summit_trail

Mount Moosilauke (4802')


Beaver Brook Trail

Saturday, June 7th

Time.......: 11:00am - 7:00pm; 8 hours on trail (~7 hrs. hiking)
Distance...: rt: 7.6 miles
Elev Gain..: 3100'

Saturday's hike of the westernmost 4000 footer in the WMNF was fantastic but arduous. The rain beat us to the summit and spoiled the views, but the effect created by the rain cloud hovering around us did add quite a bit to the experience. Overall, we all enjoyed Moosilauke and would do it again some time soon. Perhaps on a nice day we'll hike the easier route up and take in the views we missed and on another day we may hike to the crash site of the bomber.

Elleing, Ash, Andy, and I were all impacted by some strange mental struggles on Saturday. (This actually began before we left and included the final decision to hike the more difficult trail to the summit.) Ash seemed the least affected, but after he inadvertantly whacked his head on tree during the ascent, he was in the same mind-mess that we were. This added some comic relief to the thigh-busting, heart-pounding, bug-infested, unrelenting climb to the top of Beaver Brook and the Blue Ridge crescent. Most people know that Monadnock is a steep ascent up White Dot trail. Well, our trip climbed 1000 feet higher than Monadnock in a bit less distance. Steep is an understatement. I whined last week about the stair-master-like climb on Lonesome Lake trail at Cannon and how the trail had been maintained to the point that it really did resemble stairs. Well, Beaver Brook trail has stairs; wooden 6x6 beams wedged into rock to make the trip up possible. If it wasn't for the awesome sight and sound of the Beaver Brook cascading down along side the trail we might have had more to complain about.

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After picking up a parking pass and some sandwiches in Lincoln, NH, we parked at the Beaver Brook Trailhead on Rt. 112. A sign near the beginning of the trail reads, "This trail is extremely tough. If you lack experience pleas use another trail. Take special care at the cascades to avoid tragic results." We started hiking at 11:00am and 1.5 hours and numerous waterfall pictures later, we reached the halfway point. It really flattened out at this point as had been promised to Andy by a descending hiker 45 minutes earlier. The cascades behind us, we hiked towards the summit happy that the trail was now fairly flat and forgiving. The atmosphere changed completely as the woods opened up and the sound of the brook faded away. We picked a comfortable spot and had a quick lunch.

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It was cooling off a bit when we sat down to eat. The rain was starting to move in and the 65 to 70 degree temps were dropping quickly into the 60 degree range. We put on some warmer clothes and continued from this point along Mt. Blue ridge. Our first outlook appeared on the left and as we stopped to survey the rapidly diminishing view, we noticed a large summit way off in the distance. It seemed to far away to be Moosilauke, but it was. I wish we had taken a picture of the mountain from where we were because you could see the massive trail markers setting in the field on top of Moosilauke and it would have been a great shot of the mountain. Maybe next time.

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The trail was very direct and it didn't take too long to get there after all. We came upon Benton trail at 2:40pm which meant the summit was only 0.4 miles further on. We broke tree line shortly after the trail junction. The rain cloud was sitting on us now and we were exposed to the wind. Looking up the trail towards the summit, there was about 200 yards of open field visible until the clouds rushing over the summit obscured the view. It was a remarkable scene with cairns over 5 feet tall lining the path into the mist. The wind was slapping at our clothes with an audible flutter. We snapped a few quick pics to capture the moment before those who had hoods pulled them over their heads for protection, however Andy, still wearing shorts and a cotton T-shirt, plodded on we the renewed energy he always seems to generate near the summit (and near the car).

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We saw the rubble from the old summit building just before 3:00pm. Our ascent complete, we took some time to stand on the summit, snap some pictures, read the memorial to the crewmembers who died in the bomber crash, and sit down behind a rock wall for some snacks. It took us a few stone walls to find a spot that accomodated all of us and sheltered us from the wind and the wet. I say wet because I don't think it was acutually raining but that the clouds were just pelting us with moisture. This turned into a highlight of the trip with a very cool view of the massive summit area. We all agreed a return trip was in order. Ash snapped a pic of us huddled against the wall and we wrapped up our stuff and headed down the mountain at 3:30pm.

The first hour of the decent was a breeze. By 4:30pm we were at the halfway marker. Things were looking good for a quick descent and an early dinner in Lincoln, NH until we started notcing how wet everything was. It had apparently rained pretty hard here while we were on the summit. I suspect we were above the heaviest rain and so never noticed. But now, as we approached the steep section of our route, it was obvious that this was going to take some time. On the way down we passed a trail sign that read, "This trail can be very slippery when icy or wet. Be cautious and consider and alternate route." Every footfall was precarious and our group found themselves firmly planted on the ground after an abrupt slip more than once. When the treacherous stairway section arrived, we used extra caution. The good news was that the rain had beaten down the bugs. We proceeded slowly and made it to the car by 7:00pm for 8 hours on trail and about 7 hours of hiking. About 1.5 hours longer than planned.

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We piled into the car and headed to Truants Restaurant for dinner. We all had Buffalo wings and steak and were very happy for it. We weren't so happy for the stairs we had to climb to get out of the restaurant, but it was a worth it and a nice change from Gordi's. Home before 11pm.

truants_restaurant.jpg All Pics . . .

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