Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Windy Day on the Hancocks

After rain showers, warm temps and humidity on Saturday a change of weather was in the forecast. There was cooler temps and early clouds to clearing skies for today's forecast. My hike today would take me over the Hancocks. I was going to use the usual route that I have taken the last two times I have hiked these summits. The hike starts on the Hancock Notch Trail then on to the Cedar Brook Trail and around the Hancock Loop Trail clockwise.

The morning was not starting out well with cloudy skies and occasional light rain on the drive to the trailhead. Many summits were in the clouds but as I was driving on the Kancamagus there appeared to be some clearing. When I arrived at the parking area there was a cool wind blowing and I started my hike wearing a fleece layer.

I crossed at the hairpin turn on the Kancamagus Highway and headed into the woods. It was about a mile before I warmed up enough to remove the fleece layer. After yesterday's rain showers, some of them heavy, my concern was the water crossings. But I could tell after the first crossing that there would be no problems. One thing that was very noticeable was thick layers of sudsy foam on top of the water. I had not seen this before and was not sure what could be causing the accumulation of foam.

I reached the Hancock Loop Trail and turned left to make the clockwise trip up and around the summits. A short drop down to a dry stream bed and then it was a steep climb making up for the very gradual climb to this point. When I arrived at the North Peak there was a gusty wind blowing and the temperature was 49°F. The fleece went back on.

After a few photos at the outlook I continued on to the South Peak. It was a nice hike along this ridge with occasional gusts of wind. When I got to the South Peak it was very windy and cool. Some more pics from the outlook and I began my descent. It is a very steep 0.5 mile drop back down to the trail junction that completes the loop. It's then an easy 3.6 miles back to the parking lot.

I met many hikers on the way back. The temperature was warming up and it was a pleasant hike along this section of trail.  After almost 10 miles I arrived back at the Hancock Overlook Parking area. The parking lot was full and overflowing.

The warm sunshine felt good after the cool, wind-blown summits. I don't mind cool temps and much prefer cool over hot and humid. Today's hike felt like a prelude to Fall but I don't want to rush summer as I enjoy hiking in all seasons. Cooler and much colder temps will be here soon enough!

Enjoy the photos!

Sunrise on the drive to the the trailhead

View from the parking lot

The hike begins here

Indian pipe

Hancock Notch Trail

Water crossing

Another water crossing

Saw lots of this sudsy foam in the water

North Fork of the Hancock Branch

Cedar Brook Trail

Tree swallowing a rock

Wet trail

Another easy water crossing

A wet mountain aster

Another water crossing

Arrow slide on Hancock

A dry brook

On the summit of Mount Hancock

South Hancock from the North summit

A view from the summit of Mount Hancock

Zooming in on the summit of South Hancock


Passaconaway and Whiteface in the distance

Lots of mushrooms along the trail

Mount Carrigain

Summit tower on Mount Carrigain

View from South Hancock outlook

Mount Passaconaway

Mount Chocorua and the Three Sisters

Summit of Mount Chocorua

Arrow slide from Hancock Loop Trail

Leaves are starting to change

Blue-bead lily

Hobblebush leaves turning red

Trail starting to wash out

Back at the parking lot

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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