Saturday, July 28, 2012
Wrapping up the Presidentials
Saturday, July 21, 2012:
On another near-perfect weather day, I finished the traverse through the 26.0 mile section of trail between Crawford Notch and Pinkham Notch. I did this section north-to-south first, parking at the huge and hugely popular Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center. The AMC really knows how to run a hiker-friendly place. Despite the vast hoards of visitors today - a Saturday with perfect weather and vehicles filling the lots and lining the "NO PARKING" shoulders of the highway in both directions as far as the eye could see - the place seemed calm, welcoming and friendly, and the staff took the time to answer your questions and then check to be sure you had been satisfactorily helped.
From the visitor's center the AT takes the Old Jackson Road on a gentle ascent of a couple miles to the Mt. Washington Auto Road crossing. Then it's the Madison Gulf Trail and it climbs steeply for a bit to a knob called Low's Bald Spot, descends surprisingly steeply into the Great Gulf Wilderness where it hooks up with the Osgood Connector and takes you across the rambunctious Parapet Brook that drains the whole Gulf off the slopes of all those famous Presidents (plus Henry Clay).
Once you reach the Osgood Tent Site the Osgood Trail proper begins and your steep but not overly daunting climb up the Osgood Ridge to Mt. Madison begins. It's 2800 feet of climbing, but it only gets seriously tough for one short section of jagged person-sized rocks on a steep section of the ridge above timberline.
I'm featuring some nicely constructed and sturdy cairns in today's photos, both high on the slopes of Mt. Madison. The one up top looks toward Mt. Washington with Pinkham Notch to the left. Below is a view in the opposite direction, with the towns of Gorham and Berlin in the broad Androscoggin valley.
And finally, I want to show you a morning shot of Mts. Adams and Jefferson making their own clouds:
As you can see, the views were magnificent once again today. I'm going to miss this section of trail, but the memories now etched in my mind will not quickly fade.
Here's the track of today's hike as recorded by my GPS, with a link to more photos:
AT Day 184 - Osgood Ridge at EveryTrail
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