A Supermoon is when the moon is the closest to earth. This year June 23rd was the day to see it. The moon is 14% larger and 30% brighter than seen at its farthest point. I thought there would be no better way to see it than in the mountains.
Unfortunately the forecast wasn’t going to cooperate. Saturday came and went with storms in the mountains. I regretted not trying to get a glimpse at the moon from a mountaintop that night and decided to hike Sunday night. I scoured the internet for the weather report. It was reported that there would be showers off and on and a couple storms, but be done by night.
I arrived at the Lafayette Place Parking area (I went to the right lot this time!) and waited out the last of the storm. It was 5:45 when I donned my rain jacket and headed up the trail.
The first mile on the trail was wet. My pants got wet and even with my rain jacket on, I was damp. I felt like I was hiking in a sauna. Since I was below treeline I stowed my jacket in my pack and continued onward. My rain jacket traps in everything. I was better off without it.
After the rain came the sun. I heard from a hiker descending that I just missed a rainbow. I saw at least twenty people coming down. Many were in jeans and sneakers. They had been at or near the summit during the the thunderstorm and thought I was odd for coming up at the time I was. Some called me brave and cheered while others commented with, “a late start, huh?” as they squeaked by in their soaked cotton socks.
This was my third time up Lafayette. The first time was in winter and the second was only two months ago on a full Franconia Ridge hike. This was my 5th time up on the ridge. It’s one of my favorite spots in the Whites.
There were a lot of nice photo opportunities, but I had to remember that I had a timeline. I needed to be at the summit by sunset at 8:33.
I arrived at the hut at 7:10. Knowing I had plenty of time to get up Lafayette and the fact that I probably wouldn’t see the moon because of the clouds, I hung around the hut for a few. I talked to three men staying at the hut who tried to impress me with the fact that they were on the ridge during the thunderstorm. I didn’t find that too intriguing. Just stupid.
A lot of the trail was really wet. Some sections had little streams flowing down it. A lot of rain came down at once.
Hiking down in the dark is not as scary as you would think. In fact, it wasn’t really scary at all. I took the same trail down as I went up (Old Bridal Path) and I had been on this trail before. I felt comfortable following the soft glow of my headlamp. I was in a smooth rhythm pausing to scoot down rocks now and then. I was even able to keep my stuffy rain jacket on. I made it back to my car at 10:15 pm. Four and half hours for 8 miles, half of it in the dark. Not too shabby!
I will have a couple short videos up of the hike down once I edit them so keep a lookout!
Last modified: November 28, 2014