I got out on another 8 mile section hike of the Appalachian Trail yesterday, picking up where we left off last weekend on Atwell Rd, and hiking to Glencliff Rd, close to the base of Mt Moosilauke, the westernmost 4,000 footer in the White Mountain National Forest.
I was joined by 7 other hikers from the New England Hikers and Adventurers hiking club, which I've started leading trips for this spring. This group, which has over 900 members, has a lot of very strong hikers and climbers from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. The people on today's trip were mostly other trip leaders, which was great, because were able to sustain a good pace and everyone was pretty self-sufficient.
One of the things I like about this group is that its trips always get started on time. There's no milling around while people get dressed and organized. We met at the trail head where our trip would end at 9:00 AM and were on the road shortly after that, driving to the trail head where we would start about 20 miles away (by car.) By 9:30 AM, we were on the trail and hiking.
The two main features on this hike were Mt Mist (2,230) and Wachipauka Pond, a large beaver pond situated at the base of Webster Slide Mountain. Other than that, this was a nice sylvan walk through New England forest, dominated by beech and oak.
Trail conditions today were good. Temperatures were in the 60's and the trail was mostly dry with the occasional muddy patch. The blazing on this stretch was much better than the section I hiked last weekend, and there were very few winter blowdowns blocking the treadway.
The summit of Mist turned out to be viewless, but we were well rewarded on the descent with an excellent view of the South Peak of Moosilauke with Wachipauka Pond, below. Contuning further, we hiked past a trailhead to Webster Slide Mountain, a mountain has has experienced significant slides on its southeast face. These are not observable as you hike below the summit on the Applachian Trail and are best seen from Mt. Mist.
Just below Webster Slide is Wachipauka Pond, an active beaver community with a large lodge. Judging by the size of the pond, it looks like a natural, as opposed to a purely beaver-made feature. To get down to the pond, we followed an unmarked side trail that branches off from the AT at the north end of the pond, and followed it to a lovely lunch spot on the pond's shore.
After lunch it was just another 90 minute walk back to the cars for the reverse shuttle. Total trip distance was 8 miles and walking time was about 5 hours.