Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Warm "Summer" Day Hike on Mount Kearsarge

"The mountains are calling and I must go."
                                           ~John Muir

After peering out the window at work yesterday and seeing the clear blue sky with warm temperatures the mountains were calling me and I had to go. So I took a day of leave and decided to get out for a hike today. Although it wasn't summer it had the same feel as a warm day in June. I've been wanting to see the 360 degree views on Mount Kearsarge so I set out for Hurrican Mountain Road. Upon reaching the trailhead parking lot I soon realized that I was overdressed and quickly put on shorts and short-sleeves before heading out on the trail.

 It was a pleasant gradual ascent through the forest to the first ledges. Except for a small pond with ice all signs of winter were gone. At this point I was wondering why I packed the microspikes. There was a couple sitting on the ledges enjoying the view. I had walked over a couple of icy patches and asked them if I would need the microspikes up further, they both answered yes at the same time.

Before long the ice took up most of the trail. Up till now I had managed to cross over it carefully but it was no longer safe and now invited injury. It was time to put on the microspikes. They stayed on until the last ledges below the fire tower. While scrambling up the last ledges there were three ladies coming down. One asked me if I had seen a couple on my way up, I said I did and she said they didn't bring their microspikes and couldn't go any further.

I was soon climbing the fire tower and the views were stunning! There was an unobstructed scenic vista in every direction! I took numerous photos and had a bite to eat then was soon heading back down.

It was more difficult going down the icy trail than it was going up. I met a group of young hikers, without microspikes, that were struggling to navigate over the ice. The trip to the lower ledges was without incident or injury and I removed the microspikes. The temperature at this point had to be hovering around the 80 degree mark making it warm and pleasant for the remaining portion of the hike.

On an unusual "Summer"-like day in March it was a great hike to spectacular views!

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