Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Hike to Mount Waumbek Before the Rain

There was a storm on the way and it was forecast to be a nasty one. Rain and freezing rain was to begin midday. I wanted to hike a 4,000 footer and Mount Waumbek seemed to be the perfect summit for today's conditions. The plan was to leave early and be back down around noon hopefully before the coming precipitation. When leaving the house before daylight this morning there were clear skies and stars above but I could see clouds moving in from the west.


 The sun makes a brief appearance

I arrived at the Starr King trailhead parking lot and found it to be well-packed down, there was no problem driving into it. Two vehicles were already parked here ahead of me. After a week of bitter cold the temperature felt quite tolerable this morning. I put on two layers and a fleece outer layer and this proved to be a good combination for the hike up.

 Easy-over blowdown

 Snow-capped mushrooms

The Starr King Trail is a popular hiking trail and it was well-packed on the lower section and loose snow on the upper half. I wore microspikes for most of the hike. The snowshoes stayed behind on this hike, no free rides today. On the way up I was leapfrogging with a couple of hikers. I caught a glimpse of the sun through the trees but it wouldn't last long.

 The fireplace on Starr King

 Turn-around point

On the summit of Mount Starr King there are limited views and today they were very limited. The clouds were moving in fast and the wind was starting to increase. I stopped long enough to get the obligatory fireplace photo and then continued on to Mount Waumbek.

 Cairn on Mount Waumbek

There was some minor drifting of snow along this section of trail. I met a couple coming back down from the summit. They were the first ones on the trail today, I had been following their footprints through the drifted snow. It was along here that I decided to take a video through this beautiful and serene forest. The video can be seen at the bottom of this post.

I reached the viewless summit. There were no footprints past the Kilkenny Ridge Trail sign. The wind was cold but not the Arctic blast that we've recently been experiencing. I put on my waterproof shell. It was time for a quick snack and a few photos before starting my descent. I knew rain was on the way so I didn't linger long.

It was a quick trip back to Mount Starr King. When I arrived the first two hikers I had seen came up behind me. We noticed the Gray Jays in the trees and spent several minutes indulging them with our snacks. It's always a great feeling to have those birds land on my hand. They finished off my bag of nuts and I continued my descent.

I met more hikers coming up as I was going down, about a total of twelve for the day. As I neared the bottom of the trail the temperature was rising so I stopped to remove some layers. A little bit further and it became necessary to remove the microspikes due to balling. Traction was no longer needed at this point.

 Dry spring

Rain falls on the ride home

When I got back to the trailhead parking lot I found it to be completely full. Now my initial plan was to be back down by noon. My hike started at 7:30 and it was completed at 11:55. I was glad to get back before the rain but I wouldn't have to wait long. As I pulled out onto Route 2 the rain started to fall and it wasn't long before it started to ice up the windshield. I got home before the roads iced up. Now that's what I call a perfectly-timed hike!

Starr King Trail between Mount Starr King and Mount Waumbek

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!


  1. Love the pictures they are absolutely gorgeous :) Also love the template its the one i use for my blog as well. Keep sharing your adventures!

    1. Thanks Colleen! Not much in the way of scenic vistas that day but that hike is short on views on a good day, one of the reasons I chose to go there with bad weather in the forecast!