Presidential Traverse – Day 1

For the July 4th, my friends and I decided to do a 2-day Presidential traverse in the White Mountains.  We did a north-to-south traverse (Madison through Jackson) and as soon we came above treeline on Madison, we were greeted by 50-60 mph winds, with 80 mph gusts.  I didn’t take my camera out on Madison – I was too busy trying to find my footing!

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Washington under a cloud – as always! – , pictured from the summit of Adams, our second summit of the day.

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The view to the west off the Gulfside trail in between Adams and Jefferson.  I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I wanted, but the traverse was stunning the whole way through.

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From the top of Jefferson, our third summit, facing southwest in the afternoon.  The light through the clouds was simply amazing! The wind had calmed a bit at this point.

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Looking down the final stretch from Jefferson.  We didn’t summit Clay (it’s not an official presidential), so we just had Washington (the big one!) left at this point! You can see the southern Presidentials stretching beyond Washington, but those were for Day 2.

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The Monticello lawn on the south side of Jefferson.  This is an alpine lawn – isn’t it gorgeous?!

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Between the wind and the challenging hike, I was too tired to take pictures on Washington itself.  But on the way to Lake of the Clouds hut, just south of Washington, I turned and saw the setting sun and simply had to stop and take pictures, less than a mile from a bed and hot supper.  I actually really want to go back and spend a few days at Lake of the Clouds hut just to be able to capture sunsets and sunrises from the Presidentials; I didn’t do it justice in this photo.

This day was definitely my most challenging hike yet – terrain, weather conditions, and length were all more difficult than I’ve ever done before.  But to be honest – I can’t wait to go back.  Even completely exhausted and being blown sideways by the wind, all I could think about was how incredibly lucky I was to be standing atop a ridge staring out at the incredibly beauty of the Whites.

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