June 27, 2010

Mount Eisenhower, Presidential Range, New Hampshire

We drove from Maine to New Hampshire, where we camped at a White Mountains National Forest campground. The next day, we drove around to to hike along the crest of the Presidential Range.

Our initial plan was to hike up the 3,000 feet elevation above the treeline on the Edmunds Path to the top of Mount Eisenhower. Then we were going to follow the Crawford Path through the alpine meadows until reaching Mount Monroe. We ended up going much further and that will be detailed in the couple of posts.

The trails starts the the deciduous northern hardwood forest and quickly climbs up into the montane coniferous forest dominated by red spruce. At around 4000 feet or so, the trail begins to emerge from the trees into the alpine zone. Here you can see the view from the edge of treeline to the valley below.

Here, the winter temperatures can get so cold, that it freezes the sap in the trees and kills them. In addition, dry icy winds scour and dessicate the branches. The remaining trees are krummholzed and tucked into sheltered cavities.

Mount Washington is famous for having the "worst weather in the world". To perpetuate that, we encountered this interesting sign at the treeline.

The Presidential Range contains the largest expanse of alpine vegetation east of the Rockies. From Mount Eisenhower we continued along the alpine ridgeline called Crawford Path, admiring the amazing views of the White Mountains. The rounded dome in the distance is Mount Eisenhower.

The Mount Washington Steam Train working its way up the mountain

White Mountains Panorama from the Crawford Path

The first view of the 6,300 foot Mount Washington

View to the South

Alpine vegetation consisting of tightly packed woody shrubs just a few inches above the ground. Some of these grow very slowly and can be hundreds of years old.

In the next post, we'll cover the stretch of Crawford Path from Mount Monroe to Lake of the Clouds.

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