The Trails That Led Me Here: Part III
Mount Lafayette, Franconia Notch, NH
If I’ve learned anything about myself this summer, it’s that I am so very stubborn. One of my coworkers told me to hike the Fanconia Ridge on a nice day because the views are stellar. At no point did I have a view, or the inkling that I would get a view. This photo is actually a great representation of all of my least favorite gear: a Kelty pack that I assume doesn’t fit me, a “rain” jacket that is more useful in the garbage, and the remnants of my whistle. I sound so harsh because I bought these items on a strict budget, but I just feel like there are so many other better options. Back to this hike. It was three miles from the trail head to Greenleaf Hut.
The wind was strong and loud, and fog completely surrounded me. It was eerie to say the least. I had one mile to go from the hut to the summit of Lafayette, and again, eerie. I rarely saw the next cairn marker. The wind whipped clouds around me. I was so confused at the summit, that somehow after taking this awkward photo, I ended up going almost a quarter of a mile towards Mount Garfield. Realizing that you are ‘lost’ is not only embarrassing, but scary. I decided against the ridge trail considering I couldn’t even read trail signs and I headed back to the hut. I loved this trail even though the weather wasn’t in my favor.
The Tripyramids, Sandwich Range, NH
Reintroducing Jolene and Cindy! These two ladies make any hike more fun than I could imagine. We parked at different trail heads so we could do a loop. It was very flat for the first couple of miles, and then a steep ascent to the summit. We hit the two Tripyramids that are over 4,000 feet, and descended Sabadday Falls Trail. I do not recommend this trail if it’s wet, at all. The trail became more cluttered with fallen trees and branches.
And then we hit the beauty that was a big ol’ pile of bear poop. Whenever this happens, you always tend to check over your shoulder a few more times than you planned. As we continued our hike, we heard less and less voices. When we checked our GPS map, we noticed we were way off trail. Jolene and I ran as fast as we could in the direction we had come, leaving Cindy in the dust. That is, until we heard a scream. Cindy’s scream. I did the exact thing you shouldn’t do when your hiking partner screams, I continued running away. But not Jolene! She started charging towards what must be a bear, trekking poles out as weapons. As Jolene got closer to Cindy, she found out that a bear had not attacked her friend, but a young, bearded man wearing tie-dye shorts had yelled, “Right behind ya!” After that rush of adrenaline, we had four miles of flat, flat walking left. I might or might not have eaten two large BK fries on the way home.
Mount Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette, Franconia Ridge, NH
I came back! And this time I brought a friend, Syd, from Florida. She had never hiked in her life, and I figured that a trail that runs along the AT is a good place to start. The weather was iffy on our drive and I was having flashbacks to my original Lafayette hike. The summit was a hard one. It is ranked difficult for hikers, let alone newbies. The views along the ridge are unlike any I’ve seen. The mountains do that thing where you can see the gradient of colors; the closer mountains are a dark, deep blue and the distant mountains are light and calm. Every time Syd saw something beautiful, which was very, very often, she yelled, “Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!” Going down was hard for Syd, as it is for everyone, but look at her shoes. C’mon. We have a real trooper here. This trail, mountain range, and ridge are all worth the hype.
Side note: As we were descending, we had about two miles left and this couple from NJ stopped me and asked about the weather. I then asked them about the trail they had done so far. The girl said, “It’s at an incline.” I don’t know, but that still makes me chuckle.
Kearsarge North, Carroll County, NH
Woah… this was my last hike before getting out the good ol’ microspikes. I was a little sick and didn’t want to commit to a 4,000 footer, so I decided upon this smaller mountain. It is considered one of New Hampshire’s 52 With A View. And oh my god, did it! The trailhead and beginning trail is kind of weird. I parked between two homes and hiked in between two properties for a bit, passing garages and potential murder shacks. The trail itself was pretty cool because both sides sloped dramatically (one up and one down). After a few false summits, I reached the real summit with it’s cool fire tower.
Heading down, I passed a bunch of people. Enter: the creepiest people I’ve met on trail so far. For any of you who have actually watched Wild, think of those two random hunters Reese/Cheryl runs from. They stood at weird pivoted points so we made a creepy triangle. When I spoke to them, they didn’t answer. When I tried to walk past them, they shifted quickly, yet didn’t actually move. This is when I learned that sprinting on leaf covered granite wasn’t an easy feat. Anyways, I lived! (Obviously.)
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