Good friends and paddling partners Larry and Scott spent the weekend taking an advanced whitewater clinic with Great Glen Trails Guide, Darren Laughland.
We paddled the Lower Ellis River, the Swift River, and sections of the Saco River. Having paddled mostly in California, Larry and Scott got a healthy dose of some classic White Mountain paddling, complete with lots of granite boulders and cobblestones in the shallow sections of the rivers. They both enjoyed the demanding paddling, with the requisite quick maneuvering to slalom around the rocks. Scott took his roll to the next level on Sunday, and Larry had some nice side surfs and transitions as he worked a ledge hole on the Saco. -Darren
Sunday was a very long day here at the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails. Seven staff members worked diligently through the storm protecting and moving what they could. The rain at the base came down in buckets and the Peabody River began to rise. If you have not visited us, understand that the Peabody River separates the main lodge from the base of the Auto Road, several maintenance buildings, the Tollhouse, Hideaway Gift Shop and the trail system. Vehicles were moved away from our maintenance building to higher ground and the water levels were assessed. Howie and Sue drove out on trails before the height of the storm and figured they could have kayaked instead. Nate, our Paddling Director probably would have had a blast on Clementine just before the river peaked. With 8.33 inches of rain in just a few hours the Peabody swelled like no one could have imagined or had ever witnessed before. It was time to let Mother Nature take her course and the staff get back across the river to safety. On the lodge side of the road, the back parking lot, past the barn and to the paddling shack became a river. All sorts of debris was getting dragged into the culvert that runs under the road. It all finally got stuck near the paddling shack. The water was relentless and pushed the the large cement ring that supports the man hole up and out of the way, it looked like a geyser.
The rushing river of water made its own path out into the grassy field and down towards RT 16. There was so much water that it was also diverted to the other side of the paddling shack. It cored out a very large section of ground and exposed the whole side of the foundation and kept on dragging debris down the hill.
Today the sun shines brightly and we discovered that parts of the trail system have suffered severe damage. Most of our trail system weathered the storm in good shape but portions of trails near the river have been washed out and the top layer on Clementine is probably on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. Repairs are already under way and we should be open for the long holiday weekend.
Needless to say our trail system will be closed to all traffic for a few days so we can rebuild a river bank, a few intersections, and several small sections of trails.
When I’m not in the office, out taking photos or putting together blogs, I’m a Mountain Bike Guide. I lead trips anywhere from one day, here on Great Glen Trails, up to five days here, and in the Mt. Washington Valley for the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). My first trip this summer was guiding a group of teens from AMC’s Teen Wilderness Adventures program. We had a blast and had perfect weather four out of the five days! The first two days started on the easier carriage roads of Great Glen Trails with some instruction and getting comfortable on the bike. Then when riders are all ready for singletrack, which is similar to a hiking trail – narrow, rocky, rooty and technical, we have a turtle race. Last to cross the finish line is the winner. This works on balance for when you need to ride a bit slower on the singletrack trails. It rained for most of the second day but we rode the carriage roads, tried some singletrack and did some map work. I taught them how to use our trail map and we split into three groups. Each group drew their own route to three different locations I had circled. Each location was found with some time and a little help from myself and the two AMC instructors, Shawna and Anthony. Then it rained and poured but we don’t melt so we rode on!
Day three brought dry weather and a ride at Moose Brook State Park. The roots were still wet, but the long climb up to Perimeter for a fun descent, was worth it!
Day four we enjoyed the nice flowy single track at Cedar Creek and a few bridges!
And on the last day we rocked it at Sticks and Stones, smooth singletrack and added elements to test your skills, balance and nerves. Then we did some circuits on the pump track. A pump track is a continuous loop of berms and rollers that you can ride without pedaling. It’s tricky, at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be speeding around the loop. -Meg