Category Archives: Hillstomping Update

Stories and photos from my magnificent hikes in the legendary White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Hillstomping Update, Mt. Osceola

It was such a pretty Autumn day up here in New Hampster that I just had to take m’boyz on an easy hike up Mt. Osceola. It’s one of the NH 48-4,000 footers and we had planned on hiking it earlier this summer but the trailhead was infested with people. This is one of those rare hikes in the White Mountains where you’re rewarded with magnificent views for very little effort. From the trailhead to the summit is just over three easy miles and the views, well, words only cheapen it. You can get a glimpse of what it was like from these two pictures below.

On Mt. Osceola--click for larger view
The Boyz on Mt. Osceola. That’s the Tripyramid mountains in the background. (I had the date set wrong on my camera–pardon the crayon correction.)

East Osceola--click for larger view
Looking at East Osceola and beyond from the expansive summit of Mt. Osceola.

This was the 15th-4,000-footer for my little Samurai guys. I’ve already hiked all 48 including many during winter and several of my favorite peaks multiple times. I’m hoping to complete the 48 again with my little Samurai guys before my back gives out completely.

I was recently diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, which is essentially advanced arthritis in the vertabrae. No doubt this was a result of the ruptured disc I had four years ago. The sciatic pain in my right buttcheek and foot has been ratcheting up lately so I finally had an MRI and just got the results. The good news is that this is usually treatable without surgery but, if surgery is required, it is very effective at clearing it up. The bad news is that, until I get it under control or have surgery, it hurts like hell to hike these mountains. So I gobble Vitamin I (ibuprofen) and just suck it up. Then, when I get back home, quaffing a few brewskis helps blur the pain.

Local Color

Gettin’ purdy up here in God’s Country. Was up on Mt. Kearsarge yesterday feasting my peepers on a prime crop of autumn foliage below. Check it out:

Autumn view from the top of Mt. Kearsarge.

We’re lucky that we ended up settling down up here in New Hampster. S’ppose, for ezzample, that I ended up in New Jerbel, several states south of us. New Jerbel, like my native Gawga, are both good places to be from, but not to be in.

Yep, I grew up in Gawga, loved it so much that I quit high school when I was 17 and joined the Navy, primarily so I could live somewhere, anywhere, outside of Georgia. Compared to being a teenager in Georgia during the 70’s, being a teenage sailor in the U.S. Navy was a liberating experience.

I’ve always been deeply conflicted about the Southland. I respect the Confederacy, believe they exercised the right of legal secession, just as any state or group of states today could because the Federal gubmint is merely a creature of the states, not vice versa. But Lincoln, the Anti-Christ of presidents, turned this concept of constitutional Federalism on its head. Think about it: 13 British colonies, the lawful property of the British crown, rebelled against their king and we properly revere those men as patriots and Founders. Yet, when the Southern states declared they were withdrawing from a Union into which they had voluntarily entered and lawfully seceded from Congress, Lincoln gave them four years of fire and sword ending with Sherman’s march to the sea. If you condemn the Southern Secession from the Union, then you must be consistent and condemn the American Revolution. I applaud both as righteous struggles against tyranny. The South just happened to lose their struggle so history wrote them a different story.

To call the Southern war of Secession a “Civil War” is to mindlessly parrot government propaganda. In a civil war, you have two parties fighting for control of the same land. Russia and France had civil wars. The South didn’t want to take over the North, they simply wanted to be left the hell alone from Yankee meddlers and burdensome overtaxation imposed on them by the more populous Northern states. We don’t allow the phrase “Civil War” in our house–that conflict is properly referred to as the War of Yankee Aggression.

Although my ideological roots are Southern, my genetic roots are far removed. I am a second generation American of Scots-Irish and Greek extraction. It’s my Greek heritage that makes me an alien in the South and, ironically, much more comfortable in Yankeeland. Southerners tend to be very conformist. The Southern pecking order is that the best are Baptists; Methodists and Presbyterians are tolerated; Catholics are instruments of Satan; and Greek Orthodox, such as myself, well, we must be Zeus-worshipping pagans ‘cuz whoever heard o’ such nonsense. I actually had one of my school teachers tell me this!

And then there’s appearance. “True southerners” have straight hair, parted on the side, and preferably blue eyes. Kinky headed, dark-haired, brown-eyed, glasses wearing guys like me were accused of being Jewish (*gasp*) and never had a chance of being one of the true “good ol’ boys.” In high school, while the good ol’ boys played football and stuffed Skoal in their mouths, I usually hung out with the Jewish kids, talking about politics and playing chess.

So you can see how I’m deeply conflicted over the South. On the one hand, I fervently believe that the South had, and has, the right to secession as does any state or group of states. On the other hand, growing up in the South was just one long cultural and social gulag. I was treated better as an enlisted sailor in the U.S. Navy, an instrument of Yankee power, and felt more a part of it than I did any part of the South in all my years growing up there. Would you like fries with that serving of irony?

I’ve always thought of myself as a Southerner; I’ve come to realize that I am not. I am a Yankee who, through a quirk of fate, happened to grow up in the South and, in so doing, acquired some uniquely Southern notions about federalism and state’s rights.

Today, I see Yankees doing what Yankees have always done–meddling in other people’s affairs and telling people how they ought to live. We saw this in Waco, Serbia, South America, and most recently, we see it in Iraq. The world is full of bad guys, always has been, always will be. And until one of those bad guys threatens our vital American interest, it’s not worth expending American blood and treasure chasing some neo-con utopian dream of “waging Democracy” on people who haven’t the first clue about what self-government is all about. We used to know what self-government was before we became vassals of Big Brother through things like the Income Tax, Social(ist) (In)Security, gun control, fiat currency taken off the gold standard, and the Patriot Act.

Just as the over-reaching ambitions of all historical empires precipitated their demise, history will show that the current war in Iraq marked the beginning of the end of the American Empire. And then, like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, the South shall rise again. Not the geographic South, but the Southern spirit of independence, decentralized government, and local control.

It’s pretty damn amazing what you can see in Autumn leaves. Enjoy the foliage!

Hillstomping Updates: Mt. Liberty; North and South Twin

‘Twixt running appliance service calls and hiking, I haven’t had much time to post Hillstomping Updates. Well, Budrow, urine luck ‘cuz here ya go…

Stephen and Sam on the summit of Mt. Liberty.  That's Mt. Flume in the background.  Did you know that if you were to click your mouse at this very moment, you'd get a larger, stunning view of this picture?  Yes, grasshopper, it is true.  These and many more wonders await you with a mere click of your mouse.  Cleeck it, leetle girly-man.  Ya, cleeck it!Me and the boyz (Stephen, Sam, and Bubba) hiked up Mt. Liberty one fine Thursday (July 29). Here, the boyz are reveling in their pre-manhood tumidity and flexing their inchoately bulging muscles, made strong by hiking up what is now their eighth White Mountain 4,000-footer.

Click for larger view--as if you haven't figured that out by now, you clever surfer you.Then, the following Monday (August 2), also a fine day for a hike, Ivey joined us for a serendipitous trek up North and South Twin. This was a longer hike than Mt. Liberty (11 miles vs. seven miles) but wasn’t much more difficult. The official peak-bagging tally after this hike: Ivey has hiked six, Stephen and Sam have hiked 10 of the New Hampshire 48, 4,000-footers.

Take a moment from your insipid appliance repair ruminations and feast your bleary squinties on the pictures from these hikes. You might decide that it’s finally time to dump that piece of junk you’re working on; hey, life’s too short–take a hike.

Hillstomping Update, Mts. Webster, Jackson, and Pierce

The Samurai Reproductive Units and Canine Unit on the Summit of Mt. PierceA triple-crown hike with the Samurai reproductive units and his semper fi canine hiking unit today. We hiked up the Webster Cliff Trail to the summit of Mt. Webster, a near-4,000-footer (elev. 3,910 ft.). After sucking up the majestic views of Crawford Notch from Mt. Webster, we continued our trek to Mt. Jackson (4,054 ft.) and then to the AMC Mizpah Hut. The hut was jammed with people and had a really bad sewage funk–not a place to linger! We refilled water and then headed up Mt. Pierce (4,310 ft.). From there we headed down the mountain on Crawford Path back into Crawford Notch. Along the way, we stopped at Gibbs Falls to chill out in an icy, pure mountain stream. So, the Samurai reproductive units bagged two more 4,000-footers: that makes seven for Stephen and Sam, three for Ivey.

Take a moment from your frustrating appliance repair quest to check out all the pictures from this hike and remind yourself what life’s really all about

Hillstomping Update, Sandwich Dome

Moving' on up the Sandwich Mountain Trail--click for larger view.Took the Samurai reproductive units on a pre-Independence Day Hillstomp up Sandwich Dome today. Our plan was to hike up Mt. Osceola for its generous reward of expansive views for relatively little effort. However, being a glorious, sunny Saturday with perfect temperatures for hiking, that was everyone else’s plan, too. When we got to the Osceola trailhead, cars were spilling out onto Tripoli Road, infested with out-of-state license plates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, being the three most pernicious. So we had a last minute change of plans and opted for the less celebrated but equally glorious Sandwich Dome. As a bonus, you can read my daughter’s trip report.

Check out all the pictures from this hike.

Hillstomping Update, Mt. Jefferson

Ridge shot from Mt. Jefferson--click for larger view.I consummated my lust for Mt. Jefferson today, doin’ the dirty with yet another one of New Hampshire’s 48, 4,000 footers. (That’s number 47 for me, but who’s counting…besides me?) I know what you’re asking, “O, Aging Seeker of Mountain Summits, why, pray tell, dost thou hikest so much?”

Good question, Grasshopper, though I recommend you drop the King James English–it makes you sound pretentious.

Why do I hike these mountains, you ax? See for yourself. Once you feel the power and grace of a mountain summit that you earned by your own sweat and toil, you’re hopelessly hooked–from that moment on you are reborn as a shameless mountain ho. So, when I’m not tinkering with this website or fixing broken stuff, I’m either laying on the couch drinking Bud n’ watching Gilligan or I’m whoring myself out to another summit in the White Mountains.

I’ve been saving Mt. Isolation for last. After that, I’ll have hiked all 48, 4,000-footers. And then I can die. No, wait, then I have to hike them all in winter. Then, I have to hike them all at night. Then, I have to hike them all blindfolded and barefooted. And then, I have to …

Hillstomping Update, Mts. Adams and Madison

The Samurai and Semper Fi hiking partner, Ouzo (a.k.a., Bubba) on the summit of Mt. Madison--click for larger viewA serendipitous hike up Mts. Adams and Madison today. I caught the weather just right and the mountain gods did grin down upon me, granting me expansive views and temperate hang-time at the summits–every peak bagger’s fervent hope and prayer. Being a beautiful Saturday with ideal hiking conditions, the trail head was jammed with cars from all around New England. I was a little concerned about the trails being choked with people. And while it’s true there were lots of people out, they were spread thin and none of them were dilettantes. Every single person or group I had the pleasure to meet were all hard-core White Mountain hikers, which you’d expect on the most rugged trails in the White Mountains.

The stark mountainous landscape of this hike coupled with the uncommonly placid weather yielded some of the most stunning mountain pictures I’ve ever taken. Take a moment from your appliance repair trivial pursuit and check out all the photos from this majestic hike. You’ll be glad you did.

Hillstomping Update: Mt. Orange, Rim Rock, and South Peak

ascending mt. orange with mt. cardigan in the background--click for larger viewA superlative hillstomp on the three southerly peaks in the Mt. Cardigan range. We were planning on hiking up Mt. Moosilauke today but I forgot I had a dental appointment this morning so we settled on this shorter hike a little closer to home. This is a fine seven-mile, half-day hike that coughs up the eye candy with relatively little effort compared to, say, hiking most of the Kinsman Ridge in a day. And I don’t think the boys minded having a mellow hike after the Memorial Day hillstomp on Franconia Ridge.