For this week’s Carpool Challenge I chose Tecumseh for several reasons. One, because obviously, it is a short and quick hike, not to mention fairly close to home. Second, because the weather was not exactly perfect and since the trail is in the trees the whole way I would be protected from any weather. What I forgot was that on my other visits to this summit the weather wasn’t perfect either – twice socked in and once while it was snowing. I’ve never seen this trail or summit in full sunshine! (Note to self: try a nice day next time!)
The weather did not deter me from enjoying the trail, though. Just being able to be on the trails is a blessing. With that in mind, I started over the first couple of water crossings on the Mt. Tecumseh trail as it led away from the ski area parking at Waterville Valley. I then noticed that the trail had been relocated; I’d been clued into this fact by a report from Earl on VFTT, so I knew to look for it. The lower portion of the trail that runs parallel to the stream, between the first two immediate crossings in the first .1 of a mile, and the next crossing (which was relocated years prior) has been moved well away from the stream. From what I could tell, the old portion of trail was damaged by Irene. Further investigation of the stream bed revealed the same dramatic undercut banks and debris that has been in streams on other trails. The new trail is well-blazed, and I had no problem in following it.
The rest of the trail up to the right hand turn, was the same, with only one large blowdown to climb over or go around. It looks like the trail crew had been working on it with axes, but since the diameter is rather large, it will take a little more work before it is removed completely.
I got to the right had turn, where there is a short side path out to the ski slopes and took a break. The weather, although cloudy was warm for this time of year and I had to remove my base layer tights – they were just too hot! It was one of those times when you’re not exactly sure what to wear, so I figured it would be easier to remove a layer rather than have to put on a layer and try to get warm.
After that it was time for the long, steady uphill mile. Further up the trail, when the grade starts to moderate a little, there was some really nice, new rock work. Not only were there some new steps, but also some new drainage put in, too. Between all the rock work and moving of dirt, some crew put in quite a bit of effort to get this looking so good. Thank you trail crew – I’m sure these efforts will pay off during the snow melt in the spring!
Once I got done admiring the new rock work, I moved quickly up the trail and into the cloud toward the summit. Once there, I needed only a fleece layer to keep warm before taking a few quick photos, and a short break.
Back down the trail I went and before long needed to stop and make some adjustments. That is where my camera and I decided to take different adventures. The camera slipped off my pack and stayed behind on the trail, while I, unknowingly, happily continued to descend. After another half a mile and I made another stop to adjust layers and chat with some passing hikers. Within a few minutes of starting to descend, I finally noticed the camera was gone. Even worse, I couldn’t remember which stop the camera decided it had had enough of the descent and wanted to stay on Tecumseh. I left the pack on the side of the trail and hiked back up to my last stop, but didn’t see the camera. Of course a grey camera case on a damp trail full of rocks probably wouldn’t be the easiest thing to spot. As I was on a time limit, I did not have time to hike all the way back to the first stop of the descent.
By this point, I had passed and greeted two other hiking parties, another solo woman and a group of four. They had all passed me by the time I realized the camera was gone, so I formulated a new plan of action, and possibly the only chance of getting the camera back without rehiking Tecumseh. I decided it would be best to hike back to the car, and leave notes on the other two vehicles with contact information. Would you believe within three hours, I got calls from both parties?!? The solo woman hiker called me and said the other group actually had the camera and would hike out with it and call me when they got my contact info. The other group called and since they were from out of state, staying in Waterville Valley, all I had to do was drive back up and pick up the camera at the front desk of their hotel. I was relieved and very happy! Now, my camera wasn’t all that expensive and isn’t the latest and greatest, but it was a Christmas gift from my husband and has been with me on many adventures. I am just so thankful that the hiking community is much like a family and willing to help each other out.
While my camera didn’t go on an epic adventure like tumbling into Tuckerman’s Ravine or sliding down the North Tripyramid slide, it gave me pause to think and without it my focus changed a bit. I really made a better effort to mentally record my surroundings and enjoy them as I wouldn’t have pictures to look at when I got home. The sun did come out for a bit in the lower portion of the trail and it really was pretty with no leaves to hide the blue sky, the crunch of the brown leaves under foot, and the contrast of the last of the bright green moss clinging to the never changing grey rocks.
For such a short hike and smaller mountain, it certainly was an interesting hike, and yes, the children were picked up on time!