Hope Springs Eternal . . . Monroe, Washington, Jefferson

Date of Hike: 5/17/20

Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail / Mount Monroe Loop / Crawford Path / Gulfside Trail / Mount Jeferson Loop / Jewell Trail
Total Miles : 11.8 (5,348 feet elevation gained) Suunto Ambit3 Peak GPS watch

Trip Report:
- In what seemed like an eternity the weather finally broke to be able to head above treeline and roam around the rock pile with the only person I have had any contact with for the past two months, Todd.  Sarge sat this one out as I wasn't sure about the conditions, turns out I should have taken him along for the ride.
- The spring of the never-starting melt continues as packed snow started right after joining the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail from the Cog Spur.  From here snow depths increased quickly and were a few feet deep by the Gem Pool, increasing to four feet plus while steeply ascending to Lakes of the Clouds Hut.
- Above treeline is a tale of two worlds at the moment, snow is quickly vanishing off the western sides of the ridge but deep snowfields remain off the eastern side.  Mount Monroe Loop is basically snow free except for a steep fifty yard snow field.  Crawford Path up to Washington is a mix of soft ice and packed snow, easier than summer right now, but this will change soon with the warm weather and rain coming in.
- The summit of Washington was in the clouds and a ghost town as we passed over it, the only noise was the crashing down of ice breaking off from the various towers that sit atop the summit area.
- From here we made our way over to Mount Jefferson, ditching our spikes as we passed the Mount Clay Loop, when the snow pretty much disappeared off the trail except for in the usual spots.
- When we reached Mount Jefferson we finally saw the first two people since the parking lot, outside of spying skiers from far off coming up the cog. Most skiers were heading up the Cog swath and dropping into the Great Gulf, while we saw one heading towards Jefferson Ravine. Still a ton of snow in the Great Gulf for them to get turns in!
- After Jefferson's summit we double backed to the Jewell Trail junction and quickly made our way back to the Cog parking lot (Ammonoosuc Ravine / Jewell trailhead remains closed).
- It was nice to be back up on Washington, I expect the range to be quieter this summer with the huts closed, not knowing what the auto-road and cog will be doing, when Pinkham Notch will open back up, and if the top will open up, all big question marks.
- Once again, during times of uncertainty . . .Improvise, adapt, and overcome

 Gem Pool

Breaking above treeline and looking up at Mount Washington

Todd making tracks up towards Lakes of the Clouds

Lakes of the Clouds Hut

The "dungeon" block by ice and snow

Washington, in and out of the clouds

One of the towers on the summit, noticed the ice piling below it, finally warm enough for it to start falling off chunk by chunk

Spooky summit scene

Todd snapped this pic of me observing the crazy snow levels on the east side of Mount Clay

I must have 100 pics I've snapped from here over the past dozen years, one of my favorite views.  Now it takes on a little different feeling after my friend fell two months ago from just above Jacob's Ladder towards Burt's Ravine and shattered her pelvis.

 Todd heading towards Jefferson

Mount Adams playing peek-a-boo from Monticello Lawn

Looking at Clay and the Great Gulf Wilderness.  Look at the snow on the left side of Clay compared to the right side!!

Todd takes in the huge views

No snow left along Monticello Lawn!

Todd dropping down towards the Sphinx Col

 And here I am, the Sphinx Trail is my adopted trail, every winter the sign gets blown over and buried, and every spring I put it back up!

Todd carefully making his way down the rotting snow of the Jewell Trail

yuck!

Base Station Cog Railroad

Sarge was happy when I got home and played Lamb Chops with him :)