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Thread: Lincoln Lafayette loop - Plenty of company

  1. #1
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    Lincoln Lafayette loop - Plenty of company

    I stuck with "local hiking" today and did the Lincoln Lafayette Loop. I decided to get an early start and was at the parking lot around 7 AM. There were a few vehicles. Since the last time I was there, there is new single door shed located at the trailhead, not sure what its use is. There was a couple that headed up the OBP trail just before I did. I did not see them for the rest of the day. The sun was not high enough to get down in the notch initially but just below the sharp left turn that climbs to the top of the ridge if got warm quick. I took a few layers off and hiked in T shirt all the way to Greenleaf. There is about 50' of ice heading up the rocks on the Agonies below the hut. My Hillsounds were fine. I met two groups heading down. One group had gone up Lafayette to the watch the sunrise, another couple had done the entire ridge. Folks were pretty good at stepping off to the side of the trail to let folks pass. I got to Greenleaf and had the porch to myself for 15 minutes before another group came by. I had optimistically put sunscreen on my face and arms but I ended up putting a hooded fleece that I kept on until Haystack. I didnt have any major traction issues climbing Lafayette. There was fresh somewhat firmed up snow on what I expect if mix of ice and hard crust. I skipped the informal winter cut off and followed the trail into the snow field that forms on the NW side of the summit cone. Prior hikers had established a zig zag route up the field. My Hillsounds were fine but I sure would not want to bareboot it. The summit was pleasant with minimal wind. Views were 100 miles for sure but high clouds came in faster than I expected. I expect if the clouds had not moved in it would have been T shirt weather for the ridge but I kept the fleece on.

    The ridge is 95% snow cover from Lafayette to Lincoln. There were a couple of steep short snow fields on the north slopes of the knobs in between the two summits that required some care. I had regular crampons in the pack but never needed them. Along the ridge I encountered several groups going CCW. They started out well equipped but as I got towards Lincoln I saw more and more groups with less gear. The summit of Lincoln is bare rock and much of the steep portion of the trail is also bare. Some folks had taken their traction off but I keep it on. I got to Haystack just before noon and the traffic up Falling Waters was increasing. Nowhere near a typical spring weekend but a mix of well equipped hikers and folks bare booting. The upper Falling Waters was in good shape, but as I headed down it was getting soft. My spikes were forming snowballs on occasion but it wasn't significant. Once I hit the first upper stream crossing the snow started to get wet on top and "greasy". The crossings are all still in but they all have water running under them and postholes all the way through in spots. As I went down the going got slipperier, I was tempted to put on the crampons but just took it easy. I also got the standard questions from parties heading up with totally inappropriate gear on how much longer and how far to Lafayette. The lowest crossing is definitely breaking down.

    When I got to the lot it was just about full. I didnt see any significant issues with crowding or lack of social distancing except within individual groups, the snow pack is firm enough to be able to step to the side without sinking deep.

    Driving back to Gorham I saw all the normal hikers lots had cars. The Skook lot was just about full which is rare. Garfield looked full. Lowes Store didn't have a lot of hikers parked in the lot as the RMC cabins are closed. Appalachia was close to full. Nice start to spring under the new normal. My guess is the more popular NH state parks were overrun with the nice weather today. The NH governor has been trying to keep things open until proven its not effective and my guess is new restrictions may be in place in the coming weeks with respect to the parks so I wanted to make my hike up Lafayette sooner than later.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 03-28-2020 at 05:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    Just curious: any observations about where all those parked cars came from (ie NH plates vs. Flatlanders)?
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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scubahhh View Post
    Just curious: any observations about where all those parked cars came from (ie NH plates vs. Flatlanders)?
    I get your drift, but NH has a coast line...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scubahhh View Post
    Just curious: any observations about where all those parked cars came from (ie NH plates vs. Flatlanders)?
    FWIW, on my commute from the North Shore into Boston every morning there is certainly no shortage of NH plates.

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    I didn't walk the parking lot checking plates. I did run into several "locals out for exercise" on the ridge earlier in the day including one party that admitted they crossed the county line (as I did). We both were from Coos. A simple rationalization I use is the earlier in the day someone is at the trailhead the higher the likelihood that the persons you meet are local. I routinely do the loop and get a parking space even during the busy summer season by heading out early. A minor but appreciated benefit is if I am heading south on RT 115 before the sun is over the mountains, the view east to the Presidential range is big plus.

    Up in Coos county, the usual delineation is, do you live north of the notches or south of the notches. Northern Pass campaign a lot of folks from south of the notches didn't realize that people actually lived north of RT2 or even that NH even had territory north of RT2. The ATV and snowmobile crowd knows it but with the exception of Cabot most of the hiking public do not head north of RT2 except those working on the NH 100 who end up getting quite familiar with Nash Stream.

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    Senior Member una_dogger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    FWIW, on my commute from the North Shore into Boston every morning there is certainly no shortage of NH plates.
    most likely essential workers heading to work.
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    What is the acceptable local distance to travel for exercise?

    We have been working down the street and back every evening, but this weekend I drove 16 miles to from Auburn MA to Rutland State Park (two towns over) and had a picnic on the deserted beach.

    At Rutland State Park, we saw lots of cars parked for the rail trails and fishermen parked along the sides of the roads. I didn't check to see what States they were from...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Fisherman should have been local as out of state licenses are prohibitive unless the fishery is worth the extra cost. Oddly, fishing season wasn't postponed, in fact, in CT it was moved up in the hope of spreading it out. I did not see if the traditional trout rivers were crowded like past years. So far, I've not taken the car to go hike as the local woods are 1 1/4 mile from the house. The walk is just part of the work out. After six M-F last week and Tuesday today, I may drive to the other side of town tomorrow.
    Have fun & be safe
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    Quote Originally Posted by una_dogger View Post
    most likely essential workers heading to work.
    Maybe. The list of exemptions was 9 pages long. It's mostly work trucks, though, and if the order covers job sites there are a lot of people ignoring it. The guy from NH working on renovations at the liquor store around the corner brings his dog to the job site and does nothing to prevent it from interacting with every single customer that goes in there.

    Just saying it's not entirely one-sided. I'm not sure a 40 mile drive is a "local" hike but the definitions seem to be different for whoever is trying to justify their behavior. 40 miles puts me in 3 different states.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    the definitions seem to be different for whoever is trying to justify their behavior. 40 miles puts me in 3 different states.
    Ding, ding, ding, winner! I'm watching my neighbors get a furniture delivery from a company that does not sell appliances in CT where we have fairly strong guidelines in place. Is getting a new couch essential?

    Non-profits have been hard hit with fund raising since last fall's EEE restrictions on fall events and now. Easter Services will not happen and we are on the verge of having to cancel Memorial Day Parades. Are Non-profits are essential? Lawn companies are still working. One could certainly make a doomsday revelation that lawns are not essential and we should all plant gardens instead of grass since getting food at the supermarkets continue to be more difficult than before
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  11. #11
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Murphy View Post
    What is the acceptable local distance to travel for exercise?
    Honestly I think that's a real hard call. I'm trying to figure if I can justify the 30-40 minutes over to the Belknaps (obviously going nowhere near Major). I went down to Durham this weekend for some time on UNH property--one-way drive distance less than hike distance. Saw one person on the trail.

    I was an idiot and forgot the "shoulder" was actually a leaf-filled ditch and had to call a coworker to pull me out. If that had happened up north, I'd be dealing with at least one, probably several people I don't normally interact with--at least this way it was somebody I saw regularly before going WFH, and he was able to stay in his truck except for popping out briefly to double-check where I put the tow strap.

  12. #12
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Staying local seems as if it is being left up to the interpretation and perceptions of the individual. What is more important is the assessment of risk of the particular activity. Although it can be argued the farther the distance to the particular activity increases the time traveling and therefore increases the level of exposure to risk. Stay as close to home as possible and dialing it back a few notches only seems logical. Problem is coming to an agreement what close and dialing it back exactly is. Congruency of agreement across all user groups will probably never be achieved as risk management and assessment vary so greatly from individual to the next.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I saw this earlier today on Facebook and I think this is probably the best answer (to my mind anyway) to the question of how far we should travel for recreation. For me personally, I am mainly solo cycling and within a region where should something happen to me requiring medical assistance, the resources would be the same as if I were in my own home.




    Tim
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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    I find the unpaired quote disturbing.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJsName View Post
    I find the unpaired quote disturbing.
    The two quotes were social distancing and can not be together.....
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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