Steep Climb To The Top!!

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
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Flag of United States  , New Hampshire
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday, September 13th

We got up nice and early this morning so that we could get a good start on our long hike for the day. We left the campground at like 6:45, but got held up right outside the campground due to construction on the bridge to get in to the campground.  They had a dump truck blocking the road so we had to wait until it was full of dirt before it moved out of the way.  This did allow us to watch the sun rise over the mountain in front of us. 

We got to the Pinkham Notch parking lot and started on our hike at about 7:30am.  We weighed our packs before heading out, Jared's weighed 20lbs and mine weighed 13lbs.  Jared had two bladders full of water and I had one, so we had a total of 6 liters of water with us.  We decided to take the Tuckerman Ravine Trail up to the summit of Mt. Washington.  This is a 4.4 mile strenuous hike up to the top of Mt. Washington, with an elevation gain of 4,266 feet.  It was definitely strenuous.  The first 2.4 miles to the Hermit Lake Shelter was steep, but not nearly as steep as the next 2 miles to the top of the mountain.  All of our information said that if you aren’t feeling up to doing the whole hike a good turning around point is the Hermit Lake Shelter.  We were feeling really good when we got to the Hermit Lake Shelter so we looked around and then continued on.  It definitely got much steeper after that though.  The rocks became more like big boulders that we had to climb on.  It was pretty cool to do, but definitely very tiring.  Of course with trails like that you always think you have gone farther than you have so the second half of it seemed like it took forever.  We were definitely really dragging our feet on the last stretch, which was the steepest of it all. Well Jared actually says another part was steeper, but the last stretch felt like the steepest to both of us.  We made it to the top though and were super proud of ourselves.  We did it in about 3.5 hours so we felt pretty good about that. 

When we got to the top we of course got our picture with the summit sign and then we checked out the gift shop (where we got a bench mark magnet) and the Tip Top House, which at one point was a hotel on the top of the mountain.  It was built in 1854.  It was pretty cool to check out.  It was starting to get chilly up there though because grey clouds rolled in while we were up there and it was pretty windy.  When we were done checking out the stuff around we headed to the snack bar area to eat our sandwiches and snacks we packed.  We also both had to change out of our shirts so that they would hopefully dry off some.  It was pretty amazing the difference in temperature from when we started to when we got to the top of the mountain.  I started in long pants and a long sleeve shirt and reached the top in shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  It was pretty chilly at the top though so we both changed in to long sleeve shirts and started our trek back down in long sleeve shirts.  I contemplated putting on my pants again at the top, but figured I would just want to change out of them again shortly after starting back down again.  Before heading back out we refilled our water.  I filled up my bladder in my backpack and Jared topped off one of his, but left the other one empty.

After we finished up lunch we decided to head down the Lion Head Trail, which is 4.8 miles long.  This trail starts out at the same spot as the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at the top and then veers off 0.4 miles down the mountain.  Then shortly after passing the Hermit Lake Shelter it meets back up with the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.  The length in between is longer than the Tuckerman Ravine Trail so we thought it might be a little less steep.  Another lady at the top, who had taken the Tuckerman Ravine Trail up, asked us if the Lion Head Trail was less steep since she also didn’t want to go back down Tuckerman.  Haha.  I told her I had no idea, but we were thinking that since it was a little bit longer than maybe it wasn’t as steep.  We decided to check it out.  It was fun to go down a different trail, but it really wasn’t that much less in steepness than the Tuckerman one.  We again had huge rocks to climb down on and shortly after starting out decided to change out of our long sleeve shirts and back in to our short sleeve shirts.  The sun was out and shining again with blue skies and big white clouds, it was amazing the difference the top to only about a half mile down the mountain. 

Even though we weren’t as winded coming down the mountain it was still hard on our legs.  My knees were definitely killing me from all the stepping down from rock to rock and both of our toes were sore from having our feet getting shoved up in our shoes.  After we met up with the Tuckerman Ravine Trail again we were both pretty excited to only have about 2 more miles to go and for it to be not as steep.  As we were making our way down we came across two ladies that had done a hike up to the Hermit Lake Shelter and were now on their way back down.  The one lady was moving faster than the other one and quickened her pace to keep up with us.  She chatted with us the whole rest of the way down the mountain.  She was quite a chatter and it was pretty nice to have a distraction from our toes and legs hurting us.  It made the last leg down go by quicker.  When we got to the bottom we went our separate ways from our new friend and decided to weigh our packs again.  Jared’s now weighed 13lbs and mine weighed 12lbs.  So Jared’s lost 7lbs from the start between his extra bladder of water and the food he ate and I only lost 1lb,which was probably just from the food I ate and the water I drank on the way down. 

After weighing our packs again we headed right for the RV so we could take off our shoes and take a seat.  Then we figured out what campground we wanted to go to and headed right for it.
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