Emma at the Gateway
Eisenhower 4760', Franklin 5001' Little Monroe 5300'? and Monroe 5372'
Edmands and Crawford Paths, Eisenhower and Monroe Loops
12.5 Miles 3450' Elevation gain
Kevin, Judy and Emma
I don't know about where you are, but here in the southeast corner of New Hampshire it has rained for what seems like the entire month of June. So much so that I haven't even put my boat in yet and the pond is in my backyard. It's funny. I got a new thermometer to put in the garden and it has a rain gauge. I've been dumping it out on a daily basis. The weatherman on WMUR says it has rained 21 of 25 days this month. Normal precip in New Hampshire in June is about 2.5 inches. We've had nearly eight. Incredibly, we have lucked out when traveling to the mountains.
Lapland Rosebay Rhododendron lapponicum
We arrived late on the 16th and camped at Sugarloaf. The night was clear enough that we kept the fly off the tent. The stars were magnificent and I lay for a long time just looking at them. I realized that there are so many things I love to do that I seldom get to do anymore and this is one of them. Just look at the night sky. Nothing else. Just stare at the heavens and let my thoughts drift. On this night they drifted to my father and I was reminded why I love the sky. Because of him. We would spend hours looking at stars. Watching meteor showers. Getting up in the wee hours to look at comets. He pointed out the constellations to me and taught me to recognize the planets as opposed to the stars.
View south through Crawford Notch from Monroe
The night got cold without the fly on the tent, but the morning brought sunlight and clear skies. We had tea and were on our way. Along the Clinton Road we spotted a young moose. I was totally unprepared. The camera was nearly out of reach and all the settings were wrong for this low light moving object. I got no decent shots and vowed to be more like Patrick. Anyway, we got a smile out of watching this young cow scratching herself on the road marker. I think Patrick got a good shot of her in the mist a few days later. I'm pretty sure it's the same moose.
View of Washington from Monroe
We've sort of unconsciously been revisiting some of our favorite trails and today we were on another one, the Edmands Path. In my mind it's the easiest way to get above treeline in the Presidentials. Indeed, we found ourselves passing "The Gateway" and breaking out of the trees before we knew it. The day was fantastic! I had come to photograph the alpine flowers. They were plentiful but the sun was so bright and we were there mid-day so the lighting was less than ideal. I was disappointed at most of the results of my flower shots, but wouldn't trade a bluebird day in the Southern Presis for all the photos in the world!
We climbed up to Eisenhower first and as it turned out we were glad we didn't bypass it and get it on the return trip as we may have skipped it. On the summit we discussed Mr. Shintani, the missing hiker. We could here the beat of the Blackhawk's rotors down in the Dry River Wilderness and eventually saw it as they searched along the valley below us. After we ate we headed off toward Franklin. We always reminisce about hiking the entire Crawford Path with the family and Jude's sister telling her oldest brother, "After Eisenhower it's just walking." After hiking over Franklin to Monroe you realize it's all uphill, some of it pretty steep. This was a big surprise to them. I just shook my head and didn't try to correct her. They were both pretty upset at the end of the hike. He with her for dragging him into this endeavor, and she with herself for not realizing the magnitude of the hike. I snickered. I was too beat to laugh out loud.
Ducking back into the trees on Edmands Path
Jude, Emma and I had gone this way on another occasion to get Monroe for Jude on her first 48. That was a very hot day and we all suffered, the little black dog the most. We were glad this day was not quite as hot although there is no shade and this section puts me in mind of the guy crawling across the desert sand croaking, "Water!" Wouldn't want to be anywhere else, though. We crossed Franklin and hiked up over Little Monroe and then on to the main peak and tried to make sense of why this pimple on the shoulder of Mount Washington is a 4000' Footer and why Clay isn't on the list. I know, I know it's all been explained to me. I mean no disrespect to Monroe, I absolutely love it, but I think there are some more that should make the list.
I was not surprised to find snow near Lakes, what to me is surprising is that is where you find it. It seems the sun would beat down on that area above Oakes Gulf for most of the day. I would expect to find it on more sheltered slopes less exposed to the sun. It is testament to the power of the wind that blows the snow into these hollows and piles it deep while other areas are scoured clean. Such an incredible place! On the return trip we stopped at what I consider the true summit of Franklin just off the Crawford Path and high on a cliff overlooking Oakes Gulf. Great spot with its incerdible view south through Crawford Notch!
Goldthread Coptis trifolia
Alas, all good things must come to an end and we reluctantly made our way back down the Crawford to the junction and began our descent again using the Edmands Path. I'm one of those people that finds all the stones and roots and can't believe the steepness of the trail on the return trip. Of course the Edmands is never steep, but it seemed a lot steeper on the descent than it had on the hike up this morning. Hiking above treeline in the Presis to me is much harder than the softer tree covered trails below treeline. I love it, but the pounding on those rocks every step of the way takes its toll. The one day Presi Traverse is quite a feat if you ask me.
Full set of pics here: