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Mounts Lincoln 5089’
and Lafayette 5260’ 4/20/02

9.9 miles 3600’ Elevation gain

Kevin and Emma

We are determined to get Emma and Jude finished with their 4000 footers this year. Having already climbed these two and prefering to save her climbing strength for mountains she still needed, Jude opted to sit this one out. So on a still quite cool Saturday morning Emma and I made the trip up to Franconia Notch to tackle these two. I decided to use the same route I had used the first time I climbed and followed the Falling Waters Trail to the summit of Lincoln first. If the weather turned it was going to be easier to turn around and get below treeline on Mount Lincoln. When you break treeline and scramble to the summit of Little Haystack it is time to think about weather because once you venture out onto the Franconia Ridge Trail you are exposed to all the extremes the White Mountains can throw at you. It seems many other housebound hikers had the same idea and we met many along the trail. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are woefully unprepared and survive by dumb luck. I may survive by dumb luck too, but at least I’m prepared. I saw people in shorts and sweatshirts in 40 degree weather. There was a stiff breeze on the ridge, as always. People were cold and couldn’t decide if it was better to rest and freeze or keep moving and die of exhaustion. There were also those who may have dehydrated as they were carrying no packs and strolled along with their 16 oz. Poland Spring Water bottles in their super cold hand. There was ice along the side of the streams as we got higher and the spring melt made the brook crossings difficult in some places. I had a tough time getting Emma across one spot and finally got her across by puting her leash on and leading her across an icy log. A little treacherous but it worked out. Soon after we broke out above treeline. I made an immediate asessment of the weather. The skies were hazy in some directions, clear in others and there appeared to be no threatening weather in the area. In fact the skies got clearer as the day progressed, which was fine by me. This was the maiden voyage for my new back pack and I think the new weight and the adjustment to carrying that size pack was beginning to get to my legs. I rested often and took in the views. When I stopped for lunch I noticed two gargoyle like rock formations overlokking the Pemigewasset Wilderness. As always the pictures don’t do it justice. I will have to return for better representations. Eventually we made it over Lincoln across the ridge to Lafayette where I rest some more. I am terrible at pacing myself when I am alone. With Jude along I slow down so as not to get to far ahead, which gives me more rest, or I would let her lead which gets me to slow to a pace more suited for me. When I’m alone I seem to push too hard then run out of energy too soon. So, because I am lousy at pacing myself, I managed to give myself some brutal cramps in my hamstrings and had to roll around on the ground in some agony on the side of Mount Lafayette, much to the astoundment of some of the other hikers who I’m sure could hear my cursing long before they came upon my writhing body. After a few agonizing minutes I was OK, but I took it real easy from there on, more to save myself anymore trailside embarassment than to spare myself anymore pain. I made it back to the parking lot eventually, after a long rest at Greenleaf Hut where I advised several hikers to not attempt descending the Falling Waters Trail without crampons. The summits and the ridge were blown clean, but below treeline there was still pockets of deep snow, melting and refreezing each day and night. It turned out that descending the Old Bridle Path was a trick in itself, but all turned out alright and Emma got two mountains closer to the goal we hoped to reach by this coming fall.

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