Monday, December  17, 2018
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It was only one week since we returned from our week long slice of Southern Utah, and we might have been expected to take a little break from hiking. But we all know how fickle spring weather can be in the northeast, and when a stunner of a weekend shaped up, we decided we should get out anyway. We managed to cajole Luke and Sophie to come along, and as a reward, we picked one of the best ridge hikes in the entire northeast -- Franconia Ridge, from Haystack Mountain to Mount Lafayette. With the late season snow and the brilliant weather, it promised to be a stunner!

We drove down the night before and stayed in a pretty nice motel in St. Johnsbury (the Comfort Inn). The price was reasonable considering the nice room and great breakfast that were provided.

We parked at the Lafayette Campground's hiker parking area and started off at about 8:30am. We decided to hike up the Falling Waters trail to Haystack, and then from there we would decided how much of the ridge we'd like to hike.
South Park!
Everybody needs to go
Under I-93
Cannon Cliff from I-93
Our trailhead
Suitable for YakTrax
The forecast was for an extremely warm April day. However, it was cool at night, and the night's coolness had not yet worn off. The snow was still firm and a bit icy, and we decided the best form of traction (we'd brought three : snowshoes, crampons and yaktrax) were the yaktrax.
Junction with Falling Waters
Tenuous Snow Bridges
Pretty cascade
The falling waters trail was beautiful - open bits had opened up in the stream, giving us nicely framed views of beautiful little waterfalls. The trail was firm-ish but unfortunately full of postholes. Seems that not many people 'round here like using snowshoes in the spring! We kept them off ourselves until the softness of the snow and deepness of the postholes made it a better alternative to use snowshoes, even with all of the unevenness caused by the holes.
Falls and Bridges
Falling Waters
Ice fall
Luk-ee Luk-ee!
First Peak Glimpses
Views to the west
Greenleaf from afar
Shining rock
Reaching treeline
The anticipation of the beautiful day and beautiful open ridgewalk intensified as we near the summit of Haystack. There was a stiff breeze cooling things off at the summit, but otherwise the conditions were fabulous.
Snowfield and Lincoln
The Kinsmans
Nearing Haystack's summit
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