Member Trip report
Mts Lafayette, Lincoln & Tecumseh (NH)
Trip Report/Photos from shep5
With the weather looking a little unsettled for Sunday due to the remnants of Hurricane Harvey, I changed my backpack plans and I opted to get out and hike a few peaks on Saturday (September 2nd). Being that it was Labor Day Weekend and Saturday was forecast to be a beautiful day, I made sure to get to the Falling Waters/Bridle Path Trailhead as early as possible. I also figured, if there were time, I'd add Mt. Tecumseh, if there were sufficient time left in the day, since this peak was a relatively short hike and hardly worth the drive on its own.
Mounts Lafayette and Lincoln
I arrived at the trailhead for the classic loop around Mts. Lafayette and Lincoln at a little before 7AM. The parking lot was already about 60% full. It was pretty cold out with a good breeze and clear blue skies (it felt like it was in the 30's). I got ready and headed out by starting up the trail. It wasn't long before I hit the junction for the Bridle Path and I kept straight to stay on this trail. I usually have preferred to go clockwise around this loop, since it typically has been more peaceful (most hikers go up the Falling Waters Trail). By 8AM, I was getting my first glimpses of the ridge from the first of several open ledges along the trail. Just after this point I ran into a couple of hikers coming back down from a stay at the hut. I was surprised that they were wearing winter parkas and one guy even had a balaclava across his face. I was a little puzzled, but I pressed on along the ridge with ever increasing views over Franconia Notch and Ridge and arrived at the hut at 8:40. Here there were more hikers dressed as if it were winter! Some had mentioned what a cold night it had been dropping below 32F. I had just a wind breaker, but I wasn't terribly uncomfortable. I stopped in the hut for a snack and to refill my water for the day. After about 10 minutes I went back out and began the climb up to Mount Lafayette. As I ascended the winds were really getting strong (probably up around 40-50 mph). When I finally hit the 5000-foot elevation, the trail was covered in ice along with a good coating of rime ice on the trees. This felt like winter with the ice and winds! I reached the summit of Mount Lafayette (5260') at 9:30. It was far too brutal with the winds and cold to stay on the summit for very long. I took in the amazingly clear views (there was 100 mile visibility) and then started down along the ridgeline. As the winds were coming from the north, there were noticeably less wind as I descended. I made my way along the ridge and occasionally the winds would pick up, but by the time that I got over to the summit of Mount Lincoln (5089') at 10:10, the winds has practically shut down and it had already warmed up enough to melt most of the rime ice. It was pleasant here and I stopped to chat with a number of hikers from Canada (I think French was the language of the day on the ridge). After about 10 minutes I continued along the ridge across the chimney and over to Little Haystack (4780'), which I made in another 30 minutes. This spot was incredibly crowded from hikers coming up from the Falling Waters Trail (by this time, there was a constant stream of people coming up the trail). I stopped and had an early lunch. The views were spectacular...from Mount Washington to Moosilauke and every peak in between! After eating a little, I started making my way down. This wasn't going to be easy as I immediately felt like I was swimming against the current...I was pulling over alot to let the hikers pass. As I continued down, I passed the junction with the Shining Rock Spur at a little after 11AM and a little while past this I ran into Kevin from Boston, who was a member of GO a few years back. We chatted a while and he said he'd try to join a future GO hike again. For about an hour there was a pretty constant line of hikers and then it dwindled off. I reached the first of several waterfalls at around noon. When I got to the taller of them, there were a group of rock climbers repelling off of it. It took me another 50 minutes to reach the parking lot again. Man, was it crowded, but it wasn't until I left and began driving up Route 3 that I came to appreciate how much. There were cars parked roadside all the way up to Boise Rock pullout (and the same along the other side of the road)!
Total mileage and elevation gain: 8.8 miles with approximately 3900-4000 feet cumulative elevation gain.
I made my way down to the Waterville Valley Ski Resort parking lot via Tripoli Road. I arrived there at 1:40 and immediately headed for the trail, which ducked into the woods just to the north of the lower lot. The trail meandered through the woods initially at a modest grade along a dried up brook. At about 2:15 the trail descended sharply to another brook before climbing the other bank and as it paralleled the ski trails. It was only another 5 minutes before I reached the short spur trail out to a view on the ski slope...there were great views of the Tripyramids and of the Osceolas. As I continued to climb the trail was pretty straight and a bit steeper. This persisted to just before the junction with the Sosman Trail, where the trail briefly flattened out. It was a little after 3PM and in another 10 minutes I reached the junction for the two legs of a small loop around the summit. I turned onto the blue-blazed trail and this climbed at a good clip as it approached the summit from the southwest. At 3:20 I was standing on the summit of Mount Tecumseh (4003'). There were about half-a-dozen other hikers here and we chatted a bit, while I took in the views of the Osceolas and Tripyramids. At 3:30 I started down by taking the yellow-blazed trail off of the summit and following this all the way back to the parking lot, which I made by 4:30PM.
Total mileage and elevation gain: 5.0 miles with approximately 2200 feet cumulative elevation gain.
Another spectacular day in the White Mountains! I've gotten so I don't particularly like doing Mts. Lafayette and Lincoln during the summer, since it gets so crowded, but by going in the opposite direction early in the morning, I still was able to enjoy some peace and quiet. Still with the visibility, it was so worth it, despite the harsh wind and cold in the morning on Lafayette. I got done with this loop in time to also piggyback a hike on Mt Tecumseh, which I haven't done very often due to the relatively short hiking time required. The views were worth it though.
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