White Mountains

Aug 25th, 2010, 12:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 130
White Mountains

We have about 2 days in mid-September to spend in the White Mountain areas. On day one, we will be driving from Stowe to our accommodations in Glen, and think we'll stop for a hike to Lonesome Lake in Franconia Notch en route. The next day, we are considering whether it is worth it to do the Mt. Washington Cog Railway before we do an estimated 2 hour hike on the Mt. Willard trail. Any thoughts on these logistics, or other recommendations? I have gotten my hiking info from the Appalachian Mountain club, but would like to hear if doing these hikes and/or the Cog Railway will provide the best overview and variety in the short time we have.
travelerwife is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 01:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 24,528
If you choose the Cog, you might want to have backup plans. If it's not a clear day, your time at the top might not be what you expect. I didn't care for the Cog because there wasn't much time at the top if you wanted a guaranteed seat on the return trip. Weather conditions between bottom and top can be very different. Check and be prepared. It could be very cold. Right now we're having the first real rain all summer. It's been very droughty.
I'm not a hiker but ttt with your questions.
dfrostnh is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 03:49 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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I have made both the hikes you are planning on, and they are both in the range of walkers/easy hikers. The Mt Willard trail in particular is probably the best view for the least effort in the White Mountains.

I have never taken the cog railway, though I have hiked the trail that parallels it to the summit, and it is a beautiful trail.

Before we moved to Nantucket, we hiked a great deal in the White Mountains, and I had to learn -- not easy for me -- not to be bothered by weather conditions. I used to hate it when I drove all the way from south of Boston to Pinkham Notch and couldn't even see the summits. Well, then one day I looked at a Chinese painting in the MFA in Boston and was reminded that fog, snow and rain are part of the mountain, too. So if you go up on a cloudy day or arrive in the mist, you are just experiencing the mountain in a different way. The view will still be there for next time, and it is only a view.

Do follow dfrostnh's advice about clothing. Dress in layers, preferably no cotton i.e., jeans, carry foul weather gear, water and something to eat. Never assume the best case, and ask yourself if you have enough to be comfortable if you should twist your ankle and be out in miserable weather for a lot longer than you planned. It can get below freezing on the higher mountains twelve months a year, and as the sign in Pinkham says, "The area ahead has the worst weather in North America. Many have died" Well, by the standards of the Alps or even the Scottish highlands, not all that many have died, but you don't want to be among those who do.

But you sound like sensible people, so this is mostly for other people who might read about your plans. Glen is a good place to stay.
Ackislander is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 274
Good advice here so far. Dress in layers, definitely, especially at that time of year. I also hike up there and agree those are two good hikes that shouldn't give you too much trouble and give good views.

I have never done the Cog Railway. I always thought it was overpriced, myself.

If you have good weather, consider driving to the top of Mt. Washington on the Auto Road. You get an audio guide to inform you as you drive and you can go at your own pace. You also get to spend as much time at the top as you want. I have done it twice and highly recommend it as an option!

http://www.mountwashingtonautoroad.com/ (Open May-October)
Shandy1977 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 24,528
I'm glad the experienced hikers gave clothing recommendations. I don't hike but took a safety course with our son when he was 12 and wanted a license to drive his snowmobile across a road (when the trail had a road crossing). There was a lot of info about hypothermia and, as I recall, fall and spring can be the most hazardous times because it can be warm but suddenly change. DS actually experienced a big temp change but it was in Feb when it was extremely warm during the day, a very unusual 60ish, Sandwich Notch area and then a thunderstorm came thru (right, in Feb) and the temp plummeted to 20.
dfrostnh is offline  
Aug 29th, 2010, 03:57 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,469
I'm headed up this week. We may do Lonesome Lake...I'll let you know how it is. Also thinking about Sugarloaf Trail as well as Lower Ammonoosuc Falls to go swimming in the swimming hole. We are planning easy hikes since we'll have a 2 year old and a 6 month old. If you want something a bit more difficult, Artist's Bluff is nice.

FWIW, we are stopping at Apple Hill Farm on the way up (near Concord) to get some heirloom/antique apples. We may hit Cannon Mt to do the tram. We're spending a day at Santa's Village.

I've heard Rosa Flamingos is good Italian in Bethlehem I believe?

Chutter's in Littleton is supposedly the world's longest candy counter.
rizzo0904 is offline  
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