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Mt Moosilauke - page 2 of 2

After crossing a third bridge over Gorge Brook, the trail turned right, passed a plaque for the Ross McKenney Forest, then went through a brief flat stretch where the trail was lined with rocks. This area was a mixture of spruce and birch, and I thought it was particularly picturesque. It soon turned left, and started up a long series of short switchbacks. Most of the birch trees up here had already lost their leaves for the winter.

There were a couple of spots along the trail that would have had great views if it hadnít been foggy. Near the top, the trail descended slightly into a damp sag in the middle of the krummholz where we could see the summit. It soon broke out into the open, where the ground  was covered with alpine plants and grasses that made the summit area look like a small hill in the middle of a field. The trail wound up through the fragile alpine zone between two rows of rocks. There were many warning signs about staying on the trail.

We ate lunch on the top along with several other groups of hikers. With the ruins of an old foundation and the broad grassy-looking treeless summit, I thought it looked kind of like a scene from Scotland with the ruins of an old castle. The foundation belonged to a lodge - the Tip-Top House -  which had been used by people who came up the former carriage road.

Fog still enveloped the summit area, but occasionally broke enough for glimpses of blue sky to shine through. But sadly, there were no views down to the valley or across to the Franconia Range. 

It was a busy day on the mountain. Looking down the Gorge Brook Trail that we had hiked up, we could see groups of tiny hikers emerging from the distant scrub, and slowly making their way to the rocky summit, magically looming larger and larger as they got nearer.

Erin eating lunch near the summit. Next to the summit were the ruins of an old foundation. There used to be a lodge, the Tip-Top House,  on the summit for people who came up the Carriage Road.

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Looking down the Gorge Brook Trail. If you look closely, you can see several hikers coming up the rock-lined trail.

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Me at the actual summit. The regular wooden summit signs had deteriorated and had temporarily been replaced by handwritten signs encased in plastic.

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The "spruce hedge". On the way down, we passed through a narrow section with short scrubby spruce trees that grew like a hedge lining the path.

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The alpine zone sign. Beyond this point, large boulders block the Moosilauke Carriage Road, preventing snowmobilers from going any higher and ruining the fragile summit area.

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Moose head in the lodge. The Moosilauke Ravine Lodge is a very rustic and northwoods sort of place. The main room has a huge stone fireplace, a piano, and a lot of tables for dining.

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