View Full Version : Presidential Hike Report (with alot of pics.)

07-01-2007, 11:06 PM
Well to start it off let me say that I've never ever gotten so lucky when it comes to weather in the Whites. Think of this. The whole presidential hike started off with an idea a few months ago that my friend and I would take 9 days off to bike from CT to Gorham, NH and back. So I took my time off work 2 months in advance but my friend couldn't get his time off so "plan b", the presidential hike, came to mind (I wasn't going to sit and do nothing with my time off). So, with this thing planned 2 months in advance, we got so lucky to have 5 days in a row of clear weather, not to mention 2 of them (first day and last day) to be the 2 clearest I've ever seen.

Pics on the way up

"Color Wheel" around the sun

The range from I-93 in Littleton

Something Random

I got a 300 on Royalty Inns' Bowling game in Gorham haha along with the top 5 scores.

So for the trip report. When we drove up there this past Sunday we arrived an Pinkham and asked for last min. pointers, etc. We also reserved our seats on the shuttle bus to take us to the AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch. When we weighed our packs, mine weighed in at 42 Lbs and my dads at 37....ouch, not something I was looking forward to hauling for 3 days.


When we started the trail began with a slow but steady incline to the Mizpah Hut. Which broke off of and hit the Summit of Peirce.



Starting to clear up

Number One

After we left the summit of Peirce, the trail then started to drop down to the ridge line and passed some cool flowers and managed to get a good shot of this guy.

We then began the accent up Eisenhower. As the day went on the winds picked up big time, as you can see by my shirt.

Leaving Eisenhower

Going Towards Franklin

Summit of Franklin, number 3


Monroe, number 4

As it got later, we noticed that there was a few rain showers brewing around us, so we decided to head down and find a place to camp out for the night.

Rain shower passing behind Jefferson.

Right as were starting the decent to Lakes, we got hit by a heavy but brief rain shower, so we huddled under some rocks and waited it out, then continued on to Lakes.

This is where things turned ugly, as we were heading down towards tree line, I noticed there was a T-Storm heading right at us!

We got very fortunate and found a grass area in the middle of the trees to camp at, the bad news was right as I pulled the tent out the skies opened up so we put every thing under the tent and huddled under it ourselves and waited for it to pass lol. Eventually we set up camp and ate our freeze dried meals (which aren't half bad).


We then relaxed and watched the sunset which was amazing.

Not too bad of a nights sleep, muscles were a little sore but we stretched them out and looked at our next goal.

When we got back up to Lakes, the wind was howling, from a distance the wind generator sounded like a weed whacker. We made it to the top of Mt Washington (number 5) by 9:30. It was neat being up there that early as there was still hints of orange in the sky.


We spent an hour and a half at the summit since it was the closest thing to civilization up there and left for Clay, Jefferson, and Adams at 11:00


Number 6



Jefferson Summit Number 7

Views from Jefferson to Adams

The Castles

Six Husbands


View from Mt. Adams


number 8, almost there!

After Heading down Adams, we decided that we really didn't feel like camping out and finding a camping place, etc. so we asked the people of the Madison Hut if the had open bunks and they let us stay. To say the least we were VERY happy to have their dinner and a place to sleep. During the stay everyone gathered outside to watch the awesome sunset which was even better then the night before.


After waking up the next morning, my dad and I decided we'd take advantage of having to come down Madison the same way we came up and leave the packs at the hut. not having the weight gave us hope that we were going to be back at Pinkham notch in no time, we made it to the top of Madison in about 25 mins.

number 9, we made it:)

Well....I spoke too soon about an easy trip to Pinkham. The trip down Madison Gulf Trail was brutal and with the heavy packs just a plain pain in the ass. When it finally leveled out, I could see how far we still have yet to go. Out of the Madison gulf, across the great gulf, over a ridge near Lowe's Bald Spot, and down Old Jackson Road to Pinkham. This trip took a long time, it was miserable as we were out of energy and with the hot humid valley air and the sun on us, it wasn't helping. Well I'll tell you, it was such a relief to see the buildings of Pinkham Notch! We sat down there and hung around for about an hour to give our sore feet a rest before hitting the car.

Lessons learned from the first time:

PACK LIGHT and stay at the huts!!! This will make the trip MUCH more enjoyable!
Park at Appalachia...Pinkham is WAY too far away right after a Presidential hike.

07-02-2007, 11:29 AM
What a wonderful hike - and excellent pictures!

KD Talbot
07-02-2007, 03:40 PM
Looks like you had a great trip! Great photos, thanks for sharing!


Bretton Woods Brat
07-03-2007, 07:01 AM
Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.....:)

Steve M
07-03-2007, 08:17 AM
Thanks for sharing. I hope to do it one day also.

07-03-2007, 03:27 PM
Great HIke, I envy you. Great sequence of photos too. But I wonder what you would do in you photo if there were eleven prsidentials?:)

07-03-2007, 09:57 PM
Great HIke, I envy you. Great sequence of photos too. But I wonder what you would do in you photo if there were eleven prsidentials?:)

OMG I told my dad the same thing!! I said we'd have to take 2 pics....1 with the 10 fingers and 1 with the 1 and have it flash back and fourth lol.

07-04-2007, 10:22 AM
Looks like a great hike, and glad you had overall good experiences.

I must call you out on a technicality, as it looks as though your campsite is set illegally. Not scolding, just as a point of information as there is not camping in the alpine zone, or in the forest protection area, as defined by trees taller than those you are among (8 Feet)

The vegitation that the tent is sitting on is clearly of alpine varieties, which are very important to protect with the greatest vigilance. I would recommend all to review the rules for camping on the presidential range before traverses...


Again, just a point of information for the forums...

Bill O
07-04-2007, 10:56 AM
While I generally don't encourage backcountry camping in the White Mountains. Those trees probably are around 8 feet tall. That doesn't mean the grassy area is not fragile, but the forest service does not distinguish on grass types. The rule simply states that the trees must be 8 feet tall, plus the 200 feet from trails and water.

My personal opinion is that the White Mountains are not made for backcountry camping. On two feet of snow in the winter is one exception, and designated camping areas is another exception.

Anything on fragile alpine tundra is clearly a big no. And clearly the 8 foot tree rule has some loopholes. And below treeline there just aren't that many flat clearings suitable for camping. Combine that with the small area of the White Mountains and the 50 million plus people that live within 6 hours is a bad recipe for sustainable camping.

07-04-2007, 01:07 PM
The area we set the actual tent on is only grass. trust me I made sure of that. The rest was thick moss, and alpine stuff. I do not have pics of where we were walking but there were alot of rocks we were sitting/walking on so we never damaged any alpine plants. We kind of HAD to set up camp there anyway as there was lightning/rain/thunder heading right at us and we needed cover. It's good to see the concern though :) In future hikes like this we plan to use the huts though. less damaging on the environment and a much lighter pack haha.

07-04-2007, 02:18 PM
The area we set the actual tent on is only grass. trust me I made sure of that. The rest was thick moss, and alpine stuff. I do not have pics of where we were walking but there were alot of rocks we were sitting/walking on so we never damaged any alpine plants. We kind of HAD to set up camp there anyway as there was lightning/rain/thunder heading right at us and we needed cover. It's good to see the concern though :) In future hikes like this we plan to use the huts though. less damaging on the environment and a much lighter pack haha.

Thanks for the reply Andrew, and as I have read your past posts I had a feeling you knew of good practices in the alpine zone and took the above mentioned considerations.

For others, and always in the interest of stewardship, I wanted to make the point that you didn't just "find a nice grassy spot", as you never know who would read this, and would be inspired to find themselves a nice grassy spot, say on the alpine garden!!!

Upon closer look, it does look like the trees were indeed and easily 8 feet...I'm just sensitive! And I'm glad that you clarified your other thoughts in your decision making process on picking the camp! I think BillO is most correct though in that it's tough to govern sustainable camping on the Presidential Range...

Again, good hiking and great pics, thanks for sharing!

07-04-2007, 07:10 PM
that hike looked like it was awesome. i didnt know you were aloud to camp up in the mountains? can you really?

07-04-2007, 07:53 PM
here are the rules

KD Talbot
07-04-2007, 09:17 PM
I'm glad you guys discussed this. I noticed right away where the tent was pitched, and sometimes I can't express my feelings without sounding a little harsh.

The link covers back country camping, but doesn't really cover camping in the Presidentials. Here is what the AMC Guide to the White Mountains says:


Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness

Wilderness regulations, intended to protect Wilderness resources and promote opportunities for challenge and solitude, prohibit use of motorized equipment or mechanical means of transportation of any sort. Camping and wood or charcoal fires are not allowed within 200 ft. of any trail except at designated campsites. Hiking and camping group size must be no larger than 10 people. Camping and fires are also prohibited above the treeline (where trees are less than 8 ft. tall), except in winter, when camping is permitted above the treeline in places where snow cover is at least 2 ft. deep, but not on any frozen body of water. Many shelters have been removed, and the remaining ones will be dismantled when major maintenance is required; one should not count on using any of these shelters.

Forest Protection Areas

The WMNF has established a number of Forest Protection Areas (FPAs)—
formerly known as Restricted Use Areas—where camping and wood or charcoal fires are prohibited throughout the year. The specific areas are under continual review, and areas are added to or subtracted from the list in order to provide the greatest amount of protection to areas subject to damage by excessive camping, while imposing the lowest level of restrictions possible. A general list of FPAs in this section follows, but since there are often major changes from year to year, one should obtain current information on FPAs from the WMNF.

(1) No camping is permitted above treeline (where trees are less than
8 ft. tall), except in winter, and then only in places where there is at least
2 ft. of snow cover on the ground—but not on any frozen body of water,
and not on the east face of Mt. Washington's summit cone from Boott
Spur to Nelson Crag (the area above Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines,
including the Alpine Garden area). The point where the above-treeline
restricted area begins is marked on most trails with small signs, but the
absence of such signs should not be construed as proof of the legality of
a site.

(2) No camping is permitted within a quarter mile of any trailhead,
picnic area, or any facility for overnight accommodation such as a hut,
cabin, shelter, tentsite, or campground, except as designated at the facility
itself. In the area covered by Section 1, camping is also forbidden within a
quarter mile of Glen Ellis Falls.

(3) No camping is permitted within 200 ft. of certain trails. In 2002
designated trails included the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail.

(4) No camping is permitted on WMNF land within a quarter mile
of certain roads (camping on private roadside land is illegal except by
permission of the landowner). In 2002 these roads included US 302 west
of Bartlett NH, NH 16 north of Glen Ellis Falls, the Base Road (PR 173),
the Jefferson Notch Rd. from the Base Rd. to the Caps Ridge Trail trail-
head, and the Rocky Branch Rd. (FR 27, a.k.a. Jericho Rd.).

(5) In Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines (Cutler River drainage,
including the Alpine Garden and the east face of the Mt. Washington
summit cone), camping is prohibited throughout the year; the only year-
round exception is the Hermit Lake Shelters and adjoining tent platforms
(management policies described below under campsites). Visitors in the '
ravine areas may not kindle charcoal or wood fires; people intending to
cook must bring their own small stoves. Day visitors and shelter users
alike are required to carry out all their own trash and garbage—no recep-
tacles are provided. This operating policy is under continual review, so it
can change from time to time; current information is available at Pinkham
Notch Visitor Center or the Tuckerman Ravine caretaker's residence, or
from WMNF offices. There is no warming room open to the public, and
refreshments are not available.

Crawford Notch State Park

No camping is permitted in Crawford Notch State Park, except at the public Dry River Campground (fee charged).

Established Trailside Campsites

Hermit Lake Campsite (AMC/WMNF), located in Tuckerman Ravine, consists of 10 open-front shelters with a capacity of 86 and three tent platforms open to the public. Tickets for shelter and tentsite space (nontransferable and nonrefundable) must be purchased for a nominal fee at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center in person (first come, first served). Campers are limited to a maximum of seven consecutive nights, and pets are not allowed to stay overnight.

Also this information can be found on this website:



Bill O
07-04-2007, 10:53 PM
With all that said Andrew did not illegally camp.

07-05-2007, 01:51 AM
they are pretty detailed about the technicalities on the rules. i remember seeing no camping signs somewhere before up there i fig it was to preserve the vegetation. you know you have those great select individuals that dont follw the carry in carry out rule,

KD Talbot
07-05-2007, 06:09 AM
"With all that said Andrew did not illegally camp."

Not as long as it was 200' off of the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail.


Bill O
07-05-2007, 07:36 AM
Nothing in that photo says he is within 200' of the trail. 200' sounds like a lot but its only 70 or so paces. One of the easier requirements to meet.

KD Talbot
07-05-2007, 09:18 AM
No, I'm not saying it is, I'm just saying that's the rule.

07-05-2007, 07:46 PM
Yes, I was defiantly over 200 feet from the trail. I'd advise everyone that does overnight hikes to just stay at the huts. They're so much more easier to get to and the food really raises your spirits...well worth the price in my opinion. Heavy Packs hurt your back after 3 days too!...that was my only weakness, otherwise I could have done this hike in a day and a half haha. When you get cheap packs that don't distribute weight evenly it KILLS your shoulders, that happened to me when I had my skis on my pack with the boots to ski Tux. My friend and I are in great shape and our parents not so much so they're slower. I don't mind though, it's nice to enjoy the hike instead of speed through it.