Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hike Report: Lafayette, Lincoln & Little Haystack

The details: Up Falling Waters Trail to Little Haystack, Franconia Ridge Trail to Lincoln and Lafayette, down Greenleaf to hut, down Old Bridle Path to trailhead.

Total mileage: 8.9. Total time: 8 hours. (Yes, just call me Pokey.) Left trailhead at 9:30, back at 5:30. Climbed on Saturday.

I was very prepared for this hike (except for my flannel clothes that I usually bring for sweat and runny noses. Never forget these again.) I packed my bag, and my bag for clothes to change into and started out bright and early to pick up my hiking partner.
Almost 3 hours later, here we were at the trailhead. We were taking Falling Waters up, and Old Bridle Path down.
Everyone and their dog was out hiking on Saturday, along with half of the population of France (or perhaps Quebec). The trail was quite crowded at the beginning, with various dogs running back and forth, and people quite close to us. At the trail split, most seemed to go up Old Bridle Path while we went to Falling Waters, so that helped to thin things out.

We soon came upon a series of very pretty waterfalls (despite the fact that I'm not smiling in the photo.) The thing about pretty waterfalls, the trail on the side of the water fall is steep and rocky. Which we decided was much better to go up than down, and gave us a much better view of the waterfalls. We tucked our hiking poles into our packs and scrambled up and up.

Somewhere around this time I realized that I hadn't quite eaten enough for breakfast and needed some fuel. I was taking small bites of my ProBar since they aren't easy to eat, and snacked on some cheese sandwich. I should have sat and ate more. I think it would have made the rest of my hike more enjoyable and better fueled.
I do not hike fast, and my lungs were definitely feeling the climb. My legs felt fine and it was frustrating that my lungs and heart did not seem to be cooperating. My speed was about 1 mile per hour, approximately that of a spider (and much faster than a sloth and quite faster than a garden snail) so we were soon passed by everyone. My poor hiking partner hikes much faster than I do, so she spent a lot of time waiting for me.

But, my slowness allowed me to see a mouse trying to carry a toad stool into it's burrow, which is just as cute as you'd imagine it would be.

Soon enough we were above the tree line and it was worth it.
The rocky ridge.
Tree on very windy Little Haystack. 4,800 feet. Sadly, it doesn't qualify as a 4000 footer "because it stands less than 200 ft (61 m) above the col on the ridge from Lincoln" but we did bag two 5000 footers, and climbed 3 actual peaks. It was very windy up there.

When I first attempted tree pose my inner thigh muscle seized into a charlie horse so I had to stretch out a bit, and then it was much more elegant.
We hiked over Lincoln 5089', and finally made it up to the summit of Lafayette. 5260 feet. By this time I was about to bonk.
I ate some trail snacks - marcona almonds and chocolate chips. My spirits and energy picked up quite a bit after having lunch. Some of these, the rest of my cheese sandwich, a hard boiled egg, and bite of my very unphotogenic PB&J.
Then we did some more yoga poses. (There's a crow photo on it's way.)
Side plank!
We hung out on the windy summit for a bit, looking at Mt. Washington, doing yoga poses and taking group photos for other people.

Looking back from whence we came.
Heading down from Lafayette, we descended to the Greenleaf Hut. For the first time in 5 hours I had to pee, conveniently at the toilets. I think that my profuse sweating on the way up made it so that all liquids left my body via sweat, and then on the way down when I wasn't sweating as much I finally had to pee.

Anyway, the hut was quite crowded with people sitting and having coffee, cocoa or lemonade. We peeked into the bunk rooms then restarted out trek down. In this photo you can see the entire ridge we hiked, with Lafayette visible on the far left above the roof.
One last look.

On the way down, we passed 3 of the hut croo who are the young men and women who work at the huts and have to carry all the hut supplies up on their backs. They have packs that are wood framed with liquor store boxes lashed to them (I swear one of the girls was carrying 3 boxes of canned goods). It's a bit like huffing and puffing your way down a hill and then having Lance Armstrong fly up the mountain past you riding a wooden bicycle.

We would stop and watch them pass, then watch them speed up the mountain. They climbed with their hands holding up the bottom of the wood frame and the girl carrying the canned goods was holding her iPhone as well. They were truly a site to behold.

Heading down was when we both got a little cranky. Our legs were hurting, I could feel hot spots on my big toes and we just wanted to be done. But the only way to get down the mountain is to climb down. So we trekked on.

Finally we were at the bottom, too tired to take any more photos, but there was parking lot yoga to stretch out our tired muscles.

3 hours later, I dropped my hiking partner off and was soon home myself. I was exhausted. I washed my feet and calves and went to bed. I fell asleep shortly after 9, having put myself to bed with no dinner.

I slept right through until 6am, and today I feel slightly stiff when I get up from sitting, but other than that I feel fine. No sunburn, no stitches (which apparently my father needed when he fell once on those same mountains) no bug bites. Normal amount of hungry. Rather thirsty, but I think that's also from the crazed housework I was doing in very muggy weather.

Now to plan the next one! (Which my dad thinks is going to be Mt. Washinton, 6288 feet, but I think I might need to re-think that.)

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