Friday, August 15, 2014

Hancocks for Sunset - 8/1/14

With July behind us, it was time to see what peaks were needed for August.  This summer has been loaded with family outings, more so than the last few years.  That's been totally awesome, and it's only allowed for hiking on different days, rather than both days every weekend.  With a party for Saturday to attend, my brother and I set out sights on a Friday night sunset hike for the first of August.  Our peak selection was the Hancock's. 

Hancock Notch Trail
A high squirrel doesn't give a sh*t about us
We got there in good time after work, being prepared the night before, as usual.  Bill was excited to get out again after another stint of not hiking much.  For this one, we each brought a beer to enjoy at sunset.  I've been stashing whatever I can to add weight to my packs lately anyways for training purposes so no problem with that.  Immediately after starting up the trail, I nearly stepped on a squirrel that didn't move as it ate something.  You know when you're watching the person's feet in front of you? Well Bill almost saw the squirrel get squished. After we both passed, it moved off the trail in a stumble.  We found that it didn't want to leave the mushroom it was snacking on.  Perhaps it was a funky mushroom. After the funny squirrel, we pushed it up the trail,  because we needed to move to make sunset.

The stream at the bottom of the dip on the North loop
Hancock Loop junction with nice colors
We decided on doing North Hancock first.  It was the best shot at actually seeing the sunset, as South Hancock outlook faces the east.   We kept up the effort up the steep trail, as time was fading to make sunset.

Arrow Slide from the loop trail
Hancock Loop to North Peak
With literally only two minutes before actual sunset we arrived at the summit of North Hancock.  The sky was a nice color.  The clouds seemed to reflect and have some color to them.  The orange ball of the sunset was just visible for a couple of minutes through the trees.  The temperature was nice, it was good, and we cracked open one of the pints and toasted to a nice sunset summit of North Hancock.

View from the North Hancock outlook
Sunset from North Hancock
Have some Mo

Feeling rejuvenated and ready to go, we set off across the ridge.  It was just a perfect weather night, and no one around.  We checked out possible spots to enter from the Captain, since we're headed out there soon, and maybe this winter.  It had just about gotten fully darkas we approached South Hancock, and somewhat thick cloud cover contributed to that.  We went to the lookout, and could see the lights on Route 302, which was a new sight.  In the day,  you don't see any civilization.  We busted out the second pint and enjoyed another 4,000 footer summit.

South Hancock

The hike down was nice and smooth, just like the beer we drank.  What a nice Friday night hike.   It was my 6th time to the Hancock's,  3rd time for my brother and his first time without snow.  We then got a good night sleep before having a great time with cousins and friends at the party on Saturday.

Hike Stats
Trails: Hancock Notch Trail, Cedar Brook Trail, Hancock Loop
Distance: 9.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,713 ft.
Actual Book Time: 6:30
GPS Track: Garmin Adventures

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