Archive for August, 2009

Adirondack Two-fer – Wadsworth and Black Bear Mountains

For many years now, Holly and I have gone camping for a few days at DEC’s Brown Tract Pond Campground, near Raquette Lake, NY. It’s fairly quiet and primitive as public campgrounds go, and we enjoy the quiet and the motor-free lake for canoeing .

August 25

We arrived at the campground, got set up, and then went to climb nearby Wadsworth Mountain. We discovered this one last year, by looking at Google Earth which showed some open cliffs near the summit. It’s not listed in any trail guide, and I’ve never heard of anyone else climbing it. It’s only about a 1.5 mile round trip from the car, but it’s about a third of a mile of bushwhacking off a marked trail that itself doesn’t get much use. The views are well worth the minimal effort.


Raquette Lake can be seen to the east:


And Lower Brown Tract Pond, the location of our campsite, can be seen to the west:


And of course, there was the ceremonial cheeseburger:


After the hike, we went for a brief swim in the pond, cooked some burgers and corn on the grill, read by the fire, made some old-fashioned popcorn over the fire, and then hit the sack.

August 26

The next morning, we set out to climb Black Bear Mountain, a popular destination in this area, and only a 2.2 mile hike each way. It’s the round bump in the previous photo. On our way to the trailhead, we made a short side trip to Ferd’s Bog, a well-known local attraction. After a short walk, there’s a boardwalk out into the bog that would otherwise be wet and inaccessible. No pictures – sorry. The hike to Black Bear Mountain starts out on an old road, then eventually climbs briefly and steeply to the rocky summit. It was a very murky day, with rain expected later, so the views were less than optimal.  The cold White Castle cheeseburger at 9:30 am wasn’t all that great either.

IMG_0240 IMG_0237

Heading back down, we reached the car just as the rain started to fall, a few hours earlier than expected. We took a side trip to Eagle Bay and Inlet, looking for a hardware store to buy something to repair the temperamental Coleman stove that hadn’t worked the night before.

Back at the campsite, we needed to kill several rainy hours by reading before the skies finally cleared and we got in some canoeing on the pond. The pond has an island with big rocks and even a ladder at one end, and we put ashore there and explored a little.


I got the stove working again, so we just cooked dinner, sat by the fire, made popcorn again, and enjoyed the amazing stars this far from any urban light source. Then we went to bed bundled up for a cool night in the upper 30s.

August 27

We woke up early, feeling a bit cool. After breakfast, it was time to pack up and head home. There was still a lot of fog and mist on the pond as we were getting ready to go.


After the long drive home, it was time to unpack, dry out, and get ready for the next adventure.


August 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm 2 comments

A Taste of Cheese and Beef on Mount Gower in San Diego County – August 17, 2009

I woke up at 5:15AM for my early morning workout group. We did some upper body routines and by 7AM, I was driving from Del Mar to Ramona in San Diego County. On the way, I stopped by a Jack in the Box and bought a tasty cheeseburger. Ignoring the wonderful smell from the bag, I drove to the trailhead. I was the only car there.

The fog still lay low in the valleys

I got packed up with my hip belt and started at about 8:15, walking the long trail to the top. I went north along one ridge, crossed over a small (now dry) seasonal stream and hiked up to another ridge. This one went south. Seeing Mount Gower behind me, I started to see a trend. A couple of miles later, I dropped into a steep canyon and began climbing the other side and started heading north. I started seeing young horned lizards scurrying off the trail.

Young Horned Lizard

Thus started the traverse of yet another ridge. This one had humps along it, so there seemed to be as much downhill as uphill. After a couple of more miles and a hefty elevation gain, I sank into a shallow meadow, where I imagine there would be a small creek running in the spring. I topped one more ridge and sank down into another valley and encountered a Hello Kitty balloon, snagged on some sage brush.

Hello, Kitty

I grabbed the balloon and carried it through several miles of bushwhacking, all the way to the summit of Mount Gower, where it kept me company while I ate my cheeseburger.

I then popped the balloon and placed it in my pack, so I could dispose of it properly. Hello Kitty, like the cheeseburger, was fun while it lasted.

Tasty snack, but what about the salt content?

I ran out of water on the way down and couldn’t help wondering if the cheeseburger was in a large part responsible for my dehydration. I stole some water from a garden hose and hiked the whole way back, which felt like it was just as much uphill as the way to the summit.

View from the top

Oh, cheeseburger, do you intentionally sap my strength? I cannot know until I eat another one on top of a summit.


August 24, 2009 at 7:58 am 5 comments

A Woodstock, VT Two-fer – Mt. Peg (1,076 ft) and Mt. Tom (1,250 ft) – July 26th

After acquiring said cheeseburgers at McDonalds, we made our way to our first hike of the day – yes, we are going to walk up these 2 peaks.  The trail is just off the green in Woodstock, after GroovyBoy was loaded into the backpack, we set off for the summit.  The trail leads trough the woods and opens to a wildflower covered meadow with amazing views of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP and the valley below where our cheeseburgers were readily consumed.  After a speedy descent, the first 2 miles for the day are under our belts.  A quick drive around the Green, and we were at the Faulkner trailhead on Mt Tom.  The trail switchbacks slowly up to the summit, however the 3 mile roundtrip was made in great speed – at least for a 5 year old, as GroovyGirl wanted the “girls” to beat the boys.  At times she was running up the trail.  The view of  Woodstock Village is fabulous from the open summit. 

All that speed hiking (as well as a growth spurt) made room for another cheeseburger.  The round trip total for Mt. Tom is 3 miles.  Total for the day 5 miles – now, time for a refreshing swim in the lake.

GroovyMom/ GroovyDad/ GroovyGirl/ GroovyBoy

August 19, 2009 at 8:39 pm Leave a comment

Isinglass Mountain – Elevation 1739 ft – all by car. (July 15th)

To continue our summits without walking tour of NH for GroovyCousin, we decided to do some mineral collecting at Ruggles Mine in Grafton County.  Following a leisurely drive to the summit of Isinglass Mountain, we made our way into the 200 year old open pit mica, quartz and beryl mine.  We each walked away with a bucket of mica, feldspar and quartz and a piece or two of aquamarine.  After the few hours of collecting, we made our way back out of the mine and the mini-cheeseburger were distributed and luckily I had packed 4 extras, as GroovyGirl ate them all before we got to the car – about 200 yards away.  I guess rock collecting takes it out of little kids.

GroovyMom/ GroovyGirl/ GroovyBoy and GroovyCousinIMG_1230

August 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm Leave a comment

Cannon Mountain, White Mountains, NH – elevation 4180 ft. all by tram. (July 11th)

IMG_1122The Groovy family has inducted another flatlander family member into the Summitcheese effort – GroovyCousin was visiting NH from IL and we had to show her what real mountains look like – at least here in NH.  After the 8 minute ride to the top, we waited for 30 minutes to get our cheeseburgers which were hungrily consumed as it was almost 2pm.  IMG_1120The views from the top made the wait enjoyable as the sun was finally shinning in NH.  After our decent we all hiked the Franconia Notch State Park Flume – definitely a fun family adventure.  GroovyBoy would love to know when the spinoff blog – SummitHotDog, will be started, as he seems to prefer the TubeSteak to the Steak Burger.

GroovyMom/ GroovyDad/ GroovyGirl/ GroovyBoy and GroovyCousin

August 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm 1 comment

Warm up on Mt Morgan and Percival, New Hampshire @ 2220ft. 7/22/09

Time to get the boots broken in and the body ready for some hiking in the west.  I had a 3 day Meeting up at Squam lakes and I knew I would be sitting around a lot.  So,  I looked around for good hike I might enjoy.  Mt Morgan and Mt Percival loop seemed to fit the bill.  A quick stop at the Burger King just before Holderness NH fortified my pack with a delicious cheeseburger.   Yes,  just one cheesburger, as these days there is a lot of Groovy Dad to love.    I headed up towards Mt Morgan first.   At  ~ 1.6 miles up the trail, just below the summit, is a nice set of cliffs.  I could choose to climb some sturdy ladders bolted into the side of the cliff, or free climb up it.   I chose to free climb as the holds were real jugs.

  Anyone that has witnessed my rock climbing ability would not be surprised by my choice….it was more like bouldering.   I sat down on the summit clearing and enjoyed my Cheese burger.  Then off I set toward Mt Percival.  The view from here was just as pleasant.  A quick hike back to the car to round off a nice 5 mile hike in just under 2 hours.

August 19, 2009 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

High Marking on Mt. Sneffles, 14,150ft. August 2nd, 2009

Highest Cheeseburger7 days and counting…..until I am supposed to be climbing the Grand Teton. Considering Groovy Dad lives at or near sea level, and I have not done a real hike, trek or climb, in nearly 5 years, I have my doubts on my upcoming performance. Thus, the last 3 weeks have been spent on tuning the UPS truck like chassis into Maserati (or at least a Toyota 4runner) like performance vehicle. The tune up to this point has been riding a road bike and carrying a 60lb pack around the hills of Hew Hampshire. Today, the tune up requires the trail test at elevation….. Now there is a simple route up Mt Sneffles that is a total of 2.5miles and 1700ft of elevation round trip from a “parking lot” for Toyota FJ’s. Although my approach vehicle was an FJ, I chose a different route via the Blue Lakes trail head that would test both endurance and climbing ability. After locating the keys to the FJ, in my in laws bedroom (yep woke them up!), I headed out. 20 Minutes later I was starting down the trailhead. Within a mile, a dozen turkeys met me on the trail. I followed them for nearly 10 minutes as they walked ahead of me down the trail. Very amusing I might add. Within 90 minutes I was at the lower Blue Lake. I then continued to head upward to the upper Blue lakes and the switch backs from Hell. I had noted on google earth images that there were 17 switch backs up to the Blue Lakes pass (Elevation 12,960ft).Switch backs From the pass, I could see a good number of other hikers and climbers scrambling and climbing up the scree and boulder fields leading up to the summit of Mt. Sneffles. After getting to the high saddle at the top of the scree and boulder field, I joined up with 3 other hikers to kick in steps of the snow field in the couloir. We had been warned by climbers with Mt axes, that the upper snow field in the couloirs was solid ice. Here is where I remembered my crampons were back in the garage…ooops. By the time we reached the top of the coluoir, we found the warmer temps had soften the ice and we could easily continue kicking in steps to make the notch near the top of the snow field to climb through to reach the summit ridge. From here it is an easy bouldering/walk up to the summit. After 5 hours, 8 miles, ~5000ft of elevation, and one lovely cheeseburger (purchased at the Ouray Hot springs the day before) later, I knew the UPS truck like chassis appeared to be tuned. Now, to get down and back to the trail head….as snow pellets were hitting me on the way down from the summit, I added two additional layers and thought “This is more clothing than I thought I would have needed” and I wonder if I have enough clothing for the Grand Teton”. The descent down was without incident and within 4 hours, I was back at the trail head feeling great for putting 16 miles under foot and obtaining the Highest Cheeseburger summit to date!!High marked

August 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm 2 comments

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The Mission

To encourage, enable, and document the consumption of a Cheeseburger on every summit on earth.
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