Franconia Ridge… Or Maybe Not Quite
Having the day off today, I decided to finally hike Franconia Ridge. This is a trail I’ve been looking at for a while, but just haven’t had a chance to get at yet. So with free time on my hands, I was excited to get out into the mountains.
As I drove over from Norwich, the weather was beautiful – cool and sunny. However, once I had gotten to the trailhead, all that had changed. The skies were completely clouded up, it was cool (around 45°F) and a bit windy. Oh well, there’s not much that can be done about the weather, so I geared up and got walking on this cool and crisp autumnal morning.
And up I go.
After hiking up a ways,you get your first views of Mts Lafayette (left) and Lincoln (right).
Looking down the shoulder of Lafayette and into Franconia Notch.
Sooner than I had expected, I found myself at the AMC’s Greenleaf Hut. I briefly stopped for a drink and a granola bar, but the weather was looking worse and worse as time went on, so I moved on quickly towards the summit.
Looking back at Greenleaf Hut, with Cannon in the further background.
There was intermittent rain rolling around, and once I was on the summit the rain had changed into some sort of frozen precip. Although I’m not done with fall yet, it is somewhat exciting to know that winter is on its way.
It was cold up top. 3°C, according to my watch (I did actually see it dip down to 2° for a bit).
I even found some ice up top. Winter’s coming.
Oh, did I mention how windy it was on top? There were a few spots in which the wind must have been blowing in the 60-70+ mph range - easily strong enough to knock me off my balance a few times. Spooky stuff.
At this point, I was cowering from the intense wind behind some rocks on the summit of Mt Lafayette, watching the rain rolling around somewhat north of where I was, and trying to decide what my next move should be. I really wanted to continue down the ridge, as I was originally planning on, however between the strong wind, the cold, the probable rain coming in, and knowing that I had to be back in Hanover in the late afternoon, I decided to not spend the next 1.5 miles of walking on the super exposed Franconia Ridge. Rather, I was going to just go back down the Old Bridle Path. Lame, I know, however it did end up raining a bit on me on my way down, so I felt at least somewhat vindicated.
Looking across the northern shoulder of Mt. Lafayette.
I was able to catch some nice light on Cannon as I was heading down.
The highway heading south out of Franconia Notch.
Another view of Mts. Lafayette and Lincoln. They’re both rather impressive mountains.
It can get windy up here on the shoulder of Mt. Lafayette.
Before I knew it, I was back down to the falling waters of Walker Brook, an impressive little stream.
The light was drab and the weather could have cooperated a bit more, but this was still a great hike. One of these days I’ll have to get back there and finally hike the whole ridge, just as I’ve been planning on for many months now.