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Mt. Moosilauke Day Hike

During the summer of '95, my wife's parents, who live in Italy, were visiting, and we coaxed my father-in-law into accompanying us on a dayhike in the White Mountains. We chose Mt. Moosilauke because of its height (4,802 feet) as well as the higher-than-average altitude of the trailhead (2,500 feet). I'd been up Moosilauke the year before, and knew that the trail was relatively easy, and that the views in all directions from the summit were excellent. We started our dayhike at the Dartmouth Outing Club's Ravine Lodge. The photograph on the right was taken at the Lodge on the second-floor balcony prior to the hike (from left, Me, my son Matt, my father-in-law Frank, my brother-in-law Phill, my other son Adam, and kneeling in front, Phill's younger brother Anthony). Mt. Moosilauke is in the background of this picture, and as the day started, we were assuming that the sunshine we were enjoying at the lodge would burn off the fog which shrouded the summit. It's surprising how often one can make false assumptions about the weather, isn't it?

Well, we haven't made it very far yet; we're about 100 yards from the Lodge, and as you can see, we look like we're just full of energy. Anyway, the trail we chose to take to the summit is called the Gorge Brook Trail, because for the first 1.6 miles, it follows alongside Gorge Brook, crossing the brook twice on small footbridges.

The lower part of the trail, the part that follows along Gorge Brook, is quite old. At the point where the trail leaves Gorge Brook and enters the Ross McKenney Forest, the trail has recently been completely rerouted, making for a longer, more gradual climb to the summit.

But first, right at the beginning, the trail descends to and then crosses over Baker River on a narrow footbridge. Narrower than the one in this picture, as a matter of fact. Both of the footbridges over Gorge Brook were rebuilt in 1996 and are vast improvements over their narrow, rickety predecessors. The footbridge you see pictured here is the one that crosses Gorge Brook at 1.3 miles (the other crosses at 0.6 miles). If you look under the bridge, you can see the remnants of the earlier bridge that was at this site.

As you've probably noticed, there are no women on this hike. I would just like to point out that this is not because of any exclusionary policy on our part, rather, it is because our spouses elected to spend the day shopping (although, admittedly, my wife would have rather come along on the hike). Whoever decided that North Conway, in the heart of the White Mountains, should be turned into a wall-to-wall display of tasteless little factory outlets (all outlets, no factories, by the way) should be takenout and severely spanked with a Ralph Lauren polo stick.

The total length of Gorge Brook Trail is 3.7 miles, with an altitude gain of only 2,300 feet. Unfortunately, once we found ourselves on the summit, we also found ourselves in a weather situation--the visibility was about 25-30 feet, and the wind, which is almost always blowing hard on the summit of Moosilauke, certainly did not disappoint. The summit of Moosilauke is adorned with a rather large stone foundation, the only remnant of a structure that once stood at the summit of this broad, flat peak.

After a quick lunch, we packed everything up and began to retrace our steps back down the mountain towards Ravine Lodge. Despite the lack of visibility at the summit, a good time was had by all. In any case, the bad visibility we experienced is just another excuse to hike Moosilauke again, when the weather is more cooperative.

Total trip mileage, 7.4 miles.

Copyright © 1996, David Lister

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Document last modified on Friday, 19-Jan-2007 07:26:06 MST.