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Testing the Waters

Normally we’d come up with some cleaver lead-in, but really, in this case, we don’t need to because Redline Guide Arlette Laan, the lead for this hike, covered that. Inasmuch, we’re ready to dive right in. Here’s today’s story, from Arlette’s perspective…

Did you know that our guests are really smart? They want to make sure they can accomplish their hiking goals safely and having us guide them. Which routes to take, what gear to bring, what time to start, what time to turn-around, we can give them that information. The really smart ones do a smaller ‘practice’ hike before doing the bigger one they hope to do. This is actually really helpful for a guide. We can assess the guest’s capabilities and preferences. In this case we had done Pierce and Eisenhower earlier in the year before attempting Mt Washington this week. She had done well and had expressed an interest in summiting more 4000-footers and hiking the Terrifying 25, too. So I suggested hiking Caps Ridge Trail up Mt Jefferson and then hike on to The Big W. This would also give her a little introduction to scrambling if ever she did want to attempt the much-talked-about Huntington Ravine Trail. And not less important, it would give me a different trail to ascend than the one I hiked last week. Haha.
The weather was great, the fall foliage was brilliant with yellows and oranges and some reds peeking out. The views from the Caps were awesome. Some low-hanging clouds in the valleys adding to the ambiance. It was a little breezy but we expect that on an above treeline adventure; it adds to the experience.
Only two other hikers were at the summit of Jefferson with us and we encountered very few the rest of the way to Washington.
We enjoyed the cute trains on the Cog Railway until the wind blew the smoke from the coal-fired steam train right in our faces. Luckily it blew by fast and we could breath again.
The summit was brimming with tourists and hikers as we stood in line for the summit photo. To save some time we ate our snacks while waiting. Daylight is getting shorter and we wanted to be off the mountain before needing headlamps. We filled up water inside the building and were on our way down. The views towards the southern Presidentials were great as we could clearly see Pierce and Eisenhower from our earlier hike. Going down the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail was a steep one, but the slabs were dry and our shoes gripped well. We met some ladies going up which worried me, but they said they planned on taking the Cog down. My question if they had headlamps never got an answer.
We enjoyed the cascades along the way and some views back to where came from. The fall colors were brilliant along the river and the late afternoon light made everything shine. Our timing worked out perfectly and we made it our just before dark. Well done for 4000 footer numbers 4 & 5! —Arlette

And now some photos…

Totally, what she said. Great job, team, and to our guest, thanks for letting us help!

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