Warmup for Philmont

Went for a shakedown hike in preparation for Philmont, over May12-13, with E. Saturday was our anniversary (#23!), and Sunday was Mother’s day. Sigh…timing was not the best. But we had a great hike. 8).

Our plan was to take the MidState Trail, camp overnight at Muddy Pond, and then get up the next morning and finish up hiking down to Wachusett. Got up Saturday morning and drove out to Mt Watatic, shuttled the cars down to the end of the trail, and rode back up (5 parents to a Subaru, kinda felt like college 8)).

We left the trailhead around 9:30 in the morning. There were some short, steep ascents, leading to a great view of a lake (probably Stodge Meadow Lake) , just in time for lunch on the appropriately named Mt Hunger . Over the course of the morning we saw a few garter snakes (M- caught one), but not much else in the way of wildlife. Not long after lunch, we lost the trail after going past a number of old rusted cars. We finally came out at a house. In violation of hiking best practices, we asked a native where we were – and then continued off-trail & “on-roaded” 8). But, after 3/4 of a mile on a road, we re-acquired the trail and all was well. By 3:15, we’d made it to our camp-site. Unfortunately, it was already occuppied by a “1-credit” backpacking course led by an instructor, and made up of students from Fitchburg State College, vodka in tow (being with boy scouts, of course we declined!). Actually, we never saw any evidence of vodka other than a few jokes when we rolled in to camp. And the instructor turned out to be quite knowledgeable about the area.

1st day was about 9 or 10 miles, more-or-less as you can see here.

Dinner was a hearty meal of Penne, Pizza Sauce, and Spam. Lots of Spam. In Scout-land, there are various roles one takes for back-packing. One of them is the “wookie”. The wookie is responsible for eating any leftover food and (ideally) licking the pots clean. No food for bears, less cleaning for us. Yours truly was the wookie on this trip, and, well, let’s just say there was lots of Spam leftover. It takes pretty good going down after a long hike, but in the middle of the night, all that salt dries you up like a prune. 8).

The second day was much easier. After a relative early rise (6:30), and a quick breakfast of oatmeal right from the package, we got on the trail. Nice hikes through woods and meadows, not much in the way of elevation gain, and a shorter 6 mile hike to the parking lot:.

You can also see some pictures here.

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