I’ve heard about this mountain from several people. Popular because of the great payoff in views and experience for the amount of energy expended compared to other trails. I’d even heard about the Dartmouth Lodge at the head of the trail we were hiking. But you forget what you’ve heard before when you see such places. It served as another reminder that you must get out and see for yourself wonders in this world while you have time.
There are several trails up to the summit. I’d highlighted the Beaver Brook Trail as one to do based on the cascades there, but with the gimpy ankle my hiking buddies chose an easier trail for this day. The warnings about the Beaver Brook Trail certainly discouraged trying it on an icy day like yesterday. Here’s a typical warning from the AMC: This trail may be extremely dangerous in icy conditions. Okay, got it. Instead we hiked the Gorge Brook Trail out and back. Easier, beautiful, and comparatively free of the ankle-busters you experience on most White Mountain trails.
Ultimately, this hike made me feel better about the progress of my ankle as it wasn’t a factor. It also made me feel better about the progress of my fitness as the rowing has improved my stamina enough that I didn’t feel winded chasing jackrabbit hikers up the trails. Granted, this was an easy trail and they were likely taking it easy on me.
Yesterday was several hikes in one. The lower section was wet and a bit muddy in places. The snow started accumulating on ice at higher elevations and prompted us to slip on micro spikes for crunchy hiking. The wind became a factor above tree line. Layers were added and thicker gloves went on. And then on the descent the micro spikes became leaf catchers and clumped up enough that we all opted to stick them back in the packs.
Moosilauke means “bald place” I’m told, and the summit is fully exposed as advertised. What isn’t guaranteed when you hike is the view. This one would be socked in with fog and snow. No matter, for views are a notable bonus, but hiking the trail to the summit is the goal all along. I’ve got this one on my short list of summits to return to again on a clear day.