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Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

Lehigh Valley...
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Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

I was hoping to pick your experience. I have a family of 5 - 6, 8, 10 yr old - been hiking with them the last two years on various local hikes - Sunday we did a 3 hr approx. 1200 ft elevation hike w/o a problem in 80 F temp- the kids actually are getting better than the adults - last yr we did a 4 hr 1600 ft (90 F) where they were a little tuckered out.

I wanted to take them up to Mt Washington- Tuckerman Ravine the weekend of Aug 17-18th this year. "IF" the weather works out - does anyone see a problem with this? Thinking of taking the shuttle down - so it would be only one way. Seems like the weather is the real unknown and you just have to play it by ear - not being afraid to not do it or turn back if it isn't good. Was planning to continue training until we get to August - 2 to 3x a week to help prepare - 2 light days midweek - weekend do a longer one working on elevation.

Thoughts appreciated!

Sedona, AZ
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21. Re: Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

Yes, thanks for reporting. Glad you had a good trip.

Reservations for Phantom Ranch, and all other GCNP lodging brought Xnterra, open on the 1st of the month, for that month of the following year. So Oct 2014 will mean calling Xanterra early in the morning on Oct 1st 2013. That's prime hiking season so I'd say your odds of getting through on the phone are about 1 in 10. Phantom Ranch typically sells out for the month by about 10AM that day. But it's worth a shot.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't plan a GC vacation though. There's plenty of other ways to experience the Grand Canyon.

Lehigh Valley...
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22. Re: Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

Hello All!

Heading back up to the Whites next weekend and was hoping to glean some more great advise. We had a blast last year and wanted to visit again.

This year we were planning to hike up to Mt Washington as part of a group (like 25 or so) that have done it every year for 10+yrs. We were going to play it by ear and evaluate once we get to Hermit Lake. Again going with the entire family. The one nice fall back in this group they will have a driver with a van on top for anyone who needs a ride.

However, looking at the forecast for next weekend - it doesn't look good - N. Conway fine, Mt Washington 40% chance - if things don't improve we will not even try Mt Washington - this leads to my question.

Are there other hikes you would recommend that would be challenging but maybe not as dangerous if rain would come in (or maybe not at all when Washington has it) and maybe not as long 4 to 6 hours - that way it's not too long to get back. We will be there Fri, Sat, and Sun so please feel free to give a couple. We are ready for more of a challenge.

Thanks again all!

Lincoln, NH
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23. Re: Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

Less! Welcome back! Great to hear you're ready for Mt. Washington. I'm guessing you mean the weekend of the 16th, in which case, you can't really rely on a forecast just yet. Now, the biggest danger above treeline in the rain is getting cold and wet. You can handle cold and dry in August, so make sure you have good rain gear. Your worst areas will be anything above treeline... and Washington has the most, being the tallest. I would look at hikes that include an AMC hut, where you can get out of the elements and warm up and relax if the weather sours. So, consider Mizpah hut and Mt. Pierce, or perhaps Greenleaf hut and Lafayette. Both of these summits have very exposed ridge trails to other fun summits that you could take if the weather is favorable, and skip and descend if the weather is bad. Both have terrain above treeline and are very exposed toward the summits, but much less so that Washington.

Have fun!

LMM

Lehigh Valley...
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24. Re: Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

LMM – We had to change our plans to Aug 21 to 23 – hopeful one of those days will work out weather wise. Thank you for the other suggestions “if” all goes well and we get to go Thurs the 21st we will look to do one of the other hikes Fri and or Sat – depending how sore we are. I do believe we are ready (or as much as we can be) – this past Saturday we hiked 8hrs, 14 miles, 2300 feet of elevation (that’s about as much as we can do in PA in a day) with the gear we would do Washington with. The next day we really were not sore – swam 2500 meters and felt great. We will do another 2200ft of elevation this Saturday w/ our packs – don’t have time to do more. Yes we have rain gear but I still wouldn’t chance it (if there is a high % that day or something looks like it is moving in on the hike will turn around quickly) with the kids. Another question – following the forecast it looks like the mountain gets quite a bit of rain, how muddy can I expect the trail to be (wet shouldn’t be a problem) – we all have decent boots but is this an issue? Thanks again!

Lincoln, NH
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25. Re: Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

Less, if you can procure a copy of the AMC Guide to the White Mountains, all trail descriptions will tell you about trails that could be difficult to cross in high water. For your boots, make sure they have a waterproof seal applied to the outsides, paying attention to the seams, and if you're so inclined, get a pair of gaiters which will help keep water from running down your legs and rain into your boots.

And it sounds like you're in fine shape for the hike. Have a great time.

LMM

Sedona, AZ
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26. Re: Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

Agreeing that it sounds as though you're fit enough. Trails can get very muddy. There's been a LOT of rain recently and you should expect mud at lower elevations. Follow LMM's advice about keeping your footwear dry. And remember the rule I was taught and ALWAYS follow when in the Presidentials. ALWAYS HAVE A DRY LAYER OF CLOTHING CLOSEST TO YOUR SKIN. This can require carrying a couple extra changes of clothes in your pack. Deaths on Mt Washington are almost always a result of Exposure. It can happen in the middle of summer if you don't stay warm and dry.

Edited: 11:57 pm, August 14, 2014
Lehigh Valley...
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27. Re: Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

Thanks again guys! You guys are golden!

Fit - I was hoping you would say that!

Clothes: was planning on one extra, will pack 2 - we have proper dry wicking of everything from underwear to shirts, trail pants, to hiking socks. Hat, gloves, water&windproof shells, plus ponchos, Was planning to pack base layers (UA) as well. We don't have the gaiters though.

Have waterproofing bottle will reinforce again this weekend. I did just get the AMC guide but frankly haven't had a chance to dig into it other than copying and laminating the trail map - I will though. Was planning to start at Tuckerman's trailhead at 7am, via lionshead and follow tukerman's all the way down, it should give us plenty of day to take our time - (again if weather looks good) - good plan or advise differently?

NH
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28. Re: Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

As an FYI the local 6PM News was reporting the temp on MT Washington as 37 degrees.

Lehigh Valley...
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29. Re: Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

I hope it's not that temp for us -however I think layered we would be fine. I also hope we are back by 6 or very close too it!

Well last post- say a prayer thurs, fri or Sat the weather works - we all did very well this past Saturday, we do feel ready, 38min a mile for 8.2 miles, 2000ft elevation, my 10 yr old had a HUGE break through - we just had to let her lead and no one could keep up...lol

Thks again all- will post next week how it goes

Lehigh Valley...
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30. Re: Hike w/ family to Mt Washington

Hey everyone recap of our three days in the Whites:

Thurs the 21st we hiked Mt. Washington (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly):

The Good: We almost didn't get a chance to hike (almost Ugly)- our 10year old somehow tore the top of her three toes Wed pm in on our hotel room door - looked nasty, we just bandaged it up and didn't make a big deal about it; fortunately and surprisingly it didn't bother her on the hike. We were blessed the weather did work out – light rain on the way down, but mostly sunny on the way up, cloudy on the way down – but the visibility and views were awesome! We successfully climbed and descended Mt. Washington, up Tuckerman’s and down Lion’s head (per Pinkham ranger suggestion) in between day light hours without any injuries. We did very well up until the final .4 of a mile – for some reason we really struggled finding the right path up (down no problem). We had all the needed gear and I feel were as prepared as we could have been for the hike (we did change our shirts 2x each –thanks RedRox). My 7 and 12 year old all the way up the hike were very strong. My 10 year old a HUGE finish – wants to do it again! Countless parenting opportunities about perseverance and applying it too life – this was/is a lifelong priceless memory for all. The smiles on the kid’s faces eating pizza and ice cream that evening – then they spent an hour going down the water slides at our hotel before they closed it down- endless energy.

The Bad: We hit the trail at 8am instead of the planned 7am making our return in day light a little in jeopardy and causing anxiousness the latter part of the hike. The light rain really slowed us up on the way down – we took our time and carefully worked our way down the technical parts but our kids had this fear that we would run into bears as we got toward the dinner time (since we saw bears last year at that time of day coming down the auto road). It’s amazing how long that last part of Tuckerman’s is on the way down – seemed to take forever for all of us. We packed a little too much – yes we were prepared but on hindsight a little too much food and some other equipment. Wished I could have somehow done this hike first to get familiar with it –but that just wasn’t practical – so that made the unknown frankly stressful. Total time 11hours 36 mins (including 1 hour at the top) – never would have guessed it would have taken that long but we stuck too our plan – rest every 35 to 45 mins and eat.

The Ugly: My 10 year old quitting with only .2 of mile to go, for 5 minutes, and having a meltdown before reaching the top (we literally could see the sign before the auto road parking lot at the top). My 7 year old having a meltdown (she was embarrassed) because she spilled Gatorade at lunch at the top café – then she wouldn’t eat her lunch (yes it made an impact the last ¼ of the hike). My 10yr old peeing on her clothes causing a change of clothes mid way down lion’s head. My 7 year old’s knee being aggravated the last 2 miles of the decent – she finally used poles to help after many pleas from both parents. My 12 year old also having a meltdown with less than 1 mile to go - this one shocked me but we were all pushed to our limits (again another teaching opportunity – he always complained about our 10yr in prior hikes and now she was encouraging him at the end – how the tables can turn).

Fri Aug 22nd:

Half day rafting (all day event) on the Pontook Dam – river was a class 2 but the shift of exercise and sport was perfect since we were all sore and cranky. The kids and my wife never went before (I was on the snake river twenty years prior) – they were all initially anxious but that quickly turned to fun once we were on the river – weather worked out but a little on the cooler side. We allowed the kids to swim on the water slides the rest of the night while we organized what we were going to do Saturday.

Sat Aug 23rd:

Was initially going to go to the Flume but I read a post that LMM wrote against it. He used the word costly ($66 for all of us) “controlled” hike which rubbed me the wrong way – meaning I would be regretting it if we did it. He recommended two alternatives Arethusa Falls (we did last year and loved it but was out of our way this year) or hike Mt. Pemigewasset. We hiked Mt. Pemigewasset and it was a PERFECT way to end our time in the Whites this year. Helped us end with all smiles and no complaining at all – view and weather were amazing for the hour hike up. Thanks LoonMountainMan!!! Then we headed home.

The White’s sure have a lot to offer – we will be back (would like to do the Mt. Lafayette loop next time) but with a little luck (reservations for the floor) the Grand Canyon is next year – will be dialing often on Sept & Oct 1st.