Mount Clinton Road
Mount Eisenhower 4760' /Mount Pierce 4312'
Mt. Clinton Road/ Edmands Path/ Mount Eisenhower Loop/ Crawford Path/ 100yds Webster Cliff Trail/ Crawford Connector
10.2 Miles w/Roadwalk 3100' Elevation gain
Kevin, Judy and Emma
The MWObs forecast for the higher summits on Wednesday looked splendid so we planned to spend some time with our old friends Dewey and Frank. We awoke to a thick frost in southeastern NH, the first of the season. The pre-dawn glow revealed a wonderful mist rising over the Powow as we set about loading our things in the car. It was clear and cold. Time for the pond another day. Off to the mountains!
The "Dark Side of Mount Eisenhower"
As we drove north the day appeared to be just what had been forecast, but then we approached Franconia Notch where there are no rules when it comes to weather. The skies thickened and a steely gray overcast hung around the peaks. As we passed through the notch and drove up into Twin Mountain the overcast hung like a shroud and as we pulled into the parking lot in Crawford Notch I was damning the observers to their own private hell.
View South from Eisenhower Loop Trail
Well, sometimes when in our deepest doubt we are shown signs that we should hold onto our faith and as we hiked along a ray of sunshine here and there began to turn to blue skies as the clouds evaporated off the summits under the heat of the sun. I chastised myself for ever doubting. As we passed "The Gate" at 4000' on the Edmands Path we began to get the glimpses of the sky and surrounding valleys that make this such a great hike.
Fall Colors in the Alpine Zone
As we got higher there was just the slightest of breezes and that with the deep shadow cast by the summit of Ike we had just a little taste of winter there on "The Dark Side of Eisenhower". There was a fine coating of rime on the rocks and stunted spruce to our right and views to Jefferson and Clay to our left while the bulk our view was the mass of Mount Franklin which is one side of the col to which we were heading.
A Carpet of Diapensia Mats
As we rounded the corner and came out from the shadow and into the sun it was apparent just what a beautiful October day we had been given for this hike. A true gift! Views were astounding and as we made our way along the Eisenhower Loop towards the summit, Mount Washington rose behind Mount Franklin and into our view. The towers looked like frozen stalagmites rising on the crown of some ancient ice god. At our feet was a beautiful carpet of browns and cranberries as rivers of soil wound through islands of Diapensia mats. Stones and trees grew icy feather wings.
Mount Washington Peeks Over Ike's Shoulder
The summit was calm and clear and the sun was warm. Hardly a breeze across this enchanted place. We sat and had lunch with some nice folks who had a very cute 3yo Westy who shared some lunch with Emma and Judy. It was one of those afternoons you could have just stayed all day and we soaked it in for as long as we could. Eventually we headed down the south part of the loop to the Crawford Path and began the trek over to Mount Pierce. Such a beautiful stroll between these two hills!
Longing Glance Back at Pierce
On Pierce Emma and I had "second lunch" and marveled at the clear views in every direction of the beautiful surrounding landscape. It felt a shame to finally leave the summit and duck back into the trees, but it was warm and bright and we had scored a perfect day, so we had to leave happy even though we wished we could stay. The renewal of spirit that we are so lucky to find here is worth every stubbed toe, turned ankle, spruce gouged, mud-covered, cold wet, frozen fingered minute!
Full set of pics HERE: