Saturday, December 12, 2015

Pierce and Eisenhower. December 6, 2015

Crawford Path, Mt. Eisenhower Loop.

With sunny skies, unseasonably warm temperatures, and minimal wind in the forecast, it was definitely a "Presi Day" last Sunday.  If the girls hadn't been so swamped with schoolwork last week, we would've gone for a northern traverse.  Our second-best option was to do the standard Pierce-Ike route, which affords a fine amount of above-treeline walking and doesn't take an entire day.

We were on the trail around 7:20.  One look at the ground had us donning our microspikes immediately after exiting our car.

Blurry kids in the morning

Blurry trail in the morning

There were sections of mud and bare rock on the trail, but it was easier to leave the 'spikes on and aim for snow than to take the spikes off and on and off and on...

It was nice to see everything covered in snow.  Where we live, the first snow usually happens by the first week of December and we don't see dirt again 'til April.  We haven't yet had any snow in the valley...which is weird for this time of year...and there are warm temps in the forecast for all next week.  If we don't have a White Christmas, then that will be VERY ODD INDEED.  Though, of course, with climate change, I suspect we should anticipate fewer White Christmases as the years go by.  Unfortunate.

In the meantime, however, there is snow up in the mountains, and it is nice to walk through scenes such as the one below.

Happy hiker

Two gray jays showed up right where they always do on this trail -- close to the intersection with Mizpah Cutoff.

The girls offered birdseed to the winged flew down, looked at the seeds...and refused to eat any!

He/she then flew right over to me and stared, as if to say, "Where's the trail mix??"

It once again flew over to the girls to take a look at the birdseed...and then it flew off, the seeds untouched.  Picky, picky, picky.

We hit treeline and were treated to gorgeous gorgeous views, thanks to the bright sunshine and clear skies.

The girls and the northern Presidentials (plus Monroe), just below Pierce's summit.

Two different gray jays appeared on the summit, and they were just as picky as the previous two!  We caved and gave them some crumbled oats.

The critters aren't shy.

We enjoyed our avian company while we ate a quick snack.

Onward, to Eisenhower...

About halfway to Eisenhower, looking back at Pierce...

Eisenhower, coming up....

Heading up the summit cone of Ike...


On the summit of Ike,
with Washington and the northern Presidentials in the background.

We could see fog settled in the valleys below -- the grey expanses looked like ocean.  We felt like we had been magically transported to coastal Maine.

After eating and drinking and enjoying the views, we began our descent.

The girls waved to me as their natural speed continually lengthened the distance between us (they did eventually stop and wait).

This is why we hike --

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season.  Peace to everyone, no matter your religion, cultural background, or socioeconomic status.

I'm nursing a bit of tendonitis, but hopefully we'll be back on the trails at some point this coming week.


sumac said...

We did this route in Nov. this year. We had a fabulous weather day, too. We live in Canada so it will take quite awhile for us to make it to all the 4000 peaks! We do so enjoy your reports!
My husband ran ahead near the end so that we wouldn't have to trek to other parking lot. He did get a lift part way from another family (with baby) who had shared the peak of Ike with us.

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

This sure is an excellent hike when the weather is gorgeous! I'm glad you had a good day of it. The first time Alex and me did this, we went from Eisenhower to Pierce and then caught a ride back to the Edmands Path parking lot from another family. It's usually possible to catch rides from one to the other since they're so close. Have a great holiday season!

Beckie Jani said...

I had one refuse my snacks on Field a couple years ago. Now I know not to take it personally, ha ha!