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Thread: A Week in the Whites

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    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    A Week in the Whites

    Unlike last year, when I could only squeeze in a weekend and just one hike, I was able to spend a full week in NH this year. I managed to hike on 5 of the 7 days. I beat the rush out of Boston on Friday Am 8/17 and made it to the cabin before noon. I had not planned to hike but it was still fair with rain forecast so I set out to stretch my legs and check out the reconstruction work on the historic Crawford Path. Since I was feeling good, I continued up to Mizpah Hut and then maybe 3/4 mile beyond on the Webster Cliff Trail heading toward Jackson. I would have liked to go further, but just ran out of time.

    On Saturday I was joined by Kman for a hike up the Percy Peaks which I have written up here already. The Nash Steam Forest is a beautiful and less traveled area if you want solace from the Franconia Ridge or Presidential crowds. Unfortunately no views on this day but we considered ourselves lucky the rain let up just in time for us to get this hike in.

    Sunday was an off day for canoeing, swimming, and bird watching which was rewarded by the sighting of a pair of Bald Eagles on Streeter Pond.
    Also seen: Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Loons, and a Hummingbird as well as an otter.

    Monday I returned to hike Moosilauke after a gap of 25 years. The new lodge is impressive. I did the traditional loop up Gorge Brook Trail to the summit, over the ridge to the South Peak which I think I missed the last time, and down the Carriage Rd and the Snapper Trail. It was a glorious day and there were many hikers (mostly Baby Boomers like me) on the trails.

    Tuesday I wanted something different and I was also looking for geographic diversity so I headed over to Ferncroft to do some small peaks. I went up Wonalancet Range Trail to Walden Trail and descended the Old Mast Rd. Its a tidy approximately 6 mile loop that passes over Wonalancet 2760, Hibbard 2940, and (Wonalancet) Hedgehog 3140. The climb up Wonalancet is quite steep and so is the descent down the Walden Trail which added just the right amount of challenge to this relatively short hike. There's a nice view of Chocorua from the ledges before Wonalancet summit and a good view south from a ledge near the Hibbard summit.

    Wednesday it rained so it was enforced R&R. I read a book, took a nap and canoed in between the showers which went on all day.

    Thursday was my last day and I was feeling strong so I went up the Rattle River Trail (AT) to the Kenduskeag Trail to Shelburne Moriah. This was a tough hike (for me) and harder than you might expect just looking at the 3735 elevation. It is 11.2 miles round trip and gains 3200 feet of elevation because the trailhead sits down pretty low at 760 feet. So by comparison Moosilauke is 4802 but the elevation gain is only 2600 feet since the lodge sits way up at 2460. The hike is very easy for the first 2.5 to 3 miles but kicks ass the final mile up to the Kenduskeag junction. Anyway, its a great hike and other than the northbound AT thru-hikers coming down the Rattle River Trail, I only saw a few other people all day and none at all on the section between the junction and the Shelburne Moriah summit. It was blowing a gale up top which surprised me. It was really cool and I put on the 4 light layers I was carrying including a fleece hoodie and a windbreaker. Great views from the summit of the northern Presidentials and in the other direction, the Wild River Wilderness.

    Returned safe and sound, conscious of the tenor of the "near miss" thread which I would not read till later. Especially going solo on less traveled trails, one has to be aware of every step. I had a wonderful foot and leg soak up to the knees in the Rattle River at the trailhead finish line which was really outstanding. For the week, 40 miles and 13,000 feet of elevation. Two 4ks, four 3ks, and two 2ks. Mishaps zero. See y'all next year, "good lord willin' and the Creek don't rise."

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    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

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