Monroe-Washington Trip Report
Ammonoosuc was picturesque all the way up. It was easy going until the Gem Pool (beautiful) when it became very steep, with hand over hand climbing in some spots. The trail was short, and considering the significant elevation gain (1,500 ft. in 1.0 mi from the Gem Pool to Lakes of the Clouds), it was a quick, efficient and sheltered way up. The footing was good. When it seemed Lakes would never appear, BAM!, there it was.
I was in the clouds from the scrub up. The trails to Monroe were short and quick. I was the only one on the summit, and the wind was blowing so hard, I had to squat behind a rock to get a break from it. On the way down, there was a great view of the hut and the two lakes. The trip to Washington was spooky with clouds coming a going and hikers coming in and out of view. At times I could only see the next cairn ahead. The final cone ascent was steep compared to Crawford from Lakes, which was moderate. The alpine was extraordinary as usual.
The summit was crowded – too crowded. It was a shock to hike 3,800 ft over rocks and waterfalls, through wind and cloud to a crowded parking lot with a train and a cafeteria and a line of people waiting to stand on the summit rock. Why did I wait behind people who drove to the top to stand foot on the summit? I was only one who was bothered by the incongruity. I was the minority, and apparently stupid, too. I could have drove. I walked.
Very few people on the walk back. Jewell Tr. was the way to go – moderate, beautiful – but it was exposed half the way.
- Partly to mostly cloudy. Summits were in and out of the clouds. Temps in the 70s at the base, 43 *F and 20 m.p.h. winds at the summit.
- lots of dogs on this trip – even a dachshund
- the cog stunk up the Ammonoosuc with its smoke
- hot chocolate and Doritos on the summit – OK, maybe a cafeteria on a summit has its bright side
- 10 mi./8.5 hrs
- Yes, the hut should be named Lakes of the Crowds