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 1/2 a Presidential Traverse 
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 1/2 a Presidential Traverse
Our original plans to head out to the Sierra’s again this year fell through due to many personal reasons, so Jeff and I still wanted to do something fun to end the summer in the local area. We decided on a Presidential Traverse with a night at Lakes of the Clouds and another night at Madison Hut. With the exception of the weather, it worked out great!

Saturday August 19

In order to be able to start early and to allow time to car spot (one car at Appalachia and one at whatever trailhead we began at), we decided to spend a night car camping at the Beaver Brook KOA. They have supported Flags on the 48 the past couple of years, so we figured it would be nice to return with some business.
Burgers, rain, and some hop beverages were the order of the night, plus the decision on where to start our trek. We had 3 options: 1. If it were nice we’d meet Brian, Jen, Quint, and Diane at Crawford and go over Mt Pierce to Lakes. Or 2. If it was cloudy but still reasonable, start at Edmands to Eisenhower then to Lakes or 3. If it was raining and obscured, we’d go up Ammonousac to Lakes.
Of course it was raining and cloudy when we woke up so we decided to take our time getting ready and we’d take the quickest route.
We packed up, spotted Jeff’s car at Appalachia on Rte 2 and started from the Cog just off Rte 302. It wasn’t raining by the Noon start time but we could not see any summits as the cloud cover was low in the ravine and we knew it would be very wet higher up. Neither Jeff nor I had ever done the Ammonousac and I must say that I was very surprised at how nice it was. We hit the Gem Pool and stopped for a quick bite and to talk to a few others on their way to the hut before the real climb begins. It’s nothing too strenuous but there are some open ledges and a lot of water including some really nice falls that you touch-and-go along the way. Well, maybe it’s more like water over rock slabs on the trail, but it’s still very nice. We got to the hut in about 3 hours or 1 hour per mile but we were taking our time and enjoying the day, as our only rush was to pick a bunk.
Once at the hut, we were assigned our bunkroom then changed into dry clothes and full rain gear in order to head up to the summit of Mt. Monroe. It’s a very quick climb to the summit but our hopes of a star filled night went out the door as the pouring rain began once we left the hut. We still managed to hit the summit, take a couple of photos, and tried to make the best of it. It’s the Whites so you have to expect rain!
The really cool thing was that despite the terrible conditions, several other people from the hut followed us to the summit.
We spent the night checking on the views whenever the clouds would dissipate, playing Mille Borne, and hoping the morning would bring us a clear day for our hike to Mad Hut.
Unfortunately we woke to more clouds and wet weather but the forecast was upbeat so we packed up and started towards Mt Washington along the Gulfside Trail. We opted to bypass the summit as we had been there just a couple of weeks ago, plus we were still in the clouds and didn’t want to waste the time at the top with nothing to look at but white fluff. However, just as we passed below the summit, the clouds parted and the sun tried to come out. Maybe we’d be in for a great day. We were just below the most northern peak of Mt Clay when the entire range seemed to clear and we decided to climb up to meet the Clay Loop Trail and to hit the summit of the most underrated hill in the Whites, Mt Clay. We were not disappointed as the entire Great Gulf opened up to us and all the Northern Presidentials were now visible even though it was only a few brief minutes.
With our hopes of a clear afternoon still possible we made our way towards Mt Jefferson. We still hadn’t completely decided on what we would do in terms of mountains to climb today and the exact route we’d take, but we were both leaning towards hitting a couple of the Adams peaks if the weather cooperated.
By the time we were down from Clay, the clouds and weather had deteriorated to the point where we put our rain gear back on where it would remain for the rest of the day. The hike around Mt Jefferson was windy, wet, and wild and we only made 1 stop near the intersection of the Sphinx Trail in order to have a bite to eat. It was amazing that only a few minutes earlier we were on top of Mt Clay in beautiful sunshine and now we were hunkered down in miserable rain and wind with visibility under 30 feet.
We both figured that once we were around Mt Jefferson and near the intersection of Six Husbands the wind would be at it’s worse since from here to the hut would give us the most exposure. Sure enough from Edmonds Col to Thunderstorm Junction proved to be interesting as the cairns we followed were spaced apart just enough so that we could make our way along the ridge due to the lack of visibility. Adding to the wet condition was the wind that held at a steady 10-15 MPH with gusts to 30 and we had a fun afternoon slipping along the green moss rocks all the way to the hut with only 1 stop at Thunderstorm Junction to take pictures on top of the giant cairn. We made out way to the hut at about 3 PM, picked our bunk, and dried off in order to continue our Mille Borne tournament for the rest of the day. We did manage to go out after dinner to see the clouds move away every few minutes to give us glimpses of the stars, but it was still pretty foggy.
The morning showed us some great promise as the burnt orange sunrise made Mt Adams look spectacular. We ate and packed up in hopes that our last day would be weather free and we’d finally hit a couple of peaks in the sun.
We said our goodbye’s to all the others that had done the same 2-night trip and headed for the Star Lake trail. We still had decent weather when we started but the clouds were coming in fast when we hit the base of the trail and by the time we were half way up, we were totally occluded and finding the winds to be considerable again. I had never done the Star Lake Trail and was really excited to check this one off even though it’s fairly short, but a whole lot of fun to climb on. Eventually we hit the summit of Adams and were alone with clouds and 30-40 MPH winds. We didn’t stay long but did decide to descend towards Airline when we made a quick bypass to John Quincy Adams summit. At least we’d get 2 of the peaks even though we couldn’t see much.
With the day still young we decided to take the King Ravine trail for descent. This was another trail I had never done and I had been looking forward to checking it out. However, the general rule is to go up this one especially with full packs, but lately we’ve been doing things in reverse like our recent trip down the North Slide of the Tripryamids. We slowly picked our way down to the Subway but decided to stay on Elevated in order to eat lunch before finishing the day on Short Line to Appalachia.
So even though the weather didn’t cooperate we were still able to redline 3 trails and managed to hit a couple of peaks.
I was able to take a few shots when the weather permitted and am attaching the link. The one of Mt Washington has got to be one of my all time best shots (check out #15 of 17).
Enjoy!
Bill

http://pucknuts61.spaces.live.com/

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Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:06 pm
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Love the pics as usual! Glad to see you and Brownie had such a great time. I really like the Ammo trail. Im glad we decided to go up it instead of Jewell when we did the rockpile a few weeks ago.

And how about that Star Lake trail!!!! Im not kidding when I say that, of all the trails Ive done in my 48 quest, this one easily ranks top 5 so far!!!! The view into Great Gulf with the Moriah/Carters/Wildcats beyond, and Madison, Jefferson and Washington flanking your sides.......PRICELESS!

Brian


Fri Aug 25, 2006 4:59 pm
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Hey Brian,

Totally agree on Star Lake....just wish we had some more views...but still a great challenging trail even though it's so short.

See ya in a couple of weeks! :wink:
Bill

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Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:28 pm
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Pucknuts61 wrote:
See ya in a couple of weeks! :wink:
Bill


Jen and I are VERY looking forward to the Bonds.

Brian


Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:50 pm
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