With a forecast of torrential rain from Tropical Storm Andrea on Friday night going into Saturday morning the weekend of June 7th, that didn’t stop me from conquering another 4,000-footer. We let the heaviest rains subside and decided to hike Mount Moosilauke (elevation: 4,802 feet).
Besides the planned Moosilauke hike, Chris and I (with Milo in tow) enjoyed a great weekend in Center Sandwich with my friend Molly at her house. [This is the same Molly that conquered Mount Morgan and Mount Percival with me on Milo's first long hike last summer!] It was a good time to get away from the city and electronics for a few days and just enjoy the good old outdoors.
We planned on leaving the house around 7 a.m. on Saturday to head over to Moosilauke since it was an hour drive but upon waking up, it was still raining. We thought we’d sleep in a little more and give it another hour or two before we headed out. Good decision too because it stopped raining (with only drizzling here and there). We got ready, packed our stuff and headed off for a 7.6-mile hike on Moosilauke. [On our way, we saw a baby black bear climbing up a tree on the side of the road.]
It was a little colder in the mountains so we kept our rain gear just in case (assuming it was worse at the summit). We started the hike at the Beaver Brook Trail which is also part of the Appalachian Trail. The two miles or so is very steep as you hike parallel to the Beaver Brook Cascades. There are plenty of man-made wooden steps to go up rock faces as well as some metal handrails for you to hang on to. It was gorgeous to see the cascades but also nerve-wracking with Milo constantly going towards it. We kept trying to prevent him from going too far because we thought he might slip and float downhill!
When we started hiking away from the cascades, we knew that we were getting closer to the Beaver Brook Shelter – a nice spot to take a break. It would’ve had a great view but it was cloudy and misty. At this point, we were halfway up the mountain and the easy part of the journey was to come with not much more elevation gain to be had. It was relatively flat as we skirted around Mount Blue’s summit. We kept on trucking and when we broke free from the tree line we knew we were 0.4 miles away from the summit – though you couldn’t see it at all!
Heading to the summit was interesting. It was very windy, rainy and cloudy. I could only hear my hood flapping in the wind. Once we got to the summit, we didn’t spend much time there. Screw having lunch there! I did a quick layering and we got our summit photos and scurried down back to the tree lines where it was a little less crazy. We could only imagine what it was like on Mount Washington which is about 2,000 feet higher.
We probably had the fastest lunch in my history of hiking as we were all cold and wet and wanted to get down as quickly as possible. We kept a steady pace as it was an easy hike going down, up until the Beaver Brook Shelter. Once we hit the Beaver Brook Shelter, we were more careful and slower going down because it was much steeper and slippery next to the cascades. There was definitely some butt sliding to get down some of those rocks.
Once we got to relatively less steeper conditions, we knew there were only 2 more bridges and rock-hopping across a stream that would get us to the parking lot. By the time we got to the car, it was 5:00 p.m. So it took us about 7 hours to hike Moosilauke. Not too shabby! We did it in the average time. And we were the first ones back too! An awesome first for Chris and I. We’re usually one of the last ones to get back since we’re not swift hikers.
We headed back to the house, enjoying the rest of the weekend – where it eventually was sunny.
Molly beat Chris and I in a game of Monopoly. We slept in, though Chris dreamt that Molly had told us it was noon and we woke up realizing it was only 7:20 a.m. We ate some delicious butternut squash ravioli (though it was mushy – I followed directions and waited until it floated but it never did). We worked off our calories by hiking or should I say brisk walk of West Rattlesnack Mountain, an easy 2-mile roundtrip hike. It was very popular that day with the weather. So many people including kids and dogs. Milo was a little distracted every time he encountered a dog – just wanted to play play play!
It wasn’t a complete weekend until we relaxed by the Pothole swimming area and got scrumptious ice cream at the Sandwich Creamery. The cutest baby sheep and calves kept us company as we ate. I wish we could’ve stayed there longer but we had to get back to the city.
And with that, 1 more 4,000-footer down, 42 more to go!