Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Washington via Great Gulf and Sphinx loop. August 26, 2018

Great Gulf Trail, Gulfside Trail, Sphinx Trail, Great Gulf Trail, about 16.4 miles, 5,100 feet

Extreme heat waves are getting more and more common in the United States.  This will likely affect the day to day life of many citizens.  To learn more about this, go to this Union of Concerned Scientists article.  To donate, click here.

We joined Adam Kateri Mooshian for his last Terrifying 25 hike of Great Gulf trail.  It was really fun and we are so grateful that he allowed us to finish with him!  Anyway, we started this hike at around 7:00 am to cool temperatures and high spirits.
Photo by Trish Herr

The trail was mostly flat in the beginning, and we made good time heading deep into the Great Gulf  Wilderness.

We followed this beautiful river almost all of the way to the headwall; we saw many of its pools and waterfalls.

Here is one of the many interesting mushrooms we saw...

First real views!

A very rickety bridge...

Yay! The Great Gulf Trail!

It became harder to navigate the closer we got to Mount Washington, but we could still make out the trail most of the time.


An interesting leaf...

Here is one of the many little waterfalls we saw...

Sphinx Trail (the trail we would later come down)!

Blinded by sunlight...

So beautiful!

First views of the headwall!

Spaulding Lake!

The water was unbelievably clear; it was amazing!

As we started heading up, we saw more and more views of the Presidentials.

Looking back down as we started up the headwall...

We went up very steeply, but it was worth it for the amazing views we were seeing.

Finally we made it over the crest of the ridge and saw the encouraging summit buildings of Mount Washington!  We made our way to the junction of Great Gulf Trail and Gulfside Trail.

Once we got there, Adam was done the Terrifying 25!  Congratulations Adam!  Also, when we got to this intersection we had a couple decisions to make.  When we looked at the Grid peaks we all needed, it turned out I needed Mount Washington for August, Alex and Adam needed Mount Jefferson, and Mom didn't need either of those mountains.  Therefore, to conserve time, we decided I would continue to Mount Washington alone while Alex and Adam headed on to Jefferson, and Mom stayed at the Great Gulf/Gulfside junction and waited for me to come back down.  We would then head over to Sphinx Col and wait for Alex and Adam to come down Jefferson.  Alex will post her experiences on that mountain on her blog shortly.

Looking towards Mount Washington...

Looking towards Clay and Mount Jefferson...

The sky was very blue as I headed up Mount Washington...

Me trying to take selfies while being blinded by sunlight...

This photo illustrates what a great weather day it was and just the overall beauty of Mount Washington. 

After I tagged the summit and got some food for everyone, I headed down to meet Mom and start walking towards Sphinx Col.

We walked towards Mount Jefferson, bypassing Mount Clay.

After we met up with Alex and Adam at the Col, we ate a little and then started heading down Sphinx Trail.

Mom looking back at us...

Photo by Trish Herr
It got a little bit tricky navigating at times as we neared the intersection with the Great Gulf Trail.

Even with the tricky navigation, the trail was very beautiful with many little waterfalls.

Yay!  We made it to the Great Gulf trail with high spirits and headed out of the ravine.

Eventually we made it all the way out of the Great Gulf Wilderness to our cars.  It was a tiring, but successful and fun hike.  Thank you, Adam, for hiking with us, and congratulations again!

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