Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mt. Chocorua via Champney Falls Trail, August 29, 2015

Mt. Chocorua (3,490') via Champney Falls and Piper trails, 8/29/15

Mileage: 7.8 miles RT

Elevation gain: 2,370'

Trailhead: The trail begins at the Champney Falls parking lot on the Kancamagus Highway (Rt. 112) 10 miles west of its junction with Route 16 (junction in Conway, NH). If coming from I-93, take exit 32 to Route 112 East (Kancamagus Highway) for 24.6 miles. There is a parking fee of $3.

Hiked with Rich today.  The weekend's forecast called for perfect weather so we wanted to get out and up hoping for nice views (we were not disappointed).

This is my fourth time up Chocorua - second time by way of Champney Falls; the first time was over ten years ago. (Also see trip reports for this mountain via Piper trail and also via Nickerson Ledge trail.)

If you are looking for a comfortably mellow trail up Mt. Chocorua, this is for you!  Keep in mind though that all who reach the summit enjoy a fair amount of steep rock and slab work right at the top.  The "mellow" part refers to the Champney Falls portion of this hike.  

Today, USFS rangers were at the parking area, making sure fees were paid and hikers knew about the ten essentials.  
The falls are just over a mile up.
I don't recall visiting the falls the last time I was here (so long ago) but we decided to this time. That trail deviates left from the main trail, dips down and then sharply up, allowing you to be at the bottom, and then the top of both Champney and Pitcher falls.

It's a loop trail that ends at the upper portion of Champney Falls trail (no back tracking!).

Trail loops back onto the main trail.

Water is low today.  

Trail goes to the right up a rocky set of steps.

Start of the slabs as you head back to Champney Falls trail.
Back on the Champney Falls trail the path gets narrower, rockier and steeper but never really steep.  Onward and upward the trail skirts the side of the mountain and we can see bits of views.

Still pretty wide and easy.

A tree is fallen on the CF trail at this junction.
The Champney Falls trail meets up with the Piper trail at a popular junction.  This is the final approach to the summit of Chocorua.

At the junction. Things get different from here!
A bit more wooded trail later we landed on the lower portion of the rocky summit cone. Yellow blazes lead the way but many just scramble up here and there. 

The start of the rocks.
Spoiler alert - that tall bump of rock is not the summit. Once you get past it you will see a second, more grand bump. That's where you want to be.

That second bump - the summit.

Follow the blazes.

By the time you get to that last scramble up to the top (a steepish slope plenty sticky in dry conditions), you'll be quite comfortable with walking on slabs. The actual summit is small and crowded.

Actual summit is just left of this photo.

Most hang out on the slabs just below it.

Incredible views.
After lunch on the rocks, enjoying the view, we headed back down to the car and to 7th Settlement for a beer (in Dover, 90 minutes from the trailhead but we wanted to try it). 
Heading down and enjoying the scenery.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mt. Franklin Ridge Walk via Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, and Crawford and Edmands Paths, 8/16/15

Mt. Franklin (5,003') via Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, Crawford Path, "Franklin Loop," and Edmands Path, August 16, 2015

Mileage: 8.4 (traverse)

Elevation gain: 2,843' (3,246 elevation loss on the descent)

Trailhead: This is a traverse that ends at the Edmands Path trailhead  - requiring a car spot. A car is dropped off at Edmands Path trailhead parking lot, located on Mt. Clinton Road, in Bretton Woods, 2.3 miles from Route 302 (near AMC Highland Center).  

The hike starts at the Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead: From the Edmands Path trailhead turn right onto Clinton Road and travel 2+ miles until you get to the intersection of the Base Road. Turn right and trailhead parking is on your right  - WMNF pass required (you can also park at the lower parking area by the Cog Railway station).

Mt. Franklin is a peak on the Trailwrights list (a list I'm not working on but you may be!).  

Hiked with Rich, Joe and Sandy. Sandy was volunteering at Lakes of the Clouds hut on this very busy weekend and Rich, Joe and I headed up the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail to meet her when her shift was done.

Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead parking.

If you parked in the Cog Railway lot, it intersects the Ammo trail farther down.

Emerald pool.
The trail was very crowded and occasionally we had to wait to pick our way up the steep rocks.

Things get steep after the pool.

Lakes of the Clouds up ahead.
We entered a very busy hut, found a table and had lunch. Sandy ended her shift and joined us.
After lunch we checked out the lakes. A group brought a canoe down from the summit and were paddling around the small lake; others were laying around hanging out in the sun.
Checked out the dungeon - where hikers can find shelter in winter.
I've been curious about the "dungeon" where hikers can seek shelter year-round.  The door is outside, located below the dining room of LOC.

Thru-hikers stay in the dungeon during the summer.
Though it smells oily, it isn't a bad spot.  Sandy told us the work-for-stay AT thru-hikers stay there.

It was hot and sunny and after reapplying sunscreen we jumped on Crawford Path heading toward Edmands Path (about a 2 mile hike on the ridge).

We skirt around the Mt. Monroe summit.
For the most part the path is flat and forgiving, with the occasional rock hop or up and down.  We got to the little summit cone of Mt. Franklin  - a bump, really - and took the ten minutes to run up it and get a photo.  This "run" up to the top is just a 65' ascent from the col! 

Raced up to the summit of Mt. Franklin to take a photo at the cairn.
Heading down that glorious ridge!

Relatively flat for the most part.

The views are spectacular, very clear and surreal.  Soon we saw the "cut" on the right side of Mt. Eisenhower - the Edmands Path.  The path was wet and a little slippery but we were down and at the Moat in no time.
The Edmands Path is in the distance (horizontal slash on the right).

Jumped on Edmands Path and down to our car.

In the past when hiking to the summit of Mt. Eisenhower, I've wondered just what a ridge hike to Mt. Monroe would be like (if I'd turned left at the Mt. Eisenhower loop sign rather than turning right to Eisenhower). 

Now we know; definitely a lovely ridge walk!