Monday, October 13, 2014

Imp Face Loop October 12, 2014

Imp Face (3,165') via North Imp and South Imp trails October 12, 2014.

Mileage:  6.3 (loop)

Elevation gain:  2,209'
Trailhead: South Imp trailhead is approximately 2.3 miles from the Mt. Washington Auto Road  in Gorham (on the right driving north). North Imp trailhead is .3 miles further. 
Hiked with Marie, David, Rich and Sandy.  The Imp Face is on the 52 with a View list (a list I'm not working on but you may be!). 
I've always wanted to hike this loop and scheduled it last winter but reports indicated high water at the first water crossing (about a 20 minute walk in).  It's best to check recent trip reports and the AMC Visitor Center at Pinkham Notch during rainy and thaw conditions before heading out on this trail.
View from the Imp Face.
Dropped our car off at South Imp trailhead.
Hopped on to North Imp trail, 1/3 mile north of South Imp trailhead.

Grades are easy as the trail makes its way through the woods skirting the Imp Brook which it will eventually cross.  As previously stated, this water crossing can be tough to impossible in high water but today it was not an issue.

First and only serious water crossing. Today it was fine.

What a nice walk in the woods; it felt great to be on an established trail after last weekend's bushwhack (read previous report). Yellow blazes on this stretch are quite faded but the path is wide and easy to see.

The trail steepens, with a ravine to the left.

Stairs make the steeper parts a bit easier.

About two miles later we arrived at the Imp Face; only two others were on the rock outcropping.

Looking down the cliff.

Nice view

Gliders overhead. You could hear the whining of their rudders as they sailed.

Marie and David turned around at this point. Sandy, Rich and I continued up the North Imp trail, which has some descending rock slabs and a few water crossings - and many roots!

After the rock slabs, the trail turns quite sweet.

Snarky slippery little water crossing.

Lots of exposed roots.

We quickly arrived at the trail junction and I suppressed the urge to run up to North Carter (not today). 

South Imp trail lacks the bubbly personality of North Imp trail. We made our way down to the car without incident. This trail is often used to get up to Middle and South Carter (as well as North), and is moderately pitched.  The blazing has been redone on this end of the loop.

Trail flattens out toward the road.

Don't take this left on this old road unless you're headed to Camp Dodge.

For a short six mile hike, this loop offers steeps, flats and amazing views.  The perfect hike to fit in just before the long ride home!

This Columbus Day weekend traffic was waiting to drive up the Auto Road as we headed home.