My first summer hike up Mt. Washington

Mid July we found a great little Sunday for my husband, a couple friends and I to hike the big rockpile. We leave our dog Mizpah home for the northern Presidentials. The rocks can be very tough on their pads and joints. I have hiked Mt. Washington in late March before, which was still very wintery. I had never hiked it in the summer.  There are quite a few routes up and down it; people hike it, ski it, drive up it, take ATVs up it (on special days), bike it, take the cog railway, and run it! The weather on Mt. Washington can be some of the worst weather on the planet, and I believe the number of deaths up there is hovering around 150 since 1849. Many deaths have been from hypothermia, and then there are accidents, and of course things like heart attacks. My husband accuses me of putting Washington on a pedestal, but man, it really is something. He is the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6,288 feet (EDIT- this is incorrect and apparently just something I say haha, tallest peak east of the Mississippi is actually Mount Mitchell at 6684 ft in NC).

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One of the trains down at the station. The trailhead for Ammo is up and to the right and the trailhead for Jewell is to the left!
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The tracks! Near the tracks the whole length of the mountain there are chunks of black coal from the train #leavenotrace ?

We took the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail up, and the Jewell Trail down.  Those trails are on the cog railway station side of the mountain. Someday I really want to do the Tuckerman Ravine Trail which is the most popular trail and is on the Pinkham Notch side. There are a few features over there I want to see like the Harvard cabin and the Lunch Rocks. My husband convinced me that a beautiful summer Sunday was not the day to do the most popular trail there 🙂

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Views from a summit are beautiful but I think sights like this are pretty amazing too
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Looks like a great spot for a dip!
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Lakes in the Clouds Hut…..literally in a cloud on this day!
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Misty lakes near the hut
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Another misty lake view, visibility was low!

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The Tip Top House, built as a hotel in 1853 is the oldest structure on Mt. Washington, and might be the oldest mountain top holstery in the world! The last time I was up on top of Mt. Washington in March of 2015, the Tip Top House had snow up the to the top of the windows, you could only see the roof!!

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MWOBS- The Observatory! I would love to stay the night sometime or be a volunteer at the observatory when I retire or something.
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I did have to wait in a short line behind both hikers and people that drove or took the train up. I guess its just part of Mt. Washington’s deal in the summer.
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Walking down the Jewell Trail- the sun came out!
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Great Gulf- formed by a glacier! The lake down there is Spaulding Lake

Mt. Washington is more than just a part of the White Mountain National Forest, its a New Hampshire State Park. In the summer months, summit visitors can check out the Tip Top House which is sorta staged like the hotel it once was, enjoy the amazing views, hit up a gift shop, check out weather exhibits, and get a slice of pizza at the little food court. It was bizarre to say the least. Also, the cell service is amazing up there; I passed no less than 4 hikers on their phones on the Jewell Trail coming down : | It is what it is, Mt. Washington is special and so we all must share it. My memories of being up there in a winter wonderland with maybe 3 other people the last time I was there are now even more precious. It was definitely a long day; cool, raw, and misty to start, and then sun beating on us above treeline coming down. Thats how it is with Washington though, you obsess over the forecast in the days leading up to your hike, but truly you have no idea.

It wasn’t Mt. Washington until the late 1700s. Before then it was known by its Native American name, Agiocochook, which means “Home of the Great Spirit”. This mountain definitely lives up to that name.

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Mt. Moosilauke: 1st 4K Hike Postbaby!

I am officially back into hiking!! We stopped exclusive pumping as Cabot passed 9 months and I was looking forward to getting back into the White Mountains. Over the past year, the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge got a huge facelift, and I have been excited to get over there to see it. This was my 4th time hiking Mt. Moosilauke, and yes I saw something on this hike that I never noticed before…..read on to find out more!

SO I will start with the lodge, which is actually a collection of buildings. There’s the main lodge which was renovated and then the bunkhouses, each standing in the name of the gifts for different classes.

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The new main lodge!
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Main Lodge
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Class of 1965 Bunkhouse
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Class of 1974 Bunkhouse
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Class of 1967 Bunkhouse
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Moosilauke Ravine Lodge from above!

They are still working on the access road to the lodge and culverts and such, but the new lodge looks great!

We took the Gorge Trail for this hike. Mt. Moosilauke is really a lovely hike. There is much Dartmouth Outing Club history on the trail up from the lodge. The trails are very well signed and taken care of thanks to the Dartmouth student trail crew.

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Information kiosk where we began!
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The cutest little trail dog, Mizpah, heading out!
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Trail crews sometimes leave signs commemorating their work
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Up on the summit!
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Our hiking group posing with the button on the summit. A picture with the geological marker is a must for my husband!
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Beautiful mountain views all the way around on the summit

On the summit, remnants of the stone foundation for the old summit hotel can be seen. It was originally built in 1860 and called The Prospect House but the name was changed to the Tip-Top House. It burned down in 1942.

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Stone Foundation left behind from the Tip-Top House

Now! To the thing that I never noticed on the previous three hikes of Mt. Moosilauke! There is a concrete foundation visible from the summit that was from a shelter that was removed in 1978.

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Concrete foundation for the shelter removed in 1978.

I almost fell over when I saw that from the summit, and then I actually had a hard time finding it along the trail. I guess they tried to use a jackhammer to remove the foundation but it was just too much work.

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Finished the hike!
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Tired little Mizpah eating her lunch back at the car

We had great weather for this hike. The forecast actually said “sunny and delightful” for Warren NH. Typically the summit is very windy because its the first tall mountain from Vermont. It was a lovely first hike back after over a year of missing hiking. Coming down Gorge Brook, a thru hiker passed us. We wondered where he was heading. Sure enough he came back and said, “This isn’t the AT huh?” We laughed. Good sense of humor probably helps doing the AT. He meant to go down the Beaver Brook Trail and probably planned to stay at that shelter. The Beaver Brook Trail from what I have heard is a hard one.

Anyways, here are my other Mt. Moosilauke posts! You can see the old lodge in one of them.

Mt. Moosilauke Hike on the Carriage Road

Dartmouth Outing Club & Mt. Moosilauke (has a pic of the old lodge)

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Birthday Hike up Mt. Cabot

As part of our MLK weekend away in Jackson NH, we hiked up Mt Cabot on my birthday! Mt. Cabot is the 4000 footer that is farthest north, so having the opportunity to start the drive a couple hours closer was a huge reason to do that one. The hike itself is a gradual easier hike; the hardest thing about hiking Cabot is getting there.

We wore snowshoes for the entire hike, all 9 miles of it. The trail was so nice and tracked out, it would have been a shame to ruin it with post holes. The trail begins at the trout hatchery in Berlin on York Pond Road, which was nicely maintained for this time of year. You start out on the York Pond Trail, and then turn onto the Bunnell Notch Trail, and then finally the Kilkenny Ridge Trail to the summit. In the interest of time, we did an in and out hike, you can do a loop from the summit down over the bulge and horn from the Kilkenny Ridge Trail to the Unknown Pond Trail, but its a longer hike.

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Mountain Views
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Another gorgeous view!

Some features as you get up near the summit include an outlook with a beautiful view, a cabin, a false summit where a fire tower used to be, and then finally the wooded summit which is past a Mt. Cabot sign which again looks like the summit. The fire warden cabin is available for public use. It’s free, first come first serve, and it sleeps 8. There used to be a wood stove in it that has been removed, and there is a picnic table inside. They keep a drum outside that collects rainwater in the summer. It’s a very primitive cabin that I believe is still maintained by the Jefferson boy scouts. Not a bad place to have a snack away from the wind, but I would only stay in there overnight if it was an emergency! The first firetower was built up there in 1911, it was rebuilt in 1924, and then taken down in 1965. It was a cold hike, the wind chill was down between -9 and -18. The sun was out though, and I had my warmest gear, so we made a great day out of it. On the way up to Jackson we actually stopped at IME in North Conway and I purchased some Black Diamond mercury mitts for myself and honestly, it made my hike so much more pleasant. They were $109.95 and worth every cent.

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The Cabot Cabin
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Had to take a pic of this fat little gray jay that followed us from the cabin to the summit!

Mt. Cabot was my 14th winter peak, and it really is one of my favorite mountains. It was a great way to spend my birthday. On the way back to the Eagle Mountain House we grabbed sandwiches at my favorite deli, J-Town. Then that night we did dinner at The Red Fox and drinks at Wildcat Tavern. All my favorites 🙂

Other posts from our MLK weekend trip up to Jackson:

Winter Weekend at The Eagle Mountain House, Jackson NH

Mountain Town Charm- Jackson, NH

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Black Friday Mt. Tecumseh Hike

A tradition that my husband and I started a couple years back was going hiking on Black Friday after Thanksgiving instead of going shopping. Last year REI even did a campaign for heading outdoors on Black Friday called #optoutside. They gave all of their employees a paid day off and the stores closed to all them to go out and enjoy nature with families and friends instead of in crazy lines at stores.

Sadly this year Jon had to work, but Mizpah and I hit the trails and did a little girls hike. This was my third time doing Mt. Tecumseh. It is a great 4000 footer because its so short, just took me three hours. We had to be back in the afternoon to go out with Jon’s family that night so I had to pick a quick mountain!

Usually the views from Mt. Tecumseh are lovely. Here are the views from an outlook over one of the Waterville Valley Ski trails and a view from the summit. These pics are from September 2015.

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View from outlook on Mt. Tecumseh trail, not sure which trail this is at Waterville Valley?
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View from the summit. The summit for this one is small, just a cairn up there and some views!

The weather on Friday was drastically different. Driving up, it was rainy and sleety, and just past exit 19 on 93 there was snow on the ground and trees. The hike was literally in a foggy cloud the whole way. It wasn’t raining or snowing but my jacket and pack were soaked just because the air was soggy and wet. The snow on the trails was beautiful. It was definitely fresh because literally only one person had been on the trails that morning on the snow. There were no views, it’s just white. Honestly it was almost a little disorienting.

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No views at the outlook on the ski trail, huge difference huh?
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Snowy white summit!

I wore my waterproof Marmot pants which are dead now….I put another hole in them slipping down a snow covered rock. My Marmot shell jacket is still awesomely waterproof and my pack held up with the moisture. Mizpah had her Ruffwear jacket on too which was good and kept her dry and warm!

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Its a winter wonderland in the White Mountains!
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One of the best hiking dogs you will ever meet ❤

Noone would say the conditions were optimal, but it was still a nice hike. I bare-booted the whole way up, and then threw my microspikes on for the trek down so I could go a little faster. The only thing I purchased during the holiday sales was actually a pair of Tory Burch boots. They were on sale from almost $500 to $208! I have been needing a new pair of black boots and I think these will fit the bill nicely 🙂 I know I am a little late, but I do hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family! Anyone snag anything good during the sales??

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Southernmost Presidentials Hike

Last week, I got to do a midweek hike with my sister who is just starting out doing the 4,000 footers in NH. We did Mt. Jackson and Mt. Pierce, which are the most southern 4,000 footers in the Presidential Range. This was actually my third time hiking these two, but first time in the summer!

We took the Webster-Jackson Trail from Rt. 302 to Mt. Jackson, and then the Webster Cliff Trail over to Mt. Pierce, and finally the Crawford Path back down to Rt. 302. It was my first 4000 footer hike without my husband, and so I felt a little pressure to make sure we were on the correct trails, going the right way and so on. Mt. Webster is up there too, named after Daniel Webster, but it’s not a 4000 footer so we had to make sure we avoided that trail.

Mt. Jackson is actually not named after Andrew Jackson, our 7th president. It is named after Charles Jackson who was a physician and the state’s geologist! On the way to Mt. Pierce, named for Franklin Pierce, is the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) run Mizpah Spring Hut. It was a really nice one. It made me miss my pup, Mizpah, but her paw pads were still healing.

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View down from Mt. Jackson. You can just barely see the Mt. Washington Hotel down there! Just to the right of center with that red roof!
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Sisters at the summit!
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The rest of the Presidentials from Jackson, you can see Washington perfectly high up on the right!
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Mizpah Spring Hut, just below the summit of Mt. Pierce
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The Mizpah bell in the hut, reminded me of my pup!
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Matching Merrell boots up on top of Mt. Pierce! Mine on the left are just really old haha. Mt. Pierce was originally named Mt. Clinton after DeWitt Clinton, a governor of NH.
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Just starting out on the Crawford Path, beautiful views of the Presis
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Someone on the trail got really excited about my mountain hat, said he was friends with one of the Harding Lane guys! We probably could have had a nice convo if I wasn’t so awkward and unable to speak more than “hi, how are you, have a nice hike” haha

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The Crawford family….you really can’t discuss the history of the White Mountains without talking about a few families, and the Crawford’s are definitely one. Abel and Ethan were father and son. They cleared a path up from Rt 302 to Mt. Pierce (Clinton then) over to Mt. Washington and guided hikers up. Abel at 75 years old in 1840 ascended this trail to Mt. Washington on horseback!! The path is just over 8 miles and goes over Mt. Eisenhower, Mt. Monroe, past the Lake in the Clouds, and ends up at Mt. Washington’s summit.

It was a really hot day which meant drinking lots of water. Having the hut was nice to fill up and not have to worry about running out of water. When we finished our hike, we headed to the Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery for a beer and some food. So delicious. I got the chicken salad melt which is an open faced sandwich on their spent grain bread, and my sister got a bison bacon bbq burger. We both got their summer beer which is deliciously light and refreshing. It was just a great day with my sister, so thankful to be able to hike with her!

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Mt. Moosilauke Hike on the Carriage Road

Sunday of this past weekend, my husband Jon, Mizpah, and I headed up to NH for a hike. Jon’s broken toe had healed just in time for our wedding, and we were ready to get back to hiking after almost 2 months away from our favorite mountains. We chose Mt. Moosilauke after reading through Saturday’s trip reports because Mt. Moosilauke had just some soft snow/ice on the Carriage Road trail where some of the mountains still require crampons. The Carriage Road trail is wide and gradual, it was a little over 10 miles and took us a little over 6 hours to do.

At the summit of Mt. Moosilauke, there are remains of the Prospect House built in 1860, later known as the Tip Top House, a hotel similar to the one on the summit of Mt. Washington. It burned down in 1942. The Carriage Road was built in 1870 to bring guests up to the summit.

Tip Top House, Moosilauke Breezy Point, NH
Tip Top House, Moosilauke Breezy Point, NH

Breezy Point Road leads to the Carriage Road trailhead. Nathaniel Merrill built a farmhouse there in 1834, and converted the farmhouse in 1860 to serve as an inn called the Merrill Mountain Home. Slightly downhill from there, the larger Breezy Point House was built in 1877. It was destroyed by a fire in 1884, and then the Moosilauke Inn was built there in 1886. In 1915, the Merril Mountain burned down, and in 1953, the Moosilauke Inn burned down.

A smaller motel was built at the inn site which closed in 1981. Crazy history. The spot where the inn was is just a big field. I guess there was even a 9 hole golf course there around 1900. We did find a cellar hole around where the Merrill house could have been.

Then on our way out, we found this cellar hole further downhill from where the inn would have been. Could have been outbuildings from the original Breezy Point House.

Here are some more pictures from our hike. We did Moosilauke back in November too, and in this post, I discuss the link between Moosilauke and Dartmouth College.

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Built in the 1990s by the Dartmouth Outing Club, just beyond this bridge there was a shelter called Camp Misery in the 1930s. I believe the bridge is made of pieces of the shelter.
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Soft snow and ice on the trail
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Mizpah and Jon on our way to the summit, South Peak in the background

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Up on the summit, windy as usual!

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View of Loon’s south peak
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Moosilauke’s summit is always windy, it is the first tall peak that gets wind from Vermont!

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Beautiful birches on the trail
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Mizpah relaxing when we got back to the car

So now I have done Moosilauke 3 times. Its great because there are so many different trails up and down it, I have never done it the same way twice. We are going to try to hike the next couple weekends and we have some big hiking plans for this summer. I still have 9 left to complete the 4000 footers in NH. Of course they are all tough, long, or far away hikes- save the craziest for last? I read this article this past week, and it really summed it all up for me. Where do you like to hike!? I love hearing other people’s hiking stories!!

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Dartmouth Outing Club & Mt. Moosilauke

I hope that you all had a good Thanksgiving and a great weekend!! I spent the weekend up in NH with my fiancé and his family. We celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday, and then his birthday on Saturday with an awesome hike to #optoutside on Friday in between.

I only have 7 hikes left to complete the NH 48 4000-footers…..but they are all pretty long. We wanted to be back, showered, and ready to go for dinner & drinks at Poor People’s Pub (good grub, cheap beer) Friday night, so we chose Mt. Moosilauke  for our hike. The trail we picked, the Gorge Brook Trail, had a book time of 5 hours. We did it in 4.5, but we had to add an hour because the gate to the access road was shut and locked so we had to walk another 1.5 miles in and out from the trail head. That happens in the fall/winter.

The Gorge Brook Trail, Al Merrill Loop, Ridge Trail, and Snapper Ski Trail all start near the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. The lodge and bunkhouses are owned by the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC) from Dartmouth College in Hanover NH. The DOC is legendary in the White Mountains. Their love for outdoor activities, particularly winter sports has made the White Mountains what it is today, a region dotted with ski resorts, and home to cross country ski trails, snowshoeing trails, and backcountry skiing. Really  many of the first mountaineers in the Whites were from the DOC, some from Harvard too. These were the first mountaineers out west in many cases too. They were men that loved sport, competition, and endurance….and had the privilege and opportunity to travel and play in the mountains.

I have already hiked Mt. Moosilauke from a trail on the other side of the mountain, Glencliff, so this was my first time seeing the lodge. It’s really neat, bunkhouses named after different classes, a swimming hole for the class of 07, and the lodge itself is huge! They offer lodging to the public, students/alumni get a discount, and offer meals too. It’s also home to the trail crew, a group of students that maintain 17 cabins and ~50 miles of trails between the lodge and the campus in Hanover.

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Ivy league bunkhouses folks
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Walking up the main lodge, it’s huge!!
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Tried not to be too much a paparazzi, but I loved this bunkhouse. You can just barely see the screened in porch on the right with matching hunter green adirondack chairs
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The lawn of the lodge- I picture frisbee games, picnics, and stargazing out here

The hike itself was great, trail was not too rocky, lots of rock stairs, some ice towards the summit. The trails are very well marked by orange signs and very well taken care of. There are a couple re-routes which can be annoying, but are also signs of good trail stewardship. For this mountain, they have been moving the trails up and away from the riverside because of erosion and damage from hurricanes in the past.

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Mizpah is very attentive when we stop for a snack
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Selfie with Miz!

 

Dartmouth owns the Gorge Brook watershed, something like 4500 acres on Mt. Moosilauke and the surrounding area. It is named after C. Ross McKenney, an avid woodsman who oversaw the building of the main lodge in 1938. The lodge was saved after many years of disuse in the 50s by Al Merrill, the Director of Outdoor Programs and Ski Coach at the time.

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Memorial for Ross McKenney at the last sure water stop 

The summit of Moosilauke is above treeline. It can be extremely windy up there because its the furthest west of the 4000 footers and catches undeterred wind all the way from Vermont. There is a stone foundation up on the summit, the remains of an old hotel up there in 1860. It was first called the Prospect House, later called the Tip Top House. The Carriage Road Trail was originally used to reach the hotel. It was lovingly run by Dartmouth students from 1920 until it burned down in 1942. The hotel on Mt. Washington was also called the Tip Top House. I just couldn’t get a pic of it on this hike, the wind was gusting to ~50 mph. It was tough to stand up and walk at times.

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Freezing in the wind on the summit, couldn’t take too many pics
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Muddy paws and ears flapping in the wind

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I absolutely love the history in the White Mountains. All the old hotels, mountain huts & shelters from a time when the train was the only way to get up there. To see what it looked like up there in its hey day. Not all of it was good of course, the White Mountain National Forest was almost leveled for lumber and to create farmland. I definitely prefer it with the trees, but the glimpses of the past are much appreciated.

I would like to explore the lodge more when its open. They open in May and close November 1st. Don’t worry, my fiancé is doing the grid for the 48, so he has done Moosilauke in 3 months so far, 9 more to go!

What did you do to #optoutside on Friday? Have I inspired anyone to come to NH and see the Ivy League accommodations at the ravine lodge? Please say yes! 🙂

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