Wednesday, November 6, 2013

11-4-13 Mt. Lafayette

Last Tuesday, lured by the scintillating light and weather, my daughter, Liz, her boyfriend, and I,  made a fast trip up as far as Eagle Lake on Mt. Lafayette. It was all the time we had allotted and we had already squandered some of our time trying to decide whether to make an attempt on Mt. Osseo, again (something we tried a few times in October without success) and decided not to because it's hunting season and there were a lot of hunters in the woods. We thought the Old Bridle Path would be safer. The photo is of very delicate ribbons of ice formed from water in the top soil that froze over night and were extruded from the ground by their own expansion in the cold night-time temperatures.

The November light was indeed stunning with its wintery tones and low slant.  November, or not, the sun was still providing welcome warmth throughout the hike. The temperature overnight had reached low into the single digits (Fahrenheit) and stayed in the low 20s into mid-afternoon.

 An area of blow downs beside the trail. This is an old disturbance going back to either Hurricane Sandy or Irene.

 At its midpoint to Greenleaf Hut the trail swings sharply to the left and then climbs on ledges before coming out of the woods and onto Agony Ridge.

Mt. Lincoln from a low point on the ridge.

 Mt. Lafayette, left, and Mt. Lincoln, on the right, on a brilliant Fall day. This photo was taken from "Thermopylae" (a nickname since the 1940s), one of several viewing points on the ridge that are distinguished by dramatically exposed, bare granite ribs and the sheer drop into Walker Ravine and Walker Book.

Looking up the ridge toward the "Agonies". The agonies are a set of 3-4 "bumps" (some people say there are 5 Agonies total) that extend up the ridge to the hut, like giant stairs. Each makes itself known by a steep rise and a grand view at its apex, the lower two, I should say, have views. The views on the upper ones are obscured now by trees. There was one we called "Tram View" that had a great view straight down into Franconia Notch and the Cannon Mt. aerial tramway. That view is currently curtained off by a wall of balsam firs.
Snow on the ridge!

And wonderful to see!

Moosilauke in the distance and the Kinsmans taken from the top of the first Agony. Lonesome Lake is just visible in the upper right center of the photograph.

 Cannon Mountain's famous cliffs. In the background on the right you can see the high mountains of Vermont. From higher points on the ridge we could see into New York and Quebec and as far south as Mt. Monadnock in southern New Hampshire.

 Eagle Lake and Mt. Lafayette from the Greenleaf Hut porch. The summit looked tempting but we had other obligations so we ate a quick lunch and headed back down. We neglected to bring traction, as in micro spikes, etc, and passed other hikers who had done the whole ridge without them, but if you're planning on hiking this weekend  (November 8th through the 10th) you'll make better time up and down with some form of traction, micro spikes or other types. On Lafayette there's ice on the Old Bridle Path in patches low on the ridge and a lot just below and just above the lake.

Another photo of Eagle Lake at sunset that I took in March 1970 while on a camping and climbing trip to Mt. Lafayette. Greenleaf Hut is on the knoll.

Another sunset photo of Greenleaf. Looks cold, doesn't it?

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