Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Mount Washington in New Hampshire is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi and north of North Carolina. The most popular hiking route is the Tuckerman Ravine Trail on the east side of the mountain. The lower part of the trail to Hermit Lake is closed this summer for bridge repairs. There is a detour available, which Nancy and I took today. Below is an excavator that we saw on the trail. It had been driven quite a ways up the mountain!

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail starts at Pinkham Notch (2000'). Hermit Lake (photo below) is at 3800' on the floor of Tuckerman Ravine:

Above the floor of Tuckerman Ravine, the trail climbs the headwall. It is steep, but the trail is well constructed. Today there were beautiful waterfalls cascading down the headwall:

As shown in the photos above, we were in the clouds once we climbed above the floor of the ravine. The photo at the top of this post is at the junction of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail with the Alpine Garden Trail at the top of the headwall. We continued on for another 0.3 miles past that point before turning around in the rain. The temp was in the mid 50s, the rocks were slippery, and it wasn't fun anymore. We were 0.5 miles from the summit and reached an elevation of 5500'. The summit of Mount Washington is 6288'.

On our way down the rain stopped and the clouds lifted a little. Below is a better view of the waterfalls on the Tuckerman Ravine headwall:

Tuckerman Ravine is famous for spring skiing. Skiers hike in to the floor of the ravine, and then up the sides of the ravine as far as comfort allows. Below is a 15 second video from our hike today that gives a sense of the ravine. The video starts with the waterfalls on the headwall, then sweeps around over the ravine, and ends with a view of Lion Head, the ridge that forms the north wall of the ravine:

As I was admiring Tuckerman Ravine from this location, and not paying attention to what Nancy was doing, she took a photo of me that perhaps belongs on my Switchel Philosopher blog??

Today's hike was 7.5 miles, elevation gain of 3,500'.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Mount Mansfield and Barnes Camp

Nancy and I had a delightful hike over Mount Mansfield today. We parked at Barnes Camp on VT-108 and did a loop hike up the Long Trail to the Chin, along the ridge to the Nose, and down the Haselton Trail back to Barnes Camp.

The photo above is from the Long Trail on the way up. This photo is looking north from just north of the Chin. The nearby hump on the right side of the photo is the Adams Apple (4060'). To the left of the Adams Apple is the Lake of the Clouds, a pretty mountain tarn at about 3900'.

The photo below is from the Haselton Trail on the way down. This photo is also looking north, back at where we had come from. The Chin (Vermont's highest point at 4395') is visible between the trees at the left, as is the top of the gondola at Stowe Mountain Resort (3600'). Smugglers Notch (the geological feature not the ski resort) can be seen between the trees at the right.

Today's hike was 5.8 miles, elevation gain of 2,800'.

A few comments about Barnes Camp (photo below)…

Barnes Camp was built in 1927 as a logging camp and renovated in 2013-14 as a visitor center at the "southern gateway" of Smugglers Notch (i.e., the Stowe side). More info here and here.

In 2017 a boardwalk was completed at Barnes Camp that allows visitors to stroll through wetlands that would otherwise be inaccessible. More info here and here. The one-eighth mile long boardwalk also offers views of Smugglers Notch that were previously unavailable. The photo below was taken from the boardwalk earlier this year (not today), and shows Smugglers Notch and its reflection in a beaver pond:

The Long Trail in Smugglers Notch was re-routed this year to use the boardwalk, and Barnes Camp has become a major access point for the Long Trail. There is ample parking across VT-108 from the camp.