Since we’ve had some great weather days recently, and Tuesday’s forecast was likely to be dry, my son and I headed out to bag a few more peaks that he needs, the Tripyramids. His plan was to hike the Tripyramids via Livermore Trail and the Mt. Tripyramid Trail via the slides. I had agreed to the idea, as long as we had a dry stretch of weather so that the north slide would be dry.
He wanted to be on the trail at 7:00a, so we got up very early and headed to Waterville Valley. We were on the trail a little before 7:00a, headed down Livermore Road.
I had hiked this trail recently, up to the point where the Mt. Tripyramid Trail diverges to the right for the north slide, so I knew this would the easy part of the day. We only saw one lady walking her dogs close to the parking lot, and after that did not see anyone for quite a while. In about an hour and a half, we were at the Mt. Tripyramid Trail, taking a break and ready to cross Avalanche Brook and into new territory. I had not been past the brook, so this was a new experience for me, too. The trail was narrow, but easy to follow and soon enough, we found ourselves working up some slabs at the start of the north slide. We were still able to find blazes and as we ascended, the blazes were not on the trees, but on the rocks. About this time, a couple came up the slide and eventually passed us.
We discovered that if you stayed to the left, you could actually find some of the yellow blazes. Cameron was in the lead, and he’d ascend a section and wait for me to come up, then we’d repeat the process. We kept ascending and the views behind us opened up. Soon we could look back as see the Osceolas and Tecumseh. It was a hazy, cloudy sort of day, so we did not have crystal clear views, but what we could see was impressive. The fact that we weren’t in brilliant sunlight did not bother us, either. We would have rather not been out on the open slide with the sun beating down on us.
The slide eventually opened up wider and we switched over the right hand side. Soon a cairn came into view, so we decided to head for the cairn. Closer to the cairn, the material under foot began to change from slabs to more broken and loose rock. Up to this point, Cameron was doing great. He seemed to have no problem scrambling up and finding a route. Once on the loose, gravelly stuff, he started to lose confidence. At one point he slipped, which scared him quite a bit and then he was ready to be off the slide. I could see the end of the slide ahead, plus another large cairn, so I told him to relax and just head carefully to the next cairn. We knew that the trail would take a sharp left into the woods at a cairn, and sure enough he easily spotted the trail next to the cairn. He was very happy to be off the slide and back into the woods.
We discovered that he did not like the loose gravel at all, although he enjoyed the rest of the slide. With that fact in mind, as we continued up the last little way to the summit through the woods, we talked about the rest of the hike and I was honest as to how the south slide had slippery gravel as well. I presented him with the option of doubling back after summiting Middle Tripyramid and taking Pine Bend Brook Trail down to Scaur Ridge Trail, which would then take us back to the Livermore Trail. I explained that it would add a mile or so to our day, and that Pine Bend was steep at the top. He asked if it was loose at all, and after assuring him it wasn’t, he decided to go with the Scaur Ridge Trail option. That was fine with me, after all this was his hike, for his list and keeping him happy and safe is part of my job as parent and hiking partner. Personally, I liked the slide and found it to be much easier than I thought and enjoyed the challenge and views that it had.
We arrived at the summit of North Tripyramid and after a break and an early lunch, we were off to Middle Tripyramid. That was a quick walk, and after a nice chat with a couple at the Sabbaday Brook Trail junction also out bagging the Tri’s , we arrived at the summit at 11:45a. A quick break and some pictures and we were on our way back to North Tri, and Pine Bend Brook for now what would be a bit over six miles back to the car.
While Pine Bend Brook near the summit is steep and rocky, Cameron was still happy with his choice and once we were past the steep section, we moved along easily toward the Scaur Ridge Trail. While I had been on Pine Bend Brook twice, I had never been on Scaur Ridge and all I knew was that it had good footing and a gentle grade. This trail turned out to be exactly as expected: a nice gentle descent through a pretty sunshine dappled birch forest with nice footing.
We ended right on Livermore Trail and happy to know the walk back to the car although long, would be easy. As the miles went by, I finally checked my tracking app on my iPhone, and found out we were already over 10 miles and still had a few miles to the parking area. Cameron was starting to get tired and his feet were getting sore, but with a few breaks and a little encouragement, he kept going. By the time we got to the car at 3:45p, we had hiked 12.5 miles. Not a bad day, and the timing with the weather couldn’t have been better either. The grey clouds rolled in just as we were getting closer to the parking lot and as we were driving home, it started to rain.
We had quite an exciting day, and thanks to God, a one that was safe and well-timed. Cameron bagged two more peaks, learned he didn’t like loose gravel on slides and I got to hike a new trail, the Scaur Ridge Trail.