My friend and I were up in the Whites for the weekend. It was my first hike since my dad and I did Carrigain for number 48 in 2007, and my friend's first real hikes.
I opted to have us do Moosilaukee on Saturday, knowing it was an easier
hike, and also thinking we'd see more flags on Sunday from the Ridge. We
hit the trail at 9AM, there were already a bunch of cars along the road
by the lodge. The trip up Gorge Brook was uneventful, there was one
sorta tricky stream crossing about .5 miles after the Snapper Trail
peeled off, but that was it. A nice, steady climb as I remembered it,
and there were a lot of people both passing us and that we passed on the
way up. We summitted at 11:30, meaning a total ascent time of 2.5
hours, a great time I felt, roughly the pace I used to climb at when I
was in shape.
The summit was completely clear and the views were FANTASTIC. The only
other time I was on this summit, we were in the clouds and could barely
see the old concrete foundation from the summit. This time it was
100-mile+ visibility (as reported on the Mount Washington Observatory Site most of the day). We could see well beyond Lake Winnipesaukee, well
into Vermont, Mount Washington, etc. Anyone hiking on this day knows
what it was like. The only downer was there was a pretty stiff breeze
the whole time. We huddled on the East side of the summit like most everyone
else and ate a hot lunch, boy did that hit the spot!
Unsurprisingly, there were a LOT of people on the summit this day, I'd
say easily 50-60 at once, and we saw a fair number on the Carriage Road
as we descended. We also saw somewhere around 12-15 dogs, all either at
the summit, or shortly into our descent. The dogs were having a great
time. Dartmouth was having some sort of freshman orientation down at the
Lodge and I think a bunch of them made the hike up too.
One person brought up a flag and mounted it on a long stick on the summit. A day early, but who cares, it was a great symbol and well appreciated.
Anyway, we started down at 12:30 and were at the car by 2:30. 5.5 hours
total including a one hour stay at the top, not too bad at all by my
standards (I know some of you are crazy fast). Especially with it being 4
years since I did anything really strenuous. We went down the Carriage
Road to the Snapper and back to the car.
I was thinking of a visit to the South Peak of Moosilauke, but we missed the side trail. I chalked this up to forgetting the spur was off the Glencliff Trail and not the Carriage Road. Well, I later was reminded that the spur trail left right from the Carriage Road/Glencliff Trail junction. We just missed the sign. O well.
The trails were all in terrific shape except for the one crossing I
mentioned earlier. It was obvious some work had been done on the trails
since Irene, but not much, I think they weathered the storm pretty well.
The bridge near the bottom of Gorge Brook has had some work done on it recently, this could well be due to Irene damage or just work that was done this summer. I'm not sure right now. Can't say the same for the road to the lodge, it is very pitted at the
entrance and there is a spot partway along it on the left as you come in
where a 1-2 foot width of the road about 25 feet long washed away.
We both felt fine come morning, just a few mild aches aside from my
knees that have not been good in over 10 years (before I even started
hiking...). But overall a great day.