Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Up Tuckerman Down Lion Head

It was a great day for this hike! The plan was to hike up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail then over to the Lion Head Trail via the Alpine Garden Trail. Was glad I had no plans to summit Mount Washington, it stayed in the clouds most of the day.

Summit clouds from the Pinkham Notch parking lot

Tuckerman Ravine

Another angle of Tuckerman Ravine

Lion Head

Tuckerman Ravine from Hermit Lake

Getting closer to Tuckerman Ravine

There was still plenty of parking to be had at Pinkham Notch parking lot but the hikers were still arriving. Upon leaving my vehicle there was no greeting of flying, biting insects. I had no problem with bugs all day...or maybe they didn't like my flavor. Looking up toward the summit from the parking lot there were plenty of clouds over the top of the Tuckerman headwall. Otherwise, there was plenty of sun and the temperature was 74 degrees. It was almost 9:00, I threw on my pack and hit the trail.

From the Ravine floor


Starting up the Headwall

Looking straight up

Climbing up the Headwall

Looking down  the Tuckerman Ravine Trail

The trip up to Hermit Lake was warm but cool in the shade. Although today was a solo hike I had plenty of company. Arriving at Hermit Lake I decided to take a quick break and have a snack. My breaks are usually brief and I don't like to sit long so I was soon on my way. When I came to the water pump I topped off, I drink a lot of water. I continued on to the floor of the ravine.

Going up

Looking down Tuckerman Ravine

Looking across Tuckerman Ravine

View from top of Tuckerman Ravine

Lion Head from Tuckerman

Tuckerman Ravine and Alpine Garden Trail junction

It's been many years since I last climbed up over the headwall and it hasn't changed. The first part is fairly steep and the upper part was wet with running water. It was a good climb and I still had lot's of company. Found myself stopping a lot and taking many photos. The views and the scenery were breathtaking, or maybe it was the climb that was taking my breath, a little of both.

Clouds covering summit

Lion Head

Alpine Garden and Lion Head trail junction

Cloud covered summit

Up and over the headwall I was soon at the Alpine Garden Trail. It was a short walk over to the Lion Head Trail. There was a brisk breeze blowing but it felt good after that warm climb up the headwall. Looking back over my shoulder the clouds were still covering the summit. I took another break at upper Lion Head for another snack and photos. The wind was enough to seek shelter behind some boulders. I didn't stay long and soon continued my descent on the Lion Head Trail.

Top of Lion Head

Hermit Lake from Lion Head

View from Lion Head

Another view from Lion Head

The hike was going well and then it happened. I stepped down onto a slanted boulder and my ankle rolled. It was a fairly serious sprain but I didn't have much choice except to keep on going although slowing my pace and watching every step. The trail got much steeper in places but I managed to keep from rolling my ankle again. It was a long, slow one mile down to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.

Route 16 far below Lion Head

Looking back to Lion Head

Hermit Lake from Lion Head Trail

Steep drop on Lion Head Trail

Ladder on the Lion Head Trail

One last look at Lion Head

My ankle felt somewhat better hiking on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. There was the threat of showers all afternoon. Just before reaching Crystal Cascade the sky opened up and the rain came down, it was a real gully washer. I quickly put on my rain jacket and kept going. Upon arriving at the parking lot the rain let up, then stopped and the sun came back out. One less break today and would have ended my hike dry. Where's the fun in that?

Found a tasty treat

Pinkham Notch downpour

Elevating and resting the ankle

I drove home, took a shower and sat down to relax only to find out that I could no longer walk on my injured ankle. Needing my foot for work I was soon off to the ER. I was given a Toradol injection and an air splint. The Toradol is somewhat of a miracle drug. I was wheeled in but walked out. Looks like I will not be hiking this weekend, but there's always kayaking.                       

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