Mt Clinton, or Mt Pierce as it is officially called, is at the southern end of the Presidential range. It makes for a nice winter trip since the Crawford Path leaves right from the top of Crawford Notch and makes a protected journey to near the summit where you come out above the trees. Brenda, Ching, and I were looking for a good hike to get the blood going. We drove to Crawford Notch and parking in the lot just off the Mt Clinton Road. From there, we took the Crawford Path Cut-Off to the main part of the Crawford Path and started up in the lightly falling snow.
I carried snowshoes cause I needed the exercise, but I didn't think we'd need them. The trail was well packed out with 6" of fresh snow on top. The Crawford Path is very popular in the winter, so it's almost always packed out. We had a fun trip up, the hiking was easy and we ran into a few folks headed out after spending a night or two out. We decided to straight up to the summit, then back by way of Mizpah Springs Hut. A short way before treeline we ran into the everpresent Canadian Jays, or Camp Robbers. After feeding them a bit of gorp, we bundled up and headed onward.
Where the trail hits the ridge, it's pretty easy to get lost. It was pretty close to whiteout conditions, but I knew where the summit was and Ching and Brenda believed me enough to follow. The summit is just a tenth of a mile away. We paused for a few summit photos then headed down the other side. There's a bump between Clinton and the hut, and once you drop below that it's pretty protected. We stopped there for a nice lunch and Ching couldn't resist the wonderful snow and made snow angels.
The trip down from there is pretty quick, allowing for some boot skiing and sliding. We stopped at the hut and used the privy at the Nauman Campsite next door. Someone had shoveled off the tent platforms very well, it was like being in a deep pit. We made it out in less than 5 hours, but in the winter and with a start from Boston, that's a full day.
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