Time for another June Mount Washington ascent. The weather looked pretty decent, if a little cool, so we all met early at the Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead. I’d only been up that trail in winter before so I figured it’d be neat to see it in the summer, plus everyone else had only hiked up the east side of the mountain before. We all got a little something new.
The trailhead was busy and there were National Forest volunteers out educating folks on the need for layers, etc, even though it’s now summer. It was in the 50s when we started at the bottom but the high for the day was only in the 40s at the top.
The first mile of the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail was pretty flat, the second mile was starting to get harder, and the third mile was very steep. There were plenty of other people out on the trail so we kept leapfrogging other groups as we all stopped for various breaks. It was pretty breezy out and we were heading up towards, and eventually into, the clouds. Lakes of the Clouds Hut was enveloped when we got there so we took a short snack and bathroom break inside.
From there, we put our jackets on and jumped on Crawford Path up to the summit. The wind was stronger there above the treeline and the clouds occasionally blew out enough that we could see below, but never above. Once we made it to the summit, we stopped for the obligatory summit photo before heading inside the visitor center to eat lunch.
While inside, the clouds continued to lift even more here and there. We put more layers on before heading back outside, but it felt so cold that we paused to add even more layers. Then, as soon as we started to descend the Gulfside Trail, the clouds started lifting. We could even see the summit when we looked back, and as always, it was gorgeous looking out at the Great Gulf on our way down.
The sun was mostly out so we were surprised when it suddenly started hailing! It was pea-sized hail and over in about a minute, and the sun was out the whole time. It warmed up a little after that and the wind lessened some. We hopped on the Jewell Trail to loop back down to the trailhead. I’d never been on the Jewell Trail before but it was pretty standard for Mount Washington – very rocky. We could look across Burt Ravine to the Cog Railway and see all the trains going by, and hear them too.
We eventually descended into the trees, where we got briefly hailed on again, but then the sun came back and by the time we got to the trailhead, it was bright and warm. It was a great 9.6-mile loop.