Thursday, February 23, 2017

Monroe, Washington, and Jefferson. February 21, 2017

There were spectacular views on this hike; we live in a wonderful state full of beautiful mountains which support many different animals and rare plant species.  Since the Inauguration, I have thought about my future here as a human being on this planet.  I am in love with Earth's mountains and wildlife, so the thought of pollution and extinction, caused by climate change, is frightening.  I often wonder if my children will see the same kinds of immaculate sights I see now.  I also wonder if the precious White Mountains will still be protected when I am older, or if people will have disrupted the tranquility and beauty of the trails, mountains, and animals.  As a young person, I am concerned about the future of my generation heading into this new era.  This is why I ask you to please take the time to read the following and look into Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the people who work there.  From now on, every time I post a trip report, I will focus on certain aspects of different people's work at UCS.   Here's how you can support UCS.

Rachel Cleetus is one of the wonderful scientists with whom we spoke at UCS last week.  Dr. Cleetus does important climate change research in order to find cleaner renewable energy resources.  From now through March, I will be talking about the remarkable work she does to help better our planet.  

Rachel Cleetus has a Ph.D. and an M.A. in economics from Duke University and a B.S. in economics from West Virginia University.  She works in the Climate and Energy program as the lead economist and climate policy manager.  In her video below, Dr. Cleetus talks about how energy and economy "go hand in hand," but using energy such as oil and coal (nonrenewable resources) will eventually seriously hurt us.  To avoid this kind of negative outcome, we must find ways to use other types of energy such as solar power and wind power.


Please remember to donate to her work at UCS by clicking on the link and scrolling down to the bottom of the page to select the dollar amount which you would like to donate.  Thank you for your help and your time!  I greatly appreciate it.  Now, on to my trip report:

Mt. Monroe, Mt. Washington, and Mt. Jefferson
Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, Mt. Monroe Loop, Crawford Path, Gulfside Trail, Jewell Trail
around 11.7 miles
around 4500-ish feet of elevation gain

We awoke at 2:00 am and got to the trailhead at 4:30.  The forecast called for a warm day with low wind speeds; it was quite nice to get out of the car and not have to wear gloves!

Mom, Sage, and I traded our usual ultra-light packs for heavier ones for this hike so that they could hold all the gear and equipment we brought, such as crampons and ice axes.

We were very happy to have John Myers come with us again today!

This is a picture Mom took of Sage and me with our headlamps on.

I love when I can see the shadow of my phone in the image.

If you look closely, you may be able to see a brightly lit "One Way" sign...

Twin Mountain town lights in the distance...

After a little more than half an hour, we arrived at Gem Pool.  Everything was very dark and, of course, snowy.

The path got steeper from there - it's almost straight up for about a mile from Gem Pool to the hut.  The crampons we wore provided good traction.

We popped our heads out of the trees and saw a clear view of Mt. Washington as the fresh morning light crept up the horizon.

The bright moon was still visible in the sky.

Lakes of the Clouds hut!

This is a lovely picture Mom took of Sage and me going to drop off our packs at the hut before climbing Monroe.

Snowed-in bench...


John, Sage, and I standing on the roof of the hut!

Sage and Washington...

Climbing up Monroe, there was a steep slope that we all took care ascending.  I forcefully dug each crampon into the snow so I would not slip.  When it was Mom's turn to ascend this section, she had a harder time of it.  After a little help from John and me, she made it up.  Mom felt very silly...we had brought ice axes for parts like this, but then we had left them at the hut with our packs.  Major mistake!

A spectacular sunrise...

We were getting close to the summit.  The snow looked orange and purple under the influence of the colorful sunrise.

Sage and I took some pictures of each other and the sunrise/views.  Here is Sage...

...and me.

Sage taking a picture of me (Mom's photo):

Sage and I found ourselves behind because of all our picture-taking.  Time to catch up!

The sun's rays shone over everything and warmed the air.

On the summit of Mt. Monroe!

John, Sage, and I on Monroe...

Mom took this beautiful shot of us and the sunrise.


Coming down to retrieve our backpacks from Lakes of the Clouds hut:


John and Sage!

This is a selfie I took real quick while heading down.

The snow-covered shingles of the hut are scales of a stirring snake resting under the snow.

Mt. Washington cheerily peeks over the roof of the hut at us, all in bright blue and white. 

Looking back at Monroe...

My attire matched the scenery of the early morning sky.

We ate a small snack before heading up Mt. Washington (Sage).

Cairn on the way up:

I got her to laugh!

We reached Mt. Washington's summit!  The weather was perfect; there was a slight breeze and warm temperatures.  I could leave my hands out of my gloves for a while and not need to put them back in.  We had spectacular visibility - we could even see the bright yellow/white streak that was the sunlight reflecting off the ocean.

John took this picture of Sage, Mom, and I:

Mom took this one:

There were few clouds in the sky.

There's the ocean!

Feeling good...

More Presidentials ahead:

Me and my crampons on the railing atop Mt. Washington.

Clear skies, comfortable temperatures, perfect views, and good company.

To be extra awesome, one must dab on the highest peak of New Hampshire during winter.

The sun reflected off the snow...

We had a snack...

We saw a photo shoot of Marty the cat!  I am so glad to have seen him.

After a little while of enjoying the perfect weather on Washington, we started heading over to Mt. Jefferson, one of the most difficult winter peaks in the Four Thousand Footers.

Many of the trail signs were covered in rime ice.

John looking pumped!

The bright sun started making us hot as we went around Clay and climbed Jefferson.


There were so many false summits, each one feeling like a stab to the legs; we had already climbed two peaks, so we were a bit tired.

After hiking over many bumps, we finally reached the summit of Mt. Jefferson!

John took these beautiful pictures...

So much fresh snow up there...

Eyes near the ground, thoughts in the sky.

Heading back, there were definitely more clouds in the sky.  Also, I caught a glimpse of one odd-looking dark gray cloud, which was motivation to get down quicker.

John decided to slide down this part as it was slippery.

After saying goodbye to the above-treeline-trail, I made it into the woods and we walked for a bit under the shadows of sheltering trees.  We used snowshoes for this section since the trail was getting soft.  

One last look.

We could see cars!

The parking lot is close.

Goodbye mountains...

The hike was amazing, and we were grateful to have the perfect weather opportunity to seize these few peaks.

No comments:

Post a Comment