Monday, July 21, 2014

Lake of the Clouds

The weather for Mt. Washington was forecast to be perfect - highs in the 50s, few clouds and little to no wind! Little to no wind is almost unheard of on top of Mt. Washington! A rare day!

It took about an hour and half to drive from the campground to the summit. It was sunny the whole way up, but when we got to the summit there was a big cloud and it was cold! We couldn't decide what to wear - we'd both brought all types of warm clothes, but the sun was strong and hot, if the sun was out we'd need to be dressed for summer, but if the clouds were blocking it, it was chilly! Hard to dress appropriately!

We headed out, going the correct way on the AT this time! The AT is hard to follow through the Whites because it goes in all directions in order to go over all the peaks and through all the notches, it's easy to get turned around and be going the wrong direction!

We had to go down to get to the hut and the trail was all rocks! Mostly small-ish racks you could step over and on. No climbing or rock scrambling. Many of the rocks moved however and just when I'd get a good pace going I'd hit one that moved and almost lose my balance. It was 1.5 miles and a 1000ft of elevation loss to the hut. Because of the rocks and going slow it took us over an hour to get there!

The hut was very nice, all enclosed, unlike Lonesome Lake which was separate buildings. Lake of the Clouds is the highest hut in the whole hut system so that's probably why it's all enclosed, it gets super cold up there!

We went back out to eat lunch on the rocks overlooking the lake! The sun was shinning and it was a very nice place to eat! Both Dad and I had full signal on our cell phones! This meant that I received a school email beside Lake of the Clouds! Just because it comes doesn't mean I have to read it! LOL!


We'd studied the map and found that we could do a loop to get back to the summit so we headed up a different trail than the AT. At first the trail seemed super easy - it was up, but it was more gentle, there were rocks, but they seemed smaller, more secure, and there was more grass. The views were different too! The mountains in the distance were blue, just like the ones at home, only much bigger!

Just when I was really enjoying the stroll through the rocks, the trail started to descend. Wait. What? Downhill? The summit was up. Why were we going down? We went down a ways and then came to the mouth of Tuckerman Ravine - this is one way up from the bottom of Mt. Washington. It's 4 miles with 4,000+ feet of elevation gain! Dad wanted to walk up it, which would have been great, except that once you walk up, you gotta walk down! And down is way harder than up!


We took in the view of the ravine and chatted with folks who were coming up - they looked very tired! The last part of our hike was the top 0.6 of a mile of the Tuckerman Ravine trail. This was also where we would gain 900 of feet of elevation. This is why the first part of the trip back was so easy. The trail was a rock field. Big rocks, little rocks, climbable rocks, step over rocks, rocks of all types! The big ones you had to climb up were actually easier! Overall it was actually a really fun trip up! I know I've said it before and I'll prob say it again, but I love my new Oboz shoes! They are so light and they grip so well! I felt almost like it was levitating up the rocks!


Soon we were back at the summit and headed down the mountain back toward North Conway. Yesterday when we were shopping we found an ice cream place - 18Degrees C - they advertised that they used only NH dairy, no corn syrup, no junk! We had to try it! We wanted to sample it last night, but they were closed. This afternoon was our chance.

It was a small shop and all the flavors seemed weird. They also had other ice cream treats - frappes, sundaes, Popsicles etc... We started by asking some questions and chatting with the owner. One of the ice creams was made with mushrooms. He told us not to turn up our nose until we tried it. We didn't try it. He had a pineapple pink peppercorn that was weird - he gave us both a taste and when we didn't like it, the guy seemed to start teasing us. When we finally ordered - me getting a chocolate and Dad getting coffee the guy started teasing us saying we were boring and that our order was so boring he almost fell asleep while he was preparing it. He was trying to be funny, but I found it rather annoying. The ice cream had good flavor - both the chocolate and the coffee tasted great, however the texture was funny, it was very grainy. It was not going to be our favorite ice cream.

We came back to the campground for dinner. We made a yummy stir fry, but the rice didn't work and was kinda gross, so we decided we needed another ice cream stop! This time it was back to Lickety Split since both Dad and I had enjoyed that the last time. I got the lemon sorbet again and it was very good! I'm starting to OD on ice cream a bit! Every day for 2 solid weeks! I may have to take a break! Of course we are heading to Stowe, VT which is practically the Ben & Jerry's Headquarters!



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