Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mt. Madison 6/6/09

Woke up today with sore calves and feet from a very ambitious hike on Saturday. I had planned this hike mid-week hoping the weather would stay nice for us to make this loop. We headed out Saturday 7am. Made a stop at the Pinkham Notch the book I posted on, "The Granite Landscapes", and checked the weather forecasts and checked our route on the 3-D Presi-Range map. It was settled, we were doing the Madison Gulf - Osgood Loop! We got to the parking lot for the Great Gulf at 9:00am, 70* and sunny. I planned on returning by 6pm and sent Tiny Tornado a text with the plan. We signed the register and headed across the suspension bridge. The trail is wide and gradual, a nice warm up for what was to come! We made it to the bluff, got some pics, then took a right at the Osgood Cut-off and dropped down the steep, but small hill and crossed the river. Soon we reached the Madison Gulf Trail on our right and began the more steep climb. This section of trail was very interesting. It follows a wooded narrow ridge variating from 12-20ft in width for a good ways. Eventually the ridge widens and blends in with Madison Gulf. We went through a rather boring section of trail than started to enter a boulder field. YES! That means we are close to a ravine!! This boulder strewn floor was different from others. It was wooded, and it had a river running through the huge boulders...very cool and very picturesque. A must for a spring hike when the waters are flowing! Here the trail became very steep as it climbed the boulder strewn river and we followed and crossed it for a long time. What a beautiful wild and rugged area. We then came to a fairly impressive "water slide", Moss Rock Fall. Made a brief stop here and headed up trail again. Soon views of the Madison Gulf Cliff was visible through the trees. The trail headed straight for them than sunddenly turned to the right. We began to climb steeply over ledge and boulders needing to pull ourselves up with our hands in spots. I will admit some spots were tricky but certainly not too difficult or hair-raising. We soon realized that we would not be seeing the cliff up close as the trail kept well right of them. (The cliffs would have to be bushwacked to sometime in the future, I have to see them up-close). Once we realized we would not be on the cliffs and would not have a great spot for lunch, we dropped ourselves on the rock laden trail and had our much needed lunch. All fueled up we took off. The trail continued it's steep climb with no incedence and we topped the headwall and broke out of the trees. A group of 4 were coming down (our first sign of other human life forms today), I warned them of the steep trail (which is not recommended for decent) whcih the leader new and they and ourselves carried on. We took a left on Parapet TR and passed Star Lake and made it to the hut. The wind was moderate to 30 mph. (guesstamit) and we sat near the hut for a second lunch break. Arrival time 2pm. After a 15 min. break we started for the Madison Summit over sharp broken rock and topped the peak at 3pm. Views were wonderful, under mostly sunny skies, 65* and clear views across the Northern Presi's to Washington. After some pics and celebration we headed down what looked like the easy Osgood Ridge. Soon, as the ridge came more into focus, we realized the ridge would not be an easy task! The ridge runs about a mile up and down over 5 or so peaklets, which is tough when rock hopping over jagged, rough rock. Views were beatiful though and we enjoyed it. We came upon a pleasant, tired out couple doing an 8 hut trip (coming from Carter Notch). We had a nice chat and than continued down and finally to the end of the open ridge. We took one last break, and one last view through the Great Gulf to Washington, then dropped into the trees. The trail drops quickly with easy footing and after what seemed for ever the trail evened out and eventually coming back to the Great Gulf Trail. The skeeters were on to us now so we kept our quick, painful pase and made it back to the truck at 6pm, right on time! A beautiful day and beautiful loop. Madison Gulf trail will go down in my book as difficult but not most difficlut in the Whites. The Osgood trail is not one I would want to make an ascent on. You have to look up at your Madison Summit destination for a mile as you huff and puff up a difficult trail. I now have only 1 ravine/gulf left to hike on the Presi's, The Great Gulf...but that's another day! View my pics here>

No comments:

Post a Comment