Sunday, December  9, 2018
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With our refreshing break at the Greenleaf Hut complete, it was time to continue our journey to the top of Mt Lafayette, now clearly visible from our vantage point at the hut. We would have to descend a touch to cross the outlet of nearby Eagle Lake, up through a section of low scrub and trees, and then climb out into the glorious open alpine for the remaining distance to the 5200+ foot summit.
Eagle Lake(s)
Continuing on from hut
Me Sophigor!
It was turning out to be a superb morning - a bit hazy, but other than that, perfect. A slight breeze and moderate temperatures along with sunny skies. Following the now wide (and much more travelled) upper Greenleaf Trail, we made fairly short work of the remaining climb to the summit. Most of our stops were of the photographic variety.
courtesy JInnes
Approaching Treeline
Into the alpine
Greenleaf Cairn
Bridle Path Ridge
Broad Vistas Below
Back down to start
Upper Greenleaf
High above Cannon Cliff
Alpine Trailwork
Great Views
Summit Junction
Summit Cairns
We arrived on the top of Lafayette right around 10 a.m. A nice early summit is always nice, as it gives us lots of freedom to be un-rushed on the way down, should we want that. We took in the excellent 360-degree summit views, marvelling especially at the scenic Franconia Ridge section of the AT to the south of us (AT = Appalachian Trail).
Franconia Ridge
Franconia Ridge
Garfield Mountain
We walked a few hundred yards down the Appalachian Trail northbound to a nice spot on bare bedrock, away from the increasingly-crowded summit area, and stopped for an early lunch. Although the Whites are known for strong winds above treeline, today's conditions were very placid - a mild cooling breeze, and that was about it.
Summitt Pics
North Ridge
Lafayette Lunch
courtesy JInnes
Lafayette Lunch
Next up was what is arguably the nicest part of our loop - the open-alpine ridgewalk north along Lafayette's main ridgeline. The trail here is much less busy than the Franconia Ridge section to the south, and the terrain is easy: a set of mild sub-summits and a relatively smooth and trouble-free trail. With today's perfect conditions, it was hiking heaven.
courtesy JInnes
Ridgewalk time!
Ridgewalk time!
Appalachian Trail
Unsteady Hikers
Jenn walking north along AT
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