Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mount Washington via Tuckerman Ravine

Today's weather forecast called for high clouds, temps in the 70's and no rain. Seemed like a great day for a hike to the top of Mount Washington. My route would take me up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to the summit, back down to the Lion Head Trail making a loop to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and returning to Pinkham Notch.

Early morning on the way to the trailhead

My destination - Mount Washington summit

Lots of flowing water

A Trail With No Name

View from Hermit Lake

I startd out a little later than planned but there was still plenty of parking available at Pinkham Notch. Although there were high, thin clouds, the summits were clear. The temp was cool and I started out with one long sleeve thin layer. This would be a day of constantly changing layers. I started up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at 7:30 am.

Ready to ascend Tuckerman Ravine

Tuckerman Ravine

Floor of Tuckerman Ravine

Starting the ascent up Tuckerman

This was going to be another solo hike but there would be plenty of people along the way. It was a nice hike to Hermit Lake and I was there at 9:15. There was a few hikers but not the large crowd that I usually see here. I stopped long enough to get a snack, change to short sleeves, zipped off my lower hiking pants and then started my ascent toward Tuckerman Ravine.

New England Aster

Going up!

Looking across the Tuckerman cliff face

As I made my way to the floor of the ravine it seemed I had the place to myself. Looking far up the trail I could see a few hikers high up in the ravine. I stopped several times to take some photos as the trail got steeper. Toward the top of the ravine there was running water coming down the trail, a little slick in places.

Looking down into Tuckerman Ravine

Lion Head

Alpine Garden Trail Junction

Last push to the summit

When I arrives at the Alpine Garden Trail junction it was cool and a breeze was blowing. I zipped my pant legs back on, put on a long sleeve layer and started the final push to the summit. I could see a few hikers far up the trail in front of me and a few behind.

Clouds moving over Mount Monroe

Just below the summit parking lot

Looking down on the Lakes of the Clouds Hut there were clouds rolling in. The summit of Mount Washington was still in the clear. As I got closer to the summit I could see cars in the parking lot. For some reason it seemed the hardest part of the hike was the long stairway at the top. When I got to the observation deck it was time to put on the windbreaker. The summit remained in the clear while I was up there and throughout the rest of the day.

North view from the summit

Avoiding the summit pic line

Cog Railway Train descending

I wanted a photo at the summit sign but did not want to stand in line so I took my own pic just below it. Between the Cog Railway and Auto Road there was definitely a crowd up here today. I took some photos, ate my lunch and was ready to leave the crowd behind. It was nice to get back on the trail again.

Lunchtime at the summit

Descending to Lion Head

Lakes of the Clouds far below

It was not long before I reached the Lion Head Trail junction. There were quite a few hikers making there way up the Lion Head Trail to the summit of Mount Washington. The views from Lion Head are spectacular and I found myself taking many photos from up here. For those that make the trek to Lion Head they are well rewarded with scenic outlooks.

A look across the Lion Head trail

Looking back at Mount Washington

Tuckerman Ravine

Floor of Tuckerman Ravine

As I made my way down this trail I used a little extra caution remembering how I twisted my ankle the last time I was here requiring a trip to the emergency room after completing my hike. I made it down unscathed this time. I completed the loop when I reached the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.

Hermit Lake from Lion Head

Looking back at Lion Head and Mount Washington

What I thought was going to be an uneventful trip back down to Pinkham Notch suddenly turned interesting when I heard a noise just off the trail in the woods. Two hikers below me said there was a moose moving through. It was actually two moose, a mother and baby (a big baby!). I could see the smaller moose eating the leaves on a hobblebush and not paying too much attention to me. Not sure where the mother was and did not want to hang around to find out with an angry charge in my direction.

Getting closer to Hermit Lake

Convenient stairs

Completing the loop

I made it down to Pinkham Notch without any further excitement. Today was a great day for a hike. The high thin cloud cover was actually nice keeping temperatures cool and providing a nice sun screen. This is a hike that provides fantastic views throughout a good portion of the trip. It is very popular and I highly recommend it!

Panoramic view from Mount Washington

Panoramic view from Lion Head

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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