Mt Cube (South Peak)

That horse of mine lives up in Orford, NH, and I was due to visit with him and his people. (They’re all doing great!) So on Saturday, I made Titus tired in the morning and then loaded Lilo up for the drive. She’s a great copilot, waits patiently (albeit staring at me the whole time) in the car, and was delighted to get her reward: a walk up Mt Cube’s south peak via the Cross-Rivendell trail.

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It was one of those days that looks warm — blue skies and sun! — but still has a chill in the wind. Gotta admit that the lingering winter weather and horrific ice on the higher summits has me feeling just fine about sticking to smaller mountains (Cube is 2,900′ and change) for now! Even if the lower portion of the CRT was mostly mud.

Only mostly, though! At 2,500′ or so — I don’t carry an altimeter, so that’s strictly an estimate — the minor very intermittent ice and mostly-mud gave way to much more significant and less bypassable patches.

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I didn’t get pics at the sketchiest bits, but the stretch behind Lilo gives you an idea.

I added spikes, took them off, and put them back on again. On the way down, I ended up just leaving them on until we were below the worst of it. Happily, there wasn’t much rock in this section so I don’t think I dulled the spikes too much. Of course the only time I fell on the ascent was scrambling up a bank to avoid the ice!

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There were a few nice outlooks and short not-quite scrambles on the ascent and I heard two ravens playing on the thermals at one point. Approaching the summit, the tree cover mostly drops away and you have an easy scramble or steepish walk-up (depending on your point of view!) about a hundred feet of pretty quartize ledge….to the top!

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It’s a really lovely expansive view. One of the few other hikers I saw all day happened to pass up just below the summit and was still there when we arrived; she said it’s one of her favorite places. I can understand why! I recommend Steve Smith’s excellent write-up of the trails and view guide.

I had intended to go on to the north peak. We started on past the first junction, but at the second I wasn’t totally sure which way to go. (There’s excellent trail signage, but nothing that points to the north peak specifically and I — bad hiker! — had not brought a map.) We were up on our turnaround time anyway, so we turned back and lingered on the summit for a bit before heading back down the way we’d come.

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Fight the power!
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Big world, little pit bull.

Lilo was perfect all day — just a joy to hike along with. This was our first big outing since Titus came home. We’ve done a few little strolls and she’s run lots of errands with me (and gotten lots of snuggles!). But she doesn’t believe in morning exercise and our post-work walks involve both dogs. It was really nice to amble easily along again with my best friend. I spent most of the descent thinking about what a great hiking dog she’s become and how well we understand each other.

I also spent some time thinking about how that understanding didn’t come free. I spent an awful lot of time in tears over trying to hike with this dog. She learned, and I learned, and Titus is learning, too. It was a lovely break and a lovely reminder.

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imageAlthough this walk and Titus’s stellar behavior on a short trip to Franklin Falls Dam (just the two of us) when I got home may have made me a little overly optimistic…! Check back on Friday* for that story.

*I’m going to switch up my posting schedule and try Monday/Wednesday/Friday for a bit.

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5 thoughts on “Mt Cube (South Peak)

  1. What beautiful views! I love getting to eavesdrop on your landscape through your pictures; it’s completely different from what we see on our hikes. Even if I drive to the nearest ascent worth mentioning, it’s covered in red dirt and drought resistant Texas plants instead of rolling evergreens.

    This is such funny timing. I let Nala completely off leash for the first time ever last week, and had some of the same thoughts–how perfect she is, how beautiful it is to scramble along in perfect sync with a dog (who covers about four times as much distance as me, what with all the running back and forth). It’s easy to forget that just over a year ago, we had quit hiking altogether because I couldn’t figure out how to help her feel more comfortable in new places. I’ve been starting to itch to add another dog for a while, but not sure how I feel about starting all over! I think I need to enjoy Nala’s perfection a little longer before I’ll be really ready.

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    1. Thank you! I’ve never been to Texas and only twice to the southwest, but have friends in the area. So I see a lot of pictures! I’d love to check it out in person. Definitely a different kind of landscape — always looks like an alien planet to me, especially the crazy plants!

      And aw, good job to Nala and to you — that sounds glorious! I struggled a lot with whether to upend that easy familiarity with a second. I completely adore Titus, but it’s a big change. It’s good to appreciate what you have while you have it, whatever it is. 🙂

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