Gorge Brook and the Pleiades

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.

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Moosilauke

Spring conditions!

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.

David on the summit by 9:20am, in conditions warm enough for short sleeves.
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Black Mountain

Grand views for a short hike.

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.

Views of Mount Moosilauke from Black Mountain summit.

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

Map of my hike ot the summit of Black Mountain and return. Elevations in feet, distances in meters.

Moosilauke

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.

The summit sign beckons in the distance while rock cairns hold rime-ice feathers.
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Holts Ledge

Hiking from fall to winter.

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.

View of Holts Ledge with (L to R) Moosilauke, Cube, and Smarts, with waves of fall foliage below.

Hike stats:
distance = 5.9km
gain = 353m
time = 1h 37m (including photo stops)

Still winter on Moosilauke

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.

2017-04-09-36864After 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.

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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.

Late winter on Moosilauke

2014-03-29-06188Only 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.

2014-03-29-06200As 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.

2014-03-29-06258The 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!

See a few of my favorite photos.

Happy New Year

David at the summit.
David at the summit.

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.

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Snowshoe on Moosilauke

A glorious winter day, right after a big snowstorm.

My friends Kathy and David and I decided to head up Mount Moosilauke, after Friday’s big snowstorm.  There was about 6” of new snow on top of several feet of solid base, which made for fantastic conditions.  With a group of 4 snowshoers breaking trail a couple of hours ahead of us, we cruised up the Glencliff trail. Read on…

North peak of Mount Moosilauke.
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