Another prefect day in the southern Presidentials. I have to say, I've had more good weather days cruising along above treeline on the Crawford Path than any other section of trail in the Whites. I love this section of trail, pretty mellow hiking with, of course, views in all directions. Even on busy days there are always times you can get some solitude. Now, forget I mentioned this and look elsewhere to plan your hikes.
There were five of us on this adventure, me, Alison, Brenda, Andrew, and Ching, who was four months pregnant at the time. We had gone on a hike up Carrigain a few weeks earlier but they hadn't told us she was expecting back then. So everyone had an eye out on her but she was just fine. After dropping a car at the Edmands Path we drove up to the Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead and headed off. It was a typical alpine start for this crowd, around 9:30. The hike up to Gem Pool went well, but fairly slowly as it was quite hot and humid. People were wading in the water, it looked nice. Of course, once you past there it's up and up and up. We spread out a bit, Alison and Andrew were in the best shape and really moving. We regrouped at the water crossings and as the trail hit the open terrain. When we hit the hut it was shaping up to be a perfect day. We ate lunch on the benches out front of the hut, very few bugs and the shade was welcome.
At this point, Andrew was contemplating taking a run up Washington and catching up with us later. He's often like that. Instead, we hatched a plan where he and Alison would head down the ridge, completing a southern Presie Traverse and we'd pick them up in Crawford Notch after they'd climbed Jackson. At the summit of Monroe we made sure they had enough water and supplies then sent them off down the ridge, moving fast. We took a much more leisurely approach, spending some nice quiet time on the summit of Franklin before pushing on down the ridge. Did I mention that I love this stretch of trail? We stopped for a second lunch just before the Edmands Path junction. Ching decided that she was going to head down, the heat and exercise was enough. Brenda wasn't feeling 100% either, she was recovering from a bug, so the two of them decided to forget Eisenhower and start down. So now we've divided our trip into three groups, a disaster waiting to happen for sure.
For some reason, I often find myself alone on the summit of Ike. There was a group of three (standing off trail on the summit grasses) when I got there, but they soon pushed on. I had about 10 minutes of solitude on a glorious summer day, such an amazing thing to have in today's busy world. I pretty much ran up and down the Eisenhower Loop, trying to catch up with Ching and Brenda. After about a half hour of running down the Edmands Path I decided to let them wait at the car, my legs were killing me. Of course, soon after that I caught up with them, happily moving along at a good clip. We drove to Crawford Notch, but found the Depot closed up for the day so no cold drinks for us. The Notch was nice enough, but we were hot, sweaty, and tired, and the bugs were out something fierce so we couldn't walk around outside very much. Eventually Alison and Andrew arrived, having done all the peaks including Jackson. They considered not doing that for a moment, then had to do it. Let's face it, the peakbagging instinct is strong. Everyone had a great day, each of us hiked our own hike.
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