Moosilauke

Here it is, short and sweet…

Moosilauke is a nice hike, not too challenging, but plenty substance for a solid day followed by some refreshments (which is exactly what we did, by the way).

The hike begins at the Dartmouth Outing Club lodge; getting from there to the correct trail head is mildly confusing due to high number of trails originating at that spot.  A good AMC map is helpful, here.  The first few miles are quick going, with little elevation gain, and a few pleasant stream crossings.  Shortly after you begin to gain any serious elevation (around 3000 ft.) you are treated to one or two south easterly vistas.  Around 4000 you encounter the only real steep part of the ascent, a series of tight switchbacks punctuated by notably wind-stunted trees.  Before long you emerge above the tree line.

I can’t say for certain, but it seems that the bald summit of Moosilauke is more a result of it’s exposure to the wind and jet stream weather than it’s height, a phenomenon common in many of the Whites’ higher peaks.  In fact, I find that this summit was remarkably similar to that of Washington and it’s neighbors: alpine meadows, scrub brush, scree and wind!  Fortunately there is no train station, parking lot or visitor center.  At the summit, the remains of a cabin provide discrete shelter from the wind; all that’s really left are a few corners of the foundation.  It was a beautiful day, and as a consequence it was crowded.  The views to the east are nice; Franconia Ridge is the most prominent and easily identifiable landmark.

After chillin’ at the top for a while we headed south west down the Carriage Trail; allegedly where the backcountry skiing is done.  The trail is comparable to the Sherburne Ski Trail leading down from Tucks, but a bit longer.  There’s no headwall but it looks like a solid option in the event that conditions elsewhere are unfavorable.  The walk down features a pleasant pine forest, is pretty easy and can be done very quickly.


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