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Wet and Wild Wildcat A

Also known as... Thank God for Gore-tex! ;)

         I'm finally out of the woods so I can get back into the woods... The car has been in and out of the shop all month trying to get a passed inspection for last month and FINALLY this weekend, it's done. A blue 9 on my windshield and the old (2010) Mass sticker finally removed too. In all fairness, I had asked for a unicorn sticker but they just laughed at me... First world problems for sure but, this is my life. No one else (save for my parents) is going to loan me a car or cart my ass around. And I had just started a new job not too long ago.. Money was... Interesting. Now I feel that I am out of the wood and I'm ready to go back in. Considering, it had been two week (last week was car issues and Isis was at the Vet) since my last adventure so, I was kind of chomping at the bit to get up North. So much so that I think my new co-workers are finally "getting it" about me. I'm most at home in the mountains. My people are there and I look forward to going there weekly. Even at the expense of my car. So, Where too this weekend? Wildcats... For my typical 46/47 of my rounds. Why disrupt the system? The only issue here is the rain we have had. I noticed it yesterday when I was walking Isis around town. The local water was very high and I knew I was in for an adventure with water crossings. Better to go and try than to not go at all.

        My alarm started going off at 3am. I originally wanted to get an early start... OK, we left the house at 5 because I slept until 430a. I can be flexible. Sleep has been good lately and why disrupt it. So, we get underway and heading up 93 Isis and I get... Rain. This is not good and I do think of turning around. Except the voice told me to get past Franconia and see. The weather is always different on the other side. Isis doesn't care. She gets to sleep all the way up. Except for today when she buries a cookie somewhere in my back seat (I still have not dug it out). So, at the trailhead, it's packed. Seems like the only packed trailhead in the whites as all the other main thoroughfares are not busy at all. Things are put together and I hear dogs barking. I cringe. I just want a trail day without any dog issues. To my surprise, I know this pack of three dogs. Not a word was spoken though and Isis and I hit the trails at 8am.

      Heading up the rocks and roots of the 19 Mile Brook trail, you quickly wish for winter. Plus today, it's a wet soggy leaf ridden mess of a trail so, it's a good day to be a duck and you love Gore-tex even more than usual. Isis is doing her best to save her paws from getting too wet and me, I'm just plowing through. Happy to be out in the woods. Happy to be away from sea level for a change. Heading up and we make good time on this 1.9 stretch of trail. We let the pack of dogs pass in silence so that we can just enjoy ourselves and I swear both Isis and I smiled as we walked up the trail. Water water everywhere but at least the water crossings are bridged and even the shaky boards are replaced with nice ones that go all the way across. After a late start, we make it to the junction of the Carter Dome trail by 930a... I dive into my cheese, olives, and salami chunks... It's not too early right? Besides, I brought gum for after. I make a quick gear switch to my hat and water/wind shell and we are off again. Next section would take us to the start of the Wildcat ridge trail.

       The trend continues with very little people on the trails and A LOT of water. This is where you start searching your mind for why you are doing this today. Wildcat D actually has decent views except, lets see if Ma nature lets me get over there. The water is building on the trails and I stop to clear out a water bar. It was only one but every little bit helps. Isis and I run into a group of three who don't recognize her but recognize her breed. The woman was very nice and totally in love with Isis and totally understood the leash and praised me for it. I was so happy to be understood and enjoyed the conversation and brief rest. We continued to climb up rocks and roots and waterways and make it to the start of the ridge trail and the start of the.... Rain. Bleck! And still I am happy to be here. Isis and I stop for a break and she's not thrilled with her Canadian Bacon and Blueberry cookies but loves my cheese and her chicken and blueberry sticks... We'll keep working on the snacks. It was 1045a when we got to this junction and that didn't sound right to me. The weather was all I could come up with. The next .7 would really determine if we moved on to Wildcat D or just climbed to Wildcat A.

         Again, you really wish that there was snow already on the ground and it was covering everything with a good base for spikes. Since it's not yet, Isis and I walk carefully over running water and eroded trail in places. There are a few extra water crossings from the recent rains. We take breaks as this is pretty vertical and even the few switchbacks don't give us much relief. Probably about .2 to the summit, I hear someone exclaim "Isis!" and I look up to see a group of familiar faces... Marta was so happy to see Isis and it was great to chat with everyone. Seemed to be a common theme for our plans to be up in the air due to the weather. I was going to evaluate at Peak A and see what would happen. They were going to maybe go to Carter Dome. The agreeable fact was that the weather was less than perfect. Still a good day out. Just in the elements, it makes a different hike. We part and I make my way up the rest of the vertical gain. Isis and I park it at the outlook and take a few pictures of the nonexistent view. I look at the map and take everything into consideration. It's Sunday which means I have to get to work in the morning and with a new job, I'm not interested in phoning it in. So, taking it all into consideration, we head back down. Too my surprise, Isis has no issue with this. She's not even fighting me. It had started spitting snow on the summit and I could not help but smile. I laughed as we began our descent and then stopped, tipped my head back and closed my eyes, opened my mouth and stuck out my tongue. Snowflakes landed and I giggled. I love this and I love that I get to take my first snow walk of the season above 4000 feet. It's perfect. I catch a few more flakes and I'm good to go.

        Isis and I head back down the Ridge trail and step careful on the wet and slippery rocks further sealing my good decision. I wished that this was all snow so I could slide down like so many years before. The standing water o the trail seems to have gotten worse as we head back and when we make it to the junction again, we stop for a brief snack and then head back down the 19 mile brook trail. This is pretty much a head down and walk section as we move towards the car. We stop at the junction for the Carter Dome trail and I take off my wind/rain shell and quickly put it back on as the rain starts up again. I'll try again later... It's just a little hot. 1.9 to the car and in the home stretch now. Again, the head goes down and we walk. Isis has been doing great today. She's hardly acted out and I've been so proud of her lately. She's really grown as a dog. Maybe she's just selective of who she lets around me and has been protecting me all along? Marta catch up to us and we stop to chat with the group again about goals and what we have going on. The question comes up about my solo endeavorers and I tell her that I wish it was not like this sometimes. That I'd like to hike with others and that right now, life is just pushing me this way but that I would be open to hiking with others especially to carpool and save my car. I let them pass as I run slow these days and Isis and I like to do our own thing. It was really nice to see some familiar faces though. I thoroughly enjoyed todays hike for as messy and elemental as it was. I think I have a plan to go back next weekend to either pick up both peaks for November and catch me up to 47 or we'll switch it up and go to Isolation to take advantage of the extra hour between Saturday and Sunday. A late hike in a headlamp and I can sleep late on Sunday? We'll see what the week holds.

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