Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pemigewasset Wilderness; June 10-11

Well, I was right about having stories to tell from this trip, but they aren't so much about fishing.

I left my cousin's place in Northern NH on Thursday morning, expecting a few showers throughout the day, and decent weather for the weekend. Since I'd left a little late that morning I wanted to be sure I'd arrive at my planned camp-site with enough time to get my tent set up, eat some food, and fish a bit before it got dark. Well, it turned into quite a slog in the rain. I arrived on schedule at 3:30pm, but I was cold, and pretty well soaked from the hike. Wet wading in the rain when it's 62 degrees is a sound recipe for hypothermia; fishing didn't last long before I decided it was time to get dry.

After a damp night, I awoke Friday morning to blue sky and sunshine:

The nice weather lasted maybe half an hour... I'd planned on climbing Mount Garfield (4,495ft elevation), which I'd estimated at maybe half a day's hike round-trip from my campsite. The blow-downs and wet conditions on the trail made the ascent a bit slow:

The south slope of Owl's Head in mist

One of the many downed trees on the Franconia Brook Trail

I arrived at 12:30 or so to find the summit totally socked in, as I'd expected from the drizzly conditions on the way up:

The view form the summit of Mount Garfield

I took advantage of the cell phone reception on the summit to get a weather report. It was dissapointing to hear that more of the same drizzly stuff was on the way for Saturday and Sunday, this time with the potential for strong thunderstorms, and hail at higher elevations. The weather changes fast around here, on wednesday the forecast had predicted sun and temperatures near 80 for Saturday... With the deteriorating prospects for decent weather over the weekend, I decided to I'd be better off somewhere nice and dry, and began the hike back to my car.

What happened next was one of those embarrassing and inconvenient, but not necessarily dangerous back-country blunders: I descended the wrong side of Garfield in the fog, and lost about 2 hours. The upside was I got a great view the second time up and over the mountain:

Once back on the summit I was able to make a call and get a ride from a more nearby trailhead (thank you Jan!). Without that I probably wouldn't have arrived back at my car till after dark. After a nice, cozy, and dry night I headed back out to do some fishing:

While I didn't manage to catch anything, I did see a few fish, which was encouraging. I also found some great pools on the Pemigewasset River in Franconia Notch:

The Pemigewasset is a beautiful river to fish, I hope to get back up there in nice weather, or even in bad weather (with waders and a better rain jacket!). Hopefully I'll have time for another multi-day trip in July!

To sign off, here are a few more assorted photos from the trip:

Jan's hydroponic tomatoes

Wilderness Trail crossing Franconia Brook

Garfield Pond, 3860ft

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