Mt. Pierce #11 of the NH48

Yesterday, I hiked Mt. Pierce with two friends.  And we really needed this. Or at least two of us did.  After my breakdown on Moosilauke and the demoralization of water crossings and postholing on Cabot, I needed a win.  This was it.  A bluebird day with amazing views. A great time with a friend I already knew and one I just met.

The stats:

Mt. Pierce
Distance: 6.4 miles
Elevation gain: 2,400 (1.65 Empire State Buildings)
Time:  6:10:26 including all breaks

We met at the AMC Highland Center.  I love starting and ending hikes at the AMC lodge. It’s so amazing to use a real bathroom before and after, with flushing toilets, running warm water, and paper towels. As well as the ability to buy a cold or hot drink and a snack.

The White Mountain area is still sporting winter conditions, despite the fact that it was April 6.  Thankfully the trail was packed snow so we were able to wear our microspikes the whole way.  We even left the snowshoes in the car thanks to advice from an employee at the lodge. It was in the upper 20s and lower 30s, relatively warm for “winter” conditions and hardly any wind, even at the summit.

Warning sign at the trailhead

I always love this sign.  If you don’t believe the sign, go read Not Without Peril.  A really great book describing several of the deaths and mishaps throughout the years on Mt. Washington.

CrawfordPath

Much of the way is on Crawford Path, the oldest continuously used mountain trail in America, which is incidentally celebrating its 200th birthday this year!

IMG_1772

This photo was NOT from today, but the same trail I took with my son to summit Mt. Jackson.  Just to give you an idea of the amount of snow on the trails, there are no rocks right now.  They are buried under snow.  There isn’t even a hint of the rocks that lie beneath the snow and ice (well, until someone postholes and you sometimes see peeks of running water at the bottom).

MtWashResort

In the white patch on the left of the valley shown above, is the Mt Washington Resort.  Roughly 2,200 feet below (and probably at about the same elevation as our start).

SummitView
View of Mt. Washington from the summit of Pierce
SummitSelfie
Obligatory summit selfie (AWESOME hair)

Also, it was a Friday, so we only saw a few people the entire day and had the summit to ourselves!

trail

Here you can see how they mark the trail when there aren’t trees tall enough for blazes, cairns!  Also, you can imagine how difficult these must be to try and find in white out conditions, and how it can quickly become incredibly dangerous above treeline.

We saw grey jays at the summit!

We got to butt sled some on the descent.  It was great that the trail was so packed that butt sledding didn’t affect the trail conditions, BUT that also means your sledding is much faster.  There may or may not be video of me screaming “WAY TOO FAST! WAY TOO FAST!”

Closer to the trailhead, is this lovely little pool.  When my son and I hiked Mt. Jackson, we stopped in to cool off.

I couldn’t quite get as close yesterday as I would have postholed to my hip.

What a lovely day, with amazing views, and great company.  THIS is why I hike.

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