I chose to hike Pierce on my 40th birthday, because I just couldn’t resist the strange play on names as my maiden name is Pierce. The original plan was to do a loop hike over Jackson and Pierce, since I had arranged not to have to drive the carpool. As luck would have it, as I was heading out I got a phone call and needed to drive the carpool. So, I decided to just hike Pierce and turn it into a Carpool Challenge.
With Plan B and great weather forecast, I headed up to Crawford Notch. As I drove up, the skies were clear and beautiful and I could see all the peaks in Franconia Notch and the Presidentials, including Washington. I pulled into the Mt. Clinton Road parking lot, got out and started up the trail at a quick pace. Not only was this a Carpool Challenge, but it was also the first day of fall, and the temperatures felt like it – I needed to warm up!
Warming up, I quickly crossed the Crawford Connector and was on my way up the Crawford Path. I took a quick side trip to see Gibbs Falls, as the water seemed a bit louder than other times I had been on the Crawford Path. In reality, the sound probably wasn’t louder, but being myself in the quiet morning woods made it seem louder.
I continued up the path, meeting a few small groups along the way and taking a quick break at the Mizpah Cutoff for a snack. After that I quickly arrived at the junction of the Crawford Path and Webster Cliff Trail. The last time I was at this junction was last winter, and the sign was mostly in the snow pack, as seen in this post.
Within just a few minutes of turning onto the Webster Cliff Trail, I was at the summit, enjoying the views and the lovely weather. While on the summit sending out my “I made it to the summit at such-and-such time” email to my husband, I got an email from my dad wishing me a happy birthday – fitting for a Pierce to get an email from a Pierce while on Pierce.
After enjoying the summit and the views, I set off down Webster Cliff trail to Mizpah Hut. I had never been on that section of trail and I knew I had plenty of time to descend to the hut and then back to Crawford Path. It was a neat section of trail, with some nice variety even though it is less than a mile between the summit of Pierce and Mizpah Hut. After a quick stop to check my water supply, I headed down the Mizpah Cutoff and Crawford Path back to the car.
What a great day to hike! The temperatures were nice and cool, the views were good, and yes, I did the loop quickly enough to come home, get cleaned up and pick up the kids at school!