It's September 3rd, 2011, Labor Day Weekend. Today I am going to climb my first New Hampshire 4000 Footer, Mt. Tecumseh. There are officially according to the AMC 48 4000 footers on the AMC list. If all goes well and no reason it shouldn't then this will begin my personal quest to do all 48 4000 footers.
I woke up early not sure how long this hike would take, so up at 5:00 AM and out the door by 6. My destination is the Mt. Tecumseh Trailhead off of Tripoli Road (not the ski area). I arrive at 7:30 and am the first and only car in the parking lot. The goal is to hike up Tecumseh Trail to the top and then down to the other end at Waterville Valley then walk up Tripoli road back to the trailhead to the car. I pay my $3.00 hiking fee and off on the trail by 7:45.
The trail starts out gradually through the woods with the sounds of a brook nearby. It is an overcast, hazy and dewy morning, the woods are a beautiful green. I had originally planned on listening to my MP3 player on my hike but nixed that as soon as I stepped into the woods. Nothing better than the sounds of live nature.
The day is warm but not overbearing as the sun is blocked out by the low clouds. Greenery abounds on the trail with lots of soft mossy spots all over. The trail is never that steep and finally tops out on a wooded peak. This doesn't seem right as it only took an hour and a half to reach this point. I had read it was a wooded peak but was expecting a lot more than this and 3.1 miles in 90 minutes did not make much sense. I continued on and was introduced to my first PUD (pointless up and down).
I continued down the trail and soon started climbing back up, this time much steeper and rockier. About an hour later I reach the true top of Tecumseh and there is nothing special to see. A sign and a cairn marking the top and I get one shot of Osceola across the valley through the haze. I stop for a break and to eat some snacks. My first 4000 footer is in the books, I decide I want more and already thinking about which one to do next.
I start my descent down the mountain and soon come to a junction where there is a sign with an arrow pointing up with the word Summit. There is trail to the left and one to the right. I do not know why but I choose left and after a short ways the trail starts to ascend. I can hear voices from above and come to the conclusion that it is another trail to the summit. This would be proven true after closer inspection of the trail map where there are indeed two trails going up to the summit from that junction point, this trail is partially hidden on the map by the triangle symbol marking the summit of the mountain. I turn around and head back the way I came and make it to the next junction where Sosman Trail leads out to the top of Waterville Valley ski area. After spending 10 minutes walking around looking for some views that are still blocked by the haze and clouds I return to the trail.
Back onto Sosman Trail and to the junction with Mount Tecumseh Trail and down I continue. Halfway down the trail there is a spot that leads out onto the ski trail and I finally get some shots of the mountains in the area. Still hazy but the best views of the day, the Tripyramids and the Osceolas. I make my way down to the ski area parking lot and just before the end see the first damage of Hurricane Irene from this past Saturday. The trail has been rerouted from the stream. Tecumseh Brook had taken out a portion of the trail. I followed the stream wanting to see the damage first hand and amazed at how the brook took out everything in it's path. A few minutes later I am back on the trail and then the parking lot of the ski area, it is 12:45.
I take a cross country ski trail to get back to Tripoli Road and start the long walk back to the car. Did I say long? How about uphill? From the ski area all the way to the Osceola Trailhead it is nothing but uphill. 3 long miles uphill and then 1 mile downhill to the Tecumseh trailhead. Yeah!! Mountain number 1 is officially done and I am back at the car and it is 2:45. 10.6 miles in 7 hours, not bad for my very first 4000. What's next?