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Autumn (Extended) One Day Solo Presidential Traverse - Trail to Summit

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October 17, 2014 / Comments (4)

Autumn (Extended) One Day Solo Presidential Traverse

Some of you may be seeing a trend. I am attempting to hike a Presidential Traverse in each season and this makes three out of four. If you’re interested, here are my Spring and Summer trip reports.

With this traverse I camped near the Appalachia trailhead. I just got an alcohol stove from AntiGravity Gear that I’ve been wanting to try out. A Fosters can is perfect for a lightweight pot.

My neighbor for the night

I planned on being on trail before 3:00 am. By midnight I was dying to hike so off I went!

My camera was often freezing up which was very strange so I had to resort to using my phone for many of my photos. Because of this I didn’t stop and take as many photos. I definitely think it helped me with this traverse though as I spent more time moving!

I absolutely love hiking at night and getting above treeline was magnificent! I remember reading about a moonlight Presidential Traverse a couple of years ago on DMOutdoors and never thought I’d be above treeline at night! Well, here I am and loving it!

Madison, Adams, and Jefferson were all hiked in the dark. Having missed the full moon I took three headlamps. One was worn around my waist and another around my head. This really helped with rock hopping! I had a third as a spare.

I was really looking forward to a sunrise. I planned on stopping at 6:40 wherever I was to watch it in its entirety.

Heading up Washington was quite odd as it’s usually very busy. I didn’t see anyone on my ascent! I made few stops along the way, but really pushed to make good time up, especially with mostly limited views.

No lines! Unfortunately no one to take a summit photo either! Atop Washington I made the decision to return today if I felt up to it. I had never extended a Presi Traverse to include Webster and Jackson, but there were also a lot of trails to Washington I had never traveled either. Getting back to my car at Appalachia would be much easier from Pinkham Notch than the Highland Center. That was a big motivator for me. I was also hoping the weather would clear up later in the day as well to enjoy being on Washington.

From the summit of Monroe, I could see a very blue sky behind the fog. It was only a matter of time before it would lift!

Eisenhower Summit
Looking back at Monroe
Mount Pierce Summit Benchmark

Standing atop Pierce, I knew I had plenty of time left and got a second wind. I knew I could make it back to Washington and descend toward Pinkham Notch. It felt odd turning around and hiking right back to where I had been earlier. I did bypass the summits on my return to ensure I would make it to Washington!

After a whole morning of darkness and fog, the sun was finally out and the sky blue!

Once atop Washington again I was stunned to find no line! The summit was a lot busier than before, but many folks were just walking up from their cars or inside the summit buildings.

I found an odd box hiding between the rocks behind the summit sign. I think it’s newer because there are only a couple of entries, but I also never had the opportunity to look around before as there was always a huge line at the sign.

I went online and there was no “letterbox.com” but I did find www.letterboxing.org. It seems similar to geocatching.

I hadn’t decided exactly which trail I would take down until I started down Tuckerman’s Ravine. I decided to take this trail all the way to Pinkham Notch.

I saw a lot more people as I descended. It turned out to a gorgeous day and an incredibly warm one for mid October. It must have been 70 degrees outside!

Once at Pinkham getting a ride back to my car was way easier than I expected it to be. A woman I had briefly met on the last two miles on the trail was going to her father’s place down the street from Appalachia! I also ran into a fellow peak bagger (turned redliner!) Mike Cherim teaching a map and compass course.

It was a really interesting Presidential day. I’m very happy (and surprised) to be three for three for my “four season Presidential Traverse challenge”. Winter is up next. Keeping my fingers crossed to get a good weather window!


Presidential Sunrise from allison on Vimeo.

Last modified: September 2, 2017

4 Responses to :
Autumn (Extended) One Day Solo Presidential Traverse

  1. What a gorgeous day for it! Love reading about your travels. Keep up the fine work.

  2. Another fun, interesting blog post. Keep it up. You have a lot of fans!

  3. Annie Reed says:

    great blog! thanks for sharing your adventures! Am glad to see it looks like folks are putting the Eisenhower cairn back together – for a while there it was in shambles, with folks standing on it for summit pics and so forth

  4. MT says:

    That is impressive. To Pierce is one thing but to come back the same route and go down Tuckerman Ravine is insane. Congrats.

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