That picture of my cod (not to be confused with my codpiece) has been headlining VTK for far too long. I was preparing to do a post on how stupidly the Cambridge police acted, but what's there to say? The Cambridge police acted stupidly. Barack Obama may be forced to backtrack from that statement, but I'm happy to give it a new home here. I've been living in Cambridge for 9 years and I have no reservations saying they acted stupidly, because I've seen them act stupidly - and lie about it - on more than one occasion. I'd be happy to discuss this with anyone who disagrees in the comments, but that's all there is to say on the post itself. [update: said discussion did ensue in the comments.] Now on to some pictures of the insane trail BV and I hiked in New Hampshire's White Mountains this weekend:
That's not us in the pictures (and the rocks weren't that dry). I found these on google images and borrowed them since we were too busy being exhausted, discouraged, terrified, and disoriented to take any pictures when we were on the "trail". What you see there is the Flume Slide Trail up to the top of Mt. Flume, elevation 4300 feet. According to this hiker/blogger who gives a good account of the hike, it's about 3000 ft of total elevation gain up Flume Slide, to the peak, and over/up to the adjacent Mt. Liberty. 1800 of that is on the 0.7 miles of Flume Slide rock wall that somehow qualified for the name "trail". We got some advice from a couple hikers who had just climbed down "suicide hill" and suggested that we pull ourselves up using the trees along the side of it and climb through the forest where possible. Somehow, that description didn't deter us. The Appalachian Mountain Club tries to stop people from climbing through the forest next to the wet rock trail by laying trees across the paths that people bushwhack. So, while climbing up the wet rock wall is practically impossible, climbing up through the dense and obstacled forest with a big 45 pound backpack is merely almost impossible. I couldn't figure out how the AMC expected us to climb up the wet rock walls without dying. There were no warnings or anything. The only way we could do it was to crisscross the face of the trail, burrowing through the side trails. Eventually we stopped seeing the blue blazes that marked the trail. We were lost in a dense, steep thicket of trees and rocks. Every 25 feet or so, it would look like we had no option of where to go. We would pick the most tenable passageway and go up another 25 feet. While we were demoralized and starting to get concerned about light and water, we were heartened to see that other people had clearly gotten lost and passed through this way too. It wasn't a marked or approved trail, but it had become a trail of some sort. We also knew that it couldn't go up forever. Eventually, we'd get to a top, if not the top of Mt. Flume. We'd be able to put the tent down somewhere, if not on an approved campground platform. After a couple hours, the incline decreased and I came over a small ridge to see an AMC sign! I chucked my poles and screamed in triumph. Here's the sign (obviously without the snow):
It doesn't say anything about the "Flume Slide Trail" and we didn't see it on our 0.1 hike to the peak of Mt. Flume and beyond. That unmarked bushwhacky madness might have actually been the trail the whole time. When we finally got to the campsite, the ranger dude who supervises the site said he'd never climb the Flume Slide Trail in these wet conditions. So, that answered my question as to how the AMC expected people to climb the trail: it didn't. Not unless it was bone dry, anyway.
What's really funny to me - in retrospect - is that when we chose the trail, it did not occur to us at all that we were about to climb a trail NAMED AFTER A FUCKING WATER SLIDE. This only occurred to me when I was doing a google image search for "flume slide".