I left RI at 5:00am on Friday to beat the traffic and hopefully get an early start on a hike since rain was forecast for the afternoon. Decided to do Frankenstein Cliff and Arethusa Falls based on the forecast rather than the original plan of Avalon/Tom/Field. Missed all the traffic and was at the trailhead at 8:30 - record time. It was a cloudy damp morning but comfortable for hiking. Headed up the Frankenstein Cliff trail (which is definitely the best way to do this loop since this trail is steep, slippery and root-filled - a bad combination for going down). There was lots of deadfall on the trail - looked like some fairly recent - lots of climbing over and around.
Got to the top of the cliff in less than an hour and found that the views of the notch were still beautiful with the clouds and fog.
Had the trail to myself most of the way - met only 2 other groups. Got down to the falls and had an early lunch and then headed out and was back at the car in about 3 hours.
After going to North Conway for a couple of hours I headed back to Highland to check in and ran into Tom and Aaron from our AMC group who were just arriving. They had decided to sneak in an extra hike as well and I wound up joining them to do Mount Willard. The weather held and it was another nice hike with a bit more limited views than from Frankenstein in the morning.
Tom on Mount Willard
Saturday morning the weather was cool, damp and cloudy with fog hanging in the valleys - but the forecast was promising.
Headed up the Webster Jackson Trail and the Webster Branch. Lots of steep, rocky climbing like this section at the crossing of Silver Cascade brook.
By the time we got to the summit of Webster the blue sky was showing and the cliffs were floating in the clouds.
A short break for a snack and to soak in the views and then on to Jackson. The Webster Cliff trail to Jackson provided a break from the steady steep climb to Webster. The final steep section provided some nice scrambling to the top where we found that the flag (for Flags on the 48) was already flying.
There were lots of people on the summit including a couple of other AMC chapter groups. I was also surprised (and happy) to find Trish and Alex there. We had a nice chat and Alex gave us an overview of her conquest of 4000 footers this year - it was awesome! Hung out at the summit for quite a while having lunch and enjoying the amazing views. The sky had really cleared now and the views were amazing. The flags on Eisenhower and Monroe were flying as well and it was a really cool sight.
While we were finishing lunch a couple of visitors showed up.
They hung around for a long time and paid a personal visit to many of us. Of course I'm sure that they were just being friendly and weren't interested in snacks...
The way down provided some more interesting scrambling. Maybe this would have been easier going up...
One last rest stop on the way down on the rocks at the final brook crossing where we hung out with the Maine AMC chapter group. This is our whole group (except me). Great group of people and a thouroughly enjoyable day (and weekend). I look forward to hiking with them again.
When we got up Sunday morning it was raining hard and the forecast was conditions to worsen over the day so we unfortunately decided to cancel our hike for Sunday. It was still a great weekend though and the mountains will be there next time...
Complete photo album here: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman4...y=cGSyGnwt0ww#