Franconia Ridge Loop 6/19


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Apr 29, 2005
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Albany, NY
Driving up to NH, I was intending to go to Washington and visit the Alpine Garden, but after looking at the cloudy sky for two hours, decided against it. I still wanted to get up above the treeline so after driving through Franconia Notch, I thought "why go any further", and went back. I was alone so it was easy for me to convince the rest of the group! :D

Went up the Falling Waters trail which was still pretty wet from the day before, making some of the steeper scrambles a bit dicey. I passed about ten people headed down who had stayed at Greenleaf Hut the night before. They were pretty much the only people I saw until the summit of Little Haystack. Moving along I was happy to notice a blue sky opening up just as I hit the scrub pines near the treeline. I rushed to the top, worried that the opening in the clouds would be short lived and was very happy to find that they had pretty much broken up. It looked like I could expect clear views for the walk along the ridge. There was a large group on top of Little Haystack so I didn't linger and headed for Lincoln, hoping I could stay ahead of them.

I got to Lincoln pretty quickly and realized that the large group hadn't even left Little Haystack yet so I stopped to have a rest and some lunch. I met a few guys who had hiked from the Greenleaf hut and I met AT Thru-hiker "Big Daddy". He was a funny guy and was happy to be on top of Lincoln. He had cut his hand, and the two guys helped him clean it up. I thought it was very cool of them to help a stranger like that. Big Daddy took some pictures and moved on while the two guys and I watched some para-gliders riding the thermals over Cannon. It was cool to watch them and I was amazed at how long they were staying aloft. I noticed the large group had caught up to me so I packed up and headed to Laffayette.

The summit of Laffayette was a little crowded, but not bad. I was surprised to see a lot of people who didn't look like they were prepared to be there. One guy was wearing sweatpants, sneakers and a t-shirt and was holding a half empty 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew. I assumed they came up from the hut, because I can't believe people would head out for a day hike with nothing but a bottle of soda. But, you never know. Anyway, I stayed on the summit soaking up the views for about an hour, changed my socks and headed for the hut.

On the way down Lafayette, I stopped to watch a glider that was cruising around the ridge. A few times it passed right overhead and I could see the pilot's face! Anyway, I headed down to the hut and picked up the Old Bridle Path. About 20 min into the walk out I almost stepped on a skunk in the middle of the trail. Luckily, he didn't spray me and quickly ran off. I froze for a few minutes, not wanting to scare him any further and waited until he was about 30 feet up-hill. The rest of the walk was a piece of cake and I got to my car in no time.

All in all it was an awesome day of hiking. 9.6 miles, ??? vertical gain, 6.5 hours. I love dem mountains! My only regret was leaving the camera at home.
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