Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mt. Starr King & Waumbek - 11/20/11

Having stayed at a motel in Twin Mountain, we got a nice 7:20am start to our hike this past Sunday to Mt. Starr King and Mt. Waumbek. I've been sitting back and allowing Bill to choose his hikes as we make our way to his completion of the 48. We could have hiked Carrigain or the Hancocks, but we opted for the shortest available on day two of our weekend by choosing Waumbek. It's always nice to get back home at a reasonable time on Sunday too, although personally, I wish I could stay in the mountains all week....
Starr King Trailhead
There were no cars at the trail head when we started, and there was a spitting rain as we started up the Starr King Trail. There was an eerie silence in the forest at the beginning of the hike. It seemed as if we were hiking into the weather as we ascended, so it was uncertain as to when it would lift. Slowly it did, and it became brighter, but it always seemed like the sun was struggling to break through. Compared to Zealand the day before, there was no snow at all near the bottom. We continued up the Starr King Trail, which is a steady, gradual climb, which is not exactly easy after hiking the day before. It's the type of trail where you think to yourself that you almost wish for some rock hopping and climbing, but instead its like walking up a really long hill.

As we climbed higher, making the swing to the left side of Starr King as the trail approaches the summit, the same coating of snow we witnessed yesterday started to come into play. It was about this point where the weather became a little different. It was much colder and windier than it was about a mile back and below. We reached the summit of Starr King at 3907' .

Summit of Mt. Starr King
We passed the cool looking fire place on the summit clearing and continued on towards Mt. Waumbek. The wind continued to howl over the tree tops, and sometimes had enough force to make it felt at trail level. It was much colder than the lower half of this hike's elevation. The hike between Starr King and Waumbek is gentle and pleasant, even in late fall weird conditions, and we made it to the summit of Mt. Waumbek, which was my brother's 40th of 48 in 2011.

Bill on his 40th summit of 2011
On the way back and with only one direction to go, down, we started on our quick exit from the summit. We stopped for a couple of quick summit photos on Starr King that we didn't take time for earlier, but that was about it. We matched the book time of my same hike in June hike at four hours. As we descended there were  many hikers, all with dogs heading up the trail. We were bundled up from being on the other side of the peak while the folks heading up the trail were in T-shirts, so we informed them it was a little cooler at the top. We were done before noon, and back home later in the afternoon to reflect on an enjoyable two hikes in the mountains.

Hike Stats
Trails: Starr King Trail
Distance: 7.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 2650 feet
Book Time: 4hrs

To view the full album from this hike, view or click on the slide show below.

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