August 24, 2014)
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
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.
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
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
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) -
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
~ 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
Total loop: ~ 6.0 miles
Highest point: 4080 feet (Cannon
~ 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
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)
~ 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
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
~ 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
Trailhead Location: Crawford Notch, Livermore, NH (~ 25 min. from my house)
Total loop: ~
10.0 miles round trip
Highest point: 4488 feet (Mt.
~ 2970 feet
(trailhead is at ~1580 feet)
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
Trailhead Location: off Upper Mad River Road, Waterville Valley, NH (~ 40 min.
from my house)
Total loop: ~ 4.4
Highest point: 2734 feet (summit of
~ 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
View from Summit of Mt. Dickey - Looking
North towards Franconia Notch
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