Friday, July 15, 2011

#17 Mt. Moriah June 13, 2009.

#17 Mt. Moriah (4049') via Stony Brook and Carter Moriah trails June 13, 2009. 

Mileage: 10 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3150'

Trailhead: Trailhead located on Route 16, 2 miles south of Gorham. 

Lesson learned:  Group hikes consist of hikers of all abilities.

What a beautiful mountain to hike. Mt. Moriah has everything a hiker could possibly want: beautiful woods and streams, slabs up high with spectacular views, and a scramble up a chimney to the summit.

This was an AMC led hike. Our friend Norm was in the process of earning trip leader certification for AMC, which requires the trainee to lead two hikes with a mentor (a seasoned AMC hike leader).  The Mt. Moriah hike was his second mentored hike.

It was a beautiful day and Charlotte, Marie, Dave and Bob were there as well. Charlotte had a terrible sinus infection but decided to go anyway. This would be her 24th NH four thousand footer, putting her halfway to completion!
After hiking a few miles, we came to a spot with views - finally!
The hike started out uneventful. We had about ten in our party, hikers of all ages and abilities.  It seemed to take forever to get to the trail junction and I scouted ahead of the group to find it.  After a moderate gain in elevation, I finally made it.

Carter-Moriah trail junction.
The terrain changed and the going got steeper. We got to a plateau, a grouping of fairly level slabs that appear to be the height of land. Is this the summit?  No, the trail continues on.  Norm guided us back onto the trail into the woods for a short period until we got to a summit sign.

Our eyes followed the arrow on the sign. Up  - a steep chimney which looked tougher to take than it was.  In no time we were at the summit.


Charlotte, who was hiking slightly slower than the rest of the group, had sent the sweep ahead so she could hike at her own pace. When she reached the slabs she looked for us, thinking it was the summit.  She radioed Norm as to where to go from here and before long was up the chimney and having lunch with the rest of us.
While hanging around on the summit, we started talking about the list; the NH 48 4000 footers.  One in our group suggested another list: the 4,000 48 footers and we all agreed that would be easier to do!
We headed down late in the afternoon as the sun started to set.  We had dinner and a beer or two at The Moat in North Conway, and celebrated Norm's official hike leader status. 

#10 Mooselauke October 1, 2008.

#10 Mt. Moosilauke  (4,802') via Gorge Brook trail, 10/1/08.

Mileage:  7.4 miles RT

Elevation gain:  2,400'
Trailhead:   The Ravine Road leaves NH Rt 118, 6 miles from the junction with NH Rt 112 and 6 miles from the junction with NH Rt 25.  Parking is along the side of the road, near the Ravine Lodge.  This road is closed in winter.

Hiked with Rich and our friend Debbie.  The trailhead was packed with cars on this busy fall day.  Since it is such a popular mountain I wondered if I would be comfortable hiking with the crowds. I was.

 
Dartmouth Outing Club's Ravine Lodge is at the trailhead. Inside it was dirty, damp and old.  We didn't spend much time there; we were eager to start up the trail.
The path is pretty mellow with good footing. We followed the crowds to the open summit where we immediately hunkered down behind the rock remnants of the old summit lodge.
Cairns dot the summit area.
Many people on the summit.

Clear view today!


 

Two crazy people stretching their quads for the hike down.
It was very windy at the top and we huddled as we ate our lunch.  We didn't stay long and headed back to the car.

#35 Mt. Monroe June 19, 2010

Mt. Monroe (5,372') via the Ammonoosuc Ravine and Monroe Loop trails, June 19, 2010. 

Mileage:  7.2 miles (RT)

Elevation gain: 2,900' 

Trailhead: Rt 302 in Bretton Woods take the Base Road 6 miles to the trailhead parking area on the right, just before the Cog Railroad. A WMNF Parking Pass is required.

Hiked with Rich.   Day was warm and clear – not a cloud in the sky.
Trail was steep to the Lake of the Clouds (LOC) Hut but from there to summit of Monroe was quick (20 minutes).   Hiked some of the rest of the Monroe Loop trail but think now we just found a shortcut to the Crawford path to head back to LOC for our descent.  Ravine trail had a few wet spots and it was slow descending.
After hiking the cones of Adams and Madison, I was surprised at how quick and easy the hike from LOC hut to Monroe summit was.

#25 Mt. Madison July 10, 2009

Mt. Madison (5,367') via Valley Way and Osgood Trails, July 10, 2009

Mileage: 8.4 miles RT
 
Elevation gain: 4,100'
 
Trailhead: Appalachia, located on Route 2 in Randolph, NH.

Hiked with Eileen on a beautiful Friday with no rain predicted and except for a few puffy clouds, the sky was very blue.  A bear ran across the road in front of us on the early-morning drive up.  
Valley Way trail is a gradual up; a walk in the woods. Started up at 9 a.m. and down and at the car by 5 p.m. 

Eileen on the first real viewpoint on the trail
Madison hut is in the col between Mt. Madison and "the Adams."
 At the hut we briefly rested and then made the ascent up the craggy cone. 

Headed up there!
We followed the AT white blazes but there really was no path, it was a huge pile of large rough rocks that did not seem to want us up there!  

There are beautiful views on the summit, not too windy or buggy. 

Hikers from Rhode Island took our picture.
No USGS marker that I could find, just a big spike on the top rock with little spikes hammered in around it but we were clearly at the top.  
This spike is all you get!

We saw about 30 hikers that day, many doing Mt. Adams and Madison - some were staying at the hut. 

Dinner at Muddy Moose after.

#30 Mt. Lincoln September 6, 2009.

#30 Mt. Lincoln (5,089') via and Falling Waters trails, September 6, 2009. 

Mileage:  8.9 miles (loop)


Elevation gain: 3,900'

Trailhead: Lafayette Place off I-93 in Franconia Notch State Park. Parking areas on either side with a foot travel tunnel running underneath.  Restrooms too!

Hiked with Rich (he had not hiked Mt. Lafayette and we both needed Mt. Lincoln).  We chose the Lafayette-Franconia Ridge-Lincoln loop on this day because the weather was beautiful; no wind, blue skies, moderate temperatures.  There were no clouds and no bugs. 

We traveled the Old Bridal Path - stopping at Greenleaf Hut for a bit - to the summit of Mt. Lafayette, which wasn’t as difficult as I remembered from my trek up with little kids (see previous report).  At the top, we ate lunch and then headed down Franconia Ridge to Mt. Lincoln and  Little Haystack (4,760'). 
 
No shortage of friends on top of Mt. Lafayette.

Up on the ridge.


Navigating the ridge.

Descending Falling Waters trail was tricky as it is very steep  - but pretty with many waterfalls.  (I would advise hiking this loop going up Falling Waters trail).  

The hike started at about down by .  The views are incredible and on this day we could see for over 100 miles.  Gliders flying overhead and the many people on the trail made for a fun day!

#24 Mt. Liberty July 4, 2009

#23, #24 Mts. Flume and Liberty via Osseo to Franconia Ridge to Liberty Springs Trails July 4, 2009.  
Mileage: 10.7 RT
Elevation gain: 3800'
Trailhead: Lincoln Woods trailhead on the Kancamagus, four miles east of I-93.
Lesson learned:  Just when you think you can't get any wetter!
How fitting to plan a Mt. Liberty hike on the fourth of July!  On this day I hiked with Rich, Sandy, Eileen, Art, David, Marie, Norm and his crew (Barb, Stacy, Barb and Peter). I was just getting over a sinus infection and had no voice. 
Eileen planned this hike the year before but the weather did not cooperate. We all eagerly awaited the rescheduling.
The forecast indicated showers and thunderstorms (which wound up being very accurate).  We car spotted, leaving Sandy's car at the Liberty Springs trailhead (adjacent to the Flume Visitor Center).
The trail was gradual and comfortable until the last third of Osseo, where there were switchbacks and it got steeper.  We hiked an hour or two under gray skies and it then it rained (enough to put on jackets). 
A series of stairs on the Osseo trail.
The rain stopped by the time we reached Franconia Ridge trail.
Here we stopped and had lunch.  As we are chatting, we heard thunder, closer than we had expected - the storm was coming.  We gathered our stuff and headed out; we had to reach the summit before the storm hit. We hiked up a little nub, turned a corner and directly in front of us was an intense steep cliff of rock with an incredible drop off. 
Our group hiking the cliff trail.
As dramatic as the scene was, we wasted no time sightseeing and quickly reached the summit, rocky with cliff edges. 
Eileen planned our hike.  Note the thunderheads directly behind her.
Luckily, we summitted Mt. Flume before the storm came.  The view was spectacular, particularly with the dark thunderheads barreling toward us. 
After a few photos, we quickly descended into the woods and walked the ridge toward Mt. Liberty while the thunder and rain came (no lightning that we could see). 
Wooded area of the ridge sheltered us from the storm.
There was one steeply pitched area of rock slab (pitching outward) that was tricky negotiating just before we summited Mt. Liberty.  Liberty's summit is a series of huge rock slabs and another angry craggy cliff; not as pretty as Flume’s but this statement is not really fair, considering we were so socked in with fog from the storm that we could see no view, nor could we see the cliff's edge.  
Marie and David on a foggy Liberty summit.
 I found the USGS marker and took some pictures and then headed toward the Liberty Spring trail.  As we descended the storm cleared and we could see magnificent views of the mountains with mist, clouds and more thunderheads.  Over to the North and South were patches of blue sky. 
The Liberty Spring trail was a never ending journey, steep and uneven.  Rocks were slippery making the going very slow.  No one was at the campground by the time we got there, even the caretaker had left. 
In spite of the thunderstorm, we figured we were no worse for wear on the trip, though a dry trail down would have made things more pleasant.  Our feet and legs were soaked.  But the rain had all but stopped so we took our jackets off about a half mile before the parking lot.
Toward the end of the hike when our sights were set on getting our wet boots off, the sky let go bringing a torrent of water upon our heads.  We were soaked and cold and that was the last straw.  We stopped fighting it and just accepted it. At this point everything was soaking wet so we didn't bother to put on our raincoats but we did pick up our pace.  When we got to Sandy's car we changed but not before totally drenching the inside of the car, fogging up the windows.
The Flume/Liberty hike was beautiful and a lot of fun and continues to have the distinction of being the "wettest hike ever."

#1 Mt. Lafayette Summer 1992 (and again September 6, 2009)

#1 Mt. Lafayette (5,260') via Old Bridal Path, Summer 1992.

Mileage: 8 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3,600'

Trailhead: Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia Notch (off I-93)

Lesson learned: Sometimes kids just don't want to hike the mountains.
This was my very first four thousand footer.  I had hiked Mt. Monadnock numerous times as it was in our neighborhood but never experienced a real hike in the White Mountains.  I hiked with Bill, Nathan (my son) and Rhiannon (my daughter).  

The day was beautiful and cool and views were spectacular.  It was windy.

We took the Old Bridle Path to the summit, stopping in at Greenleaf Hut.  Totally unaware of the AMC hut system, I remember being a bit put off that strangers would actually sleep in the same room!    

Rhiannon was not happy hiking.  She complained and we argued on that last stretch to the summit.  Once we were up there, the kids were all smiles enjoying the view. That ended as soon as we had to hike down.  Rhiannon does not enjoy hiking to this day.  Can't win them all I guess.

********
Mt. Lafayette - again (and Lincoln and Little Haystack) via Old Bridal Path, Franconia Ridge, and Falling Waters trails, September 6, 2009.

Mileage: 8.9 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3,900'

Trailhead: Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia Notch (off I-93).  The Old Bridal Path and Falling Waters trail leave from this parking lot.

Lesson learned: It's preferable to go up Falling Waters trail and DOWN the Old Bridal Path!

The second time I hiked Lafayette (17 years later) was on an equally beautiful day. This time is was just Rich and me.  Rich needed to cross Lafayette off his list and we both needed to summit Mt. Lincoln. 
The weather prediction for that weekend was too good to pass up and this particular hike is one that should be done in clear weather (views) and absolutely should not be done in bad weather (way too much exposure on the ridge).  

We got to the trailhead around 9:30, fairly late.  The trails were crowded; the trailhead was overflowing with cars, some parked on the grass near the interstate. Hiking the Franconia Ridge on a day like this is an experience not to be missed!  


The hut.
The ascent was unremarkable.  Having just become AMC hiking info volunteers, we stopped at Greenleaf hut to talk with the hut volunteer.  He gave us sound advice, "People come in with three questions: where is the bathroom, where is the water, and where is the trash can.  So long as you know the answers, you will make a fine volunteer!"

We got to the summit of Lafayette and stopped for a moment.  The Canadian dollar was very strong that year and many tourists from Quebec were on the summit - in black, some of them smoking (which always fascinates me).


The summit is crowed; views spectacular.
Gliders swooped down as we hiked the ridge.  We felt on top of the world.  We saw Chris and Alison, friends from the seacoast.  It was like a party up there - not a place you would find solitude on this day but that was the fun of it!


On the ridge with Lafayette in the background.
Rich was anxious to head back down.   He felt we spent too much time hanging out and needed to start thinking about dinner and the long ride home.  We were cautious as we descended Falling Waters trail as it was wet and slippery.  It was clear we should have come up this way and gone down the Old Bridal Path instead of the other way around.  The descent took longer than expected and I kept feeling like at any point I was going to slide down the slick slabs and land in a pile at the bottom!  But we did get down in one piece and headed off for dinner and a beer after a very fine day on the ridge!

#20, #21 Mt. Kinsman, North and South Peaks June 23, 2009

#20, #21 Mt. Kinsman, North (4,293') and South (4,358') Peaks via Kinsman and Kinsman Ridge trails (AT),  June 23, 2009.

Mileage: 10 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3,900'
 
Trailhead: Take Route 112 West from Lincoln to Route 116 North (or Exit 38 off of I-93).  The short road to the Mt. Kinsman Trail trailhead and parking area will eventually be on the right (on your left if coming from I-93), just before Tamarack Camp.  Several years ago they moved this trailhead and rerouted the first 2/10 mile. The parking lot is easy to miss; it is a field next to a house.  

Lesson learned: Beware of false summits!

I was working part-time, which gave me at least one weekday off each week.  I highly recommend this lifestyle.  Sandy has flexible hours so she took the day off and we decided to bag the Kinsmans.  

This was our first hike as a hiking duo and a chance for us to see how obsessed the other was with hiking the NH 4ks!  Rain was predicted but we didn't care, we needed to get hiking!

It wasn't hard to find the trailhead after a little research. We pulled in; the only vehicle in the lot. 
It was a cloudy day and we had hoped the rain would hold off.  The trail was a damp dirt and root path with mossy rocks (probably decent footing when dry).   We passed the Bald Peak overlook trail, figuring we could check that out on the way down.  

We ascended into a heavy mist and eventually came to the Kinsman Ridge trail junction. We turned right and soon arrived at North Peak (at 


The North Kinsman summit - nothing to write home about. 
When we finished eating, we packed up and headed down and then up.  At the height of land we saw some rock slabs and a small cairn off to the left.  We stopped and took some "summit" photos.



This is NOT the summit of South Kinsman but we didn't know it at the time.

It seemed logical that this was South Peak but because of our "summit confusion" on Mt. Willey a few weeks before,  I was suspicious that we might not be at the real summit and headed further down the trail (Sandy stayed by the small cairn).  The trail dipped down and turned a corner. The mist was thick and I couldn't see anything ahead but I kept going. Sure enough, in front of me was an open area with a much larger cairn.  I had a arrived at South Peak. I yelled to Sandy and we were both at the cairn by 12:30.


 Three celebratory photos: 1. North Peak 2. fake South Peak 3, real South Peak. 

It was apparent that South Peak offered up some smokin' views but not today.  We met two pairs of hikers at the summit.    One pair was camping; they had made reservations at the campground ahead of time and decided to make the best of less-than-great weather. 

On the way down it started to rain lightly. Going was very slow down the wet, mossy rock. Discouraged at our lack of viewage, we stopped at the Bald Peak side trail on the way down and were treated to views of Easton.  The bugs came out as soon as we arrived at the car.  We were still the only vehicle in the lot!

#34 Mt. Jefferson (5,712') May 31, 2010


#34 Mt. Jefferson (5,712') via Castle, Jefferson Loop, Gulfside and Jewel Trails (Traverse) May 31, 2010.  

Mileage: 10.5 miles traverse

Elevation gain: 4,200'
Trailhead: Start at Bowman trailhead (4.2 miles east of the junction of Rt 2 and 115 and one mile west of Lowe's Store in Randolph ,NH).  You will end up at the Jewell trailhead (the Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead just before the Cog Railway parking).
Lesson learned: Hiking in Colorado the week before is great for stamina in the Whites!

The Castle trail hike is listed on the Terrifying 25 (a list I am not working on but you may be!). This hike was offered by AMC and led by Karen and Leon. My friend Norm was going, as was our friend Paul.  The group consisted of Karen (leader), Leon (co-leader), Norm, Paul, Dapreek, Abbus, and Janice.  

I had just returned from hiking the Flatirons in Boulder, CO and also hiking in Colorado Springs. Since I had been spending a lot of time at 8,000' elevation, I knew I would do well on this hike (it is very early in the season and I was still feeling the disappointment of losing the trail on Wildcat Ridge a few weeks before, my only failed 4k hike). 

The Castellated Ridge is a challenging series of ups and downs that will eventually lead you to the summit cone of Mt. Jefferson. I was ready for a challenge (note: Rich was not with me on this hike.  I was not sure if he was ready for such a long, strenuous hike so early in the season, and I wasn't sure how well he would take the exposure on the Ridge).  

It was late when we got to the Bowman trailhead and on the trail (after 9:30). The group started off at a good pace but within the hour, Paul was in distress. The group discussed turning back but it was decided by the leaders that Paul would lead the group, and thereby we would all be hiking at his pace.  This worked very well actually and Paul was encouraged (later Paul would confess that he was trying a new protein powder and had been working out hard all week, which may have been the root of the problem).


A rope at one of the bumps in the ridge which is frankly, no help at all.
Additionally, several in our group had just hiked a 4k the day before and their legs were tired (some had been hiking all week).  Even with Paul leading we were experiencing the slinky affect (faster hikers stop to rest, the rest of the group catches up only to have the faster hikers take off again).  


As we ascended we were treated to wonderful 360° views on this rocky and at times tedious trail. The weather was clear with a little haze in distance (probably from the Quebec forest fires). 

A handsome group at the junction of the Jefferson Loop.
 We had lunch at the summit, which was craggy with no place to sit down.  Fortunately there was very little wind and some sun (and amazing views).  And, no bugs.   Paul was feeling much better.  I spent some time getting to know the people in the group.


Not much for places to sit at the summit.
It was late when we started down the Gulfside and then Jewell trails. Karen usually offers the group a quick trip to Mt. Clay but there was no time. Norm was scheduled for dinner at the Highland Center at 6 p.m. and it looked like he wouldn't make it.

The Jewell trail is a hateful series punishing glacial rock in every different angle. Ankle twisters. I remember it from my Mt. Washington climb and I was about as fond of it then as I was on this day.   As we descended the trail the terrain became more forgiving though and after what seemed like many miles of woods, we were at the Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead and back at the cars.

Although it is fun to meet new people, group hikes such as this one are always a gamble. We were very fortunate to reach our destination and get back to the cars without too much drama.  Many hike leaders screen those who sign up for hikes to be certain they are fit enough to complete the hike. The general rule is when one person drops out, the entire group has to turn back.  Also, if one tired hiker injures him or herself, that also requires a turn around or worse, rescue.  Be prepared to turn around if a member of the group cannot complete the hike.

#11 Mt. Jackson November 1, 2008

#11 Mt. Jackson (4052') via Jackson-Webster trail, November 1, 2008  
Mileage: 5.2 RT

Elevation gain: 2150'

Trailhead: Route 302 in Crawford Notch, across the street from the train depot just past the AMC Highland Center. You can park at the depot.

Lesson learned:  Never make assumptions about the weather, particularly in the colder months.

I hiked Mt. Jackson via the Jackson-Webster trail with Rich, Myron, Debbie and Kevin. It was a cold, clear day and late in the season for me.  In fact, this was the first time I had hiked a four thousand footer in the Whites in November. 


Jackson-Webster trailhead.
We got to the trailhead mid-morning and headed up the trail, passing Elephant Head (a quick hike with great views) on our way to the summit.  Days are short in November but it was a relatively short hike so we had plenty of daylight to complete our task (Mt. Jackson is considered one of the easier 4ks in the White Mountains).

If you have hiked in the Crawford Notch area, you've undoubtedly met your share of Gray Jays, sweet fat gray birds that stalk you, swoop at you and beg for food.  They love food of all types, particularly nuts - peanuts, almonds and pecans. 
 My hiking friend Clay says of the gray jays, "I once had a Gray Jay make off with an entire pecan pie -- but it did return the pie pan later. Very thoughtful."


The jays are not afraid to perch on your hand while they fill their beaks!
The trail was dry until we reached the last third of the hike and then conditions became very icy with large areas of smooth ice.  We used our stabilicers to get to the summit - Kevin and Debbie barebooted the way, a trick for sure as conditions were slick and steep.


Steep, icy, tough to sprint up that's for sure!

As we gained elevation, this hike quickly went from a brisk fall hike to a cold biting fight against wind on a steep trail of smooth ice.  The wind was loud and foreboding and although clear, the bitter temps reminded me that this weather can take the heat right from your body, leaving you disoriented and in real trouble!


Summit. And gray jay on cairn.

We got down in plenty of time for dinner and I was grateful to have all of us in one piece after the icy conditions. 

I am clearly happier hiking in warm weather.  This hike renewed my deep respect for the unpredictable changes in the weather that occur in the region during this time of year. 

#29 Mt. Isolation Traverse, August 8, 2009

#29 Mt. Isolation via Glen Boulder, Davis Path, Mt. Isolation and Rocky Branch trails,  August 8, 2009

Mileage: 12.8 miles traverse
 
Elevation gain: 3,800'
 
Trailhead: Glen Boulder trailhead (where you start) is on Route 16 heading north, less than a mile before Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, on the right (Glen Ellis Falls parking lot).  Rocky Branch trailhead (where you end up)  is also on Route 16 heading north just past Jackson.  Just before Route 16 starts to climb to Pinkham Notch, the Rocky Branch parking lot will be on the left.
 
Lesson learned: Sometimes a "dreaded" hike becomes one of your favorites.

Rich, Sandy, Eileen, Pam and Bob accompanied me on this hike.  The weather was pleasant, in the 65-70° range with no predicted precipitation, unlimited views and no bugs. 
Bob and Pam planned the route: Glen Boulder to Davis Path to summit, then back Davis Path to Mt. Isolation trail to Rocky Branch trail.

Glen Boulder trail has a few exposed, steep areas, requiring some scrambles. Once at the top, the views were incredible.  We stopped many times to enjoy it. But, I was anxious to keep going.  


Glen Boulder

This was just a part of the beautiful views - junction Davis Path
At the junction of Davis Path, we headed left. Right would take us to Boot Spur, another hike for another day.


Pam en-route.
The trip was long but exciting, with good company and great weather.    The summit was rock slab with a cairn and lots of views.  We met our friends Abby and Jeff at the summit and sat down to have lunch.  A handful of people were also there, enjoying the view. At about 2:15 we headed toward Rocky Branch trail and to the car we dropped off at the trailhead.

On the summit
Descending was slow for Rich and the conditions were wet, rocky and annoying down Mt. Isolation and Rocky Branch trails.  Three of the river crossings were a challenge and took some time. It had been a wet season. Some of the Rocky Branch trail consisted of rock hopping over a brook.  The sunlight was waning and it was dark when we got down at .

When I look back on this hike, I think of it as one of my top three favorite hikes for several reasons.  First and foremost, we took Glen Boulder trail on a day with fantastic weather.  It put us all in fine spirits.  The summit had fine views and it's always fun to hike nicely cut trails. The group I was with were my friends and a pleasure to spend time with.  

Mt. Isolation gets it's reputation because it is long and also because the Rocky Branch trail is very wet and predictable (boring).  On this day, our descent was done for the most part in 2-3 inches of water - Rocky Branch was that wet.  Toward the end of the journey, people were tired - of the hike, the trail, the water.  I often wonder if we would have been happier going back Glen Boulder but then I think about the elevation gain (1,500' extra).  

#18, #19 Mt. Hancock, North and South Peaks June 13, 2009.

#18 and #19 Mt. Hancock, North(4420') and South (4319')  Peaks via Hancock Notch, Cedar Brook, and Hancock Loop trails, June 13, 2009. 

Mileage: 9.8 miles RT
 
Elevation gain: 2,650'

Trailhead:  Parking lot is a past the major hairpin curve on the Kancamagus  Highway (NH Rt 112) 4.7 miles east of Lincoln Woods. The trail starts at the downhill end of the lot.

Lesson learned:  Erosion has new meaning.
 
Hiked with Rich and Myron.  It was a beautiful day with blue skies, temp in the 60s. We chose this hike over Mt. Jefferson because thunderstorms were predicted and the Hancock trails are not exposed.  
The hike went relatively quickly.  There were many brook crossings - which can be a problem early in the season,  and part of the trail was confusing.  



Blazes were sporadic in some spots on the Hancock Notch and Cedar Brook trails.  I would describe the climb as moderate until we got to the Hancock Loop, which dipped down and then climbed very steeply and roughly.  We were warned about the erosion; there were worn scunned roots and trees just barely hanging on. It was in terrible shape! Trail maintenance crews must have been working on the trail as I hit branches that had recently been cut to clear the trail, bruising my right arm and leg. 
We arrived at North Peak first; the views were great.  The summit was crowded and we jockeyed for a space on the boulder on the view point.



Gray Jay takes a break on a very busy summit.
 Myron was in a hurry so we did not spend much time on the summit.  We had lunch and then started off toward South Hancock.   The col was very muddy and the South Peak was anticlimactic.  


Rock on South Hancock.


It was buggy so after a quick photo, we headed down from the South Peak. We got back to the car about .  Always a good day in the woods!