With the exception of Osceola, most of my hikes this so far this summer have brought limited views, at best. It rained for Tecumseh, Moosilauke, and Tom, and Field and Willey offer a somewhat myopic view of nearby mountains. Even Osceola, with its great look back to the Tripyramids and beyond, doesn’t give you the feeling of being on top of the word.
So after starting my week off Sunday with a muggy, sweaty trip to the top of viewless Hale (more on that later), I had to have views, and lots of them.
Luckily, the weather cooperated Tuesday for one of the most enjoyable and rewarding treks of the past few years, a traverse of three of the southern Presidentials, Mts. Eisenhower, Pierce and Jackson.
I’m using my folks’ house as base camp this week, and my father was willing to drop me at the trailhead for the Edmands Path, saving me a 2.5-mile roadwalk back to my car at the end of the day. And my mom packed me a lunch (Yes, I’m 42 and my mommy still packs me a lunch. Deal with it.). I hit the trailhead rested and ready around 8:30 a.m.
The Edmands Path up 4,780-foot Mt. Eisenhower is a thing of beauty. It’s gently graded, meticulously laid out and packed with great views. All that’s missing is an escalator.
It took me longer to reach the summit than I anticipated — I was stopping every few minutes to take out my camera. A little after 11, I topped the summit cone. The views defy description. The closest I can come is to say the feeling was like a shot of adrenalin to the heart.
After a brief rest and some restorative beef jerky, it was on to Mt. Pierce and the highlight of the day, the 1.6 miles or so spent on the Crawford Path between the two mountains. The Crawford Path, the oldest continuously maintained footpath in the United States, rolls gently along the ridge, never steep and never more than a few yards from stunning vistas.
Tuesday, I was so preoccupied with the views that I was on top of 4,310-foot Mt. Pierce almost before I realized it.
From Pierce it was a short jaunt down to the Mispah Hut, where I had some more jerky (which seems to be my secret weapon for avoiding cramps), rehydrated and refilled my four Nagalenes with water and Gatorade. It was a hot, sunny day Tuesday and I was thankful for the chance to replace the fluids. It would have been much different hike otherwise.
From Mispah, it was on to the 4,052-foot Mt. Jackson. The Webster Cliff trail is gentle here, at one point traversing a seemingly bottomless mud bog (I tested it, pushing my hiking poles down into the mud, reaching the handle without hitting bottom).
The shortest of the day’s 4,000 footers still had plenty to offer, including a winged visitor (actually, I was the visitor).
From there, it was about 2.4 miles back down to the road and another half mile or so to my car, making for 10+ miles and 3,300 feet or so of elevation. It felt good to get a decent-sized hike under my belt, especially in the heat. And in contrast, here’s the best photo from Sunday’s rainy day slog up 4,054-foot Mt. Hale:
There’s still plenty of week left, and I hope to make it out another one or two times, depending on the weather. Stay tuned.