Moosilauke: 1, George: about 1.6

if you recall the last time that I tried to climb Moosilauke, you'll note that I failed. Yesterday, however, I set out for attempt two and succeeded.

I drove up to Concord on Saturday and then, bright and 6:30am early Sunday, I drove to Cambridge, grabbed Max and drove up to Lincoln, NH. In Lincoln, we grabbed breakfast and some snacks before driving out the the trailhead. Our hike finally set off at 11am.

Moosilauke starts our reasonably flat, with a slight rise over easy ground for a small fraction of a mile. After the very brief illusion of ease, comes the Hell that is going up approximately 2000 feet in about a mile, which for the mathematically inclined is about 22° average inclination. This rise is flanked, most of the way, by a series of very beautiful waterfalls and consists primarily of rocks. It should be noted that the steep part of the path begins and ends with signs warning that it is very treacherous and should be avoided when wet or icy. After using most of our initial energy on the steep portion, we were happy to find that it became gradual and had a bit of soft dirt for a while, providing a very welcome respite. After the gradual portion, we hit a number of up and down portions, nowhere near as severe as the initial portion of the trail, before beginning the final ascent to the summit. We reached the summit at about 2pm.

The summit of Moosilauke is essentially a very large grass hill, with a great many blueberry bushes and some rock shelters, reaching a maximum elevation of 4802 feet (trailhead is at 1800 feet). The summit provides fantastic views in all directions, unobscured by trees or any of the smaller surrounding mountains. The summit provided a nice cooling breeze, a good place to have lunch and a whole bunch of gnats. So far as I can tell, I probably ate about a dozen of those gnats as they landed on my fingers and food. All in all, Moosilauke has a beautiful summit that is rather pleasant to hang out on. We left the summit at about 2:30p for home.

The upper portions of the trail were just about as easy to go down as they were to come up. The steep portion, however, was not so pleasant or easy. Initially, the only problem getting down the steep portion was that we were quite exhausted by that point and steep rocks are not easy to descend. Shortly after the steep portion began, our real troubles began, rain. At first it rained lightly, just enough to make all the rocks slippery and treacherous, which makes for a wonderful addition to a trail listed as to be avoided when wet or icy. The light rain was rather annoying but then when it was followed by a rain heavy enough to drench us to the bone, it felt as though the mountain were spiting us and trying to make me fail once more. Eventually, we made it through all the slippery rocks and mud to the bottom, reaching trailhead at 5:30pm. From the bottom, we drove to the Ashland Burger King, The Burger King of New Hampshire mountain climbing, had some dinner and proceeded home. By the time I arrived back in Woods Hole, at 10pm, I felt as though I was going to collapse. Shortly thereafter, I did collapse, thankfully in my bed. Today, I still feel as though I am going to collapse, but I can probably hold myself together until the afternoon.