Well, maybe hiking a mountain isn’t exactly what most people would call a lazy activity. However, hiking relaxes my mind and my thoughts better than any other pastime. For that reason, I believe it’s my “lazy” pastime.
Turkey in the Trail
Steep ledges with water runoff
This weekend, I decided to head up to the Conway area and be “lazy” on South Moat Mountain. It’s been on my list for quite a while and I had been yearning to get up to the Whites. Unfortunately, since Lylah is due in less than eight weeks, Jill decided to sit this one out.
Mount Chocorua at ledge lookout area
I made it to the trailhead around 8am and to my surprise, it was pretty warm already. I did pack for a cold day, as you never know what the Whites throw at you. However, most of the warm clothing I brought ended up being extra weight in my pack rather than extra layers on my body. I hiked most of the day in short sleeves.
What I believe is Carter Notch
The trail started off flat and snow covered which soon gave way to mud. A quarter mile up the trail, I turned the corner and there was a turkey standing there with his feathers completely spread out. I was able to snap a few photos and then he scurried along. The trail continued on with stretches of both snow and mud. A mile or so in, the trail started getting steep and the terrain changed from mud and earth to rocks and ledge.
At one point, there were extremely steep ledges to the left of the trail that served as a snow-melt runoff. The trail eventually crossed over the top of the ledges and gave a great outlook to the south, over to Mount Chocorua. The sun kept climbing higher and the water runoff kept getting heavier. The ledges were a bit slick so I was sure to be cautious with every step.
View to the west
Up past the ledges, the trail took on a moderate incline again. However, the snow became much deeper. As the temperature increased, more and more of my steps post-holed a couple feet. At this point, I knew I was close to the summit, so the last thing I wanted to do was take the time to pull out the snowshoes (which was a process the way I had them strapped on).
Mount Chocorua from the summit
I finally made it to the summit and found very blue, crisp skies. To the north, was a great landscape of snow covered Mount Washington. To the east, Conway was below with Kearsarge North overlooking. To the south, Mount Chocorua stood most prominent in the sky. And to the west, the Pemi Wilderness was clear and beautiful. You could even see across the state to the Franconia Notch.
I sat on the summit, soaked in the sun and views, conversed with a couple other hikers and ate my lunch. It was a great afternoon. After about forty minutes, I packed up all my gear (most of which was extra weight considering the temperatures) and headed back down the Moat Mountain Trail. At this point, my pack was getting heavy and I was getting pretty tired. I’m ashamed to say, I was pretty beat after I finished this 5.4 mile hike. Last year, we finished up the season hiking long loops like the Franconia Notch and Flume/Liberty. Today was definitely a wake-up call for me. I better get my butt in gear if I’m going to tackle Washington in July!
All in all, it was a great day to be in the Whites. I can honestly say, however, that I did miss hiking with Jill today. She’s my day hiking buddy and it did get lonely after a short while without her. Soon, it will be three of us hiking together and I can’t wait for that…only eight weeks left now for new hiker to get here!
Mt. Chocorua over Chocorua Lake...I stopped and took this on the way home off from Route 16