July 16, 2006
Mount Washington: Huntington Ravine trail and Alpine Garden to Lake of the Clouds; Davis Path and Boott Spur trail to Pinkham Notch
Paul & I met as usual at Joe's Pond, and were pleased to see Frank, Art, and Woody, three White Mountain veterans, who had been threatening to join one of our trips for so long we stopped taking them seriously. As we neared Pinkham, the skies cleared, leaving us with a dry but very hot day. We ended up getting a rather late start on the trail.
Near the start of the trek, a moose grazed calmly just a few feet from Tuckerman Ravine trail (1). I decided not to use flash or walk into the woods to get a clearer shot.
Our walk to the start of the boulder field under the headwall was uneventful. Just before the boulders, the trail proceeds along a stream in a pretty fern-laced glade (2). We stopped briefly to pack our poles away, and swarms of black flies were just waiting for the opportunity.
Climbing over the boulders leading to the headwall, we looked up to see two climbers, ropes, gear, and all, nearing the top (red "X" at top left) (3).
We had a fun time climbing the headwall. It was Art's first time climbing something like this, and he jokingly complained, but enjoyed it and said he would be back for more (4).
Nearing the top of the headwall, the views on a clear day are expansive. Frank points out Wildcat Ski area, the Wildcat peaks, Carter Dome, and Mt Hight, right to left across rt 16 (5).
We stopped for a leisurely lunch break at the junction with Alpine Garden Trail (6). Art had never climbed Mt Washington; Frank, though he has done Huntington Ravine before and the Washington summit many times, is a peak bagger; so Art, Frank, and Woody continued up Nelson Crag to the summit, while Paul & I decided to skip Disneyworld this year and proceeded along Alpine to Lake of the Clouds.
The trek to Lake of the Clouds was longer than we expected - or felt that way, after the strenuous climb. Along the Alpine Gardens Trail, we had a clear view of Tuckerman Ravine (7). The "X" at lower left indicates the Hermit Lake Shelters at the bottom of the ravine headwall. Boott Spur Trail (8), on which we returned to Pinkham Notch, proceeds along the ridge at the upper right.
We spent just a short time at Lake of the Clouds hut (9), to refill water and change socks. It was a long, hot day. I had not added up the milage beforehand, figuring it could not be much more strenuous than going to the summit and back down the short way, via Tuckerman. But the heat of the day and the energy expended climbing Huntington had taken its toll, and we set no speed records descending, taking almost the average 4 hours to go the 4.6 miles back to Pinkham Notch Visitors Center, arriving at nearly 8:00 PM. The views along Camel Trail, Davis Path, and Boott Spur trail were great, but I was too tired both to concentrate on footing and take photos.
See some good photos from last year's trip.