Tony called this "a big boy hike". It was. 3 days later my quads are still sore. The original plan was to hit Cannon Mountain with Melon and Stoonge, but they both backed out due to other issues. So we decided to climb one of the Presidentials. There was some talk of hitting both Madison and Adams but it quickly became apparent that this was not going to happen. Madison via the Howker trail was strenuous, especially the last 700-800' of elevation.
The day started off with Kellie getting a flat tire as she pulled into my driveway, we quickly changed it but decided it was not worth driving 2.5 hours North on a donut spare. We moved all the gear to my care and then headed out, only to realize a couple of miles up the road I left the map and driving directions in Kellie's car. We turned around and went back. The day was not starting out on a good note.
The weather was beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky, 60 degrees at the base of the mountain and winds were about 5mph. A perfect fall day for a hike. The foliage wasn't at peak but it also wasn't bad.
The journey begins
Kellie, Julie, Tony
Not a great picture but it was the first view from the trail
A little higher up
Some animal with an upset stomach
Howker Trail was really steep in some sections
Our destination - So far away!
View from one of the four Howks
The foliage was not great but it was starting to show
The summit is actually not visible, it is behind the peak behind me. From this spot we were already 2.5 hours into the hike
Tony, Julie, Kellie
The warning sign on all the Presidentials
The town of North Conway in the distance
Getting higher up
Another great view
I do not remember what ski area this is
This looks like the summit but it's not - we are very close though
Kellie waiting for me at the cairn
This is the actual summit of Mount Madison 5,367'
Kellie, Julie and Tony @ the summit - waiting for my slow ass
Mount Washington and the auto road
A very happy Kellie that we made it
Tony, Julie, Mike, Kellie
Summit of Mount Madison 5,367'
Looking over at Mount Adams
View from the summit
Tony and I have officially done 24 of the 48
Another view from summit
Heading down to the Madison Springs Hut
Madison Springs Hut
Madison Springs Hut - Closed for the season
Looking up at Mount Madison from the hut
Final view before descending into the trees
We went up the left side and down the right
Heed these warnings!
On the way home from the hike, heading down RT 3 at about 60mph the car in front of me starts to skid and then turned side ways. As it does it hits the legs of a giant moose that jumped over the guardrail. The moose fell to the ground and then got up and limped to the side of the road. I rolled up next to the car and the driver said everyone was ok. My entire life I have seen these signs but I have never seen a moose actually cross the road, ever. This was a wake up call. If we had arrived at that spot 15 seconds earlier, it would have been me that hit that moose.
Summit of Mount Madison: 5,367'
Total hike time (round trip)..: 8h 52m
Elevation Gain.....................: 4,450' *
Distance (round trip)...........: 10.49m
Trails: Howker Ridge Trail, Osgood Trail (AT), Valley Way Trail, Randolf Path
* Taken from another website as I left my GPS on after the hike and the elevation gain was not correct