Friday, September 6, 2019

Lafayette via Skook: 9/5/19

What better place to be on a day of 100-mile visibility? Especially via Skookumchuck Trail, the quiet and scenic northern approach.

The first mile of Skookumchuck Trail is an easy traverse through fine hardwood forest.

Then the trail meanders up along mossy Skookumchuck Brook.

A steep rock staircase lifts you out of the valley.


Ascending to the crest of the northern ridge, the trail passes through an amazingly open "salt and pepper" forest of birch and fir - a bushwhacker's dream.

Cozy forest higher up on the ridge.

Fir wave at 4100 ft.

A glimpse of Lafayette's North Peak ahead.

Gorgeous fir woods on a high shoulder. Skookumchuck has some of the nicest woods of any trail approaching a 4000-footer.

#4 is interesting.

Thankfully, most people pay attention to this.

A tricky ledge; there is a rough bypass to the right.

Yup, it's going to be a good view day.

Junction on the ridge.

About 50 yards to the east, trailside ledges offer stellar views into the western Pemi Wilderness.


Many peaks seen beyond Owl's Head to the south.

NoBo thru-hiker.

Heading up towards North Peak.

Looking back.

Many neat rock formations.

Looking down the Skookumchuck Trail's ridge.

Centered cairn.

Jumble o' rock.

Alpine scene.

North Peak looms ahead.

The flat top of North Peak, a fine viewpoint in its own right.

The bumpy north ridge leads up to the main summit of Lafayette.


Two lakes and two huts: Eagle Lake/Greenleaf Hut and Lonesome Lake/Hut.

The northern version of the Franconia Ridge skywalk.

Looking back at North Peak.

Continuous Pemi views.

Peering down into the Lafayette Brook ravine.

Cairns on the skyline.

Approaching the summit.

A busy place, even midweek in September.

These trail signs are critical in the fog.

Foundation of a summit refuge building constructed in the 1850s.

Summit benchmark.

Classic angle looking south down Franconia Ridge. From the summit it was a four state day: 4000-footers visible in NH (38), Maine (8), VT (all 5) and NY (Macomb).

he "sunless gorge" on the west ridge of Mt. Lincoln descended by AMC explorer Charles E. Fay and companion in 1880.

Hikers trooping up the ridge. Note the long east ridge of Mt. Flume in the background, dropping into the Pemi. Osceolas, Sandwich Dome and Tecumseh in the distance.

Scar Ridge and its slides, where I've been poking around recently.

Mt. Guyot and the Bonds.

By this point the summit was getting rather cacophonous with several groups.

Heading back along the quiet north ridge.

Col vista.

Looking back.

Heading down.

Last look into the Pemi.