Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mt. Morgan & Mt. Percival - Winter Hiking

Mt. Morgan
Elevation: 2,220ft

Mt. Percival
Elevation: 2,212

Trails: Morgan, Crawford-Ridgepole and Percival Trails
Elevation Gain: 1,500ft
Distance: 4.8 miles roundtrip
Duration: 4.5 hrs

Difficulty: Moderate
The Terrifying Twenty Five List:  Mt. Morgan Trail (Rickety Ladder Route)
Rock Scrambles: Boulder caves and rock scrambling - Class II

Two things I learned today hiking to these summits. One, I enjoy helping others in the group get around the trail safely. Some parts of the trail can be tricky, especially on steep descents that are icy, or across large granite slabs. It's always smart to help your hiking companions so that no one gets hurt and everyone can enjoy the day's hike. And secondly, even if this is a group event, there are always going to be a couple of hikers who only care to help themselves however experienced/knowledgeable they are.  

We originally were going to hike up to the Mt. Percival summit and then onto Mt. Morgan, but we hiked up the logging road rather than the Mt. Morgan trail. And as a result, we ended up on the summit of Mt. Morgan first....and I sure am glad we did! Overall, this was an enjoyable hike with the most exciting and memorable for me being the ascent to the Mt. Morgan summit! ;)

** Click on the photos to see a larger view 

That path up the logging road

Ladders that lead to the boulder cave.
I couldn't wait to take this route!
There is a path to the right of these cliffs for
those who don't want to go up the cliffside.
Here we go!
Following Joe and Lora
Folks call this a cave, but I think its just a passage way between a
couple of large boulders. Joe went first and I passed him all the
packs and poles before sliding through. It was so much fun! LOL!

 Steve (our organizer) bringing up the rear
Here we are after coming through the passageway
and getting ready to scramble up to the summit.
Slabby cliffs yet to scramble
View from the cliff ledge

Just having some fun!
Posing at the ledge just below the summit of Mt. Morgan.
 Views from the Mt. Morgan lookout ledges (3)

Views from the Mt. Percival summit (5)

 Trail junction - another way to the Mt. Percival summit
via rough boulders and yet another cave!
Trail junction sign
Squam River covered bridge
Ashland, NH

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Middle & North Sugarloaf Mountains - Winter Hiking

Middle Sugarloaf Mountain
Elevation: 2,539ft

North Sugarloaf Mountain
Elevation: 2,310

Trails: Zealand Road and Sugarloaf Trail
Elevation Gain: 1,135ft
Distance: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Duration: 6 hrs

Difficulty:  Moderate

I was looking forward to this particular hike! First off, this would be my last hike during the winter season as the spring equinox is tomorrow. Secondly, checking out my White Mountains trail map I saw that these two peaks were down the road from Mt. Washington and if the weather cooperated, I would have views of the snow topped giant. Well, I wasn't disappointed. For just a modest hiking effort, there are spectacular views of Mt. Washington from both Sugarloafs!

I carpooled with two of my hiking companions so this meant I had my hands free to test the video function on my new iPhone. Coming through the Franconia Notch there were some light flurries, but I was able get a short vid of the Cannon Mountain Ski slopes.

The skies were cloudy and overcast but as the morning wore on, the sun came out!  The Zealand road is closed during the winter, so we met the rest of our group in the parking lot and walked up to the trailhead at Trestle Trail. This trail took us along the Zealand River until we came to the Sugarloaf Trail split. Another 0.9 miles took our group through a large granite field and uphill to the saddle of the Middle and North Sugarloafs. We chose Middle Sugarloaf to ascend first and made our way to the summit. The sun had come out and as you can tell by my photos, the views  from all angles were stunning. The summit is open and made of many layers of granite slab. We took a few minutes for lunch, relaxing and getting more photos in. I was even able to get a photo of the North Sugarloaf summit!

We hiked back down to the saddle of the Middle and North Sugarloafs and continued to the North Sugarloaf. The trail took us on the west slope and through woods with quartz rocks in several areas. There are more large rock formations that look to be good areas for rock climbing/bouldering but I can't find them in any of my rock climbing books or on Near the summit the trail got steeper and in snowshoes, the going got tricky, especially when the trail was all ice.

At the North Sugarloaf summit the views are just as spectacular even if it was just from a ledge. The large granite ledges provided a perfect place for a brief rest, a change into MicroSpikes and more photos.

** Click on the photos to see a larger view 

On Zealand Road

Large Granite boulders on the trail towards
the saddle of Middle & North Sugarloaf (2)

Middle Sugarloaf Summit (12)
On the trail to the North Sugarloaf Summit (6)
 North Sugarloaf summit (5)
Zealand River (2)

YouTube Channel - Hawaii Girl Adventures

Check out my YouTube channel at:  Hawaii Girl Adventures I will eventually be phasing out blog posts and be posting videos of my climbing, h...