Monday, August 25, 2014

North Percy Peak - Ledges Galore

Today was day one of a five-day vacation in the White Mountains.  We were there to celebrate my 60th birthday and to do what we love; hike in NH.

Our plan was to do short and mostly obscure hikes each day and return to the lap of luxury each afternoon at the Mount Washington Hotel.  We spent most days alone or very nearly alone in the wilderness and returned to the hubbub of an exclusive resort each evening.  A dichotomy to say the least.  This location would also provide easier access to some of the 52 with-a-view hikes that are further north, with some being as much as an hour north of our hotel.

Just how quiet were our hikes?  On Monday we saw only two groups of three, Tuesday no one, not one soul, Wednesday one person, Thursday one group of two.  Friday was a bit busier as we hiked North Twin and as well it was the start of Labor Day weekend.  Here is a summary of our hikes for the week (each has or will have their own blog post soon):

08/25 - North Percy Peak - 5.9 miles - 2,260 elev gain - 5 hr 15 min duration
08/26 - Mt Martha & Owlshead Cliff - 5.4 miles - 2,470' elev gain - 4 hr 40 min duration
08/27 - Mt Hayes - 5.4 miles - 1,810' elev gain - 4 hr duration
08/28 - Iron Mtn & South Cliffs - 1,210' elev gain - 3.2 miles - 3 hr duration
08/29 - North Twin Mtn - 8.6 miles - 3,100' elev gain - 7 hr 15 min duration

For the five days: 28.5 miles - 10,850' elev gain - 24 hrs

The weather each day was essentially perfect, though we did find Mon-Wed to be a bit on the warm side with nary a breeze.  Monday's warmth made the long ledge scrambles we were faced with as we approached North Percy Peak to be somewhat like hiking on a barbecue grill.

To hike North Percy Peak we parked at the Percy Peaks Trailhead and did the 1-mile road walk to reach the Percy Loop Trail.  We followed the latter to its intersection with the Percy Peaks Trail, summited North Percy Peak and then returned to our car using the Percy Peaks Trail.  It certainly felt like the perfect way to hike this mountain.  Here is what the loop looks like:

I would point out to fellow hikers that there is a lot of mossy ledge on the descent using the Percy Peaks Trail.  There are herd paths circumventing much of this slippery trail but, even so, caution is needed.  I myself slipped and fell twice on the descent.

 Here we start our hike with the roadwalk.

We signed the log book at the start of the trail.  Thanks to this group for maintaining these trails!!!

I took this photo a couple of miles before reaching the trailhead.  North Percy Peak is the mountain in the background.  This gives a great perspective of just how much ledge we would encounter on our way up.  Remember, it was a hot day and the sun had baked these ledges.  Just how much can one over-sized hiker sweat in a day?  Lots!

We've arrived.

The peak is a large plateau with sparse vegetation.  Short paths lead to views in all directions.

The heat created even more of a haze than normal but to the naked eye the views made the hike worthwhile.

 We begin our descent with a beautiful lake in the distance as seen above.

All in all a great hike and one which is very deserving of being on the 52 with a view list.


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