It was my first trip to the White Mountains and I'll definately be going back. I made the ascent via the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and had a great time with some scrambling. I also climbed Mt. Monroe and the views from the summit were amazing. Respect the weather though cause it snowed on our descent. I started the ascent with a buddy at about 9 a.m. which was a little later than we planned. The beginning to the trail through the woods was spectacular with many crossings of the Ammonoosuc River and it's tributaries. After a steady climb we reached the Gem Pool. The cascade was beautiful and I don't think you're supposed to drink it but, I did, and the water was wonderfully refreshing. Then the steep part of the ascent begins. The trail makes a serious climb towards the col and it continues on very steeply until the tree line. Many more brook crossings are encountered and there is some ledge scrambling which was lots of fun. Once above treeline it is only a few hundred yards up to the Lake of Clouds Hut which was quite a relief for us. Inside there was lots of information and food. After taking a drink break we then ascended Mt. Monroe, via the Crawford Path. It was a fun little scramble that took about a half of an hour from the hut. We descended and then took the Crawford Path up the rocky summit cone of Mount Washington. It is a tedious hike but the views were amazing. After some boulder hopping we finally reached the actual summit at about twenty after one. The summit temperature was 41 degrees F. The average winds for the day were about 45mph. After spending an hour and a half on the summit we got onto the gulfside trail and headed down towards the Great Gulf. The views into the gulf were magnificent, but if you're afraid of walking on the edge then I don't recommend this trail. After passing the Great Gulf we then came around Mt. Clay and got onto the Jewell Trail and descended down the ridge on the north side of Burt Ravine. The hike down through tree line was beautiful and once we reached the end of the trail, we hiked up to the base station for a drink and to look around. We reached the base station at about 5p.m. The trip was wonderful and I will definately complete this hike again and again. The views are undescribable and the alpine zone, though extremely fragile, was an awesome ecosystem to see. Be very weary of the weather though before or during any climb of any peak on the Presidential Chain.
"There have been joys too great to be described in words, and there have been griefs upon which I have dared not to dwell, and with these in mind I must say, climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end."