Fall foliage has hit its peak color in many parts of the Upper Valley. I had limited time to get out into the woods this weekend, but had the opportunity to join some friends on a walk up the first mile of the Tunnel Brook Trail on the southwest side of Mount Moosilauke. Despite their hundreds of visits to Moosilauke over nearly four decades, they had never been on this trail – and I’d been here only once. Today, its trees were at the peak colors of leaf season… with beeches, birches, and maples reaching prime color and dusting the forest floor with colorful leaves. The trail follows Slide Brook as it cascades over the ancient, moss-covered rocks of Mount Moosilauke, so I stopped often to set up my tripod for long-exposure photographs. I’ve selected four for the gallery.
I am pleased – but in retrospect, have ideas about how I could have done better with exposure, composition, and editing. I’ll just need to go back!
One of my favorite hidden gems of Mount Moosilauke.
One of my fondest memories of hiking on Mount Moosilauke was a solo bushwhack in August 1984, when I decided to follow Gorge Brook to its source, and beyond. The Gorge Brook Trail follows the brook for a mile or so, then diverges east to attain the ridge and climb over East Peak to the summit. But the brook itself contains one of the hidden gems of Moosilauke: the Pleiades, a series of spectacular cascades that few ever have a chance to see. Although I mentioned this memorable bushwhack in a post from 2013, I had never returned to the Pleiades… until today. And what a day for it! Read on and be sure to check out the photo/video gallery.
Although I’d already been up Moosilauke twice this winter, in late November and early January, I could not wait to get up there again before the season ends. I always enjoy visiting in late winter when the snowpack is incredibly deep, yet the valleys are starting to experience spring. So I’ve been watching the weather for the past two weeks and, finally, today offered me fantastic weather and an open calendar. I jumped at the chance. Read on, and check out the gallery.
Yesterday was a brilliant sunny day – a nice late-fall day when it should be an early winter day – so it seemed like another great opportunity to get outside. A short drive brought me to the small town of Benton, just west of Moosilauke, and the steep climb to the rocky ridge known as Black Mountain. From its granite ridgeline there is an expansive view across a nearly roadless wilderness to Mount Moosilauke. In the photo below, Moosilauke’s extended north-south ridge is at center, with the Kinsman range at far left and Mount Lafayette’s white-capped peak peeking out behind the Kinsmans.
You’ll see it far better in a full-screen version, in the photo gallery… where I include three or four more photos.
Hike stats: distance: 5.6 km gain: 473m time: 2h 0m
A delightful ascent of Moosilauke in unseasonable conditions.
On this day, very nearly the last day of November, the forecast was for a purely sunny day with temperatures well above freezing – weather decidedly un-November-like – so I decided it was high time I went back to Moosilauke. Yesterday it rained much of the day, even at altitude, so I was concerned the Moosilauke summit may have been glazed with ice today. But I was pleasantly surprised, as I climbed the familiar Glencliff trail, to find the muddy conditions of the lower sections giving way to a dusting of snow and, higher up, nearly an inch of fresh snow on the ground and trees decorated with fresh powder and rime ice, backed by a deep blue sky. Read on, and check out the photo gallery.
After yesterday’s brief snowfall the weather turned warm and sunny once again, allowing us a beautiful fall afternoon. This morning we woke to dense river-valley fog, so I headed across Lyme to the Dartmouth Skiway and the high point of Holts Ledge. There, well above the fog, I encountered brilliant foliage at the base and an impressive 2″ snowcover on the exposed slopes near the top. Here is one photo from the top, showing Holts Ledge at left and the peaks of Moosilauke, Cube, and Smarts left to right – but don’t miss the gallery for six other full-res photos in brilliant color.
Hike stats: distance = 5.9km gain = 353m time = 1h 37m (including photo stops)
It may be 60 degrees in Hanover, with only the vestiges of snowbanks left to remind us of winter, but this morning on the summit of Moosilauke it was clearly still winter.
After my disappointment on Couchsachraga three weeks ago, and no good opportunity to return there this winter, I felt a deep need to get into the mountains – and Moosilauke is always soothing to the soul. Yesterday’s light snowstorm followed by today’s blue skies and strong April sunshine were the cue that today is the day. Read on, and see the photos.
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.
Only two days left in March, but Moosilauke still has 2-3 feet of snow at the base, and 4-5 feet along the ridgeline. Andy (12) and I hiked to the summit via the Glencliff trail today. With sunny weather in the forties at the trailhead, the snowpack was soft and wet, eager to swallow any foot that strayed from the trail packed by hundreds of hikers before us. The warm March sunshine allowed for a comfortable hike, no hat no gloves. High on the slopes of south peak we finally caught some views to the west; indeed, I had a great view down into the Tunnel Brook valley and even spotted a person standing on Mud Pond where I’d skied just six days ago.
As we reached the Carriage Road trail junction and the ridgeline, we climbed into the clouds. The temperatures were still above freezing, though only barely, and as we crossed the ridge and climbed above treeline the wind picked up and the ambient temperature dropped. We could barely see from one cairn to the next, but Andy was so enthralled by the rime ice that we took our time. We met six backcountry skiers at the summit, and explored the cloudy terrain for a while before heading for home.
The soft wet snow, four feet deep along the upper reaches of the trail, provided great opportunities for butt-sledding and made for a quick descent. Four hours up, less than two hours down. Great day!
To welcome in the new year, as we have done so often before, I headed off with a group of friends to a cabin on the side of Mount Moosilauke in the core of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Great Bear Cabin is a cozy log structure nestled along the Appalachian Trail as it heads northward up the slopes of Moosilauke, and has become somewhat of a traditional winter outing for me and my kids. Although my kids were unable to attend this time, our party included three children and eight adults – friends for over thirty years – including one of the original builders of the cabin. With the woodstove roaring, and the woods frosted from a recent snowfall that glazed the trees and blanketed the nearby meadow with 10″ of fresh powder, we were cozy indeed.