Saturday, August 29, 2015

Two White Mountain Treks

It feels like the White Mountains are constantly calling me back. Since I've lived in western Massachusetts, various circumstances have kept from from making the trip up (plus I've just genuinely enjoyed exploring and writing about new places around here), but this past week Jen and I got up there for two excellent days of mountain trekking as an active prelude at the start of a vacation that consisted mostly of a trip home to Mount Desert Island.

On the first day we hiked the classic 9-mile Franconia Ridge loop. We did it clockwise to give ourselves the hut on the way up and to give me a chance to soak my aching achilles in Dry Brook along the Falling Waters Trail on the way down. The weather generally cooperated, though the ridge was frequently in-and-out of the clouds every few minutes, and it did rain on us briefly somewhere just before the summit of Mt. Lincoln. Some photos from that day: 

misty view along Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Falling Waters Trail

Falling Waters Trail

On the second day we took advantage of stellar weather and headed for the Presidential Range. Back in 2006 I'd really enjoyed a hike with Pete and Doug going up Mt. Jefferson via the very remote, scenic, and challenging Castle Ravine Trail, and wanted to show Jen some of that coolness. We set out in running shoes with as minimal an amount of gear as we thought was safe, and headed up. There are about a dozen mandatory stream crossings on the route, and we chose to just splash right on through each one. This saved us time and allowed us to cool off each time. I even began to take my time at each crossing to enjoy the cold water even more. The ravine gets wilder and wilder as you go, eventually culminating in a brief foray through a mossy cold-air talus forest at the base of the headwall, where refrigerated air whooshes up out of dark spaces in the boulders below. That's followed by a very demanding climb up an occasionally loose open talus slope to Edmands Col between Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Adams. After that we descended via the Israel Ridge Path, grabbed a sunset dinner at a brewery tavern near Sunday River, then drove east to Mount Desert Island. Some photos from that day: 

cascades along Castle Brook in the White Mountains
 idyllic cascades along Castle Brook

Castle Ravine Trail
 deep in Castle Ravine

climbing Castle Ravine Trail in Castle Ravine
climbing Castle Ravine

alpine seep above the headwall of Castle Ravine
 at Edmands Col

above Castle Ravine

1 comment:

  1. Nice photos and trip, Ben! I've never been to Castle Ravine, but looks like I'll have to check it out.