This was the first big hike of the summer, and we all needed to whip ourselves into shape. We (Ellen, Brenda, and I) met in a shopping center near Rt 128 and after grabbing coffee and a bagel we headed north in one car. We were planning one of my favorite southern Presidentials hikes, a loop up Crawford Path to Pierce, then over to Eisenhower, and down via the Edmands Path. We were going to rely on finding a friendly hiker to give us a lift back to Crawford Notch or we'd hitchhike.Things didn't look great as we headed north, but soon the clouds gave way and the day looked spectacular. We parked in the Mt Clinton Road hiker lot, put on our sunscreen and bug dope, and headed up the Crawford Path. We stopped shortly at Gibbs Falls but soon were back at it. As we climbed we saw the Mizpah hut croo packing out, wearing a delightful collection of hiking skirts and halos. We next paused at the junction with the Mizpah Cut-Off where we were passed by our first other hiker of the day going up. The section of trail between that junction and the ridge is a delightful section of cool woods before you begin to emerge out of the woods. A little further and we were at the ridge.
It was a nice day to be above treeline. We took a quick run to the Pierce summit and soaked in the view north. Then we wandered back to the ledges for some well earned rest. There was one other person there, who left soon after we arrived, then we had the place to ourselves for a bit. Another hiker showed up, who happened to be someone I knew from online but never had met in person, and we chatted a bit, contemplating our next goal.
We continued on to the north, dropping down to the col then climbing again, getting a look back at where we came from. The trail is pretty much all above treeine up there, give some great views like this one of Jackson and Carrigain and a look up at Eisenhower. As we continued to climb we saw more and more of Pierce. Some days it's just the best thing in the world to hike above treeline. We continued to climb until we hit the Mt Eisenhower Loop, then started the steeper climb towards the summit. From this section of trail you get the best view of Pierce, it's somewhat blocked from the summit.
From the summit of Eisenhower you get a great view of the Jefferson and the Cog Railroad and the Mt Washington Hotel. After checking out the scene we sat down for lunch. I immediately started up a conversation with another hiker who looked like she was headed down the Edmands Path and could give us a lift back to our car. Score! After lunch Ellen and Brenda started studying the map for future trip planning. I took pictures. I love the alpine tundra which is amazing to look at. After a while we decided it was time to end our stay up top and we headed down.
We could see lots of people hiking on the Crawford Path north of Eisenhower. It's a great section of the ridge. As we passed Red Lake we delayered for our trip down the Edmands Path. Our last rest stop was just past the Stone Gate and while we sat there I ran into someone I'd skied with last winter on Moosilauke. It's a small world. At the trailhead I got a lift from the woman on the summit back to Crawford Notch, and the first thing we heard on the radio was a Ronald Reagan speech. I correctly concluded that he had died that day. I got my car, drove back to the Edmands Path trailhead and we all headed to the new Highland Center in Crawford Notch. It's a very nice place, and if you drive past stop and view the Brad Washburn photos in the side building. They are amazing. Dinner at Common Man, and back to Boston.
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