Friends in High Places

The first weekend I was back since my trip to Jackson it was forecasted to rain.  A few friends wanted to go hiking, and since all of them except myself have jobs with regular business hours, the weekend was their only opportunity to get outside and explore.  I joined in the adventure, and we collectively picked a hike in New Hampshire's Crawford Notch of the White Mountains: Mount Eisenhower.  This 6 mile loop was rated as moderate, climbing to the summit at 4,780 ft.  The chance of rain diminished all week and we packed up my Subaru and headed north!

We left Providence just after 6pm and stopped for some dinner on the way.  We arrived at the Dry River Campground by 11:30pm and set up the tents to call it a night.  The campground was in a great location, just a few minutes down the road from our hike, relatively quiet and with great clean facilities.  The lots were well spaced so we didn't feel like we were right on top of any neighbors, but I bet it's a different kind of camping during the summer high season!  It was forecasted to be about 50° that night, but it was 40°.  I found myself wishing I brought warmer socks.

Next morning we packed up the car yet again and made our way down the road to the trailhead for Mount Eisenhower.  It was still relatively early in the morning, and although there were a few cars already in the parking lot we didn't see anyone on the trail until about halfway up.  It was overcast and comfortable autumn hiking weather, no rain in sight!  We had lucked out!

The first third of the trail was relatively flat ground.  We set off at a moderate pace, enjoying being outside and with friends.  We even met a very docile toad a little ways in.  The flat portion quickly began ascending as we navigated around large rocks and a few boulders, but the trail was well marked and well traveled, we just had to hike through it!

As we approached the last section of the hike, the tree line began thinning and we crossed a small waterfall which I can only imagine being a torrential downspout off the mountain at any other time of year!  The alpine zone was ahead and we put all our layers back on to brace ourselves against the cold and wind.  It was about 50° on top of the mountain, more like 40° with wind chill.  Mount Washington was in view a few peaks away, the highest peak in the northeast and known for its high winds and unpredictable weather.  We lingered on the summit for some pictures although there was no summit sign to help mark our weekend achievement. We hiked just off the summit where some bushes provided protection against the wind so we could eat lunch.

We took a leisurely descent, finally taking time to admire nature and look around.  I lost count of all the different kinds of mushrooms we spotted.  It was a 4 hour drive both ways for a 6 hour hike, but it was worth it!  Who doesn't love spending time outdoors with friends in high places?
See all the shots in Recent Work


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