Friday, June 28, 2019

Hiking Mount Moosilauke New Hampshire

Start: Ravine Trail to Gorge Brook to Summit. Return:
Carriage Trail to Snapper Trail to Gorge Brook and back to Ravine
Lodge

My friend John organized a mid-June trip for three friends to hike with him up Mt Moosilauke in Benton, NH. Mount Moosilauke is a 4,802-foot high mountain with a 7.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail rated as difficult by Alltrails.com.

The Gorge Brook trailhead starts at the Dartmouth College Ravine Lodge directly to the summit dome. F
rom the Summit our return route  is the Carriage Road trail to the South Peak. This section of the Carriage Trail follows the Appalachian Trail (AT.) Where the AT turns right on South Peak, we keep on the Carriage Trail until the junction where it meets the Snapper Trail. The Snapper Trail meets the Gorge Brook trail about a half mile from the start of our Ravine Lodge trailhead. 

A large cairn with a sign marks the top of Mount Moosilauke.



We planned a one mile per hour speed with a good half hour at the top, weather permitting. The peak is wide open, so our stay depends on the weather, such as wind, temperature and rain. 8 am to 4 pm on the trail is our conservative estimate. We pretty much stayed with our plan, mainly because the rating of Difficulty was very appropriate for this senior group.

Highlights of our hike:

  • The weather was perfect – 70 degrees, light wind, and moderate sun.
  • We all had walking sticks – speaking for myself, these “extra two legs” helped my balance as most of the trail was a rock-strewn path with rock steps in a mostly dried stream. We went up – up- and up.
  • We stopped for water and Gatorade every 10 to 20 minutes, as well as nibbling on trail mix and nourishment bars. This water and protein discipline was necessary given the difficulty of the rock-laden trail that required all our strength and concentration. 
  • We switched leaders every 30 minutes or so. The rotation of leaders allowed our group to stay together, and pace moderately,
  • As we neared four hours on the trail, we were ready with exhausted and anticipation to reach the top. This summit expectation was temporarily put on hold with a moment of tired disappointment, when upon reaching the above treeline plateau, and expecting this to be the summit, we saw in the distance a peak marker that was so far away. As a hiker heading down passed us, I asked, “Is that the peak way up there?” She responded, “Yes, but it is not as long as it LOOKS.” At first her comments did not pick up our spirits, but as we quickly closed the open distance between us and the top, we realized she was correct. Whew!
  • On the trip up, the bugs were no issue, but on the return trip the bugs were overwhelming, and we had to stop and spray ourselves with bug repellant, or, like John and I did, put on our bug nets
  • That evening at dinner, we all agree Mt Moosilauke took our full effort … we left no regrets of “Giving it all we had on the mountain.”
  • Personally, hindsight says I should have prepared better for Mt Moosilauke by doing short local hikes of one to three hours. This nearly eight hour very strenuous hike required more effort than merely my preparation of rowing and running twice week.

References

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