View Full Version : Alpine Garden June 21, 2011 Question

06-21-2011, 10:28 AM
Happy first day of Summer! :)

How is the Alpine Garden with Flowers in Bloom? Anyone know? Is it past bloom or just starting?
I am hiking it tomorrow and want to know what to expect. If it is past bloom should I change my hike?

KD Talbot
06-21-2011, 02:37 PM
Well, yes, it's past the initial bloom of Diapensia, Lapland Rosebay and Alpine Azalea. That said, like any garden, it blooms all summer long. Labrador Tea, Three-toothed Cinquefoil and Mountain Avens are all coming into bloom now. Mountain Cranberry, Mountain Heath, Bunchberry, Boott's Rattlesnake Root, Harebells, Mountain Sandwort and Painted Cup should also be coming along as well.

I think people who have never been to the Alpine Garden expect to walk into something like an arboretum and then are disappointed when they don't see a landscape covered in flowers. Regardless of the timing, I find it well worth the trip and most certainly a beautiful place.

Would I change my plans, no, but that's me.


06-21-2011, 04:46 PM
You can see volunteer reports of what's in bloom during the past week on a map at AMC's Mountain Watch web site (http://www.outdoors.org/conservation/mountainwatch/volunteers/mapapp.cfm). If you sign up as a volunteer (http://www.outdoors.org/conservation/mountainwatch/volunteers/), you can can also map flower reports for various phenology stages, historical dates, and even see trail overlays.

06-21-2011, 06:29 PM
We were there on Saturday and the conditions pretty much match what Kevin said. No large expanses of blooms but lots of small displays of a number of varieties across the area. We found a bunch of other varieties in locations outside the Alpine Garden as well (although we were at Lakes of the Clouds for two nights so had lots of time to explore). I should have a trip report on my blog sometime tonight but in the mean time you can find the pictures here: https://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42/LakesOfTheClouds617To61911?authkey=Gv1sRgCOWy3_iEn eKACA Have a great time up there tomorrow. Hope your weather is as good as we had.

06-21-2011, 09:53 PM
Thank you everyone :) we are definetly doing the garden :) we are up here now. Not sure
If this will post because its my phone.
Again.....THANK YOU. :)

06-23-2011, 03:23 PM
My trip report to the Alpine Garden.....

Where do I begin?
It was the toss of the rock!
We werent sure if we wanted too get to the garden by Old Jackson road to Nelson Craig trail or Huntington Ravine trail.
So we tossed a rock....rough side Huntington...soft side Nelson Craig
Rough side won...Huntington was the choice....
We knew it would be a hard climb but nearly not what we expected....
Up tuckermans to Huntington....into Huntington was such a beautiful hike.
My favorite hike ever!
I just loved the falls and the trail and just all around peaceful with views of Lions head.
As we passed Albert Dow redcross shelter we realized wow this is going to be a tough climb up.
We sat a a huge boulder viewing what we will be attempting pondering that maybe it will be fast. That it just seemed or looked hard.
We had just done Welch Dickey trail and when we hiked we would be on one mountain and in no time at all be looking across where we had just been.
So we thought ...oh maybe it will go fast like that last hike!
That was NOT the case!
We could see 2 other hikers hiking up and I thought that we should catch up and they could kind of lead the way.
As the other hikers got to where they would be climbing straight up...I noticed they were now hiking back down.
We never saw them on the trail though because they must have just made their own route back down.
We then heard them yelling up at us...almost saying or telling us we are crazy and to turn back.
But the waves of their arms I felt they were just saying hello.
On the way up...the very STEEP SCALING of the wall up...the yellow bllazings were not marked well at the points you really needed them.
Most likely worn off from the winter.
We got to a point where I hiked up an area to see if I could spot a yellow or white blaze and found myself stuck.
I thought OMG how am I going to get back down?
Not to mention I was packed for 2 people. Raingear, (pants and jackets) lunch, water, bug spray, sunblock, binoculars, camera, emergncy kit
headlamps...long sleeve shirt ect.
My pack wieghed 25 pounds when we left pinkham visitor center.
(when looking at our pictures my napsack was bigger than my torso!)
SO there I was....stuck up Huntington staring a Falcon in the eyes! Not really but I felt like soon to be a dead one anyway...
My napsack was sticking out so far i could feel the gravity trying to bring it back down to sea level!
I thought maybe I should just toss it down to save myself.....tossing it down would be like throwing a rock down and never hearing it hit bottom...
Finally I sucked it up...gripped the wall and scaled down using every part of my body even my lips as I kissed the wall telling it how much I respected it.
This part was no way a hike but a rock climb.
WE finally figured out which way to head up which made me feel such a huge relief!
My friend needed some assistance at times but did very well considering shes not a fan of hieghts especially of open ledges!
We finally made it to the top. We really had no choice because It would have been so much harder to hike back down. or should I say scale the rocks back down.
At this point we lost all feelings about seeing a pretty flower in the Alpine Garden and just headed right up to Mt.Washington Park.
It was so beautiful there with awesome visibilty for about 15 minutes.
Then a storm moved thru quickly.
The ranger said hiking back down thru lions head might be a little rough especially since it was already 5:30pm.
The storm was completely on that side of the mountain.
So he told us it would be better to take the auto road down which we did until the 2 mile marker and then old jackson road to pinkham notch.
The yellow blazes on the autoroad were very clearly marked :)
We did very good time and got back to the car at 7:50pm.
All in all it was quite an experience!
So .....
Have you heard of the Huntington Ravine/ Auto Road loop?! ;)

06-23-2011, 05:40 PM
It needs to be pointed out that the auto road is a worst case scenario "trail" down that we send late comers, unfit, unconditioned, unprepared, etc people down on since it is the safest "trail" down. As far as we are aware, it should not be hiked during normal operating hours as we find several people doing in the summer since it really isn't wide enough or safe enough for both foot and car travel. After hours like you did is "ok" but it should not be encouraged as an actual "loop".

KD Talbot
06-23-2011, 06:30 PM
First, I just want to say I'm glad you made it up and down safely. That said, I would just like to encourage you to maybe be a little better informed about the trails you may be choosing. The best way I can recommend is to pick yourself up a copy of the AMC's White Mountain Guide. Had you planned your trip with this then you would have read in the first sentence of the first paragraph of the section about Huntington Ravine Trail:

Caution:This is the most difficult regular hiking trail in the White Mountains.

It goes on to tell about the steepness of the ledges and their difficulty and the overall dangerousness of the trail. I will not write in full what it says, get a copy and read it yourself.

Many get themselves in trouble out there because they go into things without full knowledge of what they are in for. This is why the AMC has created this book, to better prepare people for what may lie ahead in their hikes.

Any trip above timberline in the White Mountains is not to be taken lightly, chosen by the flip of a coin, as it were. That said, many have enjoyable hikes and lasting memories because they gained experience by going well prepared against these hills.

I am not saying that everyone who hikes these hills is in a life or death situation, just that like going into anything, it is best to gain as much knowledge before hand as possible so that you know what you are up against and how best to prepare for the situations which may arise.

Also, there are many here on this board who are familiar with the various trails on MW and who could have given good advice about your route. I don't recall your asking about HRT, just about the Alpine Garden Trail. I suppose we could have asked what your plan was...

Here's a good deal on the WMG, and you can support the Obs by getting here, too!



06-23-2011, 08:06 PM
I'm also glad you made it OK Kendra. If you saw my post from a couple of days ago about giving hikers on the trail advice you know that I'm torn on this issue. I do believe that if I'd met you on the way to Huntington's I might have asked though. Kevin's right about not taking these mountains and trails lightly. I don't want to sound like I'm scolding or questioning your judgement - I really don't have any idea about your experience and ability. I do want to see everyone who's out there hiking in these beautiful mountains have the best possible time and be safe. There are indeed lots of people on this board with lots of experience that can give you good advice (much more so than I can). Don't be afraid to ask - nobody will ever put you down for that.

Also glad to see that you're doing Seek the Peak. Hope that's a much more enjoyable day on the mountain for you. Hope to see you there.

Snow Miser
06-23-2011, 08:09 PM
Your hike sounds like it was one heck of an adventure. Glad you made it through it okay! Did you take any photos? Thanks for sharing. :)

06-23-2011, 08:59 PM
I went to the park ranger info desk and asked what was the quickest way to Lionshead.
He told me bad weather was just moving in and we should not take that route.
He told me to take the auto road.
I didnt even know you were allowed to walk on that road.
I thought it was only for autos.
We just did what we were told by the man with the most knowledge :)

06-23-2011, 09:13 PM
I do have that book and many others.
The book my friend brought with her said rock scrambling and difficult hike.
So we figured just as much. Never expected in some areas that were the hardest not seeing the markers properly.
Thats really what got us.
When we got back my friend read exactly what you had posted on the AMC book.
First thing she said was Caution!
I know in our experience....any bad weather at all we would have never ventured further.
That goes for any hike trail we would have taken on Mt. Washington or anywhere. We would have turned back safety first.
Its hard to read books that have been published with different perspectives.
Even Cardigan the Holt trail says it is very difficult but I found it simple.
It really was the markings in the steep areas that we couldnt see.
Other than that, it was the best hike I have ever done!
My favorite in all my hikes!
Would I do it again?
yes.....and with a can of yellow paint!

I will post pics soon :)

06-23-2011, 09:48 PM
Pictures found here:

06-24-2011, 07:57 AM
Just finished looking at you pictures Kendra. Fantastic! What a great job of capturing the feel of that hike. I'm not sure that I could have gotten my camera out in some of those super difficult sections. One of the best sets of photos documenting the trip through Huntington Ravine that I've seen. Love the summit photo (which I see is your new profile pic). Thanks for sharing them with us.

06-24-2011, 08:51 AM
Thank you :)
Theres no words to describe except awesome :)
Plus mother nature was our bbf that day
It could not have been a more perfect day. from start to finish
even with the ranger telling us bad weather was moving in...it was all on lions head side
we had good weather down the auto road.
it did not start to sprinkle till we pulled out of the parking lot and headed southish
We could not have asked for a better more visible day :)

KD Talbot
06-24-2011, 11:32 AM
Great pics and glad you guys enjoyed this hike!


07-13-2011, 10:08 PM
hey glad to hear you made it down safe...... and yeah Huntingtons is no joke, especially if the rocks get a little water on them! But of course that gets kinda fun in winter when that changes to climbable ice :)
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5054/5545548702_b124f6405a_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/54070903@N05/5545548702/)