This a brief report of my attempt, which I am calling a "Mirror Traverse," with two friends, of a June Presidential Traverse from north to south, via Appalachia to the Highland Center. We started during a heat wave and we had rain, thunder and lightning and high winds, but we were well-prepared, well-outfitted, fit and suitably reasonable and cautious. It is mortifying how stupid I was when I sought advice back around March of this year, and I want to thank this forum and its posters for the critical help that they provided. (I like what the guy wrote here on the forum about doing a hike first in the summer with visibility before doing it in the winter without.)
We didn't go over the ridge, so we didn't do Adams, Jefferson, Clay or Washington (settled for skirting the summit of Washington on the Alpine Garden Trail). Instead we went up, down and back up, which is why I call it the "Mirror Traverse," like one of those pictures of a lake with mountains in the back we did the mirror image of the hike along the top of the ridge. Actually, it was awesome.
We took Airline most of the way to Madison Spring Hut but we backtracked to Upper Bruin and down and over to Valley Way shortly after we got on the spectacular Knife Edge to avoid a rapidly approaching storm that lasted only until right before we got to the Hut, where people asked us with concern whether we had been out in it.
The next day the Observatory reported 70 mile an hour winds, so one of our group who had to be at work in Boston the next day rather than admitting that argued that we didn't want to walk the ridge in those winds (as the French say, "tu as raison!") and we descended to the valley floor via the Buttress Trail to Six Husbands Trail to the Great Gulf Trail, the refusenik went out via the Great Gulf Trail and we went back up the valley wall on the Wamsutta Trial. (That is one steep trail).
This was all improvised with the use of our maps, but it worked out great. Buttress Trail was spectacular to look back on from the promontory on the Wamsutta Trail; in the photo below, what looks like a rock field was actually a field of boulders at least ten feet high. I took what could have been a nasty fall back down two boulders about two thirds of the way up Wamsutta, but as Yogi Bear said, "Everything'll be OK, Boo-Boo, as long as we keep landing on our heads!"
Alpine Garden Trail and the Tuckerman Crossover were slightly otherwordly - long traverses above treeline, where I think most of us are used to going up or down. Again, a couple of photos below.
All in all it was a tremendous experience - the mountains were much more imposing than I expected, and the huts and the trail network were amazing. And the failure to summit Washington gave me reason to return, having climbed my nearby Olympic Mountains Mt. Washington several times, most recently last summer. We like to keep the Olympics the little-known secret that they are outside of the region, and I seriously doubt that they are a "destination hike," but the East-Coast/West-Coast" Mt. Washington double is a feather I definitely want in my cap, so "come on down!"
White Mountains June 10-12 '08 106.jpg
White Mountains June 10-12 '08 070.jpgWhite Mountains June 10-12 '08 059.jpg
Last edited by Scared But Eager; 09-01-2008 at 06:16 PM.
Reason: Wanna add a picture
Great TR. Looks like you had a bit more excitement than needed! This is surely one of the most awesome hikes anywhere. Glad you made it through the tough conditions and still had a great experience.
I have learned you don't have to summit a mountain to have a great time on the mountain. There is so much to see and explore. Just being there is enough for me.
Glad you had a great time.
Is there really any BAD