign says Nana Trail!

No comments:

Post a Comment