Franconia Ridge is one of the best hikes in the Whites, but when I went over it on my thru hike, I had no views at all. Despite it being spring already, and the hike therefore not counting toward any new list since I’ve already hiked in it non-winter, I wanted to do it again with clear weather. A perfect day appeared on the forecast, and a perfect day it turned out to be.
Chuckles and I hiked up the Falling Waters Trail, a little over three miles to get above treeline and onto the ridge at the summit of Little Haystack Mountain at 4780′. It was very warm at the bottom, and we certainly worked up a sweat climbing about 2800′ up. Surprisingly, it was just as warm above treeline. We were in totally clear skies with sunshine and no wind! The visibility was fantastic and we began moving very slowly to take it all in, stopping every twenty feet or so for new photos. I love hiking on narrow ridges with expansive views because it feels like you’re on top of the world.
Next along the ridge was Mount Lincoln at 5089′. We stopped for a break soon after, actually sitting down and enjoying our snacks for at least fifteen minutes, without adding lots of layers like has been the case all winter whenever I stopped for much less time than that, only to hurry off frozen any way.
It was a little bit of a longer stretch to Mount Lafayette at 5260′ then, and we finally got some wind towards the top of that. The wind was blowing maybe 30 MPH tops, and not constant either.
We left the ridge then and headed down to the Greenleaf Hut, and on down the Old Bridle Path the rest of the way. We ran into a few people on the way down but had had the whole ridge to ourselves. We were in spikes the whole day as the trail was very packed down, although the snow was getting pretty melty on the Old Bridle Path. It was an amazing end to my hiking in the Whites this winter, and I even got a little sunburned.
See so many more photos here.