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March Idaho Adventure

A marvelous March adventure to the dome at Twin Lakes, Idaho.... Skiing at Pebble Creek, soaking at Lava Hot Springs, but our adventure needed a cheeseburger summit to complete the trifecta of fun. Groundround and our host Chuck poured over the maps and identified a few peaks that might be winter accessible by a hike or snowshoe. We headed off down lonely dirt roads, looking for access, but we were thwarted at every turn. It would appear that "NO TRESPASSING" is the state sign of Idaho. The roads along the farm fields and ranch lands surrounding our targets were completely and professionally posted with no trespassing signs, so we headed off for other adventures. 

After a lovely day walking the Oneida Narrows and soaking at Maple Grove Hot Springs, Sierra, groundround and I decided that on the way home we would make one last effort to find an accessible peak. Driving a bit out of our way to Franklin, Idaho, we found the access road to Little Mountain. The road was blocked by a locked gate, but there was not a single "No trespassing" sign anywhere to be found. We decided that gateswere meant to keep out vehicles, not intrepid cheeseburger summiteers, so over the gate and up the hill we went. After a fairly short yet steep hike we found ourselves on the summit enjoying tasty cheeseburgers and spectacular views of the southern Idaho countryside.


Little Mountain from a distance.

Mount Gilboa. Bloomington, MN

Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area might only have 150' of vertical, but (most importantly) it has a named peak atop its chairlift.   Priorities. 

Mount Simon. Eau Claire, WI

As 2013 nears it's conclusion, I couldn't help but feel that I was leaving it somewhat unaccomplished.  After spending the better part of the holidays dwelling on all of the coulda-shoulda-woulda, I finally realized what was missing.  

Hastily, I assembled my crew and gear and took off for Eau Claire, WI: The home of Mount Simon.  This was what I had been missing all along.  

As we arrived at the trailhead, the sun was making it's final move below the horizon, leaving us with a dark and snowy ascent to redemption.  

  Higher and higher we climbed, leaving behind the sounds of some dingus doing hot laps in his front yard with a snowmobile.  Glory was soon to be ours as we ascended over rock outcroppings and snow drifts.  

Is that the Hillary Step?


At last, the deed was done.  2013 can now be chalked up as a smashing success.  

See you in 2014!

The Large Axe

Another summit cheeseburger in Lanzarote!  Details and photos to come later. For now, read this:


I ate a cheeseburger on this summit today. Details and photos to come later when I'm not on a mobile phone. 

Federal Hill

I traveled to Baltimore, MD for a conference. On the last day in town I snuck away with a couple of friends to explore the city. What better way to go exploring than to find a nearby summit? I was excited when the Magic Mountain Finder showed a summit within walking distance of our conference. We hopped on the water taxi and stopped at Fells Point, one of the oldest deep-water ports in Baltimore’s harbor.  We explored the area and found a local’s favorite burger place. We stopped for a beer and planned to take our burgers to go. The burgers looked so good that the others couldn’t resist eating immediately. I resisted the temptation and placed my burger in its tidy to-go box. We hopped back on the water taxi and headed towards our destination, Federal Hill.


My grumbling stomach was thankful for the short and easy walk to the peak. I quickly snapped the picture and devoured my burger. Although my friends did not eat their burger on the hill, they were happy they joined me in the adventure. It was an excellent way to end a wonderful trip.

A "Historical" Summit

From Flagstaff Hill in Boston Common, I took a short walk over to Government Center, where according to the map, Pemberton Hill summit was located.  This is labelled as a Historical Summit.  I'm not sure what that means, but Pemberton Hill is certainly not impressive from an elevation standpoint.  Hard to tell where the highest point is located, as construction has changed the topography completely. Still, I ate my second cheeseburger on the sidewalk outside of a convenience store across the street from the MBTA subway station, and crossed this summit off the list.

Flagstaff Hill in the Dark

In my hometown of Boston for the American Society of Human Genetics meeting, I arrived back in my hotel room on Tremont St. after dark and decided to try a couple of downtown summits.  My first stop was the MacDonalds in Chinatown, where I picked up a 2 pack of cheeseburgers and headed to Boson Common.  It was easy to find Flagstaff Hill, as it was clearly the highest point in the park, and the monument at the top was illuminated by the flashing  blue lights of a couple of Boston motorcycle policemen rousting what appeared to be a group of transients.  I was, however, able to climb up on the opposite side and consume my first cheeseburger without being noticed.  From there I slinked downhill to find the next summit near Government Center.  Sadly, I have no picture of this triumph due to the lack of light.

Mount Lemmon - 2nd Attempt

Here is my story...

A year and a half ago, I visited my brother and sister-in-law in Arizona. I told them about summit cheeseburger and they were excited to do one. So we decided on Mount Lemmon. We drove up the mountain but as we got to the top we found that the road to the very top was closed because it was covered with ice and snow. (It was February.) Disappointed, we ate our cheeseburgers and went back down the mountain. I was determined to complete that summit.


A year ago I moved out to Arizona so this was my chance to have any time of the year to go up the mountain. On September 28th, while visiting my brother in Tucson, we decided to go back up the mountain. This time we were able to go all the way up. When we finally could drive no more, we got out of the car and walked around for a bit to really make sure we had the summit. Neither one of us had a GPS so we just winged it. We found a good spot to stand and look at the scenery while eating our cheeseburgers. They were just the dollar cheeseburgers from McDonald's and were lukewarm at this point but it was still a summit finished on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. 

Sprinting to Cable Mountain

Having just learned that there were trails from my base of operations at Zion Ponderosa Ranch, I drove back through Zion park and checked in at the activities desk where I was able to get detailed, but strangely imprecise directions to Cable Mountain, which would have been a 15 mile roundtrip hike from the Weeping Rock trailhead accessible from the shuttles at the Springdale entrance to the park.  But from the trailhead at the ranch, it would only be a 5 mile roundtrip, and I was assured that it would be scenic and historic (and pretty much level).  And I had another cheeseburger ready to go.

Since it was getting a bit late, and I didn't want to get caught in the dark, I set off immediately in my car on the dirt roads, of which there were a great many, leading in all directions, and not in the best shape due to recent flash flooding.  The map with which I had been provided was a bit lacking in key detail, but I did manage to find a place to park near what appeared to be the trail, and set off at a spritely pace, which got even more spritely when I came across signs indicating that this was actually going to be 7 miles roundtrip, rather than 5.  And not nearly as level as I had been led to believe.

The last mile of this hike is mostly downhill, which seems a bit unintuitive, but there is no mistaking the destination, as this is the site of a steam powered tram that was used to bring trees from the rim down to the canyon floor for construction. The trip apparently took 2 minutes, as opposed to a 2-day trip with horse-drawn wagons.  Obviously, it has not been in use for a good long time (70 years).  

On the way back to my car, I noticed the fork in the trail leading to Deertrap Mountain, which is another as yet uncheeseburgered summit, but it was too late, and I was too tired for another couple miles.  And I was out of cheeseburgers.  So Deertrap Mountain remains for another trip.