The team started off at the Cog base taking advantage of the forward position to facilitate an easier entry. Our guest — a member of the Veterans on the 48 — wanted to experience some alpine action and do a winter shakedown at the same time — these, in tandem, were the primary purpose of the trip. They planned to ascend the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, maybe hit Mt Monroe, and maybe, just maybe, go to Mt Washington. They didn’t achieve all that. We’ll cut right to the chase. But the primary two-part objective was totally met.
At first our guest probably wondered what the big deal was. The trail rises gradually amid the snow covered trees alongside the river. It’s a delightful trek, snow falling as they went. He and Redline Guide Mike Maciel taking it easy and enjoying the gentle nature of the trail. After Gem Pool, however, the trail’s character changes. It goes up. And up. And up. Our guest testing out his winter hiking gear like never before.
Soon the team made treeline and the daunting-terrible alpine zone, passing clouds making things interesting. The boarded up Lakes of the Clouds hut sitting silently before them, our guest seriously impressed with the Presidentials’ otherworldly lunaresque landscape as he took it all in. They didn’t hang out long, they needed a break and it was cold and windy, so Mike showed the way to the building’s “dungeon” — an emergency room in the frozen “basement.” There they warmed, drank tea, and ate fancy snacks (but not crumpets).
Back outside, satisfied with, well, pretty much everything, our guest walked up a huge snowdrift on the leeward side of the structure making his was to the top of the roof. As far as he was concerned, it could have been the top of the world. A gust came from the west, rocking him slightly as he looked around taking it all in. He shivered a bit, looked down at his guide, and declared that he was standing upon the summit of day. He was beaming, very satisfied, so with that the team made their way down the mountain.