View Full Version : A Christmas Eve Visit to the Franconia Ridge (24-Dec-2009)

12-25-2009, 03:59 PM
The weather conditions for the higher summits as predicted by the Mt. Washington Observatory were simply too irresistible to pass up. By mid morning, I could no longer resist the urge to spend a portion of Christmas Eve in the mountains. So, I opted to head up the Franconia Ridge via the Falling Waters Trail.

Before reaching the area around Cloudland Falls, I had already peeled off all my layers and was down to shirt sleeves.
Although perspiration was dripping off me, the liquids around me were suspended in a frozen state.

Ice Display Along Falling Waters Trail


As I began gaining altitude, I kept glancing up to admire the colbalt blue sky and to take an occasional snapshot. In the photo below, I presume the tree with red berries is Mountain Ash, and I presume that the white streak seen through the branches is probably Santa on his way?;)

Blue Sky Through the Trees


Once I was on the ridge, it was obvious that a clear day was not being enjoyed by everyone!
Looking to the west and to the north, my "undercast" was an "overcast" for folks at lower elevations. Cannon and the Kinsman Ridge were visible, but were flanked by a sea of clouds.

Cannon & Kinsman Ridge Flanked by Clouds


Looking northward toward Garfield, there was also a fair amount of undercast.

Northward View Toward Garfield


However, there was no undercast when looking northeasterly toward the Twin-Bond Range with the Presidentials in the background.

Twin-Bond Range with Presidentials in Background


And, there was also a perfectly clear view looking eastward over Owl's Head toward the Bonds and Carrigain.

East View Toward Bonds & Carrigain


Oh! And, the view southward was also good, but with some haze and some signs of undercast particularly to the southwest.

Southward View


This hike was done for pure enjoyment, with no list or other goal in mind. And, with a mid morning start-time, I was uncertain how far along the ridge I'd actually get. By the time I got to Mt. Lincoln the wind had picked up and there were some pretty impressive gusts. Also, it was nearly 3 PM and I had Christmas Eve plans. It was tempting to complete the classic loop which would have not been all that much longer to do. However, considering the time and the increased wind, I thought it best to just take the shortest route and head back the same I?d come. Besides, why be greedy?! I'd already had a marvelous day!!

With the firmly consolidated snow pack on the Falling Waters Trail, the return trip went very quickly. Just as the last ounce of daylight faded away, I was back at the trailhead. More importantly, I was home in time to hang my stockings by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there!;):).


Anna LeBlanc
12-25-2009, 07:29 PM
John once again increadibly beautiful pictures and a great TR.The Franconia Ridge Trail is my husband Gary and mine's favorite place to hike.

We're not Winter hikers so I've never seen it looking like it does in your wonderful photos.

Thank you for one of the best Christmas presents I received this year.:D



Snow Miser
12-25-2009, 08:35 PM
Yes, beautiful photos and TR John. What a great way to spend Christmas Eve day. You are very fortunate to be able to do this kind of hike at a moments notice. And Santa's vapor trail is clearly visible in your second photo. I suppose since it was still day-time here, he was probably headed to the other side of the world to deliver presents, before coming back here.:D Thanks for sharing with us.

12-26-2009, 03:04 PM
Anna: It was wonderful to hear that my report & photos were a Christmas treat for you. You added something special to my Christmas stocking by letting me know that my report provided you with some pleasure.

Bob: Thank you for your kind words. And yes, I am indeed fortunate, and very thankful for being blessed with good health + the good fortune to live where I live, which allows me to do this type of hike on a last minute whim.

Jimmy Legs and Little d
12-26-2009, 04:02 PM
A terrific set of photos of Franconia Ridge's wonderland. I am sure that Santa treated you good too!:D
Best for the New Year!


12-26-2009, 10:39 PM
just beautiful pictures, thansk for taking the time to share!

I just finsihed traveling up from Fla with delays and $20 per bag :( but seeing your pictures reminded me why I travle up and now I'm really looking forward to getting out in the mountains and doing a few hikes this week :)

Thanks again for posting the beauitful pics

12-27-2009, 11:29 AM
Donna & Mike: Thanks for your reply. And, best wishes to you as well for a happy, healthy New Year!

Tim: Thank you also for your reply and kind words. You have my best wishes for getting in some great hikes during your week in the mountains, and also best wishes to you for a fabulous New Year!

12-27-2009, 07:47 PM
Hi John,
We must have been just +/- an hour or two from you. Jeremy recognized your car when we got back to the parking lot!

It was a glorious day to be on the ridge, and I, too, had the thought that all those people down there under the undercast thought that it was a cloudy, dismal, gray day.

Here are our pictures!

Hope to meet you on the trail sometime!

Anna LeBlanc
12-27-2009, 08:49 PM
Beautiful pictures Tim and Val.You and John had a great day to be up there.

We are strictly Spring,Summer and Fall hikers so it's wonderful to see what the trails look like in the Winter.

Thanks for a piggyback ride across the ridge.;)



12-28-2009, 07:04 AM
Great t/r and totally awesome pictures. What a perfect day for a hike. thanks for sharing your day with us.