We decided to take a day off of work on Thursday and do a team building exercise. Actually, a bunch of folks wanted to take a day off from work and this seemed like a good idea.
People arrived at the Lafayette Place parking area around 8:30 and after a some time getting organized we headed out on the trail. When we arrived at the Bus Stop, a rocky ledge about half way to the hut, we could all see what was waiting for us. It was a mix of sun and clouds, with most of the ridge clear at that time. We spread out a bit (there being 25 of us) and continued up to hut. Farther up, at Red Rocks, we paused for more views down, with a nice image of Cannon and the ridge we were climbing.
The AMC's Greenleaf hut was still open and we took a well deserved rest on the sunny front steps. Some folks warmed up inside and had some nice discussions with the croo, including giving them this web address so they could find pictures of themselves. They were preparing dinnerfor that night. From the hut there were nice views of Lincoln and the rest of the ridge. We looked up at the ridge and continued on after gathering everyone back together.
We passed Eagle Lake, with some nice views back to the hut and of Cannon Mountain and headed up into the clouds. Our group was a bit more spread out in the fog, but we all stayed in contact. There were some more views back down but most folks were pushing on. Finally, we all made it to the summit of Lafayette. There was some snow on the ground, and except for some occasional views down the ridge, it remained in clouds. There are foundations of the old horse barn on the summit, but we didn't need the extra shelter. We put on more clothes, ate some food, took some pictures, and headed on south, towards Lincoln.
The trip to Lincoln was more foggy, and soon it started snowing on us. Before long we had a brief clearing and a view back at Lafayette. On Lincoln, it was cold and windy, so we just paused a few minutes and continued. Then a nice rainbow cheered us up a bit for the rest of the journey. There were clear views into the Pemi of peaks like Garfield and Owl's Head. By the time we made it to the rocky section near Little Haystack it had cleared and gotten warmer again. The final section of the ridge was spectacular.
Some of the group had already headed down, but the rest of us gathered at the Little Haystack trail junction for more food and a brief rest. The views of the ridge leading back to Lincoln were inspiring. At least we could see where we had been. It had cleared up over the Notch and we could see the Cannon Cliffs again.
On the way down we stopped at Shining Rock, a huge slab of granite with water flowing down it most of the year. This was our final rest spot for the trip. We descended the Falling Waters trail, enjoying the great waterfalls and cascades in the fall leaves. We all gathered at the parking lot around 4:30 and headed out for dinner in North Woodstock. A great trip for all.
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