Do the Whites have any drawing power?
I don't know about others, but here I was, July 10th on a nice sunny morning, heading into New Hampshire---------------right in the middle of the Tour de France, right in the middle of the Tour's days in the mountains of the Pyrenees. Yeah, they sure do!
We (Fireball, Packitin/Packitout, and the Sungod) have planned a 'detailed/complex' itinery of hiking various trails, moving daily to various accomadations. After our first day at Pinestead Farm Lodge--lovingly called the Farm over the years---Wayne had a great idea----stay at the farm all week, keep the fridge full of beer, and so we may drive a few extra minutes each morning---we had a home base.
Day hike #1
-If this trip was to be the 'Best of', of course our first hike had to be Falling Waters, over the Franconia Ridge, and down through Greenleaf Hut and the Old Bridle Path. Our first hour (also 1st mile, 1st 1,000 feet of elevation) was uneventfull, just taking many pictures of the many waterfalls.
-Then things got a bit strange, the sky got very dark and we could hear the thunder rolling up the notch. We were now around 4,500 feet, 500 feet from the summit, the rain had started pretty good, and----
-The time between lightening and thunder had gone from minutes, to less than a minute, to many seconds, to basically-----instant--we were not real comfortable, but really had nowhere to go.
-The rain finally stopped, Greg and Wayne contiued over the ridge, while I, not feeling real well and holding them up, meandered back down, rendevousing at Lafayette parking lot.
Day hike #2
-Mount Moosilauke--we have been continually told it is one of the best views in the Whites. Many have climbed it--myself twice--many have come back to have seen little, my two trips up being a snow storm and a 'fog' out.
It is a nice hike, not real tough, but you do have to steadily climb for 3 hours to the summit of 4,802 feet.
-Did we get a great view, nope, but a fair view of the surrounding woods. We hiked a new way down, over the Ridge trail---this would be a tremendous, open ridge, walk, if we could have seen more than a couple hundred feet in the fog--maybe next time, eh!
Day Hike #3
-It is written in the AMC Guide about Mt. Willard-"fine views for relatively little exertion; in fact probably no other spot in the White Mountains, afford so grand a view for so little effort."
-It was a raining day with no hope for good weather--there was no sense in climbing up to the 5,000 foot summits to sit in the fog and rain, so why not hang out at the Crawford Notch Hostel, read some books, buy some souvies, and maybe 'stroll up Willard. The summit is only 2,850, but the trail head is at around 2,500 feet, so we had to 'struggle' up the 300 feet over 1.3 miles--an 45 minute saunter.
-Then 'wow'---you come out of the woods and you are looking right down the Crawford Notch, the rock face 2, 000 feet straight down, I mean vertical--it is scary! and beautifull--the clouds went in and out---below us--just playing with us.
-Off day---nope, just a nice day.
Day Hike #4
-I think I have finally realized, as some others have said--maybe Falling Waters is the '2nd' best hike in the Whites--Number one for me now is Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, which takes you to Lakes of the Clouds Hut, the highest of the eleven AMC huts at 5,050 feet, sitting on a plateau 1,238 feet below the summit of Mount Washington.
-There are more water falls than Falling Waters, there are bigger waterfalls, and they are higher up. Then there is Gem Pool--gorge-gous as they say.
-This was a nice day, clear skies, great views--what a way to wrap up the week.
Did I mention the meals? I really can't remember what we had--I think I cooked most of them
and Greg and Wayne did the cleaning up--that's the problem with doing a writeup totally from
memory, with no notes--I know we ate good and ate a lot--certainly another positive calory trip.
Monday night, Spaghetti
Tuesday night Stew
Wednesday night Left over Stew & Salad
Thursday night, Pizza
Friday night, we were @ the Round Ground House in Bangor.
Saturday night, home.
Next year, Wayne is taking us on a similar trip--stay at the Farm, do day hikes--the major difference being we will be doing hikes we have 'never' done before. I'm already looking forward to it---Hope Wayne has more information at the Feeding Frenzy at Mark's.
The Sun god