Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mount Pierce and Mizpah Spring Hut Hike

Mount Washinton behind Mount Eisenhower

Leaving the driveway this morning the sun was up and the temperature was cool. During the drive to the trailhead the clouds moved in...quickly. The ride through Jefferson (NH) was overcast and grey. Arriving at the trailhead we could see the clouds moving away and being replaced by blue sky and sunshine! We hit the trail at 8:49 heading for the summit of Mount Pierce (4,312 ft).

Trailhead parking lot
Foot bridge over Gibbs Brook

Gibbs BrookLooking up Gibbs Brook  
Snowy TrailGibbs Brook Waterfall
Within minutes of departing the parking lot and on the Crawford Connector there were miniscule holdouts of dirty ice in the shadows of rocks. It wasn't long before we reached the foot bridge across the Gibbs Brook. On the other side of the bridge was the Crawford Path and we turned left for the ascent. This trail follows the Gibbs Brook and offered up a larger cascading waterfall.

Mount Washington
Mount Washington Hotel far below 
Presidentials from Crawford Path
Lots of snow
View from Mount Pierce
Mount Pierce summit

We soon ran into long patches of ice on the trail that was easy to navigate with exposed rocks and strategically postioned bare ground. The further up we went the more pronounced the monorail was and the amount of snow throughout the entire area. We decided to put on our microspikes so we could pick up the pace. There apparently was a siginificant amount of snow that fell over the past week. The monorail was soft but stable for most of the hike.

View from Mount Pierce summit
Trail to Mizpah Spring Hut
Gnarly tree

At 1.5 miles we came to a fork in the trail and diverging left continued on the Crawford Path with the Mizpah Cutoff bearing right. It was a gradual and enjoyable ascent to the summit. I was surprised to see how much snow there was on the way up but it was well packed down and caused no problems. The summit ledges on Mount Pierce were bare and the views were spectacular! We took several pics and moved on to the Mizpah Spring Hut.

Log steps
Mizpah Spring Hut

Takin' a break

The trail down to the hut was much steeper than the trail we took going up to the summit. There was even a series of log steps to assist over some of the more vertical parts of the trail. We reached the Mizpah Spring Hut and found a lot of renovation taking place both inside and out. It was time for lunch and a nice break in the warm sunshine. We spoke with the hut caretaker for a moment before he had to get back to work. He told us that a lot of snow had fallen over the past week. His father and brother were there visiting and they soon departed.

It was time for us to end our break and continue our hike back down. In 0.1 mile we were on the Mizpah Cutoff and headed back to the Crawford Path. We decided to bareboot down and did not have much of a problem. The lower we went the warmer it got. At 1:30 we arrived back at the parking lot. This past week weather reports were forecasting a day of showers but it was a beautiful day with lots of sun and we completed our third 4,000 footer.

No comments:

Post a Comment