This long awaited outing date finally arrived! If all who’d originally signed were able to make the hike, there would have been a contingent of 12 headed to NH. Unfortunately, many canceled for various reasons and were missed. Three of us met at the Richmond P&R at 6:45 am, then proceeded to the Montpelier P&R where we picked up Jill and headed on our way to Lafayette Place Campground trail head. (Side note: Tom and I hiked this same loop one month before as a “practice” run to prepare for this outing; we had zero visibility in early October but very warm, nearly 60 degrees, temps.

Due to the Columbus Day/ Canadian Thanksgiving holidays, the trail was packed with gobs of hikers.) We arrived around 8:45 am, found a place to park near the foot tunnel and proceeded on our way, ascending the Falling Waters trail around 9:15 am. Many hikers were out for what was expected to be a mid-20’s, low wind, high visibility day. We experienced dry, then muddy, then icy conditions, the latter being very minimal but we were all cautious as to our footing since the wet rocks could have been water or ice, very hard to tell in some spots.

We veered 2/10 mile off the main trail to hit the Shining Rock viewpoint. What a great way to divert for a few minutes; not only was the view not to be missed, the water flowing under the ice on the slab was very cool! Back to the main trail, where we hit Little Haystack first, then Lincoln, then Lafayette. As we hit the ridge, the ice disappeared and the winds kicked up a bit but for just a few minutes. Fortunately, all of us were prepared with the proper clothing and we stopped to eat lunch around 12:15 ish atop Lincoln. The views of ponds, the many peaks of the ranges, Greenleaf Hut, many slides, Cannon Mountain Ski Area, etc. were just spectacular. It was such a great day to be out. And with Halloween having just passed, what else could we have found strapped by bungee to a rock but a plastic skeleton, dressed in black! Can’t say I’ve ever seen this before, have you??!!

Onto Greenleaf Hut we went which had just closed days before for the season. During the ascent, we experienced a few blow downs from the previous weekend’s wind storm; the descent saw quite a bit more of these, where we straddled, crawled under or made our way around various trees. We spoke briefly to a forest ranger who was taking pics and videos of the damage to assess what needed to be taken care of sooner than later.

The Whites experienced quite a bit of damage. We made it back to the trail head around 4:50 pm, then headed to The Woodstock Inn in No. Woodstock, about a 10 minute drive from the campground, for eats and drinks. We were back at the Richmond P&R around 8:45 pm. A full day but oh so fulfilling!

Participants: Jill George, Tom Smith, Dave Churchill, Robynn Albert (leader). Photos: Tom and Dave.