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Thread: Winter Waterfall Weekend - 3/9/14

  1. #1
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    Default Winter Waterfall Weekend - 3/9/14

    Here are some of the photos that I took. Unfortunately most of mine came out really poor.

    The happiest camper:

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    We all met up at a ranger station at the head of the Kancamagus Highway. We formed a very rough plan and made our way to the first set of waterfalls. Along the way we passed an old covered bridge. This bridge was originally built in 1850. The current bridge is 225 feet long and 30 feet wide and was built in 1890 at a cost of $4,000. The first bridge was actually destroyed when another bridge collapsed and was pulled downstream into this one. Kind of funny but I bet the original constructors were pretty upset.

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    Our first official stop was Diana's Baths. This is a small set of cascades that add up to about 75 feet of total drop. It was interesting to see the stark contrast in landscape between winter and summer as well as the lack of people. In the summer Diana's Baths are overflowing with tourists and it is impossible to find a quiet spot. Even though the .5 mile trail was well packed we only saw two other small groups exploring the baths/falls. The scenery is quite amazing in person and photos do not do it justice. The water is heard flowing underneath the ice and can even be seen in some spots through the ice. Be careful where you walk because there is some open water. I only have one photo here of this area and it shows the largest of the falls. There were tons of small features as you walk down the cascades which didn't lend well to photos.

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    From here we decided to tackle Arethusa Falls, the highest falls in NH with a nearly 200 foot vertical drop. On the way we stopped for a photo of the trucks. There is a really cool rail bridge in the mountain behind us but it is hard to see.

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    Arethusa Falls are frequently visited by ice climbers in the winter but we didn't see any on the falls. The 1.5 mile hike is a pretty decent work out with a fair amount of elevation gain. The ice and snow made things difficult. The center of the trail was hard packed and very slippery but the edges were so soft that you would fall in to your knees. Yaktrax were helpful on the way up but on the way down, sliding proved to be faster and a LOT more fun! Arethusa Falls are just incredible. The photos really don't show how massive they are. It is amazing that something like this exists right in our backyard. We climbed as high as we could and we all watched the water flow through some very clear ice in the center of the falls.

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    In the parking lot was a stock Ford Excursion. I had to take a photo.

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    Light was starting to fade so we decided to try to find a campsite. We had a few in mind and tried out luck at the most promising one. Unfortunately the entrance was gated. Laura managed to find another one about a half an hour away so we decided to try our luck hoping that it wouldn't be full. :) As is always the case in the White Mountains, the scenery was impressive on the way there.

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    We found the campground and it was pretty much wide open, as to be expected for early March. :) There was a surprising amount of traffic in and out of the campsites but we only saw a couple of campers on the far end of the campground. The sky was absolutely crystal clear and the moon was incredibly bright. The weather during the day was great but the night got pretty chilly, especially towards the morning. We awoke to 10 degrees but stayed fairly warm in the Excursion.

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    I had a scare in the middle of the night with the Excursion. I needed to turn the interior light on and flipped the switch but nothing happened. No lights! I immediately thought that I had killed my battery. I checked and nothing was plugged in or running so I was a bit puzzled as to why it happened. I flipped the key on and the instrument cluster lit up which I thought was strange. Why would my lights not even turn on but the instrument cluster will? I tried to start the truck to see if it would start. It fired right up. It was then that I came to the conclusion that the factory battery saver mode which kicks in after 40 minutes disables the interior lights. Well, now that the truck was running I decided to let it idle for a few minutes to heat things up. After a brief period we shut the truck off and didn't start it again until morning.

    At about 6am Ashwin took off to head back to Boston for a meeting. Neither us or Noah and Laura heard him leave in the stealth 4Runner. For breakfast we had kielbasa and scrambled eggs and orange juice. We managed to make a trade with Noah and Laura of some of our orange juice for some of their bacon. For some reason, they made the trade and we enjoyed the delicious bacon. They enjoyed their massive bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast burritos which looked delicious. We all packed up camp and figured out a plan. Noah and Laura would head one direction to do some ice climbing at the flume and we took off the other direction to hit another set of falls (which we never made it to). We took off across the Kancamagus and meandered around a bit.

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    We stopped at a trailhead and it was unplowed. I saw that another truck had attempted to climb up the hill into the parking area but was unsuccessful. I figured I would give it a shot and suffered a worse fate than the previous attempt. The surface was ice covered in snow and there was a fair amount of wheelspin all the way up. At about the half way mark the back end kicked out a little bit as forward progress stopped. Not wanting to get stuck I backed off of the throttle immediately and started to back down the hill. Unfortunately, the back end kicked out enough to toss the left rear tire off the edge of the packed surface and into the slippery deep snow. Uh Oh. At this point I could not go forward even one inch. The hill was too steep and there was 0 traction because of the ice. I did all I could but ended backing straight into the hard plowed snowbank at the edge of the entrance. My rear bumper was sitting on top of the ice berm and I couldn't move forward or back one inch. The tires were buried almost to their height in fluffy snow and underneath them was ice. I would have just pulled winchline but the nearest tree was well over 100' away. Out came the MaxTrax.

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    There was no way I was going backwards so I shoveled a little snow out from under the front of the tires and jammed the MaxTrax underneath. Keeping wheelspin to a minimum I pulled forward onto the MaxTrax. I got a little overzealous once I had traction and gave it some throttle to try and get as much forward momentum as possible. One of the MaxTrax shot out and into the deep snow. I figured I would just grab it later since I had 3 others. I ended up trying to use the MaxTrax as a ramp to get up and over the ice bank at the entrance and back onto the road. After two resets of the MaxTrax, we were up and over and back on the road. The whole ordeal took about 20 minutes.

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    A tip to those using MaxTrax: If you lose one, find it right away. Don't figure that you will just come back to it once you are out. We spent a good 30 minutes digging and searching through the snow to find it. It was buried pretty deep. After we found it I decided to make another attempt of the hill, which my girlfriend did NOT appreciate. Going up was rough since we just dug in and ended up about 1-2' deep in the snow. We eventually made it up after backing up twice and getting some momentum. Once at the top we were somehow able to climb on top of it all and as long as there was no wheelspin we stayed there. I took great pride in being the only vehicle all winter to make it up to the top of the 10' hill!

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    Last edited by Ryan; 03-10-2014 at 08:38 AM.

  2. #2
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    Great pics, thanks for sharing. Amazing the landscape this state has!
    MIKE
    Member: Tread Lightly
    Water covers 3/4 of the earth, Jeep covers the rest.

  3. #3
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    Beautiful pictures, what a way to spend the weekend! Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
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    Great to meet you guys this weekend, had a great time! Got some good ice climbing in today too.

    I would add my photos, but they would be more of the same and Ryan's are better. Look forward to the next one!
    Noah

    '05 TJ Rubicon

  5. #5
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    Man that looks awesome. Great pics. Glad you guys made it out and the rig looks awesome.
    Paul (FSHJNKY)

  6. #6
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    Rubicon is offline Ex-Coordinator & Ex-Mod Certified Trail Leader
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    Looks like it was a awesome trip!!!
    Traction, articulation, and gearing make a good off-road rig. Just a big lift, wide mud tires, and a winch simply do not.
    ~Shawn(the correct spelling ;)

  7. #7
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    It was great to meet Ryan and Noah, we had a good time. Here are all the photos I took:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/1022372...eat=directlink

  8. #8
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    Looks like a fun trip!
    -- Tundra (yes, really my name, not my truck!) - KC1DQY

    2013 Wrangler Unlimited Sport - not stock any more - Schoolbus Yellow (er, 'Dozer')
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  9. #9
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    Text added and a couple more images put in first post.

  10. #10
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    Rubicon is offline Ex-Coordinator & Ex-Mod Certified Trail Leader
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    Good thing you brought those MaxTrax!
    Oh I can just see the disdain in T's face when this was going on, lol!
    Traction, articulation, and gearing make a good off-road rig. Just a big lift, wide mud tires, and a winch simply do not.
    ~Shawn(the correct spelling ;)

  11. #11
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    Great pictures. Looks like a fun trip.
    Mike

    2009 Taco access cab. Mods: Airaid intake, Magnaflow exhaust, diif breather extended, Budbuilt skid plates, SOS Concept Sliders, SOS Rear Bumper, SOS Front Plate Bumper, OME 3" lift.
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  12. #12
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    Rubicon is offline Ex-Coordinator & Ex-Mod Certified Trail Leader
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxaarraa View Post
    It was great to meet Ryan and Noah, we had a good time. Here are all the photos I took:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/1022372...eat=directlink
    Wow! Those were some great shots Ashwin :)
    Traction, articulation, and gearing make a good off-road rig. Just a big lift, wide mud tires, and a winch simply do not.
    ~Shawn(the correct spelling ;)

  13. #13
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    I appreciate that you took the time to post the pics. I am sad that I wasn't able to go, but from the couch, being able to look at the pics is awesome.

    Ryan thanks for adding the additional notes as it added a lot to the pictures. I almost felt like I was there. Great job.
    Paul (FSHJNKY)

  14. #14
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    Great pictures and looks like a fun weekend. The Range Rover looks awesome! I really need to try and get my winter camping setup together before next season.

  15. #15
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    Quick shot of the makeshift sleeping platform. Built in a half an hour the night before the trip. :)

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