4000 Footer Club

Mt Moosilauke
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Elevation:   4,802 Feet
Summited: October 29, 2009
Distance:    9.6 miles
Difficulty:    Easy to Moderate
Views:        Excellent (Summit Only)
Loop:         Ravine Lodge → Gorge Brook Trail → Mt Moosilauke Summit → Beaver Brook Trail → Asquam Ridge Trail

  It was October and we wanted to get one more hike in before winter arrived. So, we decided to make a day hike up Mt Moosilauke. It is the most southwest of the 48, 4000 footers in the White Mountains. The Appalachian Trail traverses the summit, coming up the Glencliff Trail from the west and down the Beaver Brook trail to the northeast. It has multiple trails to the summit so there are many options for a good loop. We decided to take the Gorge Brook Trail to the summit and then take the Asquam ridge Trail back down to the Ravine Lodge.
  The trailhead starts from a unique car turnaround, and then crosses the Baker River over a metal bridge. As you start to head north, the trail climbs relatively steeply for 1.5 miles or so as you cross the river a few times, a great place to fill up on water as there would not be another river crossing for five plus miles. On this morning it was very foggy and a steady mist was covering the woods all around us. The trail then took a right and got slightly more steeper, traversing a series of switchbacks, before coming to our first viewpoint. The fog at this time was starting to lift and looked like it was going to turn out to be a great day. The scene was through the treetops to a view of Jobildunc Ravine, where you could see the fog still hovering at lower elevations, a spectacular sight. After a break for refreshments we continued onward through a less steep section. Twenty minutes or so later we came upon a more impressive and broad view of the Ravine to the west where I assumed the Asquam Ridge Trail passes. Soon after a short drop the trail hits tree-line and advances towards the summit.
  You see the daunting Kinsman Range to the northeast but all around it has great 360 degree views. The summit at this time had surprisingly strong, cold winds. There were a couple of rock formations that were supposedly part of a hotel that gave you some shelter from the storm. We took a break in one of them and had lunch, including communal cornbread and wine. Thatís what I love about a day hike. You have the opportunity to bring things that an overnight hike would not allow you to, due to space and weight constraints. As far as Iím concerned a day hike should always includes a toast at the summit. After lunch, we moved on to a grassy part of the summit where the winds werenít as intense. Most of the lower elevations were covered in fog, but you had a great view off all the surrounding mountains breaking through the haze. We admired the landscape and took pictures at an impressive cairn. From here we started our way down the mountain taking the Beaver Brook Trail (AT) to the Asquam Ridge Trail. There werenít many impressive parts to this trail until you came upon The Baker River. We took a break at an impressive bridge and enjoyed the soothing sounds of the moment. From here it was an enjoyable two mile trek along the river back to the trailhead. A great hike.