May 2017 – We had planned to get some good sleep to recover from our previous early days. Unfortunately, our smoke alarm decided to begin beeping at 5am. After disconnecting it, we slept another hour or so and then decided to head out. Our inn was only about 15 minutes from the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center. When we arrived, the parking lot was already full, so we parked in the overflow lot and walked the short path back. There is a gift shop with a cafeteria, and there are restrooms at the trailhead.
After reading the advisories (our first time hiking in snow and ice!), we set off down the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail. A short distance down the trail is a pretty nice waterfall and then a bridge that offers nice views of the water and mountains. That was the last of the great views for awhile, so we settled in to hiking over and up rocks. A lot of skiers and were on the trail that day to enjoy the last of the snow. We had brought warm layers of clothing for changing and unpredictable weather (as the mountain is known for), but we did not realize just how much snow and ice awaited us closer to the top.
After hiking for about an hour or two, we started getting into some really great views of the mountains around us. The weather was also significantly cooler (definitely bring layers) and windier. We took a couple of breaks along the way to take some pictures and catch our breath from the steeper climbs.
When we got above the tree line, we could see skiers coming down the mountain. A little further, we walked out onto a blanket of deep snow and climbed onto some rocks for a snack. We realized we were at the headwall and could not go any farther because of the ice and snow. If we had crampons and/or ice picks, we might have been able to keep going. We had never even considered these though because it was well over ninety degrees at our house. We had no choice but to turn around.
Even without making it to the summit, it was still a great and beautiful hike. It was not an easy hike, and I could definitely feel it the next day. If we are ever in the area again, we will have to try again to reach the summit.