View Full Version : Lafayette-Lincoln loop...the extended version

05-10-2009, 04:53 PM
Date Hiked: 5-9-09

This was originally expected to be a reasonably short day but it turned into an all day adventure that lasted until close to sunset. We started out on the Old Bridal Trail. The trail wasn't too crowded except for a large group of Dartmouth student in the outing club that we followed for a good portion of the trail. Once we started to gain elevation and made it around the ridge we were exposed to many brilliant views of the range. There are multiple rock cliffs that provide a great spot for a break and give you some excellent views. We continued up to the Greenleaf hut and were met with very little snow on our way. It is interesting how the snow forms a "monorail" in the middle of the trail. This was my first experience in an AMC hut and I had no idea how nice they were. I bought hut patch and we continued to head up the trail. I enjoy hiking above treeline and the rest of the hike was full of many more great views and a nice cool breeze. There were many others on the summit when we arrived. There is also a cool stone wall at the summit which was probably built to protect hikers from the wind. After taking some pictures, we continued along the ridge. As we looked back clouds began to sweep the summit of Lafayette. It was reminiscent of the 80's movie, "The Fog," as the clouds began to inch towards us as we continued along the ridge. We eventually got to the the trail sign at the top of Little Haystack. Unfortunately, we thought that it was Lincoln and according to our trail maps you need to continue along the ridge past Lincoln before finding the Falling Waters trail which would bring us back down to the Lafayette's Place parking lot. We continued along the ridge through absolutely miserable amounts of snow. I don't know how long it was, but it was from the top of Little Haystack to the trail junction .3 miles before the summit of Mount Liberty. Our unwillingness to push a mere .3 to bag another 4ker demonstrates how miserable this hiking was. I was post-holing up to my knee in what seemed to be nearly every other step. This was also without gators and I realized that while Gore-Tex is great for keeping water out of your boots, once it gets in, it stays in. I was started to cut my legs from post-holing so often, and they were getting so cold that I decided to improvise a little and I taped my poncho and my emergency blanket around each leg to act as surrogate gators. Eventually, we made it down to the Liberty Campground. This is the point where the terrible weather that we should have been able to miss, started. We were just starting down the trail and it began to downpour. I was hesitant to take out my rain jacket as I was unsure whether the pocket was zipped or not that had my camera in it. Before we were even halfway down, the thunder and lightning began to roar. We even had to made a few large stream crossings. As we neared the bottom, walking in the trail was no different than walking down a stream as the rain began to flood it. We eventually made it down the the Flume visitor center and road out.

Pictures can be found here:

05-10-2009, 05:47 PM
Thanks for your very detailed description of the trail conditions up there. Glad you had a great time going up Lafayette, and sorry you had to deal with the rotting snow conditions between Little Haystack and Liberty.

05-10-2009, 07:05 PM
Great TR and photos Joe. Too bad this turned into such an epic at the end. Hard to believe that with all the clear terrain that the monorail of snow manages to stay right where you want it least. Great picture catching the raven right overhead. One of the great things about the summits in the Whites is having them hanging out all the time. Liked the photo of the rock formation in the middle of the ridge with the "what the hell?" comment on it. I've got exactly the same shot from last summer and had the same reaction. I found a description of it when we got back and if I remember right it even has a name - couldn't find it now though. Thanks for sharing.

05-10-2009, 10:47 PM
Great TR and pics!

Seems everyone has a pic of the "WTH Rock." This one from my hike with Tim&Val for the Flags on the 48 last year.


05-11-2009, 05:56 PM
OK, so here's mine. I'll bet we could start a "WTH Rock" thread and get a bunch more. Problem is they probably all look pretty much the same. Anyone know what the story on this formation is?


05-11-2009, 07:49 PM
Here's ours!


05-11-2009, 08:56 PM
Is it just me being weird, or does anyone else see several faces looking out from the rock? I see them in all of the photos! :)

05-12-2009, 06:39 AM
Is it just me being weird, or does anyone else see several faces looking out from the rock? I see them in all of the photos!

Do you mean actual humans or the one's that look like the geezers from the muppet show?

05-12-2009, 08:40 AM
Is it just me being weird, or does anyone else see several faces looking out from the rock? I see them in all of the photos! :)
I see a lot of noses.