I went for a walk.

Discussion in 'Outings, Trips & Expeditions' started by TrespassersWilliam, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. TrespassersWilliam

    TrespassersWilliam Supporter Supporter

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    For Father's Day, my family gave me time to go hiking. They were welcome to come along, but a multi-day excursion didn't interest them.

    August and September are the best months for fewer clouds and longer distance views.

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    So, I took them up to Mt Washington for the day to get a taste of what they would be missing:

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    Franconia Ridge in the distant background:

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    The White Mountains can be a bit like Disneyland. On one side of the ridge there are interstates, cities, tramways, tourist traps, etc. On the other side of the ridge there is the Pemi Wilderness area.

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    My plan was to hike the ridge from Mt. Lafayette to Mt Lincoln to Mt Liberty (a section of the 33 mile Pemi Loop) It is supposed to be difficult... but really not much more difficult than hiking to Lonesome Lake or Mt. Monadnock. All ages and abilities can do it if they are motivated. It is just longer... and less forgiving if you get caught out in bad weather.

    Food for the hike:

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    The Old Bridal Path up Lafayette is the steepest route with the most rewarding views. Getting the elevation gain over and done with is preferable to spending all day going uphill beneath the tree line.

    I left immediately after work and started hiking. I made it to the AMC Greenleaf Hut and then descended to an elevation where dispersed camping is permitted.

    Made camp on some spruce duff. Nice clear night to fall asleep staring up at the stars.

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    Woke up at 3:15 AM. I am late for work... or its the first real day of vacation!

    Broke camp and intending to summit Lafayette before sunrise. Being unfamiliar with the trail and having some trouble identifying cairns from natural rock piles, it was slow going... but I was up before the sun:

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  2. TrespassersWilliam

    TrespassersWilliam Supporter Supporter

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    Friday was forecasted to be a clear day. I wanted to keep hiking along the ridge... but I am scouting the area to guide family in the future. Part of that includes understanding the accommodations at the AMC hut. So, I descended Lafayette. Went back to my spruce duff campsite and did some reading until time to check in.

    AMC huts are modeled after the Swiss mountain huts. Some of them are old, rustic and feel like stepping back into the past. The Zealand area used to be an old logging camp. The WW2 era industrial kitchens are kinda neat too.

    Unfortunately, Greenleaf was updated with solar panels and modern accoutrements. The oil lamps have been replaced by LED lights. The packboards used to bring supplies up the mountain have been replaced by helicopters.

    At dinner, the staff informed us that they were a "napkin free facility". Next came an Ivy League grammar lesson. One troublemaker, who shall remain nameless, returned to the dinner table from the men's facilities with unused sanitary napkins to help them "live their values".

    I started to appreciate the frustrations of Guy Waterman. Perhaps the wilderness ethicist was driven over the edge by the extravagance of fresh vegetables delivered by helicopters and a curious napkin asceticism.


    Lots of good, practical hiking information and trail recommendations shared around. There was a wilderness guide / trail steward who did a very informative show-and-tell about what items he packs into the backcountry.

    Saturday morning the weather forecast was a bit disappointing. They revised the windspeed up again after taking this:

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    The Propper windshirt is a great humid weather rain jacket. Not so great for driving rain or stopping heat loss from winds above 50 mph. Using the Jerven bag as poncho was questionable too at stopping sideways and upside down rain.


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    I go back to the summit of Lafayette to see what it looks like before calling quits. Washington and the Northern Presidential range were in the clouds. The weather in Franconia was mostly in the clear!

    Ran into an early morning hiker who was heading into the Pemi instead of skirting the edge. He took a little-known 1930's rockslide down the mountain.

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    You can see for miles! Seeing all the familiar day hikes we did all at once brought back memories. Lonesome Lake, the hike from the previous week visible next to Cannon Mt. You can see clear into Vermont. The Camel's Hump is visible on the horizon.

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    By the time I made it to Mt Liberty in the afternoon, the clouds were looking more ominous:

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    Saturday evening hiked down to the Liberty Springs tent platform site. High impact area -- hikers encouraged to use established sites.

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    The light drizzle turned into a mist and then into 12 hours of steady rain. Trying to stay dry was a challenge. I failed. Wedged next to a tent on the same platform there was not any space for pitching the jerven bag as a tarp. Got up in the middle of the night, drank some hot tea... and tried again at staying dry and warm, failed again. No tree to lean against on this silly tent platform. At least synthetics dry out quickly.

    Last week at this site a bear dragged 3 backpacks into the woods due to hikers not securing food properly. No bears spotted this night though.


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    Ah, well... it was a learning experience for sure!
     
  3. x39

    x39 Hyperborean Supporter

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    Cool report! I've never been to the Whites, one of these days I hope. Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. Jonah L. Archer

    Jonah L. Archer ~Roughian #21~ ~ MOA #62 ~ Supporter Bushclass II

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    Awesome views! Thanks for sharing.
     
  5. Red Yeti

    Red Yeti Mostly Harmless Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Nice! good for you to get out there. I did a winter ascent Mt WA many years ago. Definitely some good memories of extreme weather! Never seen it without snow. Thanks for taking us along!

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  6. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It looks like a grand adventure. :) Thanks for sharing.
     
  7. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Great report. I’ve never been there, but my older sister lived in the north east for years and enjoyed hiking in that area.
     
  8. Beyond the Firelight

    Beyond the Firelight Supporter Supporter

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    Beautiful pictures. I love hiking in the rain, but we don't get a lot here. Sleeping in the rain... that's a different story. Way to keep a positive outlook through it all!
     

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