Saturday, July 13, 2013
May 10, 2013 Hiking the Franconia Ridge
I woke up before the rest of the group, so I walked out to a tent platform away from ours. I sat there enjoying the early morning sunlight breaking through the trees and ate my breakfast. There is nothing like relaxing in the forest as the sun rises. I was a bit surprised by the lack of any sounds. There were no birds or animals to be seen or heard. Eventually I headed back and helped pack up the campsite. This will be a long post. We spent the whole day hiking along the Franconia Ridge Trail and the photos were taken by all four of us. Hopefully this blog captures what we witnessed along the way.
I filled my Camelbak at the Liberty Spring.
This is the trail we had to take to get to the outhouse. It was a much easier walk in the daylight than the rainy dark last night.
As Ian was boiling water for tea, a heavy fog began to move down the mountain...
Just about packed up...
...and ready to go.
As I would soon find out, the trail would be rocky and packed snow or ice covered for the rest of the day...
...and the McDonnell brothers would be waiting for me to catch up all day long.
We decided to leave our backpacks and head the opposite direction toward Mount Liberty, the first of four peaks of at least 4000 feet on our hike today.
The trail toward Mount Liberty.
As we headed up to the 4459 foot peak of Mount Liberty, we entered the Alpine Zone.
We quickly rose above the tree line.
Luckily the view slowly changed from this...
As usual, the brothers were way ahead of me. But this time it was because I was taking pictures. Hey it's my blog and my version of the story.
This picture would have been much better if I would have noticed at the time that you can see Jim sitting on the rock. The truth is I was still breathing heavy and sweating so much from climbing up the mountain that many pictures didn't turn out because I was fogging up the lens. So put your hand over Jim and it looks like Ian & Mike are hanging on for their lives. OK, maybe not since they are both smiling.
I am pretty sure Mike took this great shot.
We hiked back down Mt. Liberty, grabbed our packs and headed toward our next peak, Little Haystack.
Climbing up to Little Haystack at 4780'.
The top of Little Haystack with the 5089' Mount Lincoln in the background.
Mike's first attempt at a group shot...
it took a few tries but he got it.
The Franconia Ridge Trail which is also part of the Appalachian Trail.
You can see why this is a "ridge" trail.
On my way to Mount Lincoln.
Mike relaxing before we head up to Mount Lafayette lost in the fog .
We ate lunch on Mt. Lincoln.
Then it was off to Mt. Lafayette.
I believe Ian is trying to find me way back on the trail...
...because Jim came back down to help me out by carrying my pack up Mt. Lafayette. The scenery was incredible up here but I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked due to barely being able to hike 50 feet without resting.
This glider went by a few times, I tried to light a fire to signal for a rescue but there wasn't anything to burn up here at 5261 feet.
We have hiked about four miles so far today. Easily the hardest four miles I have ever hiked.
We have about four miles to get back down the mountain. At the time I thought, no problem it's all downhill. I'll say it now. I was wrong.
The slow hike down Mt. Lafayette.
If the McDonnell brothers ever release an album, I think this should be the cover photo.
I stopped to filter some water from this creek since I was drinking water constantly...
...I didn't realize we could get fresh water just down the trail at the AMC hut.
When we got to the parking lot, Jim & Mike jogged 3 miles up the road to get the car. I laid on the asphalt unable to move telling Ian to have them run me over when they got back. We drove into town and had dinner at the Woodstock Inn Brewery. Then drove out the Kancamagus Highway to the Hancock Campground and set up the tents along the Pemigewasset River. I got a good night of much needed sleep after an amazing day hiking in the White Mountains.