Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mount Washington

Saturday, June 21. The first day of summer, and a great day to climb Mt. Washington. I got to the trailhead around 9:45, and left a few minutes later. I went up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, passing everybody. I like the feeling of passing people who are sweating and breathing hard on the ups, its a great self-esteem booster. I took a break at Lakes of the Clouds hut and had lunch. I also put on pants and a rain coat. Above tree line it was windy and cold.
One of the Lakes of the Clouds
After a quick mile I got to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, and the crows of people. More people huffing and puffing, and commenting on how cold it was. I turned left onto the Alpine Garden Trail and the fun began. This trail walks through the alpine garden on Mt. Washington, and the flowers were still in bloom. 
Tuckerman Ravine, with the Wildcats/Carters in the background.

Alpine Flowers.

Different Alpine Flowers.

I'm sorry I don't know what plant they all are.
This part of the hike was great. The sun came out, the wind was blocked by the peak, there were excellent views, and I was feeling great. I highly recommend the Alpine Garden Trail to anyone, even if the flowers aren't blooming. 
Lions Head, Carter Dome is the highest peak in the background.

Looking north-east towards the Mahoosuc Range in NH/ME.

Looking back (South) towards Boott Spur.
The North end of the Alpine Garden Trail is the Nelson Crag. I took this trail to the summit. The ridge this trail runs up was also blocking much of the wind, and this leg was a lot windier and colder than the previous one. I could see the auto road, and a view of the summit buildings that I hadn't seen before. When I got to the top there were a lot of people. I've never seen such a long line to take a photo at the summit. I didn't feel a need to wait in it. At the top there was a woman on the lee side of the building with her SOTA setup. I chatted for a moment, then headed on.
Summit from the Nelson Crag Trail.
The northern presidentials, Jefferson, Adams, Madison (L-R)
The line was nearly as long as the Tip-Top House.
After warming up a bit inside I headed down. I was on the AT for about a mile. Its hard to describe the feelings of comfort and security I now get on white-blazed trails. I then turned onto the Jewell Trail and hiked back to the car. 
Standing on the tracks.
Cog on its way up.
Bonus points for each mountain you can identify. Hint: looking West.
Looking down into the Great Gulf. Its very steep.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

First Hike of the Year

This past Saturday my Mom and I went for a hike on the south end of the Wapack Trail. The Wapack Trail is one of the oldest interstate hiking trails in the country. It runs from Mt Watatic in MA to North Pack Monadnock in NH through rolling hills for 21 miles.
 We climbed up Mt Watatic, and sort of had views. There were a lot of low clouds. We then continued heading north, along logging roads and through some recently logged areas. We crossed the MA/NH border at a stone wall, then walked along a beaver pond for a while. The trail then climbs up the next mountain, which we did up to the first view point. There was a great view of the pond and hills we had just walked. We snacked, then headed back. When we got to Mt Watatic again, the clouds had lifted a bit and there was a better view. We ate lunch then went back to the car.

The view from Mt Watatic. You can see Boston from here.
The MA/NH border runs along the stone wall, through the beaver pond here.
Everything is very green this time of year.