Granite Mon 2008

:: granitemon

I think this was the year of the gorgeous fogged-in tour of the harbor, wherein it was deemed far too dangerous to try to make it to Long Island, much less back again. The water was incredibly warm, though, so we settled for a swim out to the nun, then over to Lappahanink, then to one of the inner-harbor cans, then back to the KYC.

Participants:

  • Mark Read
  • Ben Walker
  • John Clements
  • Andy Wanning (Andy, can you confirm this?)
  • Justin, were you there?

Andy Writes:

For ’08, yes I was there, but I was just a chaseboater, along with Lena (Kulikova) and Mark’s friend Will Etundi. There was no other biking/climbing that time, ’cuz it was Matt’s wedding day. JP might have done that stuff later on in the year though.

Ed. Note: Andy’s notes and my notes don’t exactly line up. It’s probably me that’s wrong.

Granite Mon 2007

:: granitemon

Pictures taken by Andy, in the dining room at East Egg:

One at East Egg

One at East Egg

Another one at East Egg

Another one at East Egg

There’s more, in this Flickr set.

Andy writes:

For ’07, we had a successful swim in the rain. Swimmers: me (Andy Wanning), Mark Read, Oliver Grantham, JP, Ben Walker, I think Jerry (Millay). Chaseboaters/others: Oliver’s wife, his friend Sean or something, Sean(?)’s wife, and David who made the brunch. I’m not sure if the others did the bike ride, because Lena & I stayed in BH and then saw mom’s play, and then arrived in Medway at 1:30 am, got 2 hours of sleep, and then climbed Katahdin with everyone. So yeah, successful Katahdin climb too that year.

Granite Mon 2006

:: granitemon

Post-swim 2006

Post-swim 2006

Swimmers, from left:

  • Andy Wanning
  • Mark Read
  • Ben Walker
  • Justin Pollard
During the Hike up Katahdin

During the Hike up Katahdin

It looks like Jerry Millay was also there for the hike, and probably took this picture.

There are a whole bunch more photos, all taken by Andy, in this Flickr set

Granite Mon 2005

:: granitemon

swimmers 2005

swimmers 2005

Swimmers, from left to right:

  • Oliver Grantham
  • Andy Wanning
  • Ben Walker
  • Justin Pollard
swimmers and crew 2005

swimmers and crew 2005

More pictures from Andy in this flickr set.

Andy writes:

Essentially, it was mostly a wash, primarily because of the 70% chance of thunderstorms we heard about for Katahdin after finishing the swim. We realized that with those odds, as JP put it “this would create a 99% chance that the park rangers wouldn’t allow us up Katahdin tomorrow”. So that would’ve been a lot of effort (and expense, a la hotel & food) for naught.

Then it was also raining sporadically as we sat around JP’s pondering what to do next, and after the swim, which I will explain below, we were pretty beat of course and not exactly psyched to ride bikes in the rain. However, we were still sort of psyched to bike around the peninsula. At the same time, Hillary was going to go hiking in Acadia and was encouraging us to come with her instead, so this was the other option. Unfortunately for the bike option, one of Oliver’s bikes, the one I was going to ride, had a hole in the inner tube - so he patched that one, and found another hole, so he patched that one, and found another hole, and so on, and after 4 holes it was getting late and that basically broke the ol’ camel’s back. So it was off to hiking in Acadia.

Which was actually quite nice of course - we hiked around Jordan Pond, up a mountain in the fog, and back down and around to the Jordan Pond restaurant, forget the name, and had a really nice meal there. So that all worked out pretty well.

But of course I digress. The swim was, in two words, f*cking freezing. I would have given my left nut (and very nearly did to frostbite) to have that nifty little wetsuit of yours. Just getting out of the boat at Long Island and picking around the rocks & seaweed while applying generous amounts of Crisco was pretty miserable, though fun in a we’re-totally-nuts kind of way. And wading into the water was more or less hellacious, and then diving in the water was ridiculous, especially the freezing-the-face part. I thought eventually my face would numb up like the rest of my body, but it never really did, so I would just do a few crawl strokes and then do the side- and backstrokes and try to keep my face out of the water. And that was after I had summoned over Sara to give me the can of Crisco so I could re-apply the stuff on my face.

So I lasted maybe half an hour, as did Justin, as the other skinny guy. I got into Sara’s boat, and my teeth started chattering a few minutes later, and didn’t stop until we got to the Becton’s dock another hour or whatever later. So, just in case you were wondering, we were F*CKING COLD. When we caught up to Oliver, who was churning along at about 2 knots I suppose and leading the pack of 2, he yelled to us “how much further ‘til the dock?”, and after we told him, he added “My goodness it’s cold”.

So he finally dragged his numb body onto the dock and sat there shivering for a while, but was very pleased of course to have actually finished. Maybe 15 or 20 minutes later, Ben calmly ascended the ladder, and when asked about the temperature, said “Actually I got used to it pretty fast”, not kidding a smidgeon. This provided much mirth and shocking disbelief for our band of swimming, well, supporters, which at this point consisted of Nate, Hillary, Howie, Vicki, Cuzco the dog, and Hillary’s dog as well as the aforementioned Sara and JP and me.

So we called it a job well done and proceeded to our respective showers, and then onto JP’s house for an absolutely delectable brunch consisting of scrambled eggs, toast with pesto spread, blueberries, and some other stuff which I can’t remember. Abby and The Judge joined us at JP’s, the latter positing the whacky idea of initiating a bike ride that mere mortals might actually be interested in, such as biking around the peninsula and then hiking up Blue Hill, making it a peninsula event that area people & businesses might like to join and/or sponsor. It was also suggested that we start a non-profit associated with the event called “Bibles for Guantanamo” and donate any proceeds to a fund of that purpose in order to show our compassion for the prisoners being abused in our name there. However, some may not exactly see the sarcastic nature of such an endeavor, so it may be shelved in favor of a more broadly inclusive goal such as “Weed for the Fatigued” or something like that (actually this just popped into my head, so should not be considered an official proposal of any sort). No, actually there were a few more suggestions, but I don’t remember them, so we’ll need some help remembering or fresh inspiration if we are to come up with a theme for any fundraiser we may want to endeavor next year.

Anyway, then we proceeded to the 3-hour council meeting in the driveway, an experience perhaps more painful than diving into the Blue Hill Bay water, and you know the rest.

Granite Mon 2004

:: granitemon

This picture was taken by Jenney Wilder:

2004 swimmers

2004 swimmers

Swimmers, from left:

  • Bill Hinckley ?
  • Ben Walker
  • Ted Heyd
  • Oliver Grantham
  • Justin Pollard

There are more pictures in this flickr set.

It looks like I rowed this year, but I can’t tell you anything else about it.

Granite Mon 2003

:: granitemon

alt text

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Well, the 2003 GraniteMonChallenge has come and gone. It did in fact happen on August 23, and six intrepid swimmers showed up at 6:00 am:

The swim:

  • Justin Pollard
  • Ben Walker
  • Andy Wanning
  • John Clements
  • Wing Taylor
  • Ted Heyd

Most agreed that the water was as warm as it’s ever been, though I broke down and wore a wet suit (my excuse is that I was injured in a bike wreck) so I wouldn’t know.

The wind picked up a bit during the second half, and it was pretty choppy (well, relatively speaking) by the time we reached the Bectons’ dock. Justin, Ben, and I made the full swim, while Andy and Ted climbed out when they got bored … actually, that swim is pretty darn boring. Well, when you’re not freezing, anyway. A special mention goes to Wing Taylor, who arrived on three hours sleep and managed to whip out a broad array of strokes to make it from Long Island to the mainland, which is after all the difference between living and dying, in some hypothetical sense.

This picture (and the prior one) were taken by Wing Taylor, on a self-timer.

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The ride:

The post-swim break was leisurely and lengthy, and at noon, there was a lively discussion about whether to bike at all. I was out of the bike part (and the climb part) in either case, because of the aforementioned bike wreck. The intrepid crew:

  • Justin Pollard
  • Ben Walker
  • Andy Wanning

…did finally set out, and plowed northward to somewhere near H… H… er, Bangor. This is where I took all their bicycles away and they drove north toward East Millinocket.

Here’s a picture of the three of them:

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All of these pictures were taken by Abby… oh dear, I don’t know her last name. Anyone?

The Climb:

Well, I wasn’t there, so I really can’t say much; the day was unbelievably cold, with an early-season cold front blasting Canadian air down as far as Blue Hill. Evidently, the conditions on the mountain made it more or less un-climb-able. Details, anyone? Fortunately, Abby took a bunch of pictures. Here’s one of Abby:

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As I wasn’t here, I can only guess at a chronological ordering on these. Here’s one labeled “lunch”:

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Here’s one of the lads in front of the mountain:

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And finally, two pictures of the atmospheric conditions that made the final ascent impossible:

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Granite Mon 2002

:: granitemon

This last year: things must write about:

  • participants (incl. Justin’s friends from Yale)
  • nice warm swim
  • somewhat earlier start
  • beautiful ride
  • Oh My God Where’s Ben
  • Everyone made it the whole way
  • Lots of ibuprofen
  • Gorgeous climb (as usual)

Well, now it’s 12 years later. What can I reconstruct?

People who were probably there:

  • Justin Pollard
  • Andy Wanning
  • Oliver Grantham
  • John Clements
  • Ben Walker
  • Dan Walker

Granite Mon 2001

:: granitemon

This was the first year of the Granite Mon Challenge, including the swim, the bike ride, and the climb up Mount Katahdin.

The swim went well. I don’t remember any details.

The bike part went well, too, unless you hold our late start against us. It’s pretty hard to get moving after a big swim like that. We all met at Justin’s house after a shower, and ate a wonderful breakfast (extremely belated thanks!). Riders this year included Ben Walker, John Clements, Justin Pollard, Andy Wanning, (anyone else?) and Juan, a remarkable guy who had made his own shoes. We started in the middle of Blue Hill, and rode northward past Penobscot, Orono, (more towns, anyone?) …. Our route paralleled the upper Penobscot River, and we had many scenic stops. Some not-so-scenic stops, too.

In a roadside accident, I munched my back wheel, and sat out the last ten miles or so, until everyone threw in the towel and tossed the bikes in the back of the chase cars and motored up to that motel in Millinocket.

The next day, in our haste to get to Baxter State Park, we managed to get two speeding tickets for three vehicles. Actually, it would have been three speeding tickets had Mark Read not signalled to us to pretend we didn’t know them.

We were fortunate to get into the park, and were assigned to the Abol trail—quickest route up the mountain, involving a long clamber over a huge rockslide that happened pretty recently—in the last two hundred years or so.

At the trailhead, we discovered that there was no running water in the park. Oh dear. Being young and dumb, we decided to chance it with the water that we had; somewhere in the neighborhood of 3/4 of a liter per person.

We made it to the top pretty handily, and sat and enjoyed the truly spectacular view. Even with the park’s restriction on entry, the summit was moderately crowded, but what the hell; there’s enough lonely grandeur to go around.

What’s more humbling is to arrive at the summit alongside the Appalachian Trail through-hikers, for whom this peak is the end of a very very long road. Our achievement seems pretty mundane in comparison. It’s strange to watch these people leave the peak; they’ve suddenly turned from through-hikers back into pedestrians.

The way down was harder; I ran out of water, and started to get really really thirsty. I started to mistake the sound of the wind in the trees for running water, and when I finally did find a brook, I threw caution to the wind and had a big drink.

Gee whiz, I hope someone has some pictures.