Sunset in the Presi's: Monroe and Washington Loop

Date of Hike: 9/20/13

Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail: 3.1 miles  / Monroe Loop Trail: 0.6 miles / Crawford Path: 1.7 miles  /  Gulfside Trail: 1.4 miles  /  Jewell Trail: 3.1 miles  /  Base Road: 0.5 miles
Total Miles: 10.4 miles (4,200 feet elevation gain)

Trip Report:
- Friday I hit the trail at 5pm and zoomed up the Ammonnosuc Ravine Trail with the idea to catch sunset somewhere along the Crawford Path between Lakes of the Clouds and the summit of Mount Washington.
- The weather was absolutely perfect for the second to last night of the summer.  Temps were in the high 50's and the wind was light and variable for the whole hike.  the Ammo Trail is one of my favorites in the Whites, it starts off gradual for the first two miles to the Gem Pool.  From here you gain over 1,500 feet in just one mile.  It's relentlessly steep with ok to rough footing, which is right in my wheel house!
- As the Ammo Trail gains elevation it travels near and across some small cascades over ledges as the trees grow smaller and the views of Washington get bigger.
- As I started to gain the ridge I smelled food, hut food!  I thought I was going coo-coo bananas because I always remembered Madison Springs and Lakes of the Clouds huts to be closed by early September.  To my surprise I reached the hut just before six as the guests where milling around outside enjoying the weather and views before eating a yummy dinner.
- I quickly headed up and down Mount Monroe to get the classic Lakes of the Clouds and Washington summit cone view from the Monroe Loop Trail and the Southern Presidential Range view from the summit of Monroe.
-  As I passed by the hut they were now serving food, it smelled really good and I thought about heading in to try and score a free meal but I was making great time and now could make it close to the summit before sunset.
-  I was still in a t-shirt as I made my way up to the summit cone as the day faded away.  The shadows kept growing, the sun kept dropping, and the colors kept changing from yellow to gold to orange to purple, red, blue, and orange all at once.
- The sun slowly set behind the Green Mountains of Vermont and I could pick out Mount Mansfield's profile of the 'chin', 'nose', and 'forehead' off in the distance.
- I made it to the summit just as the sun vanished while standing on the observatory deck at 6,288 feet as darkness slowly fell around me.  There was one OBS volunteer up there taking pictures, he would be the last person I saw until I got back to my car.
- It was a little cooler on the summit, temps in the 40's and light wind so I put on my long sleeve and my light mittens before heading down the cog tracks to intercept the Gulfside Trail at the Westside Trail junction.
- From here I rocked hopped my way to the Jewel Trail junction were I had my supper, a PB&J sandwich.  I finally had to put on my headlamp on the Jewell Trail.  Eventhough the sun set about a half hour ago it was still easy enough to navigate above treeline with no light.  I did hike too fast so the full moon wasn't even close to dominating the sky above, if it was I wouldn't have needed my headlamp until treeline.
- The hike out in the dark was peaceful and calming.  I was back in a t-shirt and mitten-less a few minutes after heading down the Jewell Trail.  I could see distant lights from houses and cars down in the valley as I made my way back to my car.  It was a quick hike and run back to the car, my headlamp lights up the trail so I was comfortable running with no issues.
- When I reached the junction that lead to the old Jewell trailhead which began at the Cog Station I took it and enjoyed the nice half mile walk along Base Road back to my car, ending a perfect sunset hike!
 Nice little rock hop section on the lower end of the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail
 A new short re-route near a washout
 Ammonoosuc River
 Gem Pool
 Above the Gem Pool the Ammo Trail gets steep
 A short little ladder to help the vertically challenged ;)
 Looking down a slab section of the trail
Small cascades along the trail
 'Algae' Cascade
Upper ends of the Ammonoosuc River 
 Stairway to the Alpine Zone
 A helpful sign to keep you headed the right way
 Gaining the ridge, Lakes of the Clouds Hut
 The last train of the day passes by Jacob's Ladder
 Lakes of the Clouds and Mount Washington
 Lakes of the Clouds Hut
 Lil' Monroe and the Southern Presidential Range
 Lil' Monroe
 View from the summit of Mount Monroe
 Mount Clay and Jefferson, if you look really closely you can see Mount Adams, looks like a shadow to the right of Clay!
 Mount Washington Hotel and Golf Course
 Summit cone of Mount Washington
 Late day sun shining bright over the western shoulder of Mount Monroe
 Lakes of the Clouds Hut
 The hut and the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail junction
 Crawford Path heading north
 Mount Monroe and Lakes of the Clouds Hut
 The Crawford Path has had exception trail work since it's heavily used
 Golden grass fields of Mount Washington
 Mount Monroe
 Lakes of the Clouds
 One of the best views in the Whites, a little more than 24 hours later there were 50 mph winds, low visibility, and driving rain! 
 Twin Range, Franconia Ridge, and the 'Moose' to the south
 Sun slowly falling to the west
 A grassy knoll about a half mile from the summit
 Southern Presidential Range
 The final 0.3 miles to the summit
 Sunset at 6:43 p.m.
 Twin Range and Franconia Ridge in a purple Haze
Southern Presidential Range during twilight 
 Newly painted rocks near the top!
 Sunset over the Green mountains
 Summit Cone
 All alone on Mount Washington's summit
 Mount Jefferson, Adams, and Madison
 Observation deck at sunset
 Mount Madison and Madison Springs Hut
 Mount Jefferson
 A plane flying southwest as the sun dissapears
 Sunset from the observatory
 Cog Tracks
 Mount Washington OBS - 'Castle in the Clouds'
 Mount Masfield
 Getting darker
 The Gulfside Trail
 Beautiful mix of colors while skirting around Mount Clay's summit cone on the Gulfside Trail
 Gulfside / Jewell Trail junction
 Jewell Trail
 Ammonoosuc Brook
 Cog Station at Base Road
Historical marker at the Cog Station on Base Road

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