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updated August 24, 2014)

My Summer 2003 Hikes

New  Hampshire's  White  Mountains

This page covers my hikes from 2003 years ago, so it is getting to be a bit old.  But the information is still current as the trails have remained virtually unchanged since then. 

For my recent hikes, go back to my main Hiking Page.

Originally Written in 2003:

I had major surgery on May 30th and my operation lasted for 13 hours, so it took a lot out of me.  My main surgeon knew that I loved to hike and before my operation he warned me that I probably would have to give up my hiking for the entire summer.  Fortunately I healed really fast and when I saw my two surgeons on June 24th, they both felt that I had healed well enough and was strong enough to start hiking, as soon as I felt up to it. They just cautioned that I not try to do too much too soon and that I should be careful not to wear myself out.

I knew that I wasn't ready to hike just yet, so I stuck to fairly level short walks for the next two weeks.  Then I started doing really easy hikes, and gradually worked up to longer and steeper hikes. We actually hiked well over 40 miles this summer, climbing a total of over 13,000 vertical feet.  That might not sound like much, as there are single mountains that have more vertical elevation.  But to give you an idea, the Sears Tower, which is the highest building in North America is 1450 feet tall and 110 stories.  So I climbed the equivalent of 9 Sears Towers, or 990 stories. That's a whole bunch of stairs!

This page covers most of my 2003 hikes, although we did a few other hikes earlier in the spring (when there was still some snow) and a few more later in the fall. And this doesn't cover any of my early winter cross-country ski trips or any snowshoeing. I actually made my first solo winter ski (~ 8 miles) just yesterday (Dec. 16th), into the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

Index of My Hikes in the White Mountains in 2003

- July 6th (1.5 miles): Bald Mountain and Artist Bluff
- July 12th (4.2 miles): Mount Willard (and Ammonoosuc Lake)
- July 19th (5.6 miles): Zealand Falls (and AMC hut)
- July 26th (6.0 miles): Cannon Mountain and Lonesome Lake
- Aug 9th (2.6 miles): Arethusa Falls
- Aug 23rd (7.6 miles): Mount Moosilauke
- Sept 6th (10.0 miles): Mt. Garfield
- Sept 13th (4.4miles): Welch-Dickie Trail


Bald Mountain and Artist Bluff - July 6th

Trailhead Location: North end of Franconia Notch (~ 15 minutes from my house)
Total loop:
~ 1.5 miles

Highest point
: 2340 feet (summit of Bald Mt)

Elevation gain:
~ 320 feet (trailhead is at 2020 feet), but, since the trail crosses two summits, you actually climb a total of over 500 feet.

Notes: This is a short, easy hike, but with wonderful views from both summits, which are open ledges. The trail up Bald Mt. does involve a bit of rock scrambling (as in having to climb using your hands). I did ok, but I couldn't hike very fast, so it took us about 2 hours. We did spend some time on both ledges. The ledges of Artist Bluff are a very popular climb for beginner rock climbers, and we enjoyed watching some for quite a while.

View from Artist Bluff, looking south into Franconia Notch.
Cannon Mt. ski area is on the right and the Franconia Range is on the left.
(this photo was taken in the spring)

Mount Willard (and Ammonoosuc Lake) - July 12th

Trailhead Location: West end of Crawford Notch (~ 20 minutes from my house) From my house to the summit takes just over an hour. 

Total loop: 3.2 miles (actually ~ 4.2 miles including Ammonoosuc Lake)

Highest point
: 2804 feet

Elevation gain:
~ 900 feet (trailhead is at 1900 feet)

Notes: This is a very easy hike, as it was once a carriage road (over 100 years ago) and I did great. It was a bit chilly and windy on the exposed summit. After returning to my car, we decide to hike around Ammonoosuc Lake, which is about a one mile, level hike into and around a small hidden lake, which is a favorite spot for moose (all we saw were lots of tracks in the mud).

Mount Willard - The hiking trail is on the back side.

View of Crawford Notch from the summit of Mount Willard, where we had lunch.

Zealand Falls (and AMC hut) - July 19th

Trailhead Location: End of Zealand Road (forest road ~3.5 miles long) (~25 min. from my house)

Total loop: ~ 5.6 miles round trip

Highest point
: 2630 feet (at Zealand Hut)

Elevation gain:
~ 630 feet (trailhead is at ~ 2000 feet)

Notes: This is a pretty level hike, as most of the trail is on an old railroad bed (used from 1884 to 1897). Only the last 1/4 mile or so, from Zealand Pond to the AMC hut, was steep (as in very steep). It was in upper 50's when we started out, so It was a bit chilly in shorts, until we got our blood pumping. I did great the whole way and, according to my hiking partner, I practically skipped down most of the trail. We arrived at the hut just after noon, but there were very few other hikers around. We ate our lunch on the ledges at the falls. These ledges are very smooth, which makes them very slippery. In fact a guy practically landed on me while I was eating my lunch. Fortunately he didn't seem to be hurt from the fall. After lunch on the was back to the hut I was startled by three rather large snakes that were on a rock ledge, soaking up the sun's heat. I'm not fond of snakes, so I gave then plenty of room. Then we checked out the hut with it's new bathroom addition, with composting toilets (oh joy! So much more civilized than squatting in the woods). The main section of the hut was completed in 1932, and even has a mini hydro power plant (added in 1982) to help reduce propane use. The hot water is also solar heated. The Zealand Road is gated and not plowed in the winter, so this is a great cross-country ski, with a total distance of about 13 miles. The hut is open all winter (since 1973), which makes a great lunch stop on a cold winter day.

View from Zealand Hut, looking South into Zealand Notch, with Whitewall Mt. on the left.

Cannon Mountain and Lonesome Lake - July 26th

North Lonesome Lake trail to Hi-Cannon trail to Kinsman Ridge trail to Lonesome Lake trail

Trailhead Location: Lafayette Place (campground), Franconia Notch (~ 20 min. from my house) 

Total loop:
~ 6.0 miles

Highest point
: 4080 feet (Cannon Mt. summit)

Elevation gain:
~ 2310 feet (trailhead is at 1770 feet)

Notes: The Hi-Cannon Trail is the shortest route to the summit, so this is a steep, very rough trail. It requires a fair amount of rock scrambling (climbing using hands), and there's actually a long ladder in the steepest section. On the day we hiked it was close to 80 degrees at the trailhead, with about 90% humidity, so we were sort of drenched by the time we reached the summit. Fortunately I was wearing a heavy cotton t-shirt, so it wasn't too embarrassing. There's a large observation tower on the summit, with 306 degree views. Going down the Kinsman Ridge trail from the summit is a steep descent over large boulders that completely fill the trail. The trail leveled out just before the Lonesome Lake trail, and the remaining descent was much easier. We hiked around the lake to the AMC hut, where we took a brief break, before continuing our descent on the easiest portion of the trail.

View of the Cannon Cliffs, from near the Trailhead

Franconia Range &  Lonesome Lake (near AMC hut)

Arethusa Falls - August 9th
Trailhead Location: Crawford Notch, Livermore, NH
(~25 min. from my house) 

Total loop: ~ 2.6 miles round trip

Highest point
: ~ 2100 feet (at base of falls)

Elevation gain:
~ 840 feet (trailhead is at ~ 1260feet)

Notes: At ~200 feet high, this is the largest waterfall in New Hampshire. Plus it's nearly vertical. When we hiked, the top three quarters of the trail had just been relocated. Most of the trail was in great shape, but the upper portion of the trail was not much more than a rough brushed-out path and it was extremely was muddy and very slippery, as we were having a very rainy summer. It was a very hot, muggy day, but having lunch near the base of the cold water falls was like eating in air-conditioned comfort, only this was completely natural. The cool mist from the falls felt so wonderful. (This is a very popular family hike, so it pays to do this one early in the day.)

Mount Moosilauke - August 23rd

Beaver Brook trail

Trailhead Location: The AT crosses through Kinsman Notch (route 112) near the height of land, with a parking lot on the south side. (~ 25 min. from my house)

Total loop: ~ 7.6 miles round trip

Highest point
: 4802 feet (Mount Moosilauke summit)

Elevation gain:
~ 2922 feet (trailhead is at ~ 1880 feet)

Notes: The Beaver Brook Trail is the shortest route to the summit, and it's a very well maintained trail, since it is part of the Appalachian Trail (2160 miles long, from Georgia to Maine). The lower portion of the trail is extremely steep, with an elevation gain of ~ 2200 feet in just the first mile and a half. But this section follows a large brook most of the way, which is nearly all high waterfalls and long cascades, so it's also a very pretty climb. Once we got above the steep part, the rest of the trail to the summit was pretty easy. It was a really nice day, mostly clear, with the temperature in the mid 60's, except the upper part above tree line, which was probably in the mid 50's, but really windy, so it was petty cold in our shorts and t-shirts. There were a lot of people on the summit, but we were able to find a good spot out of the wind to eat our lunch. Before eating, we pulled our long pants on over our shorts and put on our sweatshirts. We chatted with a couple of through hikers, who were so psyched to have finally reached the "Whites", and were thrilled at the perfect weather. It was so clear that we could pick out the summit building on Mt. Washington, many miles to the north.

Portion of Cascades on the Lower Section of the Trail

Above Timberline at Alpine Zone - Final Approach to Summit (off to the left and not shown)

Mt. Garfield - September 6th

Garfield Trail

Trailhead Location: Crawford Notch, Livermore, NH (~ 25 min. from my house)

Total loop: ~ 10.0 miles round trip

Highest point
: 4488 feet (Mt. Garfield summit)

Elevation gain:
~ 2970 feet (trailhead is at ~1580 feet)

Notes: This trail mostly follows the old fire tower road, so the grades are pretty easy. There are like four brook crossings at the lower section, including two across Gale River, which is the size of a large brook at this elevation. The final accent is very steep, but is less than 1/4 of a mile. This was definitely my favorite section, as I loved climbing over the large boulders, and since this section starts just below timberline, it has the first real views of the hike. The summit summit comes up so quick, that it surprised me, as I wasn't expecting it so soon. It was pretty clear, with mostly deep blue skies, and the clouds were just lifting off nearby Franconia Ridge to the south. What an incredible spot to have lunch!

Garfield Summit (from the North Peak of Lafayette) - the trial follows the left ridge.

View from our lunch spot on the Summit - looking East across the Pemigewasset Wilderness

Welch-Dickie Trail - September 13th

Trailhead Location: off Upper Mad River Road, Waterville Valley, NH (~ 40 min. from my house)

Total loop: ~ 4.4 miles loop

Highest point
: 2734 feet (summit of Mt. Dickey)

Elevation gain:
~ 1650 feet (but you climb more than this as there is a drop between the summits) (trailhead is at ~ 1080 feet)

Notes: This is a pretty easy trail, although there are some fairly steep sections, making this sort of a moderate hike overall. This is a really fun half-day hike, with excellent open views along much of the trail. The trail forks shortly after leaving the parking lot. If you bear right, at only 1.9 miles you'll reach Welch Summit at an elevation of 2,605 feet. The trail drops steeply for a ways then climbs steadily to the summit of Mt. Dickey at 2,734 feet. This was where we stopped for lunch. The descent passes over a number of overlooks, with sections along the top of steep ledges. So their are also really great views on the way down.

Summit of Welch Mountain from First Ledges

View from Summit of Mt. Dickey - Looking North towards Franconia Notch

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