Another day another hope for two peaks only to be dashed by snow.

#45 Mt. Whiteface 4020ft.

Trails: Blueberry Ledge trail -> Rollins trail ->Dicey’s Mill Trail

Elevation: ~3,000ft

9.6 Miles

Summary:

Another snowy day. We were hoping for hard pack snow and hell if we were bringing snowshoes again. Trip plan was to also get Passaconaway, but with unstable monorail and crappy postholing we were foiled again.

Heading up blueberry ledge trail was good and with only patchy snow/wet trail. We didn’t even put on microspikes till about 2,500 ft mark. Some icy sections required balance along with the poles helping out. Going up the trail there was lots of moose poop but sadly no moose.

Close to the summit there are some ledges that were a little tricky in the snow and ice. Just after those there was a pretty clear overlook that was a great lunch spot. We got to see the whole bowl inside of the Whiteface/Passaconaway ridge line.

Going up from there was mostly snowed in. The actual “peak” of Whiteface was supposedly a sign but I was a little distracted by an ADORABLE alpine marmot. It looks like a really cute version of a weasel. Deakin quickly chased him up a tree but the important thing is that we saw wildlife!

Heading over Rollins trail past Passaconaway is where we got into the crappy unstable monorail. I hate it when I put my foot down, think it’s fine then sink 2 feet into snow. Especially when that snow hides a downed tree and my shin goes crashing into it. By the time we made it the 2.3 miles over to where we could head up Passaconaway we were both exhausted. Deakin was even sitting when we stopped. So we decided to head down Dicey’s mill trail. Surprisingly the snow kept with us till pretty low on the trail. We were following some moose tracks all the way down but still no moose.

When we finally took off our microspikes the trail was great. Pretty wide and steady downhill but nothing too steep. There was a water crossing down at the bottom which had a nice tree over it. Deakin is not quite so brave to trot over a downed tree so I had to slide on the tree while hauling him into the water. He is not impressed by loud spring streams and sees no point in going across them. The important thing is that he made it.

Nice easy trail all the way back to the car.

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The winter is too long (and sadly still ongoing) but we plan to hike!

#38 Mt. Jackson 4,052ft

Trails: Webster Jackson Trail -> Webster Cliff Trail -> Mizpah Cutoff -> Crawford Path

Elevation: ~2,500ft

6.7 Miles

Summary:

Snowy snowy trail. This was our first adventure into winter hiking. Reading trail reports said that the trip up to Jackson was hard pack and we were ready with our micro-spikes. I thought that we would be able to make it over to Pierce as well and do a two-fer day. I was sadly and sorely wrong.

The mountains just had 4 inches of new snow so we stopped and picked up snowshoes on our way up.

Weather looked good from the Highland Center. Still cloudy on the mountains but as ever we were hopeful it would clear up.

Started with our spikes on the trail. With all the snow it was a little hard to see the sign over a snow back but we got there (maybe with a little help from other hikers). The webster-jackson cliff trail was awesome. Complete winter wonderland. Great packed snow and a pretty steady climb up. No wind in the trees so we shed some extra layers and kept on going. As we were heading to the top there are some overlooks and of course more wind. We layered up and were within a quarter mile of the summit.

The summit was WINDY. Great clear views all the way to Washington. We got some pictures up at the top and headed across the summit to the Webster Cliff trail. There was so much snow and not a lot of footprints. Getting off the summit I postholed more times than I can count. Once we were out of the wind a bit we put on snowshoes. I hate snowshoes. I hate them. They are bulky and tiring and they hurt my hips. By the time we got to Mizpah I was done. I think so was Mum. We have decided no more snowshoes.

At Mizpah hut we huddled down and had lunch. Met some very nice French Canadians who said Deakin was a beau chien. I couldn’t agree more. Mainly because I’m just glad someone finally called him a boy.

Sadly we still needed the snowshoes for the Mizpah cutoff but gladly took them off at the Crawford path. It was a lovely trail down in our microspikes. Still great but chilly weather.

Another nice day in October means another hike.

#24 Osceola 4,340ft and #34 East Osceola 4,156ft

Trails: Mt. Osceola Trail

Elevation: ~2,500ft

8.4 Miles

Summary:

Parked off Tripoli road for an out and back hike over the Osceolas. We started on the Mt. Osceola trail. It is 3.2 Miles to the peak of Osceola. The hike was steep in places. Main troubles were when the trail went on the side of the mountain which was also a rock slab. Some more slanted footing on those parts. Luckily the trail wasn’t too wet or we may have had more slipping problems.

Got to the top over all the switchbacks in the path. Osceola’s summit is a great view out towards East Osceola and other peaks we think were the Tripyramids. Good large slab summit which was perfect for snacks. We had gotten up there around 11, so slightly too early for lunch. We went the next mile to East Osceola and decided on lunch on the return. We both ditched our packs on the summit and I just brought my sling bag with water and bandages (just in case).

The trip over to East Osceola was steep in the beginning, and then you get to the chimney. There is a rock chimney that you can choose to go down or a less steep (but still scrambling) side path down the slab of rock. On the way down we both chose the around-a-bout way. The rest of the way over was relatively easy with a short ascent to the summit. East Osceola is wooded with one view point to the right of the trail slightly past the summit cairn.

The way back to Osceola had me go the chimney route. Mum took Deakin up the side scramble since he would not be able to make the jumps up the chimney, although I’m sure he would have tried. The chimney was a fun little scramble and i met up with mum and dog at the top.

Lunch on Osceola was wonderful, slightly crowded with several large groups up top. After a short break we made the descent back to the car. No wildlife views on this hike but great weather and a good view from Osceola summit.

Start of the snowy season!

#21 Hancock 4,420ft and #26 South Hancock 4,319ft

Trails: Hancock Notch Trail -> Hancock Loop trail (counter clockwise)

Elevation: 2,220ft

9.8 Miles

Summary:

It was 25 degrees in the mountains with a dusting of snow. Perfect day for a hike. I guess. Luckily no wind made for a good hike with a nice lunch.

The parking is off the Kanc highway at an overlook parking lot. You then head to the end of the lot and cross the road to start on the Hancock Notch Trail. The trail start out relatively flat and is a great warm up.

Good signs will point you to the Hancock Loop Trail about 1.8 miles in, after some river crossings and .7 miles you will come to the split of Cedar Brook Trail and the Hancock Loop. There continues to be multiple river crossings. These would have been fine had it not been 25 degrees. Had to catch Deakin on one of them since he slipped on the ice then didn’t want to try to cross again. I have such a wuss dog.

We chose to go counter clockwise. Pretty arbitrary but worked out well since you can start on South Hancock where there are little/no views then head to Hancock which has a nice overlook spot. The trail up South Hancock was steep at times. The snow was still just a dusting till we got farther up. Maybe 2/3 inches of snow which wasn’t a problem in bare boots.

Sign at South Hancock for the always needed photo op. In the middle of the 1.4 Mile trail to Hancock we found a good rock to have lunch. A little hot chocolate was needed in the chilly weather.

At Hancock we had great views but no knowledge of what we were looking at. Another nice hiker introduced us to a book that has profile views from peaks in NH that will say what you’re looking at (this is now on the shelf at home). Mum also got to meet a very friendly grey jay that took some crackers right from her hand. Those little birds are adorable.

Then it was a .7 mile descent to get back to the trail that you retrace to go back to the parking lot.

Pictures to come.

First 5ks of the list!

#6 Lafayette 5,249ft and #7 Lincoln 5,089ft

Trails: Old Bridle Path -> Greenleaf Trail -> Franconia Ridge Trail -> Falling Waters Trail

Elevation: 3,860ft

Summary:

After a nice loop around Mt Hale we were hoping to do some awesome ridge hiking to get in some views. The weather people had the clouds clearing out around 10am, perfect for us as that is when we would be getting towards the top of the ridge. We thought about backpacking an overnight but a low of 30degrees at elevation we decided on just staying at the Lafayette campground at the trailhead. Made for a lighter pack which was nice. It was also nice knowing after a long day we wouldn’t have a long drive.

Go away clouds!

We decided to go up Old Bridle Path on the off chance we were feeling awesome to do the whole ridge (go all the way to Flume). It was a good trail up and had a couple good spots to stop and see the ridge. A bad part was the higher we climbed the more we saw the clouds still obscurring the peak. This is another trail with stairs made of rock. You know it’s steap when they said, well stairs would actually make this easier…

About a mile from Lafayette peak you get to Greenleaf hut. A pretty nice hut. And a great place to stop have a snack and keep thinking about why you can’t see the top of the mountain because of those stupid clouds. And why do people keep coming down the mountain in gloves and hats and winter gears? Uh oh. Better get the clothes in more convenient place.

With the quick break we started up the mountain. And that’s when we started getting a little worried. Clouds, litterally in the clouds. It was windy, cold and starting to rain a little. A couple clothing changes and we were at least all right to keep going. Although the number of people we passed going up that were obviously cold was less than encouraging.The clouds weren’t leaving. The wind got worse. And it was crazy weather. You coud see the clouds coming over the top of the mountain and swirly down the other side. Not much to see past the sign post. And mum huddled next to it pretty much sums up how we felt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We soldiered on though. Being above treeline also means that there is little to no breaks from the wind. There were enough rocks to sit behind and get a quick snack or water though. The surprising part of this was how many people were still on the trail that day. It was really crowded and it seemed we spent more time stopping for people to come by us or for us to get by them. The trail is pretty narrow at parts and there were lots of big groups of people. Even worse were the kids who though shorts and a hoodie were all they needed. Some very cold people were up there that day.Sad part of the trip is we don’t really know which peak was Lincoln. There are a couple false peaks and it was just so gross that we just kept moving. But then it was clear. We got below 5k feet and the clouds were just above our heads and we could see the rest of the ridge trail. It was incredible.

Good little break all the way to Little Haystack. Still off and on through the clouds, they would roll over the peak and then the sun would be out. Overall a crazy weather day.

And here was where we asked, continue on? Or head down? It was getting late and we were tired from the cold and the crowds so down we went. They weather was definitely nicer at the lower elevations. This was a decently steap trail to come down (normally people go up this and down old bridle because of it).¬†Falling waters trail is really pretty. Lots of small waterfalls when you get to the bottom. This does make for some slick going if you’re heading down the trail so footing was a little tricky at times. It’s also wierd to see people all nice and in shorts and clean and happy and here you are still with a winter hat and exhausted/cold from being above treeline.

 

 

 

 

 

Back towards the bottom of the trail we were looking forward to a night at camp with a nice hot dinner. Being up on the ridge we didn’t stop for a full lunch because of the wind/cold/rain. We got towards the bottom around 4pm so plenty of time to set up the tent and get firewood and smores. Since all I was thinking for the last 2 miles of the trail were smores. And since I have such a nice mom we traded and she went foraging for supplies while I set up the tent. We really do this arrangement since she doesn’t really know how to set up the tent. There was just one issue when she got back though…neither of us can really build a fire. However being the wilderness people we are we made it work! Sure it took two tries but we made it!

#37 Mt. Hale 4054 ft.

Trails: Hale Brook Trail -> Lend a Hand Trail -> Zealand Falls Trail

Total Miles: 8.7 Miles

Elevation: 2,300 ft.

Summary:

A day hike with a time crunch. Brendan was up again for the weekend and had a train to catch so we could only get one peak done. We decided to do Mt. Hale since we missed it when we did our Zealand/Bond overnight. And if we were going slow we could just head back down, or if we had time we could (and did) the loop over to Zealand falls.

This trail was actually a nice easy climb up to the top. We went through beautiful woods. The top was a completed wooded summit. There were no views. There was a random rock pile and what looked like an old foundation. We stayed up and used the rock pile as a wind break for our first snack break of the day.

Since we were decently ahead of schedule we went on to do the loop to Zealand Pond. This brought us down the other side of the mountain and towards Zealand Falls Hut. Unfortunately as we were hiking a trail running came up behind us and passed through. Worse thing was that Deakin was up ahead and was terrified of this half naked trail runner surprising him. Deak took off down the trail and it took us a good 10 minutes to find him, then another 10 minutes for me to calm him down enough to put him back on the leash. That’s what I get for thinking I have a real dog, when in reality I have a little boy dog. Idiot.

The rest of the way to Zealand falls and the hut was uneventful after that. The hut was a nice place to take another snack break and get our energy back for the last few miles.

It was another great day on the trail. After Zealand falls hut we actually passed an older woman who was very nice and we chatted about peak bagging. She said it took her 18 years to get all 48 done. I told my mom later down the trail that now we have a time goal to do them all. 18 years? I think we can beat that!

Summer hot hiking…6/30/2012

#37 Cannon Mountain 4,100 ft

Trail: Hi Cannon Trail -> Kinsman Ridge Trail ->Lonesome Lake Trail

Total Miles: 5.9 Miles

Elevation: 2,320ft

Trip Summary:

Wanted to get a nice summer hike done. Bribed Brendan to wake up early to beat most of the heat. Unfortunately it was still 75 degrees when we started. Didn’t really cool down the higher we got either.

Parked at Lafayette campground and started up the hill. The start of Lonesome Lake trail is through the campground so you have to follow signs through to the trailhead. Once we got started it’s about 0.4 miles to the split where you can either continue on Lonesome Lake Trail or go up Hi-Cannon Trail. No one could make a decision so I just decided Hi-Cannon.

Hi Cannon is very steap. And at one point requires a ladder.

It was only a little difficult to get Deakin up it. Had to give my pack to Brendan and haul the pup up by his scruff. Needless to say he was not impressed with this. I think it was one time where he genuinly did not like his mom.

Once we were up and over the ladder it was still amazingly hot. And steap. And hot. Up and up we went and by then end of Hi Cannon we were just ready to be at the top and get this peak done.

At the top there is the arial tramway and the fire tower. However there is no summit marker or sign which was a little bit of a disappointment.

From Cannon there are great views of Franconia Ridge, and on this cloudless sunny day we had a great view over. We took a long break up at the top for snacks and waterwaterwater.

Although the view was great we had had it with the 85 degrees and no breeze. We went back down the Lonesome Lake Trail/Fishing Jimmy Trail. It was verry rocky and had quite a few scrambles to get down to Lonesome Lake. The trail around Lonesome Lake was really crowded. There were some larger groups hiking around the lake and a really big school group. Just booked it back to the car since the heat had done us in.