Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mts Monroe & Eisenhower - Hiking

Mt. Monroe (5,384ft)
Elevation Gain: 2,500ft
Trails: Ammonoosuc Ravine, Mt. Monroe Loop, Crawford Path, Mt. Eisenhower Loop, Edmands Path

Mt. Franklin (5,003ft)
Elevation Gain:

Mt. Eisenhower (4,780ft)
Elevation Gain: 350 ft

Hut: Lakes In The Clouds
Elevation: 5,012ft

Distance: 8.2 miles roundtrip
Duration: 7.0 hrs
My 4000+ Peak #13 & #14
Listed 4000+: #4 & #11
Difficulty: Very Strenuous

Bagged another two peaks today! Can I get a woot woot! Since I just started hiking this January 1st, I set my goal for peakbagging the NH 48 4000ft+ to 12 summits for this year. But earlier today I bagged my 13th and 14th atop the summits of Mounts Monroe and Eisenhower! Sweet stoke! I'm exhausted as I write this not only because this was a fairly long hike above 5000 feet, but because I only got 3½ hours of sleep last night. I normally have no problems getting to sleep but I was so excited about today's hike and add to that the prospect of snow atop Mt. Einsenhower...well, my mind raced with thoughts of rolling in the white stuff! LOL! But that wasn't the case when we summited Mt. Eisenhower. It was warmer today and all the white stuff at the top was gone. No problem, rime ice abound along the trail to Mt. Monroe.

My morning started with meeting up with the other 13 members of the New England Over 50 Hiking group at the AMC Highland Center. From there we all drove to the parking lot of the Edmands Path trail, spotted 4 cars and carpooled to the Cog Railway Station on Base Road. After our introduction circle, we started up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail. The trail starts off very gently and follows the Ammonoosuc River with many falls, cascades, pools and scenic overlooks at its upper section. The trail offers many panoramic views and we stopped often to admire the views and take photos. This trail is also steep and in the 3.1 miles to ascend, we gained 2,500 feet of elevation!

The Lakes In The Cloud Hut was closed for the season but there are benches outside the hut and our group stopped to break for snack/lunch. Steve, our organizer, showed us the emergency shelter under the hut named "The Dungeon".  There hardly was a breeze, but the temps had dropped so I put on my winter jacket, hat and a pair of light gloves. I had also packed along my base layers I use for winter hiking 'just in case'.

The next stop was the Mt. Monroe summit. Our groups started up the Mt. Monroe Loop trail and about a third up along the trail I met another "Hawaii girl" named Brittany. She is here on the east coast attending Northeastern. On our way up the trail we chatted about Hawaii and what brought us to the east coast. I told Brittany about my blog and told her I'd mention her in it. So Brittany, if you've got to this point on my blog......it was great meeting you on the trail and hope to see you on the trail again girl! Maui No Ka Oi!

Only a few minutes were spent at the Mt. Monroe summit. Before leaving for Mt. Franklin, we gathered around Steve and made plans to meet up with him at the Mt. Eisenhower Loop/Edmands Path trail junction after summiting Mt. Eisenhower. A few minutes was spent atop Mt. Franklin as well. For those of us wanting to summit Eisenhower, we wanted to stay ahead of Steve so that his wait at the trail junction was not too long.

At the bottom of the Mt. Eisenhower Loop I was seriously thinking of not continuing onto Eisenhower. It was about this time that I started to feel the effects of only 3½ hours of sleep. I was also hungry again but had no appetite for any of the food I had packed. But Bob, one of the other members, offered encouragement, telling me it was just a short hike up to the summit and although I was tired, it would be well worth it. On our ascent, Bob was helpful making small talk and holding my trekking poles for me as I forced myself to eat my Peanut M&M's. They didn't fill me, but it did give me a bit of energy.

I was exhausted, but Bob was right...the hike up was worth it. The 360 degree summit views were phenomenal! I did not want to leave but we could only spend a short time at the summit. Our descent was along the Edmands Path trail. Descending along the ridge offered some views between the trees and Steve spoke of how the trail had been, at one time, created as a horse trail.

I have another black and blue to add to my body. On my descent I stepped on a rock which I thought was dry and leveled. I slipped off of the rock and landed with my outer thigh against an exposed tree root. Oh well.....

Overall, this hike was superb! I was expecting gusting winds at the ridges above treeline but that was not the case today! It was cold but the sun was out with not a cloud to obstruct any views.

At the Cog Railway - love the contrast! 

Along the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail








Lakes In The Cloud Hut
Mt. Monroe from the Lakes In The Cloud Hut
Mt. Washington from the Lakes In The Cloud Hut
Emergency shelter - The Dungeon
Our group on the Mt. Monroe Loop trail
Views from the Mt. Monroe Loop trail



At the Mt. Monroe summit! My 13th!!
More rime ice along the trail!

Views along Crawford Path trail


Summit of Mt. Eisenhower! My 14th!
Descending the Edmands Path trail
Pretty growth along the Edmands Path trail

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mt. Jackson - Hiking

Mt. Jackson (4,052ft)
Elevation Gain: 2,150ft
Trails: Webster-Jackson and Jackson Branch
Distance: 5.2 miles roundtrip
Duration: 4.5 hrs
My 4000+ Peak #12
Listed 4000+: 39
Difficulty: Moderate
 

Bagged my 12th peak today! Was originally supposed to do trail maintenance work but had transportation issues that would have prevented me from getting to the trailhead in time, so I decided to solo hike Mt. Jackson. The Over 50 Hiking group was going to hike Mt. Webster which is the same trailhead I was headed to. I didn't get to the trailhead until almost 930am and expected the group to be gone, but they still hadn't gone off. There were 4 others in the group wanting to hike Mt. Jackson as well so off we went. 

The Webster-Jackson trail was moderately inclined and crossed several brooks. We made it to the trail fork in less than an hour. We took the 'left' onto the Jackson Branch trail to the Mt. Jackson summit. There were steeper inclines and at the base of the summit there were steep slabby ledges to scramble up on! From the trail fork, we made it to the summit in little over an hour. 

At the summit we rested a bit and then the 4 continued onto Mt. Webster to meet up with the rest of the group. It was cold and very windy but I stayed at the summit for 45 minutes to finish my lunch and take in the gorgeous views as well as more photos. 

The overnight temps were expected to be in the 40's so I had packed my winter jacket, long underwear, hat and gloves just in case I got stuck overnight. Since I had left my itinerary with my family telling them what trails I would be on and when to expect me off the trailhead, I didn't continue onto Mt. Webster. 

I soloed my descent, backtracking the trails I came up on. I didn't get very many (good) photos on my ascent. But since I soloed my descent, I was able to take my time along the trail to take photos. I even stopped at the Bugle Cliff for 15 minutes for photos and a chocolate bar! Didn't get to the top of Elephant Head, but did take a couple of photos of rock climbers from the trailhead parking lot. At the trailhead parking lot I spoke with one of the road block crew and he said that parts of route 302 as well as The Notch Train tracks were damaged due to Irene. 

Sorry for the blurriness, some photos were taken using my iPhone.

 Along the Webster-Jackson Trail (4)



Along the Jackson Trail (5)




At the Mt. Jackson summit (8)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Views from Bugle Cliff (2)

Rock climbers on Elephant Head (2)

At the trailhead parking lot and 
entrance to the Crawford Notch State Park