Sunday, March 22, 2009

3-22-09 Hiking on the Franconia Ridge to celebrate the first full day of Spring

Yesterday was a wonderful treat. It was one of those days in the White Mountains that is rare in that there was no wind and not a cloud in the sky. I had made other hiking plans but quickly changed them to go up Mt. Lafayette and cross the Franconia Ridge. It's a hike I do often but, in this instance, not for several months. It's never boring. So, I'm including this piece in the blog so you can all enjoy the hike.

The early morning light was lovely as I started up the Bridle Path to Greenleaf Hut and Lafayette. There is still an enormous amount of snow in the woods even down in the floor of Franconia Notch where this picture (above) was taken at the junction of the Bridle Path and the Falling Waters Trail. In the notch at 8:30 am the temperature was 0 degrees F and not a flutter of wind.

Lonesome Lake, that thin sliver of white in the near center of the photo, sits in a "pocket" below North and South Kinsman to the west and Cannon Mountain to the north. It's possible the lake was created when a large ice block from a down wasting glacier was dropped off and eventually melted there forming a "pot hole". This, and the next photo, were taken from the Bridle Path as it threads along Agony Ridge, a long "arm" curving down from high on Mt. Lafayette.

Cannon Mountain creates the west side of Franconia Notch and at the right hand edge of the cliff is where the famous Old Man of the Mountains used to reside (before his recent demise). The cliffs in the photograph are a popular rock climbing area. Their sheerness makes one think about how they were "cut" like that to open up the whole side of the mountain. I wonder if you cut a comparable area of Mt. Lafayette if it would look like that in cross section, or any mountain in the region. Are they all solid rock? Certainly, the continental glaciers were met with a lot of resistance or there wouldn't be mountains here at all.

This is alpine woodrush (Luzula spicata), I think. I need to do some work on the woodrushes and the sedges of the apline zone in the White Mountains. At any rate it forms thick mats on the west side of the summit cone of Lafayette and is pale green during the summer.

The summit of Mt. Lafayette from the Greenleaf Trail as it tops out on the west side of the mountain. That's a "glacial erratic" sitting there pretty much on the very tippy-top of the mountain. It was "parked" there thousands of years ago by a glacier that was passing through.

No comments: