The Great Gully and the Setting Sun

Date of Hike: 7/30/10

Airline/Short Line/King Ravine: 3.2 miles
Great Gully Trail: 1.0 miles
Gulfside/Jefferson Loop/Gulfside Trail: 3.8 miles
Lowe's Path/Airline/Gulfside Trail: 1.2 miles
Valley Way: 3.8 miles
Total Miles: 13.0 miles (6,000 elevation gain)

Trip Report
- The weather on Friday called for clearing skies and I figured this would give me a great opportunity for a terrific sunset from the Northern Presidential Range and my first hike the would include hiking in the dark!
-  My route of choice was into King Ravine then branch off by way of the Great Gully Trail up to Thunderstorm Junction.  I was able to once again enjoy the boulder caves of "The Subway" on the King Ravine Trail on my way to the Great Gully Trail junction.
- The Great Gully trail was very steep, rugged, and passes under an overhanging rock where you have to crawl as you wedge yourself between the overhanging rock and a out-cropped jagged rock ledge with a sheer drop of a couple of hundered feet! It was a lot of fun!
- I made good time up to Thunderstorm Junction and still had two hours until sunset so I decided to hike over to Mount Jefferson and back.
- Temps above treeline were in the high 30's with some wind gusts up to 50 mph so it was time for hat, gloves, and winter wind breaker.  I actually was chilled for a few moments when descending off Mount Jefferson to Edmands Col before warming up again as I ascended towarda Adams!
- Unfortunately by now I realized the forcast was wrong as there was high cloud cover and there would be no clearing until later in the night. The summits and the ridge lines however were mostly cloud free so I was still holding out hope for a decent sunset.
- Of course as I reached Mount Adams Summit clouds rushed in, the wind picked up, and visibility dropped to about 25 feet. I decided that this cloud cover would be around for awhile so I was out of luck for a sunset and I started my descent to Madison Springs Hut via the Airline
- While descending the Airline, the clouds would break in and out and I could see the sun which made for a pretty cool view as clouds swept by and dropped into the Madison Gulf (click here for video)
- Soon I was below the clouds and was able to watch the sun trying to burn through the clouds over the ridgeline creating an awesome mix of bright colors
- I could still see without use of my headlamp as I started to descend Valley Way for a few minutes but soon I would have to turn on the headlamp.  It was my first time descending in the dark and it was kind of spooky. 
- The headlamp illumintes all those tiny silver specs (mineral silver) you see on the rocks to the point were they become so vivid they seem to jump out and be in 3D.
- The creepiest part is all the noises just off the trail, everything is dead quiet and a snap of a small twig, or a chipmunk scampering through the woods is magnified by a hundred. Needless to say hiking solo in the dark made for my quickest decent of the Valley Way in just under an hour and a half!

Pictures: Click here for all pictures

Thunderstorm Junction
Darkenss creeping in over on Lowe's Path
(Adams IV Peak)
Sun Setting from the Airline
Hidden Sun Lighting up the Clouds as it Sets
Sunsetting from below Mount Adams
Sunset over the Green Mountains in Vermont


  1. Terrific pictures. I was just on the Airline to Adams on Sunday,

  2. Hey Anonymous

    Glad you liked the pictures! The Airline is a fun trail, hope you had awesome views and a terrific hike on Sunday!