Ascutney and Gerry Falls

This winter has, so far, been pretty much a bust.  Virtually no snowfall, with plenty of warm weather and rain to ensure that the little snow doesn’t stick around. I decided to head for one our closest big-mountain neighbors, Mount Ascutney, an hour down the Connecticut River, because the trail passes some nice waterfalls.  If there’s no snow, at least there will be ice.  I spent about an hour at the falls, enjoying the indirect lighting as the rising sun illuminated the open woods to one side of the stream. One nice feature of an icy stream, I discovered, is that you can stand on the ice in mid-stream and explore many angles you might find to be too wet in summer. Got some nice photos!  More to say below.

Gerry Falls, along the Windsor trail up Mount Ascutney.
Gerry Falls, along the Windsor trail up Mount Ascutney.

Continue reading “Ascutney and Gerry Falls”

Back to Moosilauke

Despite summiting this mountain a dozen times last year, I just can’t stay away.  This weekend I headed up the mountain early on a sunny Sunday morning with two good friends – my ’86 classmate Jen and her husband Lars.  After dropping overnight gear at MRL we strolled up the Gorge Brook trail with 3-4″ of fresh powder to decorate the trees and soften the earlier hard-packed base.  The blue skies did not last, but the grey overcast stayed high and we were treated to spectacular views of the Whites from the newly re-opened overlooks.  The summit was freshly coated in delicate rime-ice feathers, but the wind was calm and the temp reasonable so we were able to sit and enjoy the view with about a dozen other hikers who reached the summit at noon. Check out the photos!

Jen, Lars and David enjoy calm weather on the summit of Mount Moosilauke. Photo by Jen Botzojorns.
Jen, Lars and David enjoy calm weather on the summit of Mount Moosilauke. Photo by Jen Botzojorns.

After a quick descent we retired to John Rand cabin for a delicious dinner (thanks Jen!), joined by another classmate Lelia and the Hooke family.  The Hookes and I stayed overnight, as a light snow began to fall.  With 3″ by breakfast and 6″ by our noon departure, with heavy snow continuing, it’s beginning to look like Winter has finally come to Moosilauke.

Skiing out from Moosilauke during a snowstorm.
Skiing out from Moosilauke during a snowstorm.

Moosilauke 2015 grid

I’ve probably hiked Moosilauke over 60 times – I just love this mountain.  For 2015 I decided to “grid” Moosilauke by climbing it at least once per month (some people are crazy enough to climb all of the 48 of the NH 4,000-foot mountains every month of the year, aka, “The Grid“).  To avoid too much repetition, I also decided to “redline” the mountain by traveling all of its trails at least once.  I had not visited some of these trails in over 20 years!  It was fun to get up there in all seasons and in a huge range of conditions from nasty winter white-outs to glorious sunshine.  Today I finished, on one of those gorgeous blue-sky days on which you can see all of the Vermont and New Hampshire peaks.  See all 12 months and more photos here.

Moosilauke summit on a beautiful, sunny, warm(!) December day.
Moosilauke summit on a beautiful, sunny, warm(!) December day.

June hikes

trees and green forest
Morning along the trails at Bretton Woods, near the Mount Washington Hotel.

It’s been a wet spring, but last week was nonetheless sunny and beautiful – the woods were verdant and full of wildflowers.  I had a wonderful hike with a dear friend along the Appalachian Trail close to home, and then four beautiful days to trek around the Mount Washington Hotel & Resort, including the opportunity to take 32 colleagues from the MobiSys conference up some of my favorite short hikes in the Whites: North and Middle Sugarloaf Mountains.

Photos:

  • Holts Ledge – hike along the Appalachian Trail
  • MobiSys – walks along the trails of Bretton Woods, and hikes up Sugarloaf Mountains

Lafayette

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. Continue reading “Lafayette”

Tunnel Brook Ravine

For nearly thirty years I’ve wanted to climb Moosilauke via Tunnel Brook Ravine, a classic bushwhacking route through a deep ravine on the west side of the mountain. I have fond memories of a solo bushwhack up Gorge Brook, past Last Water and the Pleiades, following the brook until it petered out and I was crashing through krummholz. As I sat on the summit, surprisingly alone on a sunny summer weekend afternoon, I watched with curiosity as a single hiker strode up the west slope of the summit cone, crossing the fragile alpine vegetation as if he was unaware of any trail.  It turned out to be my Dartmouth classmate Alex, who had just bushwhacked up Tunnel Brook Ravine.

So last Sunday I set out with Lelia, another Dartmouth classmate, to try this legendary route.  Continue reading “Tunnel Brook Ravine”