Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lafayette, N. Lincoln, Lincoln, and Back Again. Sept. 2-4, 2010

Old Bridle Path, Franconia Ridge Trail. About 10 miles roundtrip.

A few months ago, Sage told me she wanted to do two mountains on the 4K list - Lafayette and Washington. She was adamant about those peaks, so I called the AMC and reserved a couple of nights at both Greenleaf and Lakes of the Clouds.

Greenleaf came first...we'll get to Washington next week (weather permitting).

The first day of our trip arrived, and the girls and I set out on the trail.

It was hot and humid at 8am...not the kind of weather I like to hike in. The girls did well enough, though, hiking hand-in-hand until their palms became sweaty and they had to let go of each other.

Break time on the rocks!

By the time we reached the viewpoint looking toward the Ridge, the sun was bearing down full force.

Sage and Alex took refuge in the shade of a slab.

Views from the viewpoint...there's Shining Rock, being its shiny self...

...and the Agonies, which awaited us.

After some food and a lot of water, we began the final part of our day's climb.

Sometimes we'd pause for a bit and check out the views behind us...

Other times we'd just sit and pant in the heat.

In spite of the unseasonably warm weather, the girls' attitudes remained positive all the way up.

At the end of the Agonies, just before the hut, there's a rock shaped like a heart. The girls asked that I take a picture of it.

We were happy to see the hut, as the girls and I felt we had finished hiking for the day. The sun was a little too bright and intense.

In spite of the heat, Sage and Alex still had plenty of energy. They spent the remaining six hours before dinner running around outside. Part of me wished I had taken them all the way up, but, in retrospect, I feel it was wise of me to hold off on the Ridge until Day Two. Sage was having a good time, and I think if we had tried to do more on the first day, she would have become exhausted and unhappy.

After a pleasant night's stay at the hut, which thankfully wasn't too crowded, we hit the Ridge Friday morning. Here's Lafayette, from Greenleaf.

The girls played with rocks as I geared up outside.

Ready to roll!

Off we went...


Looking back as we climb, there's the hut...

...and Agony Ridge...

Looking south...

onward and upward...

...and, we're there!

We made it up in about an hour. Sage only requested one stop during the ascent. She hiked with strong steps and she didn't seem tired when we reached the top.


Lincoln awaits...

The girls sat on the highest rock and spent about an hour playing one of their games of pretend.

After a while, we began the journey toward Lincoln. At first, Sage said she wanted to go back down to the hut. I told her we could, but we had 8 hours before dinner and I wasn't sure what we would do down there all day. She thought about that for a bit, then decided it would be better to spend the day walking along the Ridge.

We moseyed toward Lincoln, stopping at North Lincoln along the way. Alex and I can count this one toward Trailwrights (we already had Lincoln and Lafayette as far as all lists are concerned).

Forty-five minutes after leaving Lafayette, we arrived at Lincoln. We hadn't tried to rush...Sage's pace now matches Alex's.

We spent about 15 minutes hanging about, then we headed back toward Lafayette.

Another ten minutes on Lafayette, then we headed down. Sage and Alex stopped a few times during the descent to once again play with rocks.

Once down, Sage declared herself ready for a nap. She lay down on a bench and fell asleep until dinnertime. Alex bounced about and chatted up everyone she could find.

Another pleasant evening at the hut, followed by a morning of cold fog, courtesy of Earl.

Where'd the mountains go?

Down we went, enjoying the cool temperatures.

The girls stopped to examine the swollen trunk of this tree...

A few brief stops later, we found ourselves back at the trailhead.

Next week, Mt. Washington. Don't know if Sage will want to do any more 4Ks after that, I'll just follow her lead. Alex and I plan to hit the 4K trails hard in the fall in order to ready ourselves for winter, so she and I will be out there almost every weekend starting late this month. It's nice to be back in the Whites!

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