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  1. #1
    JSH's Avatar
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    NH- 4 days in the Presidentials 4 days in a "great high place" August 5-8, 2019

    I'm posting this trip with my Meetup backpacking group because of its potential to our hammocking group although it is not well suited for hammock or tent camping. Much of the hike is above tree line and the only way to camp is to drop off the ridge along often rigorous rocky paths. But that said, I feel that these mountains offer some of the most breathtaking vistas in the eastern US. Check out those shown in the 2nd video describing days 3 & 4.

    We stayed three nights at the AMC huts. MadisonSpring, Lake in the Clouds and Mizpah Spring. All three offered excellent shelter, food and fellowship. Highly recommend them. We had similar experiences at these huts two years ago. These huts offer practical options for shelter in these high mountains. In all honesty, I'd recommend them solely for the reduced pack load in not carrying hammock, tarp and quilts. The traverse from Madison Springs to Lake in the Clouds huts is one of the toughest hikes I've ever done. My pack load this trip was 13 lbs with water. That was plenty.

    I've been sore for two weeks from this hike, despite training with a loaded pack for three months, but already eager to get back up there. There is a majesty to these mountains as well as serenity. Hope you'll enjoy the videos. BTW, I posted a separate trip report in the forum Backpacking section involving me getting "lost" on the 4th day. It was uneventful in the end but a pretty sobering experience, one I'll be reminded of going forward.

    As a footnote to the hike, I've decided my future hikes in the Presidentials will begin at the AMC Highlands Center and use the Crawford Path toward Mt. Washington. I'll be 70 my next birthday and the rigors of the hike up to Madison Springs (I had to hike back down Tuesday morning to escort a member of our group who had been injured) and the type of hiking (rock to rock) on the traverse are going to exceed my physical capacity to enjoy a hike. Instead I'll get up to the "great high places" by way of the Crawford. It has some rock scrambles but a slightly lesser gradient. For example, the hike to Madison Springs averages more than 18% over 5 miles. To Mizpah Spring the grade is about 13-14%.


    Day 1 & 2 Up to Madison, the Traverse to Lake of the Clouds

    https://youtu.be/YLTgdAiOTB4

    Days 3 & 4 From Lake of the Clouds down to the AMC Highlands Center

    https://youtu.be/RMPk6oFF_aA

    In addition, here is a little fun. One of our group did a parody of Satchmo. It was a touching memory of a special personality and brought happy moments to the hut crowd. The whole hut applauded.

    https://youtu.be/PVm1b-HDDv4

    Here are a couple pictures that I find particularly compelling.

    Sunset from Madison Springs on Monday Aug 5
    600_483892771.jpg

    Morning hiking along Mt. Monroe's shoulder toward Mizpah Spring
    600_483892837.jpg

    Early morning sunrise over Mt. Washington from Lake in the Clouds
    600_483892718.jpg

  2. #2

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    Oddly enough, I did this identical trip with a 10-person group from NY, starting two days after you finished: Aug 10 - 12, Valley Way to Madison; AT from Madison to Lakes to Mizpah (blue-blazing the summits); Crawford Path down.

    We had much worse weather for our Presi Traverse from Madison to Lakes than you did: visibility was 1/8 mi, winds gusting 50-70 mph.

    I did backpack with a hammock in the Whites back in June (the weekend with the crazy weather and the fatality and rescue from Mt Washington). At the higher-elevation shelters with tent sites (Garfield Ridge, Guyot, Osgood), finding acceptable trees is very difficult, but not impossible. However, if the winds are blowing, you are in for a rough night. I highly, highly recommend bringing a sleeping pad as backup, so you can retreat to the shelter if you need to.

  3. #3
    JSH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackmagic View Post
    Oddly enough, I did this identical trip with a 10-person group from NY, starting two days after you finished: Aug 10 - 12, Valley Way to Madison; AT from Madison to Lakes to Mizpah (blue-blazing the summits); Crawford Path down.

    We had much worse weather for our Presi Traverse from Madison to Lakes than you did: visibility was 1/8 mi, winds gusting 50-70 mph.

    I did backpack with a hammock in the Whites back in June (the weekend with the crazy weather and the fatality and rescue from Mt Washington). At the higher-elevation shelters with tent sites (Garfield Ridge, Guyot, Osgood), finding acceptable trees is very difficult, but not impossible. However, if the winds are blowing, you are in for a rough night. I highly, highly recommend bringing a sleeping pad as backup, so you can retreat to the shelter if you need to.
    Don't envy you the weather you had. Must have been tough, particularly from Madison to Lakes. We were blessed with clear weather the first three of our four days. Winds like you describe couldn't have been much fun. Our group had developed a weather option should it look questionable on the Madison to Lakes hike. We were going to drop off the Valley Way and hike up to Lakes. Fortunately most of our group was able to avoid this. Of the 12 who hiked, lapse times ranged from 6 hours to almost 11. Everybody made it to supper at Lakes though. Was a good time the whole trip. We were fortunate.

  4. #4
    Member NOBOZax's Avatar
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    Nice report on a bucket list hike Always look for the good, even if it means climbing a mountain. It truly is a wonderful world

    Sent from my LM-V405 using Tapatalk

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