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  1. #1

    Default Franconia notch to Crawford notch

    I'm trying to piece together missing parts of the AT through NH so I can finally say I hiked the whole darn thing.

    I left my car at the AT trail head in Crawford Notch Tuesday (6/26/18) and took the AMC shuttle over to Franconia Notch. Which drops you off nearly a mile from the AT highway crossing, but it's an easy mile. it also gets there a little late, nearly 11 AM, but if you only have one car is the only practical way to do this.

    It was a long, slow hike up to Mt Lafayette. Didn't get to the summit until nearly 4 PM. But it was a picture perfect day with 125 mile visibility that morning. Still pretty good by late afternoon.

    Garfield shelter is only 3.9 miles from the summit, but man, are those miles hard. The descent off of Lafayette is long, steep and fully exposed. You got to be real careful going down this. The climb up and over Garfield was a killer at the end of the day. The profile does not show how steep some parts of the trail are or how treacherous some of those pieces of ledge can be.

    I finally arrived at the Garfield site a little after 8 PM. I had just enough time to set up my tent on the last available tent platform spot (next to two other tents) and make my supper before it got dark.

    The final descent off of Garfield was another little piece of White mountain insanity. Nearly straight down, lots of loose rock, with a stream running down the middle of it just to make it more interesting. I passed an older couple who were having one heck of a time trying to climb down that section of trial. Thankfully, they had their 30 something daughter to help.

    Once at the bottom of Garfield, the trail eased up some, but then you hit the 1500 foot climb up South Twin, the last 1000 feet in 0.8 miles. Lots of rock scrambling to get up there. Nice view from the top though, even though it was getting cloudy and hazy.

    Once off the summit cone of S. Twin, the trail eases up some until you do another steep decent down to Zealand falls.

    I had planned on staying at Ethan pond last night, but the forecast was for rain to start overnight. With the road only another 2.5 miles away, I opted to just hike out to the car. Plus I heard that there was going to be a lot of thru hikers holed up there to wait out the rain today before going up into the Prezies.

    While at the Zealand falls hut, I meet a thru hiker who desperately needed to get to the Gorham PO where he had new shoes waiting. The ones he had on would never make it across the Prezie traverse. I had talked and hiked a little with him the day before, so I knew his situation. When I found him at Zealand trying to figure out how to get to Gorham the next day, I told him I was hiking out to my car and asked if he wanted a lift. Of course he did :)

    It was nearly 4 PM when we left Zealand hut and had 8 miles to get to the car. Pedal to the metal, we managed to do those 8 miles in less then 3 hours. Good thing that last stretch was real flat! So, I got him to the "Barn" in Gorham before dark and did my little bit of trail magic.

    All in all, it was a hard two days of hiking and my knees are really sore this morning. But I picked the last 2 really good days for awhile to do this section. Tomorrow temps spike in the high 80's and I see 99 forecast for Saturday. Summer is coming to the North Country with a vengeance.

    SAM_4064.JPG Lafayette is still a long ways off!

    SAM_4073.JPGTop of Garfield looking into the Pemi as the sun starts to set.

    SAM_4082.JPG Top of South Twin. Clouds moving in and getting hazy.
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  2. #2
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Thanks for the trail report and the great pictures. Brought back some good memories when I hiked that section. Were the bugs bad during your trip?
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 48
    "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by somers515 View Post
    Thanks for the trail report and the great pictures. Brought back some good memories when I hiked that section. Were the bugs bad during your trip?
    Black flies were mostly on the summits and got a little annoying if you lingered too long, but overall minimal to non-existent. The peak season is past, but some will be around all summer.
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  4. #4
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Still have that section to do from Crawford to Franconia. May do it during my vacation in August. Hmmm...sounds kinda tough.

    Doing the Wildcat, Carter Mariah range tomorrow and Saturday. Hopefully Wildcat will get dry by then.

  5. #5

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    Nice hike! That's not so slow going. You may need to update your trail name.

  6. #6
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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    I plan to that exact same section later in Sept. Thanks for posting!
    Plaid is fast! Ticks suck, literally...
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  7. #7
    Registered User VT-Mike's Avatar
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    I was working on my NH 48 on Wednesday, did Zealand Rd to Zealand and West Bond and back. I hit Zealand hut at about 3pm. Wonder if we crossed paths?
    The black flies might be past peak but the insanely itchy bites on the back of my arms don't take any comfort in that.
    -My feet are my only carriage so I've got to push on through-

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I'm trying to piece together missing parts of the AT through NH so I can finally say I hiked the whole darn thing.
    avid hiker from NH who has never hiked the pemi!?!?! i feel like youve done all of the PA like 6x, but not the pemi?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    avid hiker from NH who has never hiked the pemi!?!?! i feel like youve done all of the PA like 6x, but not the pemi?
    I've done the pemi loop, the bonds, owls head, etc. Been all over the pemi. I just never walked the AT from one notch to the other. Always went in other ways, there are a lot of them!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I've done the pemi loop, the bonds, owls head, etc. Been all over the pemi. I just never walked the AT from one notch to the other. Always went in other ways, there are a lot of them!
    is it possible to do a "pemi loop" without at least walking most of the AT through that area?

    i use quotes because i'm not talking about any old loop hike in the pemi, i mean THE pemi loop. to the degree there is such thing.

    i mean even that is flexible i suppose, but i dont see how it doesnt include lafayette, garfield and south twin, which are the main peaks the AT raverses in the area.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    is it possible to do a "pemi loop" without at least walking most of the AT through that area?

    i use quotes because i'm not talking about any old loop hike in the pemi, i mean THE pemi loop. to the degree there is such thing.

    i mean even that is flexible i suppose, but i dont see how it doesnt include lafayette, garfield and south twin, which are the main peaks the AT raverses in the area.
    There are a couple of ways it can be done. The big loop is to use the Osseo trail to get up on the ridge on the east side of the Pemi and loop around back to the Wilderness trail via the Bonds. or visa-versa. That's one heck of a hike.

    Or it can be split into two loops by going up to the middle via the Franconia book trail.

    In both cases, the loops use the AT for the actual ridge walk. So yeah, you hit all the major peaks the AT traverses and do the AT along the ridges. You just don't do the parts which come up from Franconia or go down to Crawford, some 15 miles of the AT as it goes from Notch to Notch.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    There are a couple of ways it can be done. The big loop is to use the Osseo trail to get up on the ridge on the east side of the Pemi and loop around back to the Wilderness trail via the Bonds. or visa-versa. That's one heck of a hike.

    Or it can be split into two loops by going up to the middle via the Franconia book trail.

    In both cases, the loops use the AT for the actual ridge walk. So yeah, you hit all the major peaks the AT traverses and do the AT along the ridges. You just don't do the parts which come up from Franconia or go down to Crawford, some 15 miles of the AT as it goes from Notch to Notch.
    gotcha. i probably would have just day hiked those 2 sections as out and back. well, the liberty spring part anyway.

    for a second there i thought you were saying you had never been to the top of lafayette, that would be some startling news if so.

  13. #13
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    We did this same hike over the Memorial Day weekend. It sure was a lot tougher than I remembered!
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

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