More Whites and Mt Washington (Aug 8)
Beautiful views again today from up on Webster Cliffs. I could look back and find Franconia Ridge, where I’d been only a couple days before. It is always impressive to see a couple days’ worth of hiking stretch out behind you.
As I hiked higher up into the cliffs, I could see we would soon literally by hiking up into swirling fog and clouds. Misty trail again, with some tough rock climbs. On this day I was hiking near two middle aged thru hiker women. It was really comforting to come upon them muttering directions to each other in the fog. Motion said things like, “Okay, this is a tricky one, there’s a crack here for your foot” and Jacie agreed, “Oh yeah, yeah, I see it”. I thought it was neat that they were working together to get through these tough parts.
Eventually the clouds and fog cleared, as I was descending from Mt Jackson. So pretty to look across and see the wild unbroken beauty of rocky mountaintops over a flatter, boggier section. Somehow even up here, there are still some sections of bog and wooden log bridges. I could see how you could feel emotional just looking at it all, it was so raw and beautiful. I continued my slow style of hiking- hike for a few minutes, then stop to take in the view ahead and behind, and the shifting clouds above. I also kept stopping to take notes on my phone about what I see- a good way to try to process and record it all.
In the afternoon I walked to Lakes of the Clouds hut. This stretch over the Presidentials was absolutely stunning. Somehow each day is better than the one before up here. I watched a rainstorm swirl around Mt Eisenhower as I approached, then move on as I approached. Weather up here has been so dynamic, so unpredictable. I saw several other rainstorms from afar as I climbed. Eventually I neared Lakes of the Clouds hut and the base of Mt Washington. I’ve heard so much about this mountain, it was neat to finally meet it! Mostly the summit was shrouded in clouds, but sometimes the clouds parted and it was possible to see the summit.
I continued down Mt Washington. No views up there for me other than fog, but I had great views further north on the AT. The fog cleared to beautiful blue skies. The trail extends along ridge in a kind of circle around Mt Washington, so I was able to watch the mountain as the weather cleared. Neat to see silhouettes of people on the far summits. Amazing to realize we can get up there, the climbs look so steep and tough.
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