Sunday, September 30, 2012

Great Autumn Loop in Franconia Notch

One Great Loop to hike in the White Mountains is the Franconia Ridge.  It is a great day hike that takes about nine hours or so to do. The start is at Lafayette Place Parking. Hike up .2 to a two way path, one being Falling Waters Trail and one being Old Bridle Path. Doesn't matter which way you decide to hike, there are so many wonderful great views. You will also then hike along the Franconia Ridge Trail and view landscapes from three different mountains. The loop is 8.8 miles and worth every step! 

What you will see along this great hike:
  • Stairs Falls
  • Swiftwater Falls
  • Cloudland Falls
  • Shining Rock
  • Little Haystack
  • Mt. Lincoln
  • Mt. Lafayette
  • Echo Lake
  • Greenleaf AMC Hut
  • Walker Cascades 
  • and many amazing views along Old Bridle Path
During Autumn the leaves are changing colors and the air is cool. You will see many views along the Ridge were the colors are beautiful. If you get a chance this fall to hike a wonderful loop, take this adventure in Franconia Notch! 

Hiking along the Franconia Ridge
Greenleaf AMC Hut
 Happy Hiking :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Trail Report: Madison Hut and Mt. Madison

One of my favorite hikes is Mt. Madison. Back in 2005 I did this hike for the first time and then I have done it three more times since. It's a beautiful hike but is not easy. This is more of a moderate hike but the views will be worth the journey up the mountain. When you start this hike, its best to start at the parking on Route 2 near Randolph Hill. During the summer the parking fills up fast so get there early. Some people enjoy taking the Valley Way Trail up to Madison Spring Hut, but I prefer Airline Trail. It's easy at first but the trail gets steeper as you hike up. When you reach the sign that lets you know you have reached the Alpine Zone.
The Alpine Zone Sign

Hiking on the Airline Trail in the Alpine Zone

 Once you are hiking in the Apline Zone, you are above tree level. Here you will follow rock piles until you reach Madison Spring Hut. I love being above tree line for you get to see views all the way around you. Once you are over at Madison Spring Hut, you can go inside for restrooms and for resting. I enjoy a snack or even just have lunch inside at one of the benches. There is also a lake called Star lake down the trail for viewing.
Mt. Washington from Mt. Madison (sometimes you can see the cars driving up_

The marker on Mt. Madison

After a rest, hike up to the top of Mt. Madison, it is rocky, climbing over boulders at times but it will be well worth it! The views are amazing! I love seeing Berlin, Jefferson, Mt. Washington, top of Mt. Wildcat and more all around me. The hike will take about six to seven hours. After hiking back down Mt. Madison and back to the hut, I normally take Valley Way back down to the parking lot. It's not as rocky and hard on your legs. The hike it worth going up and if you want to see views...then this is the hike for you! Mt. Madison is 5366'
Madison Spring Hut

Inside Madison Spring Hut (have benches, bathroom and sleeping rooms)
Happy Hiking:)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Trip Report: Hiking up to Mt. Pierce and Mizpah Spring Hut

Mt. Pierce is located in the Presidential Range but you can hike it by parking near AMC Highland Center in Crawford Notch. There is parking across the street which will cost $3.00 per day. It's a moderate hike. Took us about five hours to hike the loop which was around 6.2 miles. It was a wonderful day hike.
Crawford Path is the oldest continuously used hiking trail in America

Gibbs Falls
We started on the Connection trail which is .5 miles over to the Crawford Path. We hiked up to Gibbs Falls which was beautiful. Great place to take a small break. Then after we continued up (1.7 miles) to the junction to Mizpah Cut-off. We wanted to see the Mizpah Spring Hut first so we hiked over which was .7 miles. When we got to the hut it was getting foggy. We could tell that rain was about to fall so we went into for a lunch break. Great hut, very clean and well thought out. I loved sitting by the windows while relaxing with a sandwich.
Mizpah Spring Hut

...entering Alpine Zone when approaching Mt. Pierce
 It was getting a little windy but didn't rain. They have a place where you can check for weather and it read 40% chance so we decided to hike up to Mt. Pierce. We started on the Webster Cliff Trail .9 miles up to the mountain. As soon as we were about .5 miles up it started to rain. The rain didn't last and we continued up until we reached Mt. Pierce. I am sure the view would have been amazing if it was a clear day, but it was very foggy when we reached the top. We did get to see a view mountains through the think clouds that rolled by.
View from top of Mt. Pierce on a cloudy day

View of the valley below where you can see Mt. Washington Hotel through the fog
 After we hiked down Crawford Notch path 3.1 miles back to the connection trail. Even though we didn't get much of a view, it was a great hike and I hope to hike it again next year.
Also Mt.Pierce is a 4000 footer, 4312' 
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