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View Full Version : A Beginning and Ending on Mt. Washington (10-June-2011)



1HappyHiker
06-12-2011, 03:09 PM
Although my friend Marty and I both feel a slight twinge of guilt when we do this, once every so often we will treat ourselves by driving to the top of Mt. Washington and launching a hike from the top. I suppose you could think of it as a top-down approach, rather than the more traditional bottom-up method. Our qualms about using the Auto Road are somewhat mitigated by reminding ourselves that over our individual hiking careers, we have used the traditional manner for hiking to all the NH 4K peaks (including Mt. Washington), and have hiked to countless other mountains over the years.

And so, this past Friday (10-June) Marty and I did what could be coined as a modified loop hike which began and ended at the Mt. Washington summit. Shown below is a map of our 5-mile route.

http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-_j-UkJXW36o/TfTD0YDdG_I/AAAAAAAAJrs/v9J8ldQ3kFM/s800/Map.jpg

Throughout the course of our trek, we saw some marvelous displays of wildflowers. The photo below shows an attractive collage of wildflowers, lichens, mosses, sedges which was skillfully created by Mother Nature.

http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6tND5_tCvvM/TfTFJJOKwEI/AAAAAAAAJs0/r2C1qWtxjPg/s800/P1020957.JPG

Although not nearly as creative as Mother Nature's composition, shown below is a collage of my photos of some of the wildflowers we saw during the course of our hike. Of the ones that I remember, we saw: Alpine Bluet, Alpine Azalea, Bog Laurel, Bunchberry, Diapensia, Labrador Tea, Mountain Aven.

http://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-EkbUhzUJV2U/TfTECpvTbAI/AAAAAAAAJr8/_P0A5BbqTH0/s800/FlowerCollage_1.jpg

Besides the wildflowers, there were the visual treats of mountain vistas throughout the day. Shown below is one such scene. It's the classic view of Mt. Monroe as seen over Lakes of the Clouds.

http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0U2TN4tAaEU/TfTFGg4cBLI/AAAAAAAAJsw/MAAgKeVr1Zs/s800/P1020947.JPG

If you're interested in seeing a few more photos and reading a bit more narrative about our adventure, then please click HERE (http://1happyhiker.blogspot.com/2011/06/beginning-and-ending-on-mt-washington.html) to access my Blog.

KD Talbot
06-13-2011, 02:32 PM
Outstanding as always, John! The Camel Trail is also one of my favorites. I discovered it while volunteering on the summit. While volunteering I was able to make some lengthy hikes from the summit, so I also "cheated". 8 ) My favorite was to hike down Nelson Crag to the the large cairn on the crag, then backtrack along the edge of Huntington Ravine to the Alpine Garden Trail. From there I would follow this to Tuckerman Junction and take the Lawn Cut-off over to Boott Spur. From there I'd take the Davis Path and the Camel Trail across the Bigelow Lawn over to Lakes of the Clouds and up Monroe. Then, the Crawford Path back to the summit. I had always wanted to take Westside over to Gulfside and up to Clay to peer into the Great Gulf before returning to the summit, but always ran out of time. Someday I'll hit all four high-points around the summit by doing this. Great TR and pics, thanks for reminding me what a great hike this can be!

KDT

1HappyHiker
06-14-2011, 09:53 AM
I had always wanted to take Westside over to Gulfside and up to Clay to peer into the Great Gulf before returning to the summit, but always ran out of time.
Kevin, on another occasion I did a loop hike that had some similarities to the hike you described. My loop began on the summit of Washington where I proceeded to the Gulfside Trail, which I took the Westside Trail to meet up with the Crawford Path which I used for the return back to the summit of Washington.

The Westside Trail is really nice in terms of views, plus it is almost like walking a sidewalk paved with stones. As you no doubt know, it was built by J. Rayner Edmands, and it was his practice to carefully place stones to create trails that were (and still are) a pleasure to hike.

Thanks for taking a moment to post a reply!

mtruman
06-14-2011, 09:02 PM
Nothing wrong with the top down approach John. Just a great route and a perfect time to do it with the summits in bloom! We just may have to explore some of this route while we're in the neighborhood this weekend. Seems I have two votes for the Camel Trail and coming from you and Kevin that's enough for me. Actually what we already had planned (subject to where our feet, the winds and the flowers may dictate) is pretty much a combination of your route and Kevin's combined. Thanks for the preview!

TrishandAlex
06-15-2011, 09:49 PM
Lovely report and fantastic idea, John. And, as always, beautiful photos!

1HappyHiker
06-16-2011, 10:17 PM
Mark & Trish: A big 'THANKS' to both of you for your very kind words!
I'm happy to read that neither of you thought it was too much of a "whimp-out" to use the summit of Mt. Washington as a trailhead for the hike that Marty and I did.

Mark, you have my best wishes for a terrific hike this weekend along the trails on Mt. Washington. You should be able to enjoy the wildflowers even if the weather is less than ideal for distant vistas.

Jimmy Legs and Little d
06-17-2011, 12:48 PM
John,
Outstandng photos! The alpine zone is beautiful. After reading your report, I have to fess up that once we "cheated" :o as we drove up the Auto Road to hike from Mount Washington over to Jefferson. At the time I was recuperating from knee surgery and didn't want to take any chances with the elevation gain.
It was one of the best hikes we've ever done!

Donna:)

Snow Miser
06-17-2011, 04:28 PM
We did the same thing a few years ago. Drove up to the summit, then hiked over to Jefferson. It was a great hike with no shame. :D We were limited for time, so it filled the bill perfectly.

1HappyHiker
06-18-2011, 07:32 AM
Outstandng photos! The alpine zone is beautiful. After reading your report, I have to fess up that once we "cheated" :o as we drove up the Auto Road to hike from Mount Washington over to Jefferson. At the time I was recuperating from knee surgery and didn't want to take any chances with the elevation gain. It was one of the best hikes we've ever done!


We did the same thing a few years ago. Drove up to the summit, then hiked over to Jefferson. It was a great hike with no shame. :D We were limited for time, so it filled the bill perfectly.
Well, it's terrific to read that others have also engaged in similar adventures using the top of Mt. Washington as a trailhead. Some might disagree, but it seems to me that a hike is a hike, regardless of what you choose as your starting point.:)

Thanks guys for taking a moment to post a reply!