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 Mount Lincoln / LaFayette 
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Flatfoot
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:48 am
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 Mount Lincoln / LaFayette
I'm doing my first overnight hike in a few weeks and I want to make sure that I'm not getting in over my head.

We intend to begin our hike around 2:00 PM and hike up Old Bridle Path to Greenleaf Hut. We have reserved bunks at Greenleaf Hut for the night. We will leave Greenleaf Hut after breakfast and continue to the Summit of Mt. Lafayette. We will then follow the ridge to Mount Lincoln and then to Little Haystack. We will take Falling Waters Trail back down to the trailhead.

My friend and I have both hiked Mt Washington a few times. I have gone up Tuckermans ravine and down Lion's head and had no issues.

A few questions:
Will parking be an issue at the trailhead? Do I need a parking pass? Where do I get one?
Will we have trouble with our route (compared to my experience on Washington)?
I believe that Falling Waters can be bad if it is wet? Is a backup plan of hiking up to Mount Lincoln and then backtrack to the hut and down Old Bridle Path feasible?


Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:04 am
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Your plans are very reasonable. There is no pass required at the trailhead. The parking lot can hold maybe 200 cars so you should be able to find a spot although it can be quite busy. The route you plan to take is very popular and easy to follow. The Falling waters Tr could be slippery when wet but only on a couple of spots. Nothing to be concerned of IMO unless icy. Just remember that they serve dinner at 6pm I believe at the hut. You won't want to miss that. I think you should be fine and will have an excellent time especially if the weather cooperates.


Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:11 am
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Flatfoot
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I should add that we will be leaving on a Friday afternoon. Does this change the parking situation? What can I do for a backup plan as far as parking?


Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:14 am
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You should be fine on a Friday. By 2pm on any given day someone will be finishing and you can take their spot if you need to.


Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:21 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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You should still be fine for parking on a Friday. But as a backup plan, you could also park in the Lafayette Campground parking lot, on the southbound side of route 93. There's a pedestrian tunnel under the highway that brings you over to the Old Bridle Path/Falling Waters trailhead (which is on the northbound side of 93). To get to the Lafayette Campground lot, if you found the main one full, you'd get back on the highway and go further north on 93, and turn around at the exit for the Cannon Tramway (I think it's exit 34-B) and head south on 93.

Have fun! I think your plan is very reasonable, and I wouldn't worry about Falling Waters, you just might need to take some extra care if you come across some wet rocks.

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Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:28 am
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Just a heads up that there is a lot of road construction going on near the the trailhead. They are re-paving a good section of the highway. I was backed up today and at a standstill for a good ten minutes in both directions. I believe the pedestrian tunnel is still useable. I'll know more on Thursday night since I plan to do that hike during the day.

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Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:20 pm
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Flatfoot
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Let me know if they are paving both directions of the highway. I can come in either way.


Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:33 pm
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It does not matter which direction, They have both sides merging to the other side and only let the flow of traffic go one way at a time.

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Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:39 pm
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Flatfoot
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They are calling for scattered thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday. I've never encountered a thunderstorm while above the tree line.

Any suggestions on what I should do regarding the hike this weekend?


Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:02 am
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If you go up Falling Waters trail. treeline is encountered 100 feet from the summit of Little Haystack.

If you go up the Old Bridal Path, treeline is midway between the hut and the summit of Lafayette.

Between these distances is about a two hour hike for me and is rugged in some places. If it were me, After poking above treeline, I'd scan the skies and look for anything approaching weatherwise. If it looked not so good, it's a safe bet I would turn around and call it a hike. I've been caught above treeline in storms before and it ain't fun.

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Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:28 am
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This far out the weather prediction is not likely to be exactly correct.

OTOH, seems likely that the weather will at least be cloudy. No way to know what it will really be like until Friday or Sat.

If you wake up at Greenleaf and the weather is bad, you could just bail on the ridge and head back down from Greenleaf. They'll have current weather forecasts at the hut at breakfast.

If the prospect of hiking up to Greenleaf, and then hiking back down from there is too bleak, maybe you should consider canceling or rescheduling the reservation....

Being caught on the ridge in a lightning storm would be a Very Bad Thing.

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Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:39 am
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I agree that the ridge is no place to get caught. Very little place to find cover once you are past the hut for the next two miles. One little patch of trees between Lafayette and Lincoln but that's about it.

That said many days in the summer call for scattered storms so if the horizon to the west looks clear once you're at the hut I'd go for Lafayettes summit. If it looks ggod from there you should be able to make it across to Little Haystack before anything rolls in. You can usually bail out to the trees on the east side of the ridge with a little work in an emergency.

If they call for more widespread stuff then I'd find a different hike. Like others I have been caught up high in a storm, just once, and it wasn't much fun.


Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:34 am
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Flatfoot
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Got back last night. The hike was great.

We got to the trailhead around 2:00 and started up Old Bridal Path. The weather was "misty". I kept my rain jacket on for the first 30 minutes or so, until I got too hot. Right when I took it off, it started raining pretty hard, but only for about 10 minutes. There are a bunch of great overlooks along the trail, but the clouds were not cooperating. There is a sign about 1/4 before Greenleaf hut that is incorrect. It shows a map of the area surrounding the hut with a "you are here label." The sign is switched with the one on Greenleaf trail. I thought that we somehow missed the hut. Luckily one of the Croo members was coming up behind us and told us that we were on the right path. He then sprinted away.

We got to the hut around 4:00. We had a pretty good pace despite stopping to take in what views we could. We decided to just hang around the hut for the rest of the day. We took a short walk to some sort of a western overlook, but could see nothing but clouds. Dinner at the hut was great. The croo members are amazing to carry in all of that food and then cook it for us. They were awesome. It was foggy the rest of the night so we were trapped inside for the entire evening.

I woke up at 5:30 and kept as quiet as I could. Around 6:15 I heard others beginning to open and close their packs so I started organizing mine too. Breakfast was great. They served oatmeal, and I thought that was going to all. I filled up on it. Then they came back with pancakes and bacon. I didn't want to be rude so I ate some of that too.

We left the hut around 7:45 and headed into the clouds. We took the advice that we were given at the hut and avoided Falling Waters Trail. We got to the top of Lafayette in about an hour and took about 5 minutes to take in the "view". We then headed off towards Mount Lincoln. We think that we got to Lincoln, but I couldn't find a marker (and couldn't see more than 50 feet). We had hike for about 45 minutes, so we had to be there. The trail descended quickly from that point. Between the clouds and the silence, it felt as if I were the only person on the earth. It was an amazing experience.

After about 15 minutes on Lincoln we headed back towards Greenleaf hut. We met up with a trail volunteer at the summit of Lafayette and he helped us avoid taking the wrong trail. That sure would have ruined the day. We got back to the hut and enjoyed a nice lunch. There was a very large group of students "enjoying" a day on the mountain. I'm not sure if they all knew what they were getting into when they signed up for their trip.

We stayed at the hut for about 30 minutes before venturing down OBP back to my truck. Very uneventful trip down, in fact the views were worse than on the way up. I'm looking forward to getting back to this Mountain. We intend to go up Falling Waters next time, and hopefully the clouds will take that weekend off.

Thanks for all of the advice from the board, thanks to the trail volunteer for helping us avoid disaster, thanks to the Croo members for a great stay at Greenleaf hut.


Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:13 am
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Leg Burner
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Glad you had a good trip, depsite the weather. A cloudy day in the mtns is still better than a sunny day at work. Opinions on the huts vary greatly, but I too find them to be a fun change of pace once in awhile. I love backpacking and spend a lot of nights camping in the federal campgrounds when I'm day hiking.... but sometimes it's nice to be able to spend a couple days literally "in the mtns" without have to deal with a stove, tent, food, heavy pack, etc. Plus, it's usually a pretty fun scene in the huts and I've had some great conversations with folks I've met in them. The price sort of bothers me, but when you really think about what they're managing to do up there (for better or for worse) it's not so bad.


You really MUST make it a point to cross that ridge again in good weather sometime. It's truly one of the finest hikes in the Whites. And Falling Waters is a beautiful trail as well. Certainly worth a second trip.


Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:55 am
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Definitely worth another trip but it sounds like you made the best of what you were given.

Out of curiosity, why did they say to skip Falling Waters?


Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:50 pm
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