Mt. Lafayette and Franconia Ridge
Doubled the Beast
The mountain that was the pull for me to even consider living in New Hampshire. The mountain that left a changing mark on my life. This was the tallest mountain I ever climbed until this year, and this mountain was the mountain that marked my life forever. It was the ultimate grueling challenges, or so I thought the first I hiked it, and a mountain, which until this point I had been a little afraid of challenging again. Mt. Lafayette has left a massive impact on me for years to come. Living close by to it just made this feeling that much larger. Last time it was a grueling 12-hour journey, which tested the group of people I was with to the maximum. Question is can I do it again and how hard will it be.
Mt. Lafayette had decided to add one more factor that could stop me with the extreme heat. I had already added tons of new skills to myself such as carrying a very light pack, hiking almost religiously, experience, and hiking solo (I know it is dumb, but I don’t know of anyone who wants to really hike up here.) so nobody can stop me instead of the mountain. It was clearly ready for me but was I ready for it.
The Falling Waters trail started as any other, beautiful waterfalls and a decent path. No fear of getting lost here due to overuse. But because of the beautiful waterfalls, this trail was nothing short of steep in places. At times this trail did need caution. But me getting in much better shape helped out dramatically. Even the high heat and the heavy sweat couldn’t stop me. Soon I was up on top of Little Haystack staring down the nose of Lincoln. Though I was tired from Falling Waters once I hit timberline I became unstoppable. The Franconia Ridge Trail was in decent shape and was much easier then I remembered it. Before I knew it I was on top of Lincoln enjoying my favorite beef jerky and enjoying the view to Lafayette. Unfortunately that awesome traditional view from the top wasn’t quite there due to the haze from the hazy, hit and humid weather. Despite the hot weather there was still a small snow patch on Lafayette.
No stopping now, Lafayette was in striking distance and I had a mack load of energy. Though the mountain slowed me a little I was still determined. I had to take it extremely slow. The mountain carries a lot of emotions as well as physical endurance. It was basically symbolizing that I could conquer my past and make my future better. The emotions though kept the drive alive and heart strong. Before I knew I was on top of the mountain that symbolized a major change in my life. Since I left at 6 a.m. I must have made it around 10:30 am. Right? No, it was 9 a.m. a mere three hours from when I started the hike. I was in severe disbelief. This mountain that made me lose 10 pounds in one day only took me three hours in the extreme morning heat (This is usually average for many hikers). Unlike last time when I only spent 10 minutes on top, I spent an hour savoring this victory. I was the first to make it to the top, outside of the volunteer from AMC, who rushed from Greenleaf Hut because he saw me around the corner. I would love that job if they were to pay me. It was again hot on top (weird, same experience the last time). Views still weren’t the best but I didn’t care. I conquered this beast.
Now it was time for me to get down this mountain. This was a nightmare last time. This time the heat was down right oppressive. But with a much lighter load this was much easier. It was funny passing the hiking armies that were coming up when I left. I am glad I hiked when I did, because that summit was going to be packed worse than Times Square. This is one very popular mountain. When I made it to the top there was me and just the AMC guy. I felt bad for the bulk of these people because they were going to hike Mt. Lafayette and Franconia Ridge in extreme heat. I wish them well. The hike down was pretty rough going. I could feel every muscle on the way down. Finally I made it down to the bottom (this time with much less urgency).
I was concerned because a family was going to attempt Mt. Lafayette when I got to the trailhead. Am I that early or are these people crazy. Well a little bit of both it was 12:45 when I entered my car. I would never climb a mountain at this time unless it was of a shorter variety. But I did make it in 6 hours and 45 minutes and clearly had the rest of the day to cool of and relax the rest of the day, or climb another mountain. Ha Ha. Not in this heat.
Happy and aching from hike I took that wonderful air condition ride home ten minute to where I live.