7/26/03 Seek the Peak
Lion Head 5100' to Boott Spur 5500'
8 Miles 3550' Elevation gain
Kevin and Emma
Though we had been to the summit of Mount Washington, we had not climbed Lion's Head or been to Boott Spur before, so this year we thought we would cover some new territory. Starting from Pinkham Notch we joined the throng marching toward Tuckerman Ravine along the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. Pinkham Notch Visitor Center is 2032' above sea level and by the time you cover the 2.3 miles to where the Lion Head Trail breaks off to the north you have climbed another 1800' above Pinkham Notch. Here the trail gets steep. By the time we reached the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail 1.1 mile beyond the junction with the Tuckerman Ravine Trail we had ascended another 1350', climbing 3150' over 3.4 miles since leaving Pinkham Notch, ascending close to 100' per 10th of a mile. At the Alpine Garden Trail we turned southwest toward Tuckerman Ravine, descending somewhat to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail where we again turned west and ascended 2/10ths of a mile to Tuckerman Junction. From here we turned south onto the Lawn Cut-Off and ascended gradually over 4/10ths of a mile to the junction with the Davis Path. Here we turned southeast and along this section I experienced some brutal cramping in my quadriceps, so intense that I went to the ground and spent time writhing in pain while Emma licked my face. Sometimes I try to go too fast and over do it. At any rate, I must have lost my water bottle while rolling around in the sedge. As I tried to continue, I went a little ways and went down again and while I was recovereing a kind hiker came along and returned my water bottle, which until that point I was unaware I had lost. Soon I was able to continue and eventually we had covered the 1/2 mile to the summit of Boott Spur, where we took a good rest and had some lunch before continuing. The sky was overcast which was good for keeping the temps from being unbearable. The summit disappeared into the fog and the clouds all around seemed to threaten rain, but it never came. There is nothing quite like watching the clouds rolling and tumbling from this sort of vantage point. When we are down in the flatlands we try to find good vantage places to take in the sky, but from here the sky surrounds us and becomes the larger part of what we can see, and it becomes very real. Not the distant place we see from our homes, but a very near and real entity, constantly changing and renewing the view with each passing moment. Thankfully the clouds did not roll and tumble enough to produce any rain on our weary selves and we made our descent over the many slopes and step-like areas on the Boott Spur Trail back down to its junction with the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, 2.9 miles and 3200' below the summit of Boott Spur. From here it was a short 4/10ths of a mile along the Tuckerman Ravine Trail back to Pinkham Notch. A great loop that took us all the way around Tuckerman Ravine, giving us great views from every angle and taking us to two prominent features of Mount Washington, the Lion's Head and Boott Spur. All in all a great hike. Oh yeah, I had no more cramps on the descent (that I remember) and managed to clamor up the few steps to gaze again at the Crystal Cascade before finishing our trip down.