Death March For Cuties
By Mike Boisvert.
After climbing 3 four thousand footers traversing the spectacular Southern Presidentials in fabulous weather, Mark remarked "this was a death march for cuties." I can't remember the last time I saw so many hot looking guys in one trip!
We were in weather conditions that come about 1 in 1000 days. Air temps were 40-45 degrees, with relatively calm winds (calmer as the day progressed), little to no snow (what snow there was was consolidated from the sun and the rain) and cloudless, blue skies. Even the winds were warm, as I believe they were coming from the south.
I love this section of trail, pretty mellow hiking with, of course, views in all directions. And in November, you have times where you can get some solitude. Now, forget I mentioned this and look elsewhere to plan your hikes in November :-)
There were three of us on this adventure, me, Mark and Carlos. After dropping a car at the Crawford Path we drove up to the Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead and headed off. It was a typical alpine start for this crowd, around 8:00. The hike up to Gem Pool went well. Of course, once you get past there it's up and up and up.
We started to break out into the open and came upon a beautiful rock ledge with cascading waterfalls. After crossing the brook we hiked over wet rock with small icy patches hidden between the cracks. As I maneuvered to climb up a rock buttress near a cascading waterfall, I slipped banging my knee and twisting my hand falling on my stomach. I began to slide backwards on my stomach. Luckily the friction of my clothing stopped me after three feet. I was shaken up by the whole ordeal. Eventually I regained my composure and my knee felt better so we moved on.
We left this icy section and the views really began to open up. Mt. Washington was covered in a dark cloud.
Reaching Lakes of the Cloud Hut for me always feels a little like home from staying here overnight quite a few times. We noted a couple guys descending Mt. Monroe -- our next destination. We took a break and these guys were a couple of cuties -- from Albany, New York. The sun was upon us and we were comfortable temperature wise.
We began to ascend Mt. Monroe with a great view of the Hut and Mt. Washington as we climbed higher. The winds were howling as we reached the summit of Mt. Monroe -- probably around 30 miles per hour. Yippee! We bagged our first summit of the day. At 5,394 feet, Mt. Monroe is the fourth highest mountain in NH.
We took a leisurely approach pushing on down the ridge. Did I mention that I LOVE this stretch of trail? It feels like you are walking on the moon. We stopped for lunch on a rock ledge bearing off the Edmands Path junction. Looking back, Mt. Washington was now completely in the clear. Amazing. We were joking that we would get a sunburn on this day.
We then climbed up Mt. Eisenhower. There was a couple when we got there who took our picture on top of the large rock cairn on the summit. Compared to the summer crowds, we had lots of solitude on a glorious autumn day, such an amazing thing to have in today's busy world. We then continued on to Mt. Pierce where we ran into a bunch of hotties from MIT on the summit. We left the views and made our way back to the car walking in the woods. We moved at a good clip. Everyone had a great day. I'll probably never see another day like this in my lifetime in November in the Presidentials. And the cuties, yeah, they were a bonus!
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