Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mt. Washington & Monroe - 6/30/12

It was an incredible day for a hike to New England's highest peak, Mt. Washington. On Saturday, me, my brother, and 8-year old niece Kiara hiked to the summit. It was my niece's first time to Washington, my brother's 3rd, and my 10th! Our trail selection was the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail. There was a perfectly good reason for that, and that was beacuse on May 12th, our attempt was cut short because of a strain on the little one's knee while crossing Gem Pool. A dip in the stream didn't help that time either, but we were back this Saturday and extremely excited for this one, because again, it was a perfect day, just like it was in May, and as we started, I thought to myself, clearly, this was meant to happen today.

The ride seemed quick from the Lakes Region this time. We arrived at the Ammo Ravine Trail parking lot to find it full except for the far end, which was more full than I have ever seen the lot, and I immediately knew the place would be crazy today, but oh well. We met our planned start time of 9am exactly, as we began this special hike to the summit. The trail was muddy in places but dry in others depending how close the water was running near by. At this time, it was already around 60ish degrees and we started out in tanks and shorts and t-shirts, and with that, it was pretty comfortable the whole way to tree line.
Gem Pool
The waterfalls were awesome on this day. All of the times previously on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, I had not taken the spur path above Gem Pool, which takes you to the waterfall you see below, often referred to as Upper Falls of Gem Pool (I think). This was an incredible falls with a pretty deep pool below. The spur path leads right off of the trail, and goes down just a little bit to a viewing spot. I'm sorry I missed it those times.

Every waterfall was something different this time, and we really took the time to enjoy each one.

After we had crossed Gem Pool there was already a feeling of success over our May attempt. This time, it seemed that my niece was conquering this hike, soaring above the rocks and views behind her. She would stop many times, look back at the view out and below, and say "wow, this is so beautiful" over and over again. Kiara has been inside and at the Mt. Washington hotel a couple of times before, but she couldn't believe how small it was from up there. "It looks like a marble, she said." 

We made it to Lake of the Clouds Hut and stopped in to check it out. Checking the weather here is good too. One small thing I never noticed before was this nice white sign and the elevation, so I snapped a photo.

We were out of the bustling hut, and with no warning at all, she was off, and we turned to see Kiara over at the lower lake of the clouds to get on that rock. Clearly the "Lake of Clouds effect" had gotten to her too.

Lake of the Clouds, Mt. Washington
Bill and Kiara hiking on Crawford Path to Mt. Washington 
Many Hut Croo in action on the trail
We were now really starting to get close. It seemed like it was taking us forever, but I knew we would get there. Once we made it to the lot, it was nice to walk on the flat gravel towards the buildings, with the wind blasting us. All three of us were smiling with success on a such an awesome hike and in good company.
Bill's 3rd summit of Washington, and Kiara's 1st!
10th climb to Washington -  7 times in the last 10 mos.
Now, I'm only posting these pictures because I'm simply sharing what you might encounter on a busy day on Mt. Washington (and because it was just simply hilarious too...) We hiked nearly 5 miles to the summit, and one of us for the first time, and when we got there, we had to wait about 20 minutes in 60mph wind in order to get those summit photos above. There were people and things flopping all over the place because they couldn't stand up in the wind, and we had been walking in out for the last hour too.
Kiara trying to get to the top
In the picture below, we have a cool guy dressed in all white coming straight from the yacht club to the summit via transportation. Don't spill that coffee! And next we saw these crazy shirt-less aliens with extra long arms!!

Then, inside the summit building, we saw a hiking church group (?), and they were either saying a prayer before lunch, or thanking god they made the summit in those khakis and polos, and praying for no pop up thunderstorms on the descent to wet their cotton clothes! I think from now on, we'll take a beautiful day.....and try to go far far away, as possible.

At the summit, I had a couple of slices of pizza and some chocolate cake with frosting, and they feasted on some chili, which they both said was fantastic. I sent the beam from my Spot Messenger, which let Kiara's mommy, Nana and Grampa know that we had safely reached the summit. We finished up after a very good rest and feast and we're on our way, now around 4pm.
Cog train descending - looks like a toy train
What a day this has been!
Lots of spiders too! Forest Wolf Spider on the Crawford Path
On the way down from the summit, lots of breaks were happening for the little legs, but the crowds were dying, and its always so nice in the afternoon on Mt. Washington. Again, I stared at my favorite viewpoint in the mountains, looking down the spine of the Southern Presidentials. Gosh Monroe looks so nice, the place where it first ended. Not only can you see the can see the Pemi too. I told Bill I was going to go get Monroe real quick, and they could enjoy their hike down to the hut, and they could watch me go for it all the way. She was excited for me and to see me do it, so I got a high-five and was off. I was on the summit of Monroe in 30 minutes, and then a few minutes after that, I was sitting at the Lake of the Clouds waiting for them. They were coming down still above the lake a little. I got a couple of nice photos of them descending.
Southern Presidentials - favorite viewpoint
Mt. Monroe for 4th time, and for June
Mt. Washington and Jefferson from Monroe 
Bill and Kiara descending to Lake of the Clouds (upper right) 
Gem Pool late in the afternoon
We needed headlamps for about the last half mile
Congratulations to my niece Kiara on her awesome summit of Mt. Washington (and 3rd 4000 footer)! Ever since Bill and I have been doing some amazing hikes, she's been itching to do something as big as we have, and she did. She wants to climb Mt. Whitney too now....but she has no idea what other amazing things there are to see on the other 45 White Mountain 4000 footers. Thanks for reading!

Hike Stats
Trails: Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, Crawford Path
Distance: 9 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,800 ft
Book Time: 12hrs
*Adding Mt. Monroe adds .8 miles, 350ft of elevation gain.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats to all! What a fantastic job, that is a big hike in one day. The waterfalls look amazing, I've never seen them flowing like that, either.