Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Trail Report: Mount Crawford

I'm a little late with this post but as no one even knows about this blog, who cares!  June 10, 2012, my hiking partner, Kellie and I decided to travel to the White Mountains of New Hampshire for our first ever WMNF (White Mountain National Forest) hike.  Today's mission: Mount Crawford via Davis Path.  We leave Hudson, NH around 8:30am.  It was a nice ride, a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures in the high 70's to low 80's and not a cloud in the sky!

Davis Path is a 14.4 mile trail that starts near Bartlett, NH on Route 302 and ascends all the way to the summit of Mount Washington.  Today's hike is only going to the first peak, Mount Crawford by way of the Mount Crawford spur trail.

The trail starts with crossing a suspension bridge

On the other side you will see a sign with information about Davis Path

You continue along the trail until you come to a small stream.  Don't slip on the wet rocks!

Once you cross the stream the path continues.  The first 1/2 mile of this trail starts easy with only moderate elevation gains.  I heard someone coming up behind us.  A lone women who stopped and chatted with us briefly.  She said "This trail gets to be very steep and it starts right here".  And right in front of us was a steep stone staircase.

Once we started to ascend it didn't seem to stop.  I felt like I was on a stair master for two hours.  This was indeed a steep hike.  There were a few switchbacks but once you start to ascend there really isn't very many places where the trail levels out.  And where it does level out it is only a very short distance.  Looking back, I don't think I am really in the proper physical condition for this trail, I was very slow and had to stop to rest a few times, but I did make it.

About 3/4 of the way up is where you start to get your first views of Crawford Notch.

Attitash Ski Area

Once you get to the ledges with spectacular views, you need to keep an eye out for the sign pointing you to the Crawford Spur Trail.  I should mention that the Davis Path trail is not well marked/blazed.  It is well worn, so you shouldn't get lost, but once you get towards the top you need to watch for the few blazes that are there.  It is very easy to lose your way.  In fact we had to backtrack once because we didn't see the trail blaze and we went off course.

This is the sign to watch for the Crawford spur trail

Once you get on the Crawford Spur Trail, you're only 15-20 minutes from the top.  The views from the top of Mount Crawford are just spectacular!  You have a 360 degree view. When you first arrive at the top you will see Mount Resolution and Stairs Mountain off to your right (East) and Mount Washington directly in front of you to the North.  Mount Willey is North to North West and Mount Carrigain off to your left (West).  Mount Carrigain is a good point of reference when following Davis Path.  If you ever get lost, as long as you are walking towards Mount Carrigain you will run into NH Route 302.

Stairs Mountain 3463' to the left and Mount Resolution 3004' to the Right

Mount Washington 6288'

Mount Willey 4340'

Mount Carrigain 4700'

The total time to reach the summit was about 2 hours.  During the ascent we ran into a handful of people coming down, but not many.  When we reached the summit there was another couple leaving.  Kellie and I had the summit to ourselves for a good 30 minutes before another couple showed up.  This was very nice to see after doing Mount Monadnock and seeing 100+ people at the top.

After a 45 minute break at the summit we started our descent.  It took about one hour and 15 minutes to get down.  The hike down was a little rough on the knees but we finished the hike with no injuries.  We hopped in the car and drove over to Lincoln, NH to get some food at the Common Man. (Great Bison burger!) Overall I am very pleased with this hike and I think I'd like to do it again during the Fall foliage season.

Summit of Mount Crawford: 3119'
Total hike time (round trip)..: 3h 30m
Elevation Gain.....................: 2100'
Distance (round trip)...........: 5 miles

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