August 24, 2014

It's the climb...

With both girls at the camp for the first and the last time, and with Kubus still fitting in the backpack and Andrzej still in shape to take him up, we decided to give Mountain Washington a chance.
It was a plan of ours since we first visited White Mountains twelve years ago.
Two years ago we attempted it partially with Zuzia by a Tuckerman Ravine. She was a trouper, but after three miles up, we knew that it is getting a little to dangerous for kids.
Last year did not work well; we ended up in different part of New Hampshire.
This year we finally said, now or never.
We decided to take Ammonoosuc/Jewell Loop trail. While it is one of the longest, 9.6 miles, it is also considered the easiest of them all, which let me tell you does not mean that it is easy, probably just less dangerous!
We were lucky to cut down the distance to 8.2, since we could park at the Cog Railway. The trail there just lingered amongst the woods, with a possibility of meeting a bear later in a day, so we skipped that part.
We left one hour later that we had planned, around 10 am.
First part, around 1.4 miles was the easiest one. We covered the trail quite quickly, keeping up with the rest of the hikers. After the Gem Pool, the trail became very steep. The only one mile in distance took a lot of time. A quarter of a mile before Lakes of Clouds hut, we have entered the Alpine zone of vegetation. We reached the hut.
It felt like years, years ago in Poland, climbing Tatras and sleeping in huts. It was truly a place with a smell and character only the high mountain hikers can appreciate!
After the short stop we aimed for Mount Washington. Even though it felt within the reach, it was still 1.4 mile to the top. And we made it! It was a sense of accomplishment, success, pride and...disappointment!
Too many cars, too many people who got the by rides or train. Just crowded top of the mountain. It looks that the serious hikers omit the summit and hike along the ridge, which is what we did later.
We started going down first Crawford Notch trail and then by Jewell trail. The Crawford trail descended gradually, offering awesome views around. Once we had joined the Jewell trail it became very rocky and steep and quite challenging. Then we hit the tree line and after a while it became easier, with hard ground to walk on.
The hike itself took us 6 hours and 20 minutes. The time that we spend all together with rests took us 9 hours. The day very well lived indeed.
With one item crossed off of the bucket list, another took its place. I would really like to take kids on few days hike in White Mountains; while taking a night rest in the AMC's huts. After the latest hike, I believe it is quite doable:)

At the Gem Pool

The steep climb

Washington Mountain, yet still far away

Resting in the AMC's hut

The hike from hut to the top
A surprise for a little trucker!


At the top
Earl Gray tea never tasted this good!
Time to go back

The best part of the hike!

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