Trip report

GetHigh Hike #2: Mt.Madison

Hiking/Walk DATE: 05/16/2015 - 05/16/2015

Trip/Event Location: Gorham, NH

Trip Leader(s): Gandalf , JDNnh

Max # People: 15

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level: Very Strenuous

Second of five hikes that progressively get harder leading to Mt. Washington!

This hike is not for beginners... but for the experienced. We will summit Mt. Madison [5,366']. The hike

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

We are meeting at the large parking area at Appalachia which is one of the major trailheads in the White Mountains. It is located on the south side of US 2, 5.5 miles west of NH 16 in Gorham and 2 miles east of Lowe's Store in Randolph. We'll be driving a blue Toyota FJ Cruiser. Contact us if you are interested with carpooling from Exit 28, off I-93.

Trip Report/Photos
Featured Photo

Trails used: Valley Way, Fallsway, Osgood Trail

About 8.6 miles with 4100 feet of elevation gain

Saturday’s weather called for overcast skies and a chance of rain that resulted with a couple of last minute cancellations however it turned out to be a decent day without any rain, bright overcast skies and decent views. Our plan was to take Valley Way all the way to Madison Springs Hut and then use the Osgood Trail to reach the summit.

Rick joined us today.  He is training with us for our upcoming Haute Route trek in July. The trail was nice and dry for most of the way. We took a slight detour to enjoy the beautiful waterfalls and cascades on the Fallsway. We were delighted to see our first wildflowers of the season that included purple and painted trilliums, trout lilies and hobble bush!

After the junction of the Watson path we had a long steady climb up the lower east slope of Durand Ridge. We reached the Valley Way Campsite junction…then we had to deal with snow. It was onerous. It consisted of a narrow monorail that was easy to slip off. Walking was difficult and we occasionally postholed. We did a combination of hiking off to the side of the trail where the ground was bare and then hopping back on the monorail.

As we got higher we saw the summit of Mt. Madison peeking through the trees. We then saw the Turn-Back-or-Die sign. This is appropriate wording. Beginner hikers should not attempt the Northern Presidentials.

We reached the Madison Springs Hut [closed] for a break before we made our summit bid. Treeline! Treeline now means no snow. As we ascended we had views of clouds hovering over Mt. Washington.

We left the hut behind with John Quincy and Adams summits in the background. As we climbed we saw Star Lake below and saw how close Ms. Matrosova had been to treeline when she perished. An extremely experienced mountaineer, Kate Matrosova died in terrain Jon and I know well. We have hiked these peaks multiple times…but never in harsh conditions Matrosova experienced that fateful day last February. We saw the approximate place where Ms. Matrosova died, not to act like some inappropriate tragedy tourist, but to remind ourselves how difficult it is to hike even a few tenths of a mile to safety when one is facing 80+ mph winds and subzero temperatures. We always respect the power of nature and understand how prepared we always must be.

We continued up to Mt. Madison. Almost there! We then reached the summit!

We enjoyed the 360 degree views while we were having lunch. When we felt ready, we descended the way be came.  We put on our MicroSpikes for the descent on the snow…we were happy to have brought poles to help with balancing.

A mile or so down, life got easier. I checked out the Valley Way Campsite. I found that it had a great spring coming from a rock and had 6 campsites with views of a nearby ridge. Perhaps a spot for a future backpacking trip! As we descended we saw about 8 people with backpacks climbing up planning to stay there. After that, we were all so tired from the day that we didn’t say much for the rest of the hike. With 4100 feet of elevation gain…no wonder we were all kaput!

Visions of steak and wine were dancing in my head by the time we reached Appalachia. Jon prepared another delicious dinner: steak with a rub, fresh green beans, fried potatoes garden salad and toasted garlic bread.  

‘Twas another good, albeit very strenuous, day in the woods.

Our next GetHigh hike is up Mt. Monroe on June 6th.

Happy trails, everyone.



What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event

  • Thanks boys for a fantastic day of hiking and a wonderful dinner and Breakfast. And of course the company. Sunshine included ?? - HikerBiker
  • This hike had waterfalls, wild flowers and a wild feel on the craggy summit of Madison. A classic White Mountain Experience! - JDNnh

Members That Participated


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Londonderry, NH

United States

Hiking, backpacking, camping or vacation adventures, GayOutdoors [GO] has been the LGBTQ outdoorzy community leader for the last 22 years. We are an informal group of diverse hiking enthusiasts in the United States with a shared love of the mountains who prefer hiking with friends. We invite you to join us on our hikes, to post hikes for other members to join you and to share your hiking photos, stories and advice.

Become A Member

If you find it invigorating to hike along a mountain trail with friends not knowing what’s just around the corner, to get some fresh air, to stop and soak in the views on a summit, and to soak your feet in a mountain brook after a hike, give us a try!


Powered by - ColdFusion Experts