We had some friends visiting from Boston last weekend who we have been hiking with for 30 years, so we decided to make the drive to Mount Moosilauke and climb it. We chose Moosilauke because it was less than a 2 hour drive from the Chesterfield Inn, and is a “real” mountain. It is 4800 feet in elevation, and is known for relatively easy trails and panoramic views. It was a beautiful spring day , about 55 degrees and sunny when we packed up our boots and lunches and headed north. The access road into the trail head at the Dartmouth Ravine Lodge was still closed for the winter, (that should have been a clue for us as to the conditions on the mountain) so we parked on the side of the road and walked a mile and a half to the trail head.
As we started out on the Gorge Brook Trail, we crossed the brook twice right away, and the water was high and rushing with the spring snow melt. We followed the brook for awhile, and started to see patches of snow beside the trail, at the shady sections. Soon the trail was covered with snow, and remained that way all of the way to the top of the mountain. It was still sunny out, but got cooler as we climbed, but it was still pleasantly warm and bright. The snow was grainy and we felt like we were walking uphill on the beach! It was slow going , but we were with old friends and had lots to talk about so the time passed quickly.
We were hiking in shorts, which was great, except for the occasional times when the crust of the snow didn’t hold and we fell through 2 feet of snow-very cold! We meandered our way on switchbacks up to the tree line when all of a sudden the views opened up and we could see Mount Washington in all of its snow covered glory, just to the north. The valleys were lush with spring greenery in the many green shades of new leaves. We kept scrambling through the snow to the rocky and windy summit, where we ate our lunches quickly, in a rush to get to a sheltered area where it wasn’t so cold. We then headed down the Carriage Trail, which was wider and had less snow. After 6 hours, we made it back to the car, happy and tired after a great day of hiking!