Skip to main content

Moosilauke My Old Friend

     Mount Moosilauke has a special place in my heart. It was my first 4K back in 2011 and will remain a beloved peak for that reason. There have been a lot of firsts on this one and each time I hike it, I seem to get called back to it. As if it's telling me that "even in times of transition, it's time to walk it off". So, this week, even though I briefly considered Carrigain, I went for the Moose. Leaving pretty close to 5:30am, this seemed late for me. Route 118 is in decent shape for driving and of course the last time I headed up this way, it was winter so, anything is an improvement. Ravine Lodge Road is open and so, there is no road walk again for a while. I park my car further up and way from the crowd so that maybe I have an easy time getting out at the end of the day. I have packed my winter boots, my Asolo boots, and my trail runners. My snowshoes are also in the car and there is where they will stay. I choose my Asolo's as I am just not sure of the trail above 3300ft. I want something that will stand up to any rotten snow and can hold my hillsounds on them. Isis has her new harness on again and is ready to go. 

         After passing the Ravine Lodge, we head to the trails over the bridge. Gorge Brook is clear down here and the wildflowers are out. There are a ton of new smells for Isis so, I figure we'll take our time. We have all day and this hike does not usually take us very long. I'm just enjoying the warm temps and green trails. I'm also simultaneously mourning the loss of my snowshoes and other winter gear. It's a mix of emotions when you love winter hiking. Things are feeling good today though and  my feet and legs are adjusting back to my Asolo's as I anxiously await a transition to my trail runners (maybe next weekend?). This is also the first time I have been on this trail with the the reroute and there is absolutely no snow on it. I'm really enjoying it as it's all an easy grade to climb and there is just enough shade from the fir trees to keep my cool. I have stripped off a layer so I am in my racerback tank now and questioning my choice to pack other layers but, this summit is unpredictable. Right now it looks like a view is questionable. Isis is moving good but she is looking for water to drink. I know the next break is at 3300ft at the last sure water sign. There continues to be no snow down this low.

             At the Ross McKenney sign, we take a food break and Isis also gets some water from the last stream access. Things also get a little dirty as she's found something great to roll through. We are off and climbing and soon start running into others that are making their way up to the summit. Everyone is nice and very talkative today (this includes me too). I think it's time to make some changes in life and Moose offered a perfect platform to make some. Isis and I take our time making our way to tree line. The next break would be the first outlook. I've always liked the view from here even if today, it's a little hazy and clouds. The snow and ice have been intermittent and I'm cautiously making my way in places. The spikes finally come on just below tree line and are intermittent according to the conditions. While it's tempting to just wear them out, it's awkward to walk on them with no snow or ice.

        Once we break tree line, the views are clearing up and there is minimal snow/monorail to deal with. Except when you enter into the less sunny areas in the scrub that seem to let the snow hang around. with 200ft to go to the summit, it's clear and the spikes come off again. I've been really peaceful this hike. Just letting everything go and enjoying the day. Thinking about what I have coming up in the future and my two big trips (a Pemi next weekend and then the LT in August). I'm present and I'm unshakable. Isis and I make our final approach and I get that classic view of the summit post. Everyone that passed us is sitting in one of the rock shelters and others are milling about. I am greeted by a man from Montreal who tells me this is his 42nd peak. I congratulate him and Isis begs for some love. There are no views towards the Presidentials but there are other views all around. As I talk to the gentleman from Montreal, I just take it all in. He asks me to take his picture and does the same for me. My seventh trip and I never get tired of a summit shot. We watch as others come and go and I literally breath in and feel that I am in the perfect place at the perfect time and that no matter how uncertain things can seem, I am on the right path.

      We begin to make our way down the Carriage Road and over to South Peak on a beautiful and snow free walk. It's heating up so, the layer I put on at the summit came off as I continued down the Carriage Road. The monorail comes back but there is a corridor that I can walk next to it. I am thinking that this should be gone in about a week. We make it to the South Peak Junction and stop to chat with some other hikers. There's talk of the Grid and winter hiking. Isis gets a rest as we chat. Shortly after we get going again, the pant legs finally come off. It's been warming up as we go down so, again,  off come the boots and the legs. We begin again and I dodge the rocks. This always makes me remember that in winter, I don't have to do this. and it's easier. Just colder. I'm careful not to roll my ankles and I wonder if I had my trail runners, if I role my ankle, would it be worse than in my Asolo's?  One last section of snow by the rocks and we are free. The lower elevation of the Carriage road is clear. We hook on to the Snapper trail and soon realize that it'll be time to head home soon. Time to head back to everything soon. Can I go do Tecumseh and postpone?

        There is not a whole lot of water on the upper part of the snapper but I know that Isis will get a drink soon enough. We really do not stop except when I run into another group of two and we chat about the controversy from last year when the cairns were toppled. Turns out he's the steward of the trails and seems to know who did it. I thanked him for doing such a good job and we continued. In the tree's it's cooler and I'm feeling strong. We hit the streams and round a corner and I crash to the ground. I rolled my ankle about as bad as I ever have and I need to pause to catch my breath. Instantly hoping I can bare weight on it and walk out and also hoping that I didn't just screw up my Pemi next weekend. My feet got tangled and I had fallen pretty awkwardly. I stood up and took a few steps in a little pain. I hope for the best as we kept walking... Slowly. Rounding out after the second to last bridge, I rolled it a few more times and each time I felt like I was letting next weekend slip away. Isis and I slowed way down and seeing as it was my right foot, I wondered what would happen after i took my boot off and drove home. This was an interesting end to a perfect day as we made it back to the Ravine Lodge and up to the road. This is such a beloved peak that I'm not even letting my ankle ruin the day. 

         Moosilauke is a peak that I always hike in times of transition or at times of firsts in my life. Today was a transition hike as I got use to trails without snow and boots that are a little more snug and a little heavier. It's a transition to a reaffirmed way of thinking that puts me first over anything else. I may not know the exact destination to my current trail but I do know that taking that fork in the road has lead me to be happier and feeling a little more healthy. I am eagerly looking forward to this new adventure in two weeks and then to my Pemi on memorial day weekend. The summer will be capped off with the Long Trail. So much to look forward to and such great heights to reach for. 

Popular posts from this blog

Mount Willard

All I wanted to do this week was climb to the top of a mountain. Any mountain at this point as I have been dealing with something that keeps me down. I had been thinking of Mount Willard... 2,865Ft and a 1.6mile trail. Small compared to what I usually hike. But small enough I might be able to summit.

It's a Saturday and I left my house a little after 8am. So much later than I usually leave to hike. But this is not a long hike at all so, after a cup of coffee and making myself one for the road, I loaded the car and headed for The Whites. I knew it would be crowded today since it is Saturday and as I thought, I'm parking on 302... Both the Depot, and the Highland Center are packed. It's .1 to the junction after the cross of the tracks and then we head up the Mt. Willard trail. So far, the trail itself is uncrowded but I assumed that everyone was already up there. Isis on the other hand was busy smelling markers for every dog that has hiked before her. 

The trail is super pa…

Franconia Falls

This morning, I had my sights set on Mt. Waumbek. I figured it would be a good one as I continue to get my legs under me from being sick last month and I had not visited it in a long time. I parked at the winter lot since the residents on the road leading to the trail head love to tow cars that park on the side of the road (believe me, do not tempt fate). Secure my snowshoes to my pack and got Isis all ready. In-spite of colder than cold temps, I really wanted to summit. As I walked up the road, I felt the tightness in my ankle and hoped that it would go away and loosen up and maybe I'd stop sucking wind too. I kept going up the trail and got to the well for a reluctant Pup picture. The trail itself is good and packed. I did not wear microspikes and had no need for snowshoes. I was hopeful that I might use them later in the day. Waumbek starts out with not a great deal of elevation gain but today, it was just enough to make me question... Things in my joints have not been quite r…

Mount Waumbek

It's Mount Waumbek, in Jefferson NH. 4006ft and only 7.2miles round trip. Why is today such a fight? I started out from the gas station in town since I wasn't sure if the hiker lot was plowed out from the latest blizzard. Made my way to the trail head up Mt. Starr King Road. There is a large snow pile from the plow right at the start to the trail head. Once at the trail head parking lot, I put on my snowshoes. I was thankful to not have the weight on my pack anymore. Switched Isis to her longer lead so she can run a bit. We started off on a decently packed trail. Looked like someone had dragged a polk behind them to break it out, it was so nice. Climbed past the well and continued with the steady incline, I seemed to slow down. I also felt tired but, I pushed on. I wanted this summit today.

The sun was bright and warm which was helping move the day along. The Mt. Starr King trail remained in great shape through this section too. I was dragging on the inclines but continued to…