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Date Posted: 06:52:54 07/04/04 Sun
Author: Chris S-G
Subject: Presidential Traverse report

I thought about doing this one for a while, but usually other stuff got in the way. Alison, in particular, has been on my case for a year and a half, ever since I described the hike to her. We never made it out, since rockclimbing pretty much always trumps walking for me. This week, she got me.

We were nearly derailed by: me busting my ankle climbing the day before and the weather crapping out. The first was solved with heavy doses of vitamin I, the second by not caring.

The long and the short of it: left Intervale Sat. morning, dropped a car at Crawford Path, drove up to Appalachia and started walking at 6:30am. We went up Watson Path to Madison and hit every peak until Jackson before heading down. Total time was a little less than 11.5 hours.

Some thoughts:

We think we could do 9 hours, since neither of us felt we were pushing very hard, we had no visibility until noon and we lingered over coffee and cafeteria food at the Washington summit for an hour and some. We also took frequent breaks to munch a little, drink water and chat.

Our time suffered a bit since this was off-the-couch for me. I have been in China for the last three months, doing absolutely nothing useful with my body. The bad ankle also definetly slowed me down on the descents.

We should have gone on to Webster. That much is totally clear, now. We were vacillating on it, but I was aching, and it didn't look like much of a peak from the top of Jackson so we bagged out.

No-one should skip Jackson, since it is a fine, fine peak.

The logical route should follow the ridge all the way: so Pine Line or Howker Ridge to Madison is more in keeping with the spirit of the walk than Valley Way. Likewise, Webster Cliff trail as a finish.

All in all, a very pleasant walk. You couldn't pay me enough money to do it packing camping stuff, though. I abhor effort and I would cringe a little every time we saw people struggling under big packs. Totally silly.

Christopher Studnicki-Gizbert

chrissg AT mit DOT edu

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