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Overnight Alpine Tour

Liz and Linda enjoy pure bliss. Photo by Linda.

A returning guest and amateur photographer, Linda, made a request to basically be in the alpine zone from sun-up to sundown, to make use of those golden hours shutterbugs love so much, summit Mt Monroe, and summit Mt Washington. And, during it all be informed about the alpine flora she wanted to photograph. Not just a hike, but a nature tour as well. It was suggested by Redline Guide and naturalist Liz Wyman that the best way to get all that done within a safer, more reasonable timeframe — even though we do offer sunrise and sunset hikes as premium options — was to make it two days instead of one and involve an overnight at the AMC’s Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Smart thinking.

Booking time with us is often a flexible thing. If we can, we work with our guests in an attempt to avoid dangerous or even just miserable weather. If we can. Once reservations are made in the Huts, however, the dates become etched in stone. There’s no changing things up. Luckily for Liz and Linda, the forecast was mostly doable. Quite breezy on day one, but nice.

Exeperience tells us that these winds, while wicked, might limit movement in places. MWOBS.

They succeeded on all fronts, though the plan was modified in the field to avoid day one’s wicked winds. Originally, since Monroe is just a wee jaunt from the hut (an easy .4), that it’d be a great station from which to marvel at the sunset, but the winds forced Liz and Linda to forego that plan, though they did brave the weather and summited once earlier upon arrival to the ridge. Next up is a summary from Liz along with several stunning photos (photos by Liz unless marked). Enjoy:

Linda had big goals for this trip: bag Mt Washington and Mt Monroe for her New Hampshire 4000 footer list, and photograph the Alpine Garden for her art portfolio. We planned an overnight trip, staying at Lakes of the Clouds Hut. This allowed us to capture a beautiful sunset and take advantage of the late day light for some mountain photography. We ascended via the short but steep Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, enjoying the beautiful cascading waterfalls all the way up. We reached the Hut around lunchtime and enjoyed hot soup and refreshments before ascending Monroe in 50 mph winds. There were 90 mph gusts on Washington, so we decided to hang out at the hut and tackle that peak the following day instead. Dinner at the hut was amazing, we slept really well, and enjoyed a nice hot breakfast in the morning. The hut croo entertained us with a guitar serenade and a hilarious skit. From Lakes of the Clouds, we crossed over to the eastern side of the ridge and spent several hours photographing rare alpine plants in Mt Washington’s famous Alpine Garden. These tiny but beautiful flowers are relics from the last Ice Age! We enjoyed tasting the wild alpine cranberries — small dried fruit from last year that taste like Craisins! After identifying too many species to count, we ascended the summit cone of Mt Washington via the Nelson Crag trail and arrived just in time to photograph the Cog Railroad train arriving. This was Linda‘s first time ever on Mt Washington and she enjoyed exploring the Tip-Top house and the observatory. We headed down towards the Great Gulf, and saw three more Cog trains ascending. Linda wanted to explore the Jewell Trail, so we completed our loop by descending that rocky, beautiful ridge. The weather was glorious on day two, with only moderate winds and views for miles. Linda was so proud to finish numbers 35 and 36 of her 48 New Hampshire peaks! —Liz Wyman


Day one of the adventure…

The water’s flowin’ and the flowers are bloomin’. Photo by Linda.

Monroe is ahead.

With wild winds they summit Mt Monroe.

They await the sundown and the opportunities it presents.

The sundown from here can be otherworldly on some days.

Lake side alpenglow.

Linda is delighted to have this opportunity and it shows.

Good night.

Day two of the adventure…

The utilization of teachable moments and the sharing of information are Liz’s strong suits.

One of the primary purposes for this tour.

Photographing some of the amazing Alpine Garden flora. Please note that while it may appear that the photographer was on the plants, they were actually balanced on rocks.

Floral beauty (probably Bearberry Willow). Photo by Linda.

Mountain Avens. It is endemic to the alpine zone in the Whites and a few islands off of Nova Scotia. Photo by Linda.

And then they summited the Rock Pile. Congratulations!

On their way to Jewell Trail they cross the tracks. Photo by Linda.

They stop for photos before leaving this special place.

Parting the Alpine.

Well done on this adventure, both of you. Congratulations to you, Linda, for those two summits getting you that much closer to completion. And, Liz, well done on a fine lead.

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