Today I joined a relatively large (for me) group of seven other humans and one dog for a hike of Mt. Moosilauke. This was my friend Lisa’s finish of the 48 4000-footers. Lisa was one of my hiking partners on my first 4000-footer (Cannon), so it was great to be able to join her for her 48th. Also on today’s hike were my friend Devon, Lisa’s cousin Deb, and Lisa’s friends Krista, Dave, Neil, and Karen, as well as Neil and Karen’s golden retriever, Maggie.
The day started off partly cloudy and just slightly chilly. Unfortunately, due to an alarm mishap, I didn’t get out of bed until after I had already expected to be on the road. Fortunately, I got all my gear and food prepared the night before, so I just had to get dressed, quickly brush my teeth, throw the refrigerated stuff in my pack, and hit the road (after messaging all my hiking companions to let them know I’d be about 15 minutes late).
All eight of us (plus Maggie) met up on Ravine Road by the Dartmouth Outing Club’s Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, and hit the trail shortly before 8:00 AM. We took the scenic Gorge Brook trail to the summit, following along a stream near the beginning. It’s generally an easy to moderate trail compared to others in the White Mountains – rocky, but no scrambling. It’s relatively easy to rock-hop in some spots and go around the rocks in others. About a mile and a half into our hike, there was an area of downed trees off to the right of the trail creating a view down into the valley below. Not sure if this area was cut intentionally (I suspect that may be the case) or if it was due to a storm. Luckily, I took a couple photos here, because it was the only view we had all day!
We reached the summit in a little under three-and-a-half hours, with Neil instructing Lisa to hold back a little. We all got out our trekking poles and formed an arch through which Lisa made her grand summit entrance, while another hiker at the summit performed photography duties with Neil’s phone. After congratulations and a few quick photos at the summit sign, we headed back down since it was cold, foggy, windy, misty, and starting to drizzle.
Descending via the Carriage Road (not really like a road, but there were some spots where it was wider and had ATV-style terrain) was rather pleasant. Gentle grades, rocky in spots but with easy footing, and even a couple brief spots below treeline where the trail was suddenly devoid of rocks and became a beautifully level dirt path.
As we were descending, there was a point where Lisa was behind me, and kindly let me know that I had a rip in my pants! Just a small rip, but I was glad to know so I was careful not to bend in such a way as to rip it even more. (Still not sure how that happened – it may have been when I half-sat on a rock at the base of the summit sign. It was a clean slit and not at a seam, so it was from something sharp.) We hiked most of the way down in a misty drizzle – so light that I hardly realized it was raining.
Since there were no views to be had, we didn’t bother with the spur trail to South Peak, and instead continued down the Carriage Road trail, and farther down we took the Snapper trail to return to Gorge Brook. As we approached the Ravine Lodge at the end of the trail, the misty drizzle turned to a light rain. Got back just in time!