The drive from Conway was an enjoyable one. The weather for the day was looking
perfect for hiking, 70ís and partly cloudy. My foot was working well this morning
as the solo 45 minute ride to the trailhead passed through Pinkham Notch just east
of Mt Washington. The trailhead parking lot, a quarter of a mile pass the
Androscoggin Ranger Station, is just before the bridge over the Peabody River,
if youíre traveling north. NOTE: The ranger station is a great place to stop and
use the facilities. The parking lot was quite scarce, so it looked like it was
going to be a quiet hike on the trail. Having bought a new daypack earlier this
year, I thought Iíd try it out. What a difference it makes on the trail not having
to lug around a multiday pack all afternoon. It made for one of the easiest hikes
to a 4000 footer Iíve ever done. The trail starts off by crossing a footbridge over
the Stony Brook and continues along it for a comfortable grade for just under a mile.
After the next river crossing, the trail turns left and follows an overgrown logging
road. From here the trail ascends moderately for the next couple of miles, a
pleasant and peaceful hike along dirt and stone. At 2.3 miles the trail crosses
Stony Brook for the last time at a beautiful cascade and pool. I would suggest
stopping here for a break as the next 1.5 miles to the AT is steep and constant.
At 3.1 miles you come upon a small brook and continue along a mossy ledge that has
you eventually traveling upon a boardwalk. At 3.6 miles you come to the Carter
Moriah Trail (AT). You turn left and follow the boardwalk for a short leisurely
distance. Soon after the boardwalk ends you start walking up rocky ledges that
bring you to the first open views of the south cliffs. For the next mile you enjoy
excellent views and multiple faux summits. At one point, I considered the possibility
of passing the summit. Unfortunetely, I did not have my map or guide book with me.
As I was on the AT, I figured I just wait for someone to pass and ask for info. Ten
minutes later a hiker came up the trail and told me the summit trail was just a ways
down the AT. A few minutes later I came upon the trail to the summit. Itís a vertical
climb up to a rocky ledge. Hope for dry conditions as it would be scary to climb in
rain or ice. Once to the summit there are excellent 360 degree views. A perfect time
for a drink and a smoke if you gotíem.