I suggested we take the Glencliff Trail up Moosilauke seeing how Ravine Lodge Road was closed for the season and I'm not a huge fan of road walks. The Glencliff Trail, which is part of the Appalachian Trail, begins near some fields off of Sanatorium Road in the tiny village of Glencliff, New Hampshire. It's a tame approach up Moosilauke with very gentle grades along the way with the exception of one short steep pitch before the junction with the Carriage Road. The last time I hiked this trail was at the end of last winter. At that point the trail was as smooth as a sidewalk due to its high popularity among winter peakbaggers, making it an even easier ascent than usual.
The footing was a bit more challenging on this trip due to the amount of ice that has formed from fluctuating temperatures. There was a few inches of fresh powder on the ground which made it even slicker in some places. We both put on our spikes fairly early and made it up without incident. [Lie. I fell numerous times but that happens whether there is ice on the ground or not.] While it was cloudy on the drive up the sky still looked promisingly bright. Ha! Those clouds swooped down and it started snowing shortly into our hike. Not a problem though, it is nice to hike in the snow!
Once at the junction with the Carriage Road we took a quick snack break and added our outer layers as we got ready to emerge from the scrub and above treeline. The hike from the junction to the base of the summit cone is pretty flat so we made quick time. The summit of Moosilauke is notoriously windy and this day was no different. Once out of the scrub we were blasted with arctic air and pelted with freezing bits of ice and snow. Visibility was low, though not the worst I have been in. I thought about stopping to pull out my goggles but my sunglasses were much easier to access [lazy] so I wore them for a bit [20 seconds] but gave up when they kept fogging up. We snapped some quick pics at the summit then took cover behind part of the old building foundation for a quick breather before a quick descent back into the scrub. Once back at the junction and out of the wind we gulped down some water. It was here that Chris pointed out that the next time I would be on this trail I will be thru-hiking the AT. The thought gave me goosebumps and a rush of excitement. I can't wait!!!
This was my fourth time climbing Moosilauke, second time with no views. I love this mountain no matter what the weather, there is just something about it that is so magical. It felt good to get out as always and with great company to boot!