Saturday, March 9th was one of the best winter days on the Presidential Range. My goal for the day was Mt. Monroe and Eisenhower for #44 and #45 on the winter season. As I readied in the parking lot just below the cog, it was rapidly filling up with cars. I started off up the road to the start to the trail, ahead of a large group preparing to start. The trail was very nicely broken out, and it was a beautiful morning to be heading towards the top of New England. All along the way up, I had clear shots of the summit of Washington. This was just an awesome day to hike the Ammo Trail for the first time in winter. Loved it!
|Mt. Washington from the lower cog lot|
|Mt. Washington from the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail|
I elected to climb Washington as the out and back and take advantage of the momentum (decreasing elevation) all of the way to Eisenhower and down the Edmands Path. I was mesmerized by the views as I was climbing up Washington. The perfect looking slopes made me wishing I brought my sled. On the way, near the summit, I had some fun with my GoPro's, setting up a couple of shots of me heading up to the summit. I walked across the top marveling at the views I was seeing. I approached the vacant summit sign, and enjoyed my 5th winter summit of Mt. Washington in less than a year and a half. A nice fellow took my picture on the summit. We had a short chat about the mountains, and I was off.
|Mt. Washington from near Lake of the Clouds - 1 mile to go|
|I wanted to go sledding! This looked awesome|
|Reaching the summit of Mt. Washington|
|A cool shot of the guy snapping my summit photo - Thanks!|
|The Northern Presidentials from the MWO observation deck|
Now back to the good stuff, I was on my way to Monroe. Whenever I look at Monroe from the Crawford Path, it always reminds of that morning on the back end of a Moonlight Presidential Traverse, when I was on my way to finishing the 48 for the first time. What struck me most about this view on this day was being able to see almost all of the Pemi peaks in the background, particularly Lafayette and Franconia Ridge. They looked so small compared to the elevation which I was standing at. Utterly impressive to say the least.
As I neared Lake of the Clouds, I went in a direct line to the Monroe Loop junction, crossing the other Lake of the Clouds, which was pretty sweet. I delayered at the junction as it was much warmer 1,000 feet lower than the summit cone. Because of the incredible forecast, which had the Presi's calling, and active Facebook groups, I was aware that there would be opportunities to run into a few other fellow hikers and bloggers, which I did. Here, I had the pleasure of running into Allison coming down from Mt. Monroe. She keeps her blog, One, Woman, 48 4000-footers which is certainly worth a look for more great reports and photos from the 4000 footers, especially from this same day. It was very nice to meet you.
After the chat, it was a nice climb up to Mt. Monroe. It's always fun, as the cairns wind up the steep summit cone, making you look in every direction on the way up. From the summit, one of my favorites, I continued to enjoy the incredible views in the warm sun. I had the good fortune of meeting another solo hiker on Monroe, John, who lives a few towns over from me, and we hiked most of the way to Eisenhower together. He completed an out-and-back to Monroe from the Highland Center that day, covering 3 Presidential peaks, just as I had.
|Mt. Washington summit cone from Mt. Monroe|
|View southwest from the trail just before the actual summit|
|Summit of Eisenhower, peak #45 on the winter|
|Descending the Edmands Path in winter|
|Lower Edmands Path|
|Mt. Clinton Road with Mt. Washington in the background|
|Base Station Road walk back to the winter parking at the cog|
Trails: Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, Crawford Path, Monroe Loop, Eisenhower Loop, Edmands Path, Mt. Clinton Road
Distance: 14.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,650 ft.
Actual Book Time: 11:25
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