When hiking in the mountains one must occasionally have faith in the weather – starting out enmeshed in dense valley fog, only to climb into a spectacular day above the clouds. This was one of those rare, magical days, when we topped a ridgeline and encountered a mountain view more spectacular than any I have seen in 45 years of hiking, with the major peaks of the Berneralps spread across the horizon above a sea of undercast clouds. Breathtaking! Read on for the full story, and be sure to check out the photo gallery.
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.
We 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.