I hiked Tuckerman Ravine today…..
Well I didn’t do too much of the hiking. But I had an amazing group of 15 of my best friends in the world that did.
Despite growing up skiing in the east, I never hiked Tucks before my injury when I was 19 and haven’t even considered it since, so I didn’t really know what it was going to be like. I didn’t believe it was really going to happen until we were all at the same dinner table in North Conway on Saturday night.
Here’s the timeline and my thoughts from the day:
8:00am – Trailhead
Trailhead at Pinkham Notch. I was excited and nervous. We had talked about this for awhile but I had no idea whether it would work. Here’s how it started:
We rigged my monoski with a dog-team-like line out in front where 8 people could clip in their bags and pull my monoski in unison. We also built a little aluminum frame behind my monoski and tied ski poles horizontally so people could help me stabilize the monoski on the way up and push when needed. Here’s how it looked on the trail (click the image to watch video):
10:00am – HoJos
We reached HoJos (aka Hermit Lake Shelter), a little over 2 miles up the trail. This was the easy part. Going in we decided we would call it a success just getting to HoJos and skiing the Sherburne Trail back down. But the weather was perfect, we could all see the bowl of Tuckermans Ravine and the crew was feeling confident.
An aside: When we got to HoJos, a really nice woman came up to us, wanted to let us know what we were doing was cool, but she fell into a common trap (completely innocently): she asked what adaptive ski program we were with. Like many people, it didn’t occur to her that we were just a group of friends out hiking Tuckermans on a nice weekend day. Adaptive sports programs do amazing things and the KBF wouldn’t have grant recipients without them, but people with disabilities can play/experience sport and recreation independently just like everyone else! I hope we proved that!
HoJos to the ravine was by far the hardest and sketchiest part of the day. It’s narrow, steep, has a sidehill and had sections of exposed rock. We were always fighting to keep my monoski upright and tracking forward, and at times the crew had to completely lift me off the ground. We were all falling all over the place and working our tails off. At one point I fell over to the left (and down a sidehill!), twisted out of the toepiece of my ski, it was all going wrong. We stopped for a minute and let some people pass, which is when we met Seth (we learned later he’s a police officer in North Conway) and his buddy Jon who were just up there on their weekly hike. With our trusty crew still pulling and pushing (like they’d been for the last 3 hours), Seth just stepped in added a much needed boost up the last part of the trail. The people you meet! Thank you Seth and Jon (in blue and yellow in the video)!
11:00am – Lunch Rocks!
Photo credit: Jerry Bird
Incredible feeling! As Tuckermans Ravine opens up in front you it’s really beautiful and a huge sense of accomplishment. These guys were incredible.
Joe Swensson, Alex Miller-Hope, Zach Miller-Hope (my cousin), Jed McDonald, Jane Shiverick, New Friend Seth, Chris DiLorenzo, Kelly Burgart, Skip Heise, Charles Christianson, Anthony Liberti, Sara Lindquist, Rusty Heise, Artie Mittnacht, Josh Kernan, Jerry Bird, Vinnie Dinapoli, Mattie Ford Dinapoli, Tara Martin, Zeke Davisson (my husband), Lindsay Brush Getz (my sister), and me. Photo Credit: Jon Hebert
The crew had a few beers and got a few runs in. After they took a run, they decided that I should go higher. These guys were incredible! I’ll let these videos show you how this worked.
1:30pm – To the parking lot!
Time to head down! Again, the ravine to HoJos was the sketchiest part. Between Little Headwall, narrow riverbeds, low shrub trees everywhere, it was definitely hard and I needed help. I was lucky to have so many good skiers up there with me: 6 former Middlebury College ski teammates, a couple other D1 skiers (from unnamed schools) and a bunch of other awesome skiers. We picked our way down very carefully. Even if I had the video, I wouldn’t post it ;).
From HoJos down it was the Sherburne Trail. I was nervous about this part too because I don’t really like bumps or narrow trails, not to mention both together. But the top was smooth and the bumps at the bottom were manageable. I fell a lot but still had the crew there to help.
Epic day at #tuckermans. Way more tired than we look…. Big thanks to everyone tagged, crew was down for anything today #kellytakestucks #thatwaseasy #oknotthateasy A photo posted by Kelly Brush Foundation (@kellybrushfdn) on
We were all exhausted and sweaty, but could look up from the parking lot and see what we accomplished. Thanks to everyone that helped, supported and cheered. This kind of stuff is unimaginable without the awesome friends that were not only up for doing Tucks this past weekend, but were willing to literally put me on their back. So much fun!
OK, that’s all for now. We hope to compile a video soon, but I need to go to bed for work in the morning.
Thank you everyone!