View Full Version : Lafayette and Lincoln with Alex, 3/6/10

03-08-2010, 11:17 PM
Cut and pasted from http://trishandalex.blogspot.com
Accompanying pictures can be found there.

Old Bridle Path, Franconia Ridge Trail, Falling Waters Trail.

8.9 miles total.

We were planning on doing the Kinsmans today, but, after looking at the weather forecast, we changed our minds at the last minute and decided to tackle Franconia Ridge instead. It was to be sunny and relatively warm...we figured we should take advantage of the nice day and get above treeline. We knew there would be 25-30 mph gusts to deal with up top, but the high temperatures would nix any chances of frostbite, and we both felt up to the challenge of pushing through the blowing wind.

'Twas a beautiful morning as we set out upon the firmly packed trail. We decided to do the loop in a clockwise direction, as it's psychologically easier for us to get the tallest mountain out of the way first.

Old Bridle Path winds its way through a lovely bunch of birch trees. This is my favorite part of the lower portion of the trail. I adore birch trees and think they have the most interesting and beautiful trunks.

We made excellent time and were at the first viewing ledges in about an hour and a half. Here's our destination...

...and the bumps ("Agonies") one must first climb in order to get to the Ridge....

Looking back the way we had come...

Tackling the Agonies was much easier than we remembered. We were last here in May 2009, when most of the snow had melted and we had to pull ourselves up and over a plethora of rocks and boulders. This time around, we had a nice white sidewalk to ascend.

The Agonies behind us, we approached the hut...here's the "no camping within 1/4 mile of the hut sign," down by our boots, almost buried in the snow...

...and here's the hut itself (closed for the winter).

A familiar face was waiting for us -- rocket21, who had overtaken us on the trail in the middle of the Agonies. We exchanged pleasantries, then listened as Jeremy and his buddies joyously harassed one another. I got a kick out of all the jokes flying around, but Alex was left utterly confused. I had to explain that this was normal, that manly mountaineers like to throw verbal barbs back and forth. Being an extremely literal kid, Alex still didn't quite get it, but she did understand that everyone was having a good time, so I think she just chalked it up to typical (and somewhat mysterious) grown-up behavior.

We also met a ten year old kid named Chase (in the same picture with Jeremy, sitting on a bench with his father). We later saw Chase on the summit of Lafayette -- awesome! I love seeing other young folks out there! Congratulations again, Chase (and Chase's father!)!

The view of the Ridge from the hut...

Here's Jeremy and his crew, beginning their ascent of the summit cone (they're the little dark silhouettes all in a row, on the lower section).

Alex and I layered up, then set off after them.

Looking back at the hut...one can see Cannon's summit and mountaintop ski structure in the not-so-far distance...

While looking back to take this shot, I saw a familiar white dog on the trail behind me...it was Sheep, with Bill close behind him. We gave Sheep some well-deserved pats on the head, then we stepped aside so the two of them could pass. Nice to see you guys again!

Back to the ascent...steep, steep, and more steep.

Alex loved the interesting snow formations on Lafayette's summit cone.

We made our way slowly but steadily, and eventually arrived at the summit.

Here are both of us at the top, with the Presidentials in the background (thank you, kind hiker who took our photo!)...

Alex, with Franconia Ridge and Mt. Lincoln behind her...

It was a tad windy up there...

We descended a few dozen feet toward Mt. Lincoln and sat out of the wind for a while, eating, drinking, and enjoying the views...

Eventually we felt rested enough to continue on our way. I told Alex to put on her goggles, since a) the snow was extremely bright and b) I knew the wind would be blowing things around and goggles would eventually become a necessity. At first she refused. Since the temperatures were warm and frostbite was not a danger, I agreed to let her start without them. I figured she'd change her mind at some point...and I was right. We made it down the summit cone of Lafayette without much trouble, but then the wind began gusting something fierce as we made our way up North Lincoln. After getting smacked a few times in the forehead by tiny pieces of blowing ice, Alex requested the goggles. We took shelter by some rocks and I put them on her.

Getting up and down North Lincoln and then over to Mt. Lincoln itself was...interesting. The wind speeds never grew greater than the forecast had promised, but they were still strong enough to push us around. Alex was frightened at first, but after a few minutes she became used to the sensation. As we trekked onward, she grew more and more aggravated with me...I kept grabbing her arm and yanking her back into the middle of the path. She wanted to walk on her own, without my help, but the wind was pushing her and she kept walking off toward the side. I couldn't NOT grab her, even though I got a lot of "Mama, I'm okay, stop holding on to me!!" protests. I let her do it on her own as much as my nerves would allow, but most of the time I either held her arm or the back of her backpack...much to her annoyance.

We made it to Lincoln (sorry for the fuzzy photo)...

...and took shelter among the summit boulders. There we were able to sit out of the wind for a while and, as we had done on Lafayette, eat, drink, and enjoy the views.
Looking back toward Lafayette...


Flume, Liberty, and Little Haystack...

Alex built a little cairn by the summit while she rested...

As we were lounging about, a group including drewski, MEB and Matts arrived from Lafayette. It was a real pleasure meeting everyone. Actually, turns out we had unknowingly met MEB and Matts before...Sage and Alex had given them candy on the Mt. Tecumseh Trail a few weeks earlier, but I didn't know who they were at the time. It was a privilege and a pleasure conversing with this group. Congrats ahead of time to MEB, who is about to finish the Grid!

The group continued onward while we were still resting. Eventually we got up and began to make our way south.

The wind pushed us around again, but by now Alex was not only used to it, she was enjoying the sensation. I kept my hand on her most of the time, even though she really wanted to go it alone. My comfort level dictates the hike...when she's older, taller and heavier I'll refrain from worrying about her so much...maybe. Okay, probably not.

Looking back at Mt. Lincoln from somewhere close to Little Haystack...

Flume and Liberty...

We made it to Little Haystack in one piece. Once again, we took shelter from the wind and fed ourselves.

Going down was fun! Once in the trees, Alex got her her little sled and slipped along behind me. I think she did a pretty good job re-flattening out most of the trail...the upper part of Falling Waters was much softer than the hard-packed Old Bridle Path.

By the time we got a third of the way down, the trail had become hard packed once again...and Alex's sledding became much faster. Again, I stayed ahead of her and spotted when necessary.

The rest of the descent was standard, except for the pleasure of meeting Darl58 and Steve-O, who overtook us about halfway down the trail. Darl58 had thankfully retrieved a microspike Alex had accidentally left behind (it had detached from her boot). We enjoyed a few minutes of pleasant conversation before we all continued on our way.

By the time we reached the car, I was extremely fatigued and ready for a nap. Alex seemed fine and not all that tired. It's interesting, watching her grow stronger and stronger by the month. She now outlasts me in terms of stamina, and in a couple of years I expect she'll outpace me as well.

Another fine walk in the woods, and a glorious (albeit windy) day up top.

03-09-2010, 06:59 AM
Another terrific trip report.I love your pics. and video. I was North this weekend also but not hiking and as I was driving around. I was wondering if you two were going to be out there. You had some terrific weather. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

KD Talbot
03-09-2010, 09:16 AM
I've got a feelin' Alex will finish her winter list before I do. She's younger and stronger! : )


03-09-2010, 06:30 PM
Chris, I'm glad you made it up here with your sweetie. Hope the two of you had a great time. Thanks for your kind words.

KDT, thanks -- how many more do you have to go? It'll probably be another two years before we finish the winter list.

03-09-2010, 06:32 PM
This is one that I really have to do in winter...and seeing those pics of those views, and especially the sculpted snowscape...well, maybe it'll have to happen sooner than later!

Thanks for another great and inspiring trip report!

Anna LeBlanc
03-09-2010, 08:43 PM
Thanks Trish for the terrific TR and beautiful photos.The loop you did with Alex is our favorite of all Summer hikes,alas we do not do any Winter hiking so it was great to see what it looks like now.Thank you.



Jimmy Legs and Little d
03-10-2010, 03:03 PM
What a great day you and Alex had on Franconia Ridge. Simply Beautiful. Aren't the "agonies" fun? I didn't think that they were too bad. The snowpack trail helps too. Hope you have good weather this weekend and can knock off another winter 4K. Good to see you!

Donna and Mike:)