The Jalapeño Poppers Take on Franconia Ridge

Day 1:
We left. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon. The drive was long, but not too long. We listened to “Kristen’s Awesome Mix.” It was awesome. All trip participants were excited for our return so we could listen to “Kristen’s Awesome Mix II.” There were five of us: Kristen “Ring” Wraith, Ammar “The Nose” Joudeh, Stephen “Re” Bates, Daniel “The Photographer” Garber, and Joey “Brick” Wall. The sun was three hours lower in the sky when we reached Liberty Springs Information Center. It hovered close above North Kinsman Peak to our west, threatening to plunge the verdant woods into darkness. Inside the log cabin, we asked about the ascending trail to the east. Their response: hushed dread. “It is icy,” they said. “You need crampons,” they said.

“Nay,” we said (after much deliberation). We trekked through fall foliage of every color to the trailhead for Liberty Springs. Upward and onward! As dark fell, the leaves on the trees around us grew sparser. The air grew colder. The ground grew…. Whiter? Yes! It was snow! We were leaving the tepid days of October behind for a wintry windy night. Our boots crunched in the snow left by fresh flurries until we reached Liberty Springs Tent Site far up the side of Liberty Mountain. The icy air was cold on our faces. We put up our tents, cooked dinner, and got mildly hypothermic before bundling into our mesh tents for a wind-rattling night. The stars shone brightly above us in the crisp moonless night. A constellation appears: a large right triangle in the shape of Ammar’s nose. A new constellation is dubbed “Ammar’s Nose.” It is a glorious night.

Day 2:
Sunrise. We awake to the blaring alarm of an iPhone. We eat breakfast and pack. A short climb to the summit, and then: paradise. Sunlight beams through the snow-laden limbs. The early morning light and the pines and the clear blue sky- it is too much. Stephen starts to weep.

We decide to turn southward to conquer Liberty. It was a glorious view. Then we turned northward. Franconia Ridge was snowy and spectacular. We hit Haystack. Beautiful. Then Lincoln. Psych! It wasn’t actually Lincoln. But it was pretty sweet. Then we actually summited Lincoln. We looked up and saw Lafayette, menacing in the distance. To the south we saw the beautiful ridge and clear skies and sweeping vistas. To the north we saw the rocky, icy ascent to Lincoln shrouded by clouds. After a windswept traverse, we conquer our fourth peak before lunch. “This is life-affirming,” said Ammar. All agreed. Lafayette was very nice, but we decided not to take a topless on top photo. Kristen disapproved.

We then descended a treacherous icy slope down Old Bridle Path. We then saw why they recommended crampons. After slowly crawling down (or, in Joey’s case, falling down) the west side of Lafayette, the brave crew stopped for lunch at the Greenleaf AMC Hut. It was very nice, but we wished we brought money for soup. Then we climbed back down into fall, leaving Christmas behind. After a roadside pasta dinner, we drove back to Cambridge.

It was an illustrious trip.

Trip Type:  Single Route Multiple Routes 
General Region:  New Hampshire (White Mountain NF) New Hampshire (other) Maine Massachusetts Out West Other 
Trip Leaders: Joey Wall, Kristen Wraith, Stephen Bates

Routes On This Trip:

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