Without actually planning it ahead of time, we circumnavigated the tallest mountain in New Hampshire, Mt. Washington, on our short hiking vacation.
We drove up to Pinkham Notch on Wednesday and started hiking on the Imp Trail on Carter Mountain around noon. This is a loop trail with the northern half being a very steep 2.2 miles to a small ledge with spectacular view of the Presidential Range looking to the Southeast. Then 4.1 miles down on the southern loop. This hike was taxing due to the temperature, which was in the high 80s. Total vertical: 1900 feet.
Thursday the temps had dropped into the pleasant 60s and we headed for the Zeeland Road to climb the 3.3 mile Sugarloaf Trail. This one climbs to the saddle between two peaks North and Middle Sugarloaf and hikers are invited to visit one and then the other. We chose to begin with North, with ledges offering an expansive view to the west and the Presidentials. The top of Mount Washington was in the clouds but we could see some of the other peaks in the range. Then we headed back down to the saddle and up Middle Sugarloaf for lunch and more views from ledges which opened not only West but south and east. We could see Mt. Garfield the mountains at the top of Crawford Notch. On the climb down we passed some interesting glacial erratics and we hammed it up. Total vertical: 1100 feet.
Friday was even cooler and we continued to circumnavigate Mount Washington by driving the Kancamagus Highway to the trailhead of the Mt. Potash Trail. This was a 4 mile up and back hike to the summit of an oddly named little mountain with great views. There’s some low scrub on top, but chances to see in almost every direction. Looking north we could see Mts. Eisenhower and Washington. Also great views of Passaconaway, the Twins, Osceola and Chocorua and the Kanc snaking to the west. A nice mix of trail conditions from downy hemlock litter to bony granite slabs. Highly recommended! Total vertical: 1400 feet
Looking north from Mt. Potash. Washington is the far off peak framed by the two trees in the center of the shot.