Friday, September 5, 2014

Mt. Moosilauke - Literally A Last Minute Decision

We had not planned on hiking today.  As I was going about my morning routine of having breakfast and reading the newspaper, on a whim I also checked the weather.  Though the temps were going to be a bit on the warm side and the humidity was expected to be high, the forecast called for clear skies all day.  With no commitments at work today, my mind starting thinking about a hike.  One never wants to pass up a clear day!

It was at least 7:45 am before we decided; yes, let's go on a hike.  We had not packed, we had none of our normal lunch provisions and so on.  Certainly we could get lunch provisions on the drive to the mountain so we finished our morning routines and began to prep our backpacks and other gear.

But, where should we hike today?  Ah hah!  If it's going to be hot, why not pick a mountain known for its cooling breezes - Mt Moosilauke.  Truth be known, that was not a brilliant choice.  Not because it doesn't have the beautiful views and cooling breezes were were looking for, but instead because we are working on our 48 4k's and this hike is just as long and difficult as many of the mountains remaining on our to-do list.  As we had already done Moosilauke a few years ago, why not instead choose to knock off one of the other 4k's remaining on our list?  We were scurrying to get out the door so we did not ponder our choice of Moosilauke.  It was more or less "yep, sounds good, lets go."  Oh well...

With stops for food and gas and coffee as well as bathroom breaks, we were not at the trailhead and ready to begin hiking until 11:45 am.  The days are still long so that, in and of itself, was not a concern but it did feel odd as we usually begin our hikes by 9:00 or 9:30.  Not to mention the fact that we would be dealing with the midday heat due to our late start for this hike.

Our plan was to take the Glencliff Trail to the ridge where we would meet up with the Moosilauke Carriage Road Trail.  This was a different route than that used when we last hiked here (began at Ravine Lodge the last time).  Our selected trail for today would involve 3,385' of elevation gain and about 7.8 miles of distance.  There was some signage discrepancy about the distance which indicated it was actually longer but I think 7.8 is probably correct.  The humidity worked its magic on my asthma today and I was a huffin' and a puffin' through much of the climb.  We reached the summit at 3:00 pm -- Mr. & Mrs. Slowsky were at it again.  

Moosilauke is one of those mountains where the summit is most always crowded.  Not so today.  There were times where we were actually the only ones at the summit.  It only lasted a few minutes but even when others arrived they were either couples or singles.  There were never more than five of us at a time at the summit; a luxury for this mountain.

We left the summit at 3:30 and made it back to the car by 6:15 pm.  I was pretty beat (now there's an understatement).  Here are a few pics:

Here is one place where there is some distance confusion.  We've walked about a half mile so far (distance to Sanatorium Road which is no longer named as such) and the sign says we have 3.7 miles to go.  That would put the RT at 8.4 miles but, no need to quibble.

The Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC) maintains these trails and they do a fine job of it.  The DOC uses orange colored signage which is unique in the mountains of NH.

This shot and the next several are from the summit.  Most are lacking in detail in the distance due to the humidity at lower elevations causing everything to appear hazy.

So much for the forecast of clear skies.  Those are rain showers in the distance, though they never reached us.

On the descent we were only about a 1/4 mile RT from the South Peak but we decided not to bother as, 1) we've been there before and, 2) the haze would have made the views unimpressive.

Sue ponders her knee and foot pain and what lies ahead.

One tired puppy!!


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