View north from Middle Sister
Middle Sister 3354' and Mount Chocorua 3500'
Piper Trail, Nickerson Ledge Trail, Carter Ledge Trail, Champney Falls Trail
2900' Elevation gain 8.9 Miles
Kevin, Judy and Emma
Our first ascent. One of Emma's first ascents. My first true winter ascent. Our only December true winter ascent. (It gets busy that time of year!) Now, late May, a Saturday, no less. We had all but sworn off Saturday hikes to popular, easily accessible peaks but years of hiking has taught us: use "the less traveled road, and it has been all the difference."
Rhodora Rhododendron canadense
Well, the Piper Trail is a pretty popular trail, there were several cars in the parking area, but they were all ahead of us. From Piper we made our way up Nickerson and Carter Ledge Trails and never passed another soul until we came down from Middle Sister to join the Champney Falls and Piper Trail again and to wind our way over the ledges and up to the not overly crowded summit. On the approach from Middle Sister you can see all the activity on the summit cone of Mount Chocorua. It is very reminiscent of the giant termite hills with termites running everywhere. We passed a large contingent of Boy Scout termites just leaving the summit which made it much less crowded on Chocorua's huge, bald granite head. There were still enough cigarettes and cellphones to make the visit to the exact summit short and sweet. We spent lots of time wandering around the rest of this bald knob and taking in the views.
The sky was filled with puffy, white fairweather clouds except to the north and west where they were gathering and turned into a squall. We witnessed this squalls entire life as it came to life and raced west to east across the Pemigewasset Wilderness to it's awaiting death and dispersal on the other side of Pinkham Notch. I don't think we could have had a better seat to watch this event and still have stayed dry. All this time of course we were keeping our fingers crossed that it didn't race our way and envelope the summit with its icy wind and hail. From other trip reports I have read from this day it wasn't much fun to be in. Mount Washington got walloped with icy windchills, hail and 80mph winds.
Squalls move toward Pinkham Notch
Along the trail the woods and ledges were abloom, Rhodora and Painted Trillium and Pink Lady's Slippers to name but a few. Climbing along these trails was harder than I remembered it. (It usually is. My brain blacks out all the hard parts.) It was ten years ago the last time I climbed this way, so that's my excuse. Combining these trails to the summit makes a near 3000' climb and just shy of nine miles. Bigger hike than several of the 4k's. The previous three days of cold, wet weather beat the bugs down and they weren't too bothersome until later in the day. The mountain gods cut us some slack this day. Thanks! It was a beautiful, restoring day!
Painted Trillium Trillium undulatum
Another great trip report and excellent pictures. You guys had some fantastic views. Thanks for sharing.
Nice shots! Any views to the East?
You guys obviously had a great stretch last week. The pictures are awesome as usual. The first one in the post from Middle Sister is spectacular! That is one of our favorite spots in the Whites as it was the first "real mountain" that we got our daughter to the top of several years ago. Thanks for bringing back the memories.
Beautiful Pics (as always!)
Hi Kevin! You take such great flower shots - we're going to need to hike with you just for lessons! It looks like you had a great day on Chocorua. Tim and I passed it several times recently while driving around the area and decided we really need to do that mountain again. We've not done Piper Trail yet.
As you mentioned in my earlier thread, you had a bird's-eye view as the storm passed over us on the Crawford Path. The anticipation was scary before it arrived, but the fact that the thunder stayed pretty far from us and we never saw any lightning really helped.