HAE logo On Gordon Pond

by Tim A Novak, your cybah-spaced mountain correspondent

1985, February, Gordon Pond, New Hampshire

Gordon PondMark and Tim met during their employment as pressmen at The Middlesex News. The two hit it off right at the start and they would team up for many backpacking adventures, including an epic hike of the Appalachian Trail. This Gordon Pond expedition was their first winter trip as a team. They loaded up Mark's vehicle and purred to the White Mountains. This would be a four day journey that required an extra large sack of consumables adding to our already overstuffed packs! Stops at Mac's, REI and the NH State Liquor Store topped off the provisions and 2 hours later, its up the trail and into the wilderness.

Mark and Tim had done the trip to Gordon Pond three times before; spring, summer and fall expeditions. Gordon Pond will have been experienced each season with this all-out winter blast of hiking. We decided to take the easy way up instead of the mega steep climb on the Appalachian Trail which is a only quarter mile from the Pond.

...on Gordon Pond

It was barely 4 miles to the camp, but we were enjoying way too many pulls off the haebar as well as sipping the Rumplminz way too often and our backpacks were way too heavy. This made for a trip that was more like an ascent of K2! The snow cover was thick and the going was slow. Half way up the trail, Mark and Tim are surprised to encounter construction workers fixing the backwoods powerlines and eating donuts. It made for a strange site in the wilderness. They finally arrived at the small beaver pond called Gordon with enough daylight to effectively hack a camp into life. Soon after the duo settle in, the snow starts.

Gordon Pond accomodations

The snow was six inches deeper by morning, so the two snow hikers decided to build a snow shelter. It was a beautiful piece of work, a ten foot trench, eight feet wide with a log re-enforced ceiling five feet from the floor. Hell, it was better than Tim's apartment. With the five star accommodations came intensive partying. Tim was feeling the effects of two strenuous days in the bush and asked Mark if he had any pharmicological fix-its in his well stocked "Second Aid" kit.

Mark: "Hey Tim, you want a Valium?"

"Sure!", Tim replies, grabbing the tab and swallowing it in one fluid motion. "What is Valium anyway?"

"It's a tranqualizer." , Mark expertly replies.

Two minutes later Tim is asleep and remains so for over 12 hours.

Tim finally wakes to a full moon illuminating the freshly coated snowscape. Mark had nervously waited for Tim to come out of the coma but now he was roaring to have some backwoods nighttime snowshoe adventure. It was time to eat that fungus that was part of the provisions and meet the wilderness challenge electrically. The two strapped on their snowshoes proceeded to experience the eerie surroundings of the beaver pond. Before long, there is snowshoe racing across the ice under the glow of the moon.

It was the standing dead wood from the beaver pond that provided the fuel for the first "Box of Death". A "Box of Death", for the uninitiated, is a carefully constructed, chiminey-like stacking of firewood that produces an impressive amount of flame. The structure itself can be quite large, as it was that night. With the recently introduced "Ed Gein", a backwoods thrashing tool named after the celebrated mass murderer, we quickly erected a structure that could have generated a tax bill and set it ablaze. We watched the flames from a hundred yards away and it seemed as though you could still feel the heat. Every satellite was trained on this newly discovered heat source on an otherwise stone cold surface.

blurry MarkThe trip is wrapped up with an uneventful, but extremely beautiful walk down the Gordon Pond Trail to the road. The new snow cover made the descent much easier as the pair returned to the car. We look back on this expedition as a ground breaking trek. Mark and Tim test the tried and true backwoods skills as a team as well as some new twists and technology that would be along for many more expeditions.

Copyright 1997 Tim Novak and HAE