Camping NEAR Greenleaf Hut??
OK Folks, I really need your help on this one. Hoping there are some out there who are very familiar with the trail leading up from Greenleaf Hut to summit of Lafayette. I want to take a few friends up along Franconia Ridge, but this is bare-bones hiking without enough cash to stay the night at Greenleaf Hut. My question is this . . . we are allowed to camp 1/4 mile away from any hut, and 200 ft off any trail - not in alpine zone and 200 ft away from any water. With those restrictions perfectly and accurately adhered to, is there any possible spot to set up a tent 1/4 mile UP the trail, towards Lafayette, from Greenleaf Hut??? Not sure WHERE (how far up) the Alpine Zone starts - whether there IS 1/4 mile before it begins . . . and not sure, even if that IS the case, whether the forest is so dense up there (being so close TO the Alpine Zone) as to make it impossible to find an area to set up a tent. (I've been in some places, in the Whites, where it's so dense you could barely thrust your arm into the undergrowth from the side of the trail). One trail description I've been able to uncover puts it this way . . .
"From the Hut, follow the Greenleaf Trail south out of the clearing and descend in a few dozen yards to Eagle Lake. Crossing the lake?s outlet, the trail rises shortly to a view back towards the hut. From here, the trail returns briefly to the woods before breaking into the clear for good as it switchbacks towards the ridgeline."
My question here is . . . when the "trail returns briefly to the woods" is that 1/4 mile away and is it possible to find a spot in there? Anyone out there have any first hand knowledge. I've been along that section of trail before, but never with that intention of camping before - always stayed at the hut so didn't take notice of any possible camping spots . . . HELP! HELP! HELP! Can anyone tell me definitively???
Hi Trekker, it looks like you're looking for a quick response. I hiked this trail in the winter. My guess is that you probably have a very small window from being 1/4 mile away from the hut and when you come out of the trees for good. The summit is 1.5 miles from the hut. However, the Greenleaf hut is considered to be at about treeline, so despite the briefly wooded area after the hut, I would consider that the alpine zone. You will have a tough spot finding a place for a tent, but you could probably get away with stealth camping with a hammock in that area, but a tent will be tough. The Old Bridle path, is steep near the top before the hut, and places are limited there too. I do not know about camping opportunities on the Skookumchuck.
There are definitely some spots off the Skookumchuck trail, just below the junction with Garfield Ridge Trail. Personally, I'd go for a totally legal site at Garfield ridge Tentsite, then hike GRT over North Lafayette and on...
But, I'm sure you can find something suitable a ways down the Skook, and if you've never been up that trail to Laf, I highly suggest it. Longer, but much less used, and beautiful!
Trip on the Skook:
Thanks to both DMOutdoors and KDT for your responses. KDT - wouldn't the Skookumchuck below Garfield Ridge BE a totally legal place? I'm assuming you're talking about hiking below treeline - that "treeline" IS shortly below the trail intersection with Garfield Ridge? Or am I wrong? And I'm assuming we'd have to camp where there is no water available for the night - not that that would really pose a significant problem - just have to be more aware of what we have with us.
Yes, it is totally legal. Timberline is pretty much at the junction with GRT. Yeah, don't think you'll find a good water source there. I only suggest GR Tentsite because it is established. I believe in low-impact. The old "leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures." From your original post I'm sure you will be low-impact campers!
Yes, I am about as low-impact as I can be. When I leave a tent site, I'm hoping whoever comes through next would be hard-pressed to know where I even set up my tent - let alone where cooking and eating are done. Thanks for the info on the Skookumchuck trail. At least it's another option. One option IS to hike on over to Garfield Tent sites and use the extra day to hike down to the pools. It's nice to have some options - if only to hang out for an extra day due to bad weather . . .
I'll let you know how everything works out . . .
Good Morning Folks -
Just had to weigh in on a great few days of hiking!
I had been wanting to hike the Franconia Ridge trail for quite some time, having come close a few years ago while on a trip with another group. At the last minute, heading around from Bond Cliff and Guyot, to Garfield and Lafayette, the group decided to bail out at Greenleaf Hut and not continue along the ridge to Lincoln, Little Haystack, Liberty or Flume. I was disappointed and vowed to return. This was my time to return, and can’t say enough times how glad I am that I made the effort to complete the Pemigewasset ring of mountains. The ridgeline between Lafayette and Mt. Flume was beyond gorgeous! It filled my heart and soul - not to mention my stomach, as it was height of blueberry season!!
We started out late in the day Tuesday, hiking in on the Lincoln Woods trail, only to the intersection of the Osseo trail, where we camped, a quarter mile up, for the night. On Wednesday, after a great day of hiking - perfect weather - great views - we rested for the night at the Liberty Springs tent site. Views from Mt Flume and Mt. Liberty were simply wonderful! On the trail, Thursday morning, by 6:50 and up & over Little Haystack, Lincoln and Lafayette. We decided to bag the camping attempt down on the Skookumchuck trail and continued on to the the tent platforms at Garfield. Quite a long two days, back to back, and my feet were sore, despite having well worn in boots. We settled back with a few shots of single malt Scotch - to celebrate my 40th year of backpacking!! Believe it or not, way back in 1971, my first hike WAS in the White Mountains - up Mt. Washington! Only seemed fitting to bring it full circle and hike my favorite mountains again. Had a wonderful nights stay there (despite the large, rowdy crowd in the group area - who obviously had no clue how far their voices traveled in the mountains at 4:47 AM!! Thank God I normally run my dog at 5:30 AM every day and am used to being licked awake at 5:15 . . . life seemed somewhat normal . . . LOL) Although, I can’t complain - I remember the exuberance of youth and excitement that camping in the wilderness brought out. I’m sure, I, too, was probably too loud for someone back then - filled with my own over-the-top excitement about the days’ possibilities . . . I rolled over and grabbed a few more minutes of sleep before finally rousting myself at 5:20.
I must say it was disappointing to begin the hike down on Friday morning, when all my instincts told me to continue on the ridgeline for as long as I could sustain it . . . but was looking forward to hanging out by all the falls at the Thirteen Falls tent site . . . and again, overwhelmed by all the blueberries growing around the falls area. So, we bailed out at Garfield, taking the Franconia Brook trail to the Thirteen Falls tent sites and then continued on, camping off to the side of the Franconia Brook trail a few miles down from the falls. And, slowly but surely, the humidity and heat increase as you drop down out of the cool, refreshing mountains.
Sure hope I get another opportunity, soon, to return to the cool breezes, awesome sights and general feeling of well-being that one gets in the Alpine zone . . .