Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Hike to Lafayette and Lincoln

July 4th weekend is probably one of the busiest weekends of the year in the White Mountains, and for some unknown reason we decided to attempt one of the most popular hikes in the area.  The hike starts at the Lafayette Campground, ascends the Falling Waters Trail to Little Haystack, and then follows the open ridge to the summits of Mts Lincoln and Lafayette.  From there it is a steep descent back to the start via the AMC Greenleaf cabin.

We got off to a late start and when we arrived at the parking lot at 8.45am there were cars parked all over the place, and it felt like being in New York City with crowds everywhere.  About a mile up the trail we passed a dozen Japanese tourists with their cameras and shiney new hiking poles who were attempting the first of many stream crossings without getting their boots wet.  It continued like this for about two miles, and most of the hikers had no clue about where they were going, what to take with them, or how to dress for a day n the mountains,  Fortunately the multiple stream crossings and the steep eroded path slowed many of the less experienced hikers down and very soon we were away from the madding crowds and simply hiking along the trail with about a hundred or so kindred spirits.

We arrived at Little Haystack just in time for a mid-morning snack ("elevenses").  We then enjoyed the rolling ridge hike with fine views of the surrounding >4000-ft peaks and stopped for a picnic on the summit of Mt Lincoln.   The hiking was straightforward and the views kept getting better all the way until the summit of Mt Lafayette.  From there we strolled down for an afternoon coffee break at the hut, and we were back to the car by 4pm.  We enjoyed sunshine, light winds, and no bugs for the whole day so we considered it to be a five-star hike overall.

The ridge that we hiked.

Sheri on the ridge.

A well marked trail.

Falling waters on the way up.

Elevenses on Little Haystack.

Fun in the woods during our descent.

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