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Thread: Moosilauke via Glencliff, Benton, Tunnel Bk Trails - 11.17.12

  1. #1
    Senior Member Snowflea's Avatar
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    Moosilauke via Glencliff, Benton, Tunnel Bk Trails - 11.17.12

    Our group of four decided on a less commonly used route up one of our favorite White Mtn. peaks, Mt. Moosilauke: a "triangle" hike using the Glencliff Trail/Carriage Road, Benton Trail, and Tunnel Brook Trail, followed by a bit of road walking to connect the dots.

    Glencliff Trail was in excellent shape (muchas gracias, Steve M. and Dr. D!), with just a few small ice patches that were easy enough to walk around. We decided to hit South Peak for a bit of solitude before walking the ridge to the summit. Met a couple of large groups going to/coming from the summit via Glencliff/Carriage Road. We had a first timer in our group, and he was granted near perfect summit conditions for this time of year: bright sun and very slight wind.

    According to Steve Smith and Mike Dickerman in The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains, a Mrs. Daniel Patch (but, I wonder, what was HER name?!) is given credit as the first woman to climb Mt. Moosilauke in ~1840. She apparently prepared tea on the summit. One hundred seventy-two years later, we too drank tea on the summit (made in the comfort of home, however) and pondered the pluck of Mrs. Patch. But I digress.

    We descended via the Benton Trail, on which we met our final two hikers of the day. There was significantly more ice on the Benton, but we were still able to maneuver around all of it with bare boots; Microspikes remained in the packs as ballast. A mile after oohing and aahing at Little Tunnel Ravine overlook, crossing Tunnel Brook was a wee bit sketchy, but all made it across with dry feet.

    The final leg in our Moosilauke triangle was the Tunnel Brook Trail. Only one in our party had ever traversed Tunnel Valley... and that was 8-9 years prior. The WMG warns "The central portion is subject to disruption by beaver activity, and... short sections could become very wet or obscure." It seems the beavers have indeed been busy in these parts, and we suffered (twice) the momentary unease of searching for viable (read: dry) routes around flooded sections of official trail as the sun sank lower on the horizon. (Oops, should've started hiking before 10.) The beaver dams, of which we saw a few, seemed quite impressive feats of engineering prowess, and the ponds themselves were icing up beautifully. Happily, our feet stayed dry, and the four of us being 12-year-olds at heart, wisely spent our precious last daylight minutes "skipping" stones across the ice just to hear the cool sounds that emanated from beneath.

    With the moon just a sliver and darkness fast descending, three of us resorted to headlamps while the fourth--a very, er, experienced hiker who didn't need no stinkin' light (read: he didn't bring one)--somehow successfully and stubbornly negotiated the last mile or so of trail without falling. We reached the previously overflowing, now empty Glencliff Trailhead a little after 5 pm.

    Even with the brief flooded sections of Tunnel Brook Trail, I highly recommend this 12.5 mile loop. Just get an earlier start.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stinkyfeet View Post

    Glencliff Trail was in excellent shape (muchas gracias, Steve M. and Dr. D!)...
    Double thanks guys!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stinkyfeet View Post
    Met a couple of large groups going to/coming from the summit via Glencliff/Carriage Road.
    Hahaha....if I had been in the country I might have been with one of those large groups. It's something I do every year

    Quote Originally Posted by Stinkyfeet View Post
    ...The WMG warns "The central portion is subject to disruption by beaver activity, and... short sections could become very wet or obscure." It seems the beavers have indeed been busy in these parts, and we suffered (twice) the momentary unease of searching for viable (read: dry) routes around flooded sections of official trail as the sun sank lower on the horizon. (Oops, should've started hiking before 10.)
    This ferreting around Beaver flooding in the dark must be something you've come to enjoy. Are you going to add it to every hike from here on out
    Last edited by Nif; 11-19-2012 at 04:53 AM.
    It's only 0.2 how bad could it be?

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