Mt. Tecumseh

Submitted by Pat

Mountain: Mt. Tecumseh (4,003)
Date: June 30, 2006
Time: 4 hours and 41 minutes
Miles: 6.9
Steps: 20,415
Elevation Gain: 2,600
Trails: Tecumseh Trail
Holy Shit Factor: low

Picture Gallery

Short Video Clip
Nancy in the woods

Today Nancy and I climb Mt Tecumseh, our 9th 4,000 footer. The weather isn't perfect and I have a 6 p.m. softball game so we decide to hike the southernmost and shortest 4,000 footer. We leave Keene at 6 a.m., eat our ritual MacDonald's breakfast in Hillsborough and hit the Irving Station in Meredith off I93 where they bake fresh muffins daily. They smell so good and the ladies who bake them are wonderful to talk to. We decide to hike the Tecumseh Trail off Tripoli Rd - 6.2 miles. Our most recent hikes have all been 9 miles or longer so a 6-mile hike sounds like nothing. Surprise...

The air is humid, and the skies slightly overcast, with occasional glimpses of the sun when we start out at 8:34 a.m. After two water crossings close to the parking area, the trail starts up and up and up and up - no gentle warm up, just up. Not steep, just up. Both of us sweat more intensely on this climb than on any of the others. I'm sure it is the humidity, but I am not prepared for it. First lesson learned by Nancy: don't exercise twice a day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and do a fast 7-mile hill walk on Thursday and plan on having any legs on the up hills climbing a 4,000 footer on Friday. Nancy bonks a bit on the way up.

Second lesson learned by Pat: Just because the day is overcast and the temps are in the 70's doesn't mean I can skimp on water. I need to be sure to check the humidity before deciding how much water to bring.

The trail is relatively dry and the bugs stay away for the first few hours. Eventually we reach a ridge and enjoy a partial view. Tree branches and ferns encroach on the trail - must not be heavily traveled. We see lots of moose droppings. We cross a short ridge then start down and down before starting back up the final climb to the summit. The top offers limited views, but I'll take a limited view over no views any day. We eat an early lunch since we got up by 11 a.m. The black flies, however, are ferocious and basically ruin any possibility of sitting in the sun, taking our boots off, and really enjoying ourselves. We eat in a hurry, put on more bug dope, and get out of there by 11:20 a.m.

Third lesson learned by Pat: Even though it is a short hike, I have got to take Ibuprofen an hour before hitting the trailhead and again at the summit. It makes the pain in my knees much more tolerable on the descent. This is an easy descent compared to others, but my knees are old and tired and need to be babied.

We hit the parking lot at 1:11 p.m., take a WE MADE IT picture and are just changing into sneakers when the heavens open up with an isolated shower. But it is a heavy rain, filled with hail and huge dollops of water. We drive out of it after a while and the sun comes out to stay as we drive south and head to Keene with plenty of time to get to Wheelock Park to play my 6 p.m. softball game. We lose - 8-6 - but it is an exciting game and we are in it all the way. A bad call at second costs us a couple of runs - that's amateur sports for you. Hit the shower around 8:30 p.m. - it feels sooooooo good.

What a great day! Despite Nancy bonking on the way up and my knees pouting on the way down, we enjoy being outdoors, climbing, and hanging with each other.

9 of NH 48
9 of 67 in NE
9 of the NE 100 Highest