I decided it was high time I climbed Mount Lafayette, having bracketed it on the previous three Sundays. Three weeks ago I skied the slopes near Moosilauke, to the south; two weeks ago I skied and climbed to the summit of Owl’s Head, to the east; one week ago I hiked to Lonesome Lake, to the west. (Not to mention hiking the Kinsmans last October.) Each time I looked longingly at Lafayette, the queen of Franconia ridge all white with winter splendor, I felt the urge to get back up there before winter ends.
Today woke bright and blue, with summit temps hovering near zero and with stiff winds. I left early, cheated out of an hour by the change to Daylight Savings Time. The trail was well-beaten by dozens of previous hikers on this popular route. Indeed, I met at least four groups that were planning “the loop”, heading up Lafayette, then down the ridge to Lincoln, then down the Falling Waters trail. I recall that loop, and the challenge it poses to these old knees, and opted for a simple up and down.
A glorious day indeed, with azure skies punctuated by wisps of cloud. As the first overlook gave me a good look at the summit, it was immediately clear that the wind was going to be fierce on the ridge. I pressed on, passing all but one group, and reached the summit before noon. I didn’t stay long! It was not particularly cold (maybe in the teens), but very windy (my iPhone decided it had had enough cold and shut down before I could finish my photos).
On the way down I stopped outside Greenleaf hut, where three others were resting. I immediately recognized a hiker who had stumbled into our birthday party at Lonesome Lake last week. Cool coincidence!
hike slide down was super fast, because earlier hikers must have had butt-sleds, and the trail had turned into, quite literally, a luge run. On the way up I grumbled at these hikers, but on the way down I could not resist the temptation, and slid quickly down long sections on my butt.
As a final treat, on the drive home I passed a series of “snow donuts“, which had rolled down the steep slopes along the highway.
I posted a few photos and videos. Where to, next Sunday?