Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Adams and Madison on a Beautiful Day

I took a couple of days off from work and used one day to go hiking. The weather looked very favorable for a hike above treeline and onto the Presidentials. I decided to hike Mount Adams (5,774') and Mount Madison (5,367'). My route would take me up Valley Way across Airline Cutoff to Air Line to Mount Adams back down the same trails to Madison Spring Hut then up the Osgood Trail to Mount Madison. My descent would take me back down Osgood to Valley Way and out to the Appalachia parking lot. Clear, dry air was moving in after several days of heat and humidity. Cooler temps and lots of sunshine is my kind of weather for hiking!

It was a nice, cool morning as I drove to the trailhead. The sky was clear and the summits were in full view. There was one incident that almost ruined the day before I even got to the trailhead. As I was going down Gorham hill on Route 2 a deer ran out of the woods at high speed. I caught this out of the corner of my eye and immediately applied the brakes. The deer ran in front of me and missed my bumper by inches. I still don't know how I did not hit that deer. It was as close to being hit without actually being hit. We both got lucky!

I pulled into an almost full Appalachia parking lot. I found out later from talking with hikers that there was a lot of people at Madison Spring Hut last night. I pulled on my pack and hit the trail. Just before I got to the power line clearing I saw a deer that had not seen me yet. I slowly pulled out my camera but it was too late, the deer had seen me and started to move on. I got another glimpse and snapped a quick photo.

There were no black flies or mosquitoes bothering me and figured it was too cold for them to be out. I was expecting that to change as soon as it warmed up a bit. It was a beautiful, cool morning in the woods. I was far up the trail before I saw my first hikers. Everyone that I saw had stayed at the hut last night. A couple of them I spoke with had driven far to get here, one from New York and a section hiker from North Carolina. They were very interesting to talk to and I heard about the previous day's hikes with the heat, humidity and biting bugs.

I arrived at Madison Spring Hut and took a break. After some delicious free pancakes I continued my hike up to Mount Adams. I took the Airline Cutoff over and up to the Air Line Trail. The views were spectacular. It was a rock hop all the way to the summit of Mount Adams. There were three hikers on the summit but they soon departed and I had the top to myself. A cold wind was blowing. I had my fleece on over a long sleeve base layer. I thought about putting my gloves and warm hat on but figured it wasn't cold enough for that. The wind came in gusts but was tolerable. I got some photos and a panoramic video then began my descent as I could see other hikers coming up.

I was having some slight pain in my left knee and thought it might be from the hike I did last weekend. I continued on back to the hut. Before climbing my second summit of the day I ate lunch. While sitting by the window I got some free entertainment. An animal I had never seen before, except in a photo, came out of the brush and I recognized it as a pine martin. It crossed the trail then went into some trees, seconds later a very large rabbit ran out of the trees. I was told by one of the croo members that rabbits were on the pine martin's menu. Everything happened so fast that I was unable to get any photos. It makes sense that there's an element of speed when one is on the menu of another.

After my lunch and entertainment I was on my way up the Osgood Trail to the summit of Mount Madison. I was hoping to catch another glimpse of the pine martin and maybe get a photo but it was not meant to be. There was one hiker ahead of me. Once again I was rock hopping up the trail. It didn't take long to do the 0.4 mile to the summit. The hiker that was in front of me was already on the summit. He asked if I would take a photo of his monumental achievement as this was his #48 summit of the 4,000 footers. I was glad to take his photo and happy to be the first one to congratulate him! Everyone should have someone there to share in this experience.

After photos and my customary panoramic video it was time to begin my final descent back to Appalachia, 4.2 miles. It would be all downhill from here. I noticed my knee was only bothering me when descending, while ascending it didn't cause any noticeable problem at all. I took my time and carefully watched my footing. I passed by Madison Spring Hut without stopping. I met a few hikers on their way up, probably staying at the hut for the night.

I arrived back at the Appalachia parking area on Route 2 after 10.4 miles. It was a great day for this hike with beautiful weather, spectacular views, uncrowded summits, and very few biting bugs. It was a perfect solo hike!

Enjoy the photos!

Mount Madison and Mount Adams on my drive to the trailhead

The hike starts here

A deer crossed the trail as I started my hike

I caught up to this guy

First view from the Valley Way Trail

Madison Spring Hut up ahead

Views from Madison Spring Hut

Saw lots of diapensia during this hike in the Alpine zone

Mount Adams way up ahead

Zooming in on the summit of Mount Adams

Looking down into King Ravine

Air Line Trail to the summit of Mount Adams

Climbing the rock pile

More diapensia

More rocks to climb

Mount Washington from the summit of Mount Adams

Mount Jefferson

Snowfields on Mount Jefferson

Wildcat from Mount Adams

Mount Madison and Star Lake below

Mount Madison

Summit of Mount Madison

Great Gulf

My next destination for the day is behind me

Mount Washington behind me

West view

Mount Washington in the distance

Zooming in on the Mount Washington Observatory

Durand Ridge

Mount Madison

Lapland Rosebay

Madison Spring Hut below Mount Madison

A look back while ascending Mount Madison

A view of Mount Washington between the col

Going up

Boulder scrambling on Mount Madison

Nearing the summit

Clearcuts on a mountainside

A view of Mount Washington behind me from Mount Madison

Standing on the summit of Mount Madison

Mount Washington and Mount Adams

Wildcat from Mount Madison

Looking down on the City of Berlin

Just came from Mount Adams behind me

Large quartz

Star Lake

Descending Mount Adams to Madison Spring  Hut below

Crag Camp on the edge of King Ravine

Crag Camp

Back down at the Madison Spring Hut

Starting my descent on Valley Way

A last view of Mount Madison from Valley Way

Large toad trying to hide

Gnarly burl

Back at the trailhead after 10.4 miles

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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