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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cap Ridge Trail

Played hooky yesterday...I had never hiked the northern Presidentials in July before (as part of hiking all 48 4000' peaks each month). We have been getting a lot of rain and yesterday was the pick of the week!.

Cap Ridge Trail--How do you get there...From Vermont I take Route 2 to I-91 and then I-93 to NH. Get off at the Bethlehem exit which is also Route 302 going east. Coming north on I-93 from Massachussetts get off on the Twin Mountain or Route 3 to Route 302. From the junction of 302 and 3 go about 506 miles to turn left at Fabyan's Restaurant onto Base Station road which takes you to the Cog Railroad if you do not want to walk up. Follow this Road for about 4-5 miles until you get to Jefferson Notch road on the left. Take it and go another 3-4 miles to the height of the land the parking area is on the right.

The Jefferson Notch Parking area at about 3000 feet is the highest starting point in the Whites and gets you above the tree line in about 1.5 miles. Although the forecast was for sunshine, once above the tree line I ran into blowing fog and high winds in about 30 minutes. The ascent to Mt Jefferson is steep but in my opinion not as grueling as several other climbs. The way down though wet or dry can be quite hairy. I headed over the top to the Great Gulf Trail and went to Mount Adams and then Mount Madison. Conditions were so windy that as you hopped from rock to rock you had to make sure you did not get get blown over.

One important point is that even on the cool days you have to eat and drink at regular intervals. After completing my goals for the day I had to get back to the car I returned on Great Gulf trail and took the Cornice Trail (a new one for me) which skirts the western side of Mt Jeff and gives great views of the Castles (rock formations) below. Getting back to the Cap Ridge Trail I ran to an husband and wife shepherding a troop of boy scouts back down the trail. The lady said to the kids "Look there is a real man bleeding and not complaining about it" I disagreed with her and told her "that is not what my wife says".

But in my mind I was thinking that anyone doing stuff with kids to pass on the love of the outdoors were the real Men and Women not some old guy trying to capture his misspent youth.

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