A Brown Moose, Not a White Moose; Moosilauke 11.19.11

Saturday’s Winter Hiking Series was to Moosilauke via the Glencliff Trail.   I had never been on the Glencliff trail, so this was a bonus for me.

As we started up the trail, it was the usual late fall scenery at the trail head, leafless trees and a thick carpet of crunchy leaves under foot.  As we steadily gained altitude, we’d expect to see a little frost, then a dusting of snow on the trees and ground and then accumulated snow.  We didn’t see any of those things, except for a little bit of ice/snow mix on the rocks in the steeper section near the top.  While this was nice because we didn’t have to carry or use snowshoes or crampons, it was a bit of disappointment because we didn’t to experience much winter-like weather. The trail itself is a pretty steady ascent, with a little bit of a steeper grade before the junction with the Carriage Road.

Once we turned onto the Carriage Road and headed out into the open summit area, we did have one winter weather element:  the wind.  Of course, wind is not unusual at all for Moosilauke, but it actually was nice to be able to enjoy the wind without bitter temperatures and snow, too.  According to those in our group that had access to small anemometer, the winds were sustained at 35 to 4omph, with gusts between 45 and 50mph.  Not too bad for such an open summit.

First views to Fraconias and beyond. Note the absence of any frozen, white precipitation on the ground.

Once we actually reached the summit, we were able to enjoy it for a little while, rather than the “tap the summit and run back to the safety of the trees” that can be part of winter hiking.    The sunshine was beautiful and the sky clear enough to pick out many peaks including the Presidentials, Fraconias, Carrigain, the Bonds, the Hancocks, the Osceolas and quite a few peaks in Vermont.  The Vermont members of our group helped us identify those.

View to the west, with the peaks of Vermont visible.

A view to the southwest from the summit.

On the way back, we took a little detour to go visit the South Peak of Moosilauke, and although I had visited it October, it is always nice to see the main summit of Moosilauke from a different perspective.

Afternoon sunshine on Moosilauke as seen from the South Summit.

Although we didn’t have much snow or ice to speak of, the whole hike was a good one.  I was able to hike a trail I had never been on, we got the fun of being in the wind without having to battle the other elements, and just enjoyed the company, sunshine and great views.

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