The Franconia Loop is the quintessential New England hiking trail. At 8.5 miles round trip it offers day hikers a challenge, while taking them across 3 peaks of the White National Forrest.
In the summer this trail can be swamped with people, but I knew I wanted to get it "checked off" my list this year. Checking the forecasts I decided for an early May accent. To aid in getting away from the crowd I also planned to leave early, and to travel clockwise on the loop vs. the normal counterclockwise. I was very happy with all three of these decisions as we had the trails to ourselves for nearly half of the day.
In order to get an early start and avoid a 3 hour drive from the house, I took off for the White Mountains after work on a Friday. As I got to Lincoln, NH the sky opened up and it rained in buckets! Looking at the forecast it seemed as though the system would pass though, and we would still be on for our hike.
I met a friend from high school (Randy), and his girlfriend Bri at the trail head. We started up the bridle pathway towards the AMC Greenleaf hut. From there it was up Mt. Lafayette where we got pelted by wind and ice. We knew the weather was due to clear however and decided to continue on the ridge. And we were glad we did!
The rest of the hike along the ridge offered cleaning views and even some sun! I can also report that the "Falling Waters Trail" lives up to its name in May. We had several (fun) water crossings to contend with on our way back to the car.
Overall, it was a great hike and a great day to be in the mountains!