Little Haystack, Mt. Lincoln, Mt Lafayette

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  1. #1

    Little Haystack, Mt. Lincoln, Mt Lafayette

    Date(s) Hiked: Saturday July 26, 2008

    Trails(s) Hiked: Falling waters>Franconia Ride Trail>Greenleaf trail>old bridel path

    Total Distance: 8-9 miles approx

    Difficulty: tough

    Conditions: Sunny, clear and some clouds later

    Special Required Equipment: poles helped alot for the climb down

    Trip Report: To say this now this hike was a huge step up for me.I was planning on attempting flume and liberty up the flume slide trail. I felt that after all my research on the matter I should attempt it. I left Nashua at 500 am and made it to the park around 715ish. Spoke with a ranger at the flume parking lot and he told me that at some parts of the slide there had been reports of rivers falling over the slabs. He recommended to me that I hike the up the falling waters trail and down old bridle path. I was hesitant due to the fact that I had only read little about the hike but the views were expected to be lavish. So I drove to the trailhead down the road and started getting ready and geared up. I took out my trusty map and looked at my course and started up the falling waters trail.

    This trail was decent with good footing and didn't seem to bad for about half of the hike. The numerous river crossing and water falls along the way made the climb up fun and kept me on my toes. The water levels were pretty high and I had to step on some questionable rocks to cross for the 4 or 5 times it crosses. Around the waterfalls there was some nice slabs that required a little hand over hand action. Soon the river and falls are behind and you don't come across them again. At this point the trail just continued up for what seems like an eternity. One thing that was not lacking on this hike were the people. At some point it was almost ridiculous but that wouldn't even remotely compare to the summit of Lafayette. The trail eventually goes back into a nice forest with very green surroundings. From here its a climb to the tree line and the views start almost immediately. Once you are in the tree line its not a far hike to the summit.

    At the summit of Little haystack there were plenty of people. I enjoyed some water and some trail mix. The views were stellar with just 360 degrees of mountains. I saw the ridge line and was anxious to get going so I packed my bag and started down the ridge. It should be said that from a green hikers perspective the remaining hike from Little Haystack was slightly intimidating. Seemed like a huge amount of up and the powerhouse Lafayette looked like a giant in the great sky. The ridge line was the best hiking I had ever done. It felt great to be on it and the views are unreal. I couldn't believe I was on this path after hearing so much about it. I sat down on the ridegline and just admired the scenery. I quickly made it to Mt. Lincoln which seemed bigger than I expected. I summited this great Mountain and this would be #4 for my 4000 footers. It felt good to get another notch on the belt. I talked with some folks who were very friendly about this and that. I have to say this is my first hiking experience that almost 99% of the people were great and super friendly. Must have been the ridge, hard to think anyone could be negative while up there. I thought I saw some questionable clouds coming thru which turned out to be nothing later but I thought better continue on while I still have some steam.



    The next part of the ridge was a lot of scrambling and some rocky bumps that were like mini mountains. After climbing over these the climb for Lafayette started. I had my first leg cramp about 1/2 way up Lafayette. I was drinking plenty of water and had more than enough on me wanting to be over prepared in this circumstance. I massaged my leg and the tightness resided and I continued up Lafayette. When I got to the top it seemed like Mt Monadnock multiplied by 8. So many people but the summit is very large and there was room for everyone. Most people were chatting soaking up sun and views. I spent a good portion of my time just admiring the views. I saw the ridge to Mt Garfield, owlshead, Mt Washington and the presidentials, and so many others. This was #5 on the belt for 4000 footers and what a mountain. Easily my greatest accomplishment yet!!!. I spent around 40 mins up top. I hooked up with a couple and we started down the green leaf trail which was a bit rough considering i was tired now and it was a lot of large rocks so you had to hop from rock to rock. It took some time to get to the hut. There were plenty of people coming and going so it was a nice traffic jam.

    When we arrived at green leaf we rested had some rations and I had 2 glasses of the lemonade which hit the spot and spiked my energy level. I would need it for the climb down. We left the hut and started down the old bridle path. There were some very sketchy steep down sections on this trail as we continued the arm of the ridge line. Along the arm of the ridge there were some magnificent open ledges with complete views of the Franconia ridge and mountains. These might have been the best picture spots for the trip. Sadly I left the camera home because my pack was filled with water and rations as well as the rest of my emergency stuff. Ill be looking for a compact digital camera soon to say the least. After descending the ridge the trail goes down into some nice woods that reminded me of the beginning. If I hadn't been so tired this would be a fairly easy stretch but i was on empty and too tired to eat. I was drinking plenty of water which helped some but it felt like a long way down. I had another leg cramp about 2/3 of the way down which forced me to stop and rest for a bit. It seemed like any sudden change in my movements and my quads were cramping really weird to say the least. I had to rest for 5-10 mins when it cramped but i needed the cool down anyway. Finally I came to the junction of old bridle path and falling waters trail. This was a great relief for me we were almost there. I had a great feeling of accomplishment when I arrived at the parking lot. I hiked a real honest group of mountains which I didn't think I had the capability for.

    Looking back i think Ill change up my planning a bit I might try some Gatorade mix for long hikes to help replenish and hydrate myself. Ill also make some of my rations more accessible. I also think I may try and hike just Mt Lafayette a bunch of times to build up some endurance for the longer more grueling hikes. The best image I had on the hike was standing on Little Haystack and looking up ridge to what I had in store for myself, and then looking from Lafayette down the ridge towards Flume and Liberty with Lincoln in the picture. Between the +2 for the 4000 foot list and the outstanding views as well as the experience of the Ridge this was easily the best hike I have ever done and who knows might be the best I ever do.
    Last edited by LongStep; Jul 27, 2008 at 7:04 PM. Reason: edited for the eyes

  2. #2
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    A classic hike that is for sure. Glad you got to do it....

    Bridle Path is quite difficult, going either up or down. The traffic has smoothed out the rocks so much that they are quite slippery. Most often I hear of rescues not on the ridge, but on the Bridle Path.
    Live, Ski, or Die!


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