A Return to the Mountain

Gorge Brook

From where I grew up in Bradford, Vermont, the twin peaks of Mt Moosilauke, with bare rock slides stretching down the mountain’s west-facing flanks, always drew my gaze. As a teenager I hiked to the summit on a handful of occasions, but I haven’t been back to the mountain for many years.

Here in Tunbridge, I once again have Moosilauke visible from the hilltop above my home. After all these years, its lure has finally drawn me back. Yesterday, Marion and I hiked the “gentle giant” along a 7.5 mile route beginning at Ravine Lodge on the mountain’s southeastern slope.

From the trailhead we followed Gorge Brook for a couple of miles. Our hike began slowly as I stopped often to capture images of the stream’s clear water and boulder-strewn course.

Gorge Brook

The trail itself doesn’t look much different from a stream-bed sans water. Our loop included the Gorge Brook Trail, the old Carriage Road Trail, and the Snapper Trail, but the stones (below) were ever-present and the hike ended up being a continuous 7.5-mile rock-hop.

Gorge Brook Trail

For much of the way up we were passing, or being passed by groups of hikers from local youth summer camps. It was to be expected that we wouldn’t have the mountain to ourselves on such a beautiful July day.

View from Moosilauke

Much of Mt Moosilauke is above tree-line. Views from the top are unobstructed.

Mt Moosilauke

It always amazes me how so many seemingly delicate wildflowers thrive in high alpine environments. In the background (above), the north summit of Moosilauke is speckled with hikers claiming the high ground.

Moosilauke south peak

This is the view south, to the south summit.

Marion on Moosilauke

Marion approaches the top.

Moosilauke summit

We entertained the hikers who shared the peak with us with our multiple self-timer shots from the tripod-mounted camera.

Moosilauke ridge trail

After lunch (and, how is it that something as basic as cheese and deli slices on a bagel always taste like the world’s best meal on a hike?) we began the descent, toward the south summit on the old Carriage Trail.

When I was thirteen, after my first ascent of Mt Moosilauke, I ran the entire 5 miles back to the school bus that awaited on Route 25 at the base of the Glencliff Trail. I thought often of that run while picking my way among the rocks on yesterday’s descent. Maybe it’s just that I’m a bit out of shape. Surely nothing else has changed about me from then to now.

Gorge Brook