Presidential Sunset

Sunset views of the Presidential Range from Mount Martha, in New Hampshire.

On the night before the spring equinox I hiked with a dear friend to the top of Mount Martha in the northern White Mountains of New Hampshire.  We aimed for sunset, knowing that Martha has a spectacular view of the Presidential Range to the east.

The snow conditions were excellent, after a week of warm weather had consolidated the snow and a day’s cold weather had firmed the packed trail into a solid base that was perfect for micro spikes.  I pushed up the trail hard and fast, carrying a heavy pack with photography equipment, spare clothing, and a warm dinner, with a wary eye to the sun setting behind me as I neared the ridgeline.  I arrived at the summit 15 minutes before sunset and was pleased to see the Presies still fully illuminated, with the nearly-full moon rising above them.  The wind was dead calm, and the temperature a moderate 15 degrees.  As the sun’s orange globe glowed orange through the trees behind me, I quickly set up my tripod and started snapping photos of the Presies.

2019-03-19-65317We reveled in the beauty of the moment, as the sun set in the west while the white-capped Presidential peaks turned pink and the sky above blended into a gradient from purple to blue.  After about forty minutes we reluctantly turned and headed back down the trail, with the rising full moon so brightly illuminating the forest floor that we never needed headlamps.  A magical evening in an amazing place!  I’ve posted my favorite photos in this gallery.

Moosilauke in early winter

A gorgeous sunny day on Moosilauke, with an undercast across Vermont and southern New Hampshire. Deep snow, temps in 20s, no wind – amazing day!

I’d heard that the mountains were in “full winter conditions” already.  I finally had a chance to check it out today.  What I found was astonishing – deep powder snow like mid-winter, but in November!   (Ok, today is December 1st, but it’s also November 31st, and I’m gonna go with that.) Be sure to check out the photos, and read on for more!2018-12-01-61563.jpg Continue reading “Moosilauke in early winter”

Katahdin and the Northeast 111/115

Dave completes his NE67 and NE111 peak-bagging adventure with three outstanding peaks in Baxter State Park.

I enjoy hiking for the mix of natural beauty, physical challenge, and the fellowship of dear friends.  I was lucky enough to have all three components this weekend as I completed the New England 67 (NE67) and the Northeast 111.  Read on for the full story and check out the photos!2018-08-24-60207.jpg Continue reading “Katahdin and the Northeast 111/115”

Saddleback-Sugarloaf backpack

Andy and I backpacked the Appalachian Trail in Maine, picking up eight 4000-foot peaks along the way.

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Andy heads north from Saddleback Mountain toward The Horn.

The guidebook describes this route as the “most difficult along the A.T. [Appalachian Trail] in Maine”, and after hiking this section, I can certainly see why.  It is incredibly rugged and steep – and we managed to avoid the tough conditions that might have come with rain: slipping down wet trails, and fording high-water streams.

Andy and I set out to backpack the A.T. from Route 4 (near Rangeley) to Route 27 (near Stratton), bagging eight four-thousand-footer peaks along the way.  It was an ambitious five-day, four-night plan, part of my goal to complete the NE111. We had a great time, good weather, nice views, and I succeeded in bagging all eight peaks – but with a twist at the end. Read on, and be sure to check out the photo gallery.

Continue reading “Saddleback-Sugarloaf backpack”

Yosemite

We took a brief family vacation in Yosemite Park, late June 2018. The first day we walked the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia trees and visited the Glacier Point overlook. The second day we hiked a loop up to Lower Yosemite Falls, then up to Vernal Falls via the Mist Trail. The third day we walked from Glacier Point down the Panorama Trail, past Illilouette Falls, Nevada Falls, and Vernal Falls; later we caught sunset from Tunnel View point. The final morning I snapped sunrise at Valley View, and later we visited Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite Chapel, Sentinel Bridge, and Valley View, before driving back to San Francisco. Hot and crowded, but beautiful!

Just back from a brief family vacation in Yosemite National Park. Somehow, I’d never managed to visit this gem of the park system, and have long been eager to do so.  John is interning in silicon valley this summer so it provided the perfect excuse for the rest of us to hop out there to spend three days in the park.  We were fortunate to have clear, sunny weather throughout – though it was hot (over 90° every day) and crowded.  It was nonetheless a great place for me to test a new batch of camera gear. Read on for the full story – and photos!2018-06-23-47044-2.jpg Continue reading “Yosemite”

Mount Washington

A beautiful hike up Mount Washington, near the summer solstice.

David on the summit of Mount Washington. After a busy spring term at Dartmouth I decided to take advantage of clear skies and a clear calendar to hike Mount Washington.  As I drove to the mountains, I could see that every mountain in New Hampshire was in the clear… except one.  A persistent cloud snuggled the summit of Mount Washington.  I headed up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail at 7:15am, and intermittent views ahead confirmed this cloud was stuck on the summit. Still, the trail passes many beautiful waterfalls and rocky formations, and I saw only one other hiker in the early morning chill.  I reached Lakes of the Clouds, and the AMC hut, in brilliant morning sunshine.

Fortunately, as I scrambled up into the cloud, it dissipated, and I reached the summit at 10am under sunny skies.  After exploring there for a while, I headed toward the northern Presies (Clay, Jefferson, Adams, Madison), to each of which still clung small patches of snow.  I hopped over the Cog Railway tracks, skirted Clay to the west, and dropped down the Jewell Trail to my starting point.  [It’s amazing how pleasant the Jewell Trail can be in good conditions – i.e., when it’s not dark, 30 degrees and raining, postholing through an ice crust; but that’s another story.]

See more photos.

climb: 4.5mi; 2h40 including stopover at hut; 3800’ gain

descent: 5.0mi; 2h08. 

route