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New Hampshire Fall hiking (nsr) w/ pics

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Lots of bears are posting powder stoke pictures from out west, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to show that you don't have a monopoly on the white stuff. Ullr has once again blessed New England with an October snowfall. Not very substantial (three or four inches) , and it was quite the surprise, but we do have it!

A friend and I meant to hike up Mt. Lincoln in the Franconia ridge of the White Mountains, hike down the ridge, summit Mt. Lafayette, and head back down. Sort of north-central New Hampshire, or literally across the street from Cannon Mountain Ski Area.

As we were driving up I-93 we noticed a distinctive white covering to the surrounding mountains, but we weren't believing that was really snow until we pulled into a very icy parking lot at the trailhead. The wind in the notch was unreal. Just getting geared up was a challenge. My friend and I put on virtually every layer we had. Not a good sign when we knew the summit was going to be a whole lot windier and even colder. We decided to make the best of it and started up. As soon as we got into the forest and got sheltered from the wind, we got a lot more comfortable.

The trail up Mt. Lincoln is called Falling Waters Trail. The trail criss-crosses over Dry Brook (yes, that's the name of a river...) six times, so we got pretty good at hopping on rocks to cross it. We took to calling the crossings "advanced", "beginner", "intermediate", etc. The very first crossing was probably the widest / deepest of them all. Nice introduction! There was a couple hiking with their dog just in front of us. The three of them started right across , but then the lady slipped and got totally soaked when her butt landed in the river. She apparently was OK as she bounced right up and continued on, although she was obviously very cold and wet. Dangerous combination... Their dog however saw that and retreated, so the guy walked back across the river, picked his dog up and walked back across. I was in awe.

Traction on the trail was surprisingly good despite the snow. It was mostly two to four inches deep. Mt. Lincoln / Lafayette is a very popular hike, so the trail is easy to find. After a couple hours we got up to the "you are entering the Alpine Zone" sign, essentially meaning that we had reached treeline. The sound of the wind overhead was unreal. We saw some hikers coming down and asked them what conditions were like and were told "very windy, icy, cold and no visibility". : Still we continued on a little ways and discovered a little ways later that the summit ridge was coated in an inch thick layer of white ice.

We had a little discussion concerning whether or not we should continue. The ridge line is all above tree-line (i.e., no shelter) and is literally only feet wide in places (i.e., do not fall). Not a good combination for high winds, ice and no visibility! Another group of hikers with ice axes, crampons, etc. (i.e., much better prepared then us) came down and told us that visibility was about 10 feet at what they think was the summit of Lincoln. They bailed on trying for a ridge crossing to Lafayette, so that made our decision easy -- turn around.

The down hike was a little slippery, but not too bad. The snow was beginning to melt on the trail as we approached the valley, so the last mile or so was mostly muddy as oppossed to snowy. We had to navigate the same six river crossings again, but now we knew the secrets. Sort of. Thank God for gore-tex hiking boots. My feet went in a couple times, but they stayed remarkably dry, considering.

So we didn't accomplish the original goal of the ridge crossing and above tree-line views of the White Mountains, but we still had quite the adventure and some really beautiful looks inside the forest. I am now totally stoked for winter, snow and skiing. We took a brief look at the ski slopes of Cannon, but we didn't get close enough to see if there were ski tracks. I imagine somebody skied, and I was certainly wishing I had the skis in the trunk of the car. If I had 'em, they would have gotten some use!

Enjoy the pics.



The trail:

river crossing:

looking up:

post #2 of 4
Nice pics! What does NSR mean?
post #3 of 4
Originally Posted by Atown313 View Post
Nice pics! What does NSR mean?
Not Skiing Related
post #4 of 4
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