I headed up to the familiar Crawford Path on a cool, cloudy morning with the peaks socked in, but there was promise of clearing by afternoon. In addition to looking for views, I wanted to check out some of the work done by a number of trail maintenance groups on the trail in 2018 and 2019 under the guidance of the White Mountain Trail Collective. This nonprofit was formed a few years ago with the mission to "preserve the legacy of trail stewardship in the White Mountains Region by supporting and enhancing sustainable care of our trails."
Lots of history on this trail, which dates back to 1819 and the legendary Ethan Allen Crawford.
The following several photos show some of the rock step work done on the first couple of miles of the trail. Another major aspect of the two-year project was scree wall and cairn building in the Mt. Franklin-Mt. Monroe section. For more info see wmtrailcollective.org/projects/. Excellent work on this heavily-used trail!
A fine-looking trailside spring above Mizpah Cutoff junction.
Some old corduroy along a wet section.
Clouds sweeping across as I emerge at the Webster Cliff Trail junction.
I met this remarkable couple from Maine, who go by the name, Mr. & Mrs. Going Home. She's 83 and he's 86. They are two-time Appalachian Trail finishers. Inspiring!
Sign with an important message near the summit of Pierce.
Pierce summit cairn.
Two AT thru-hikers head north as the views open up.
Old iron pins in a ledge along Crawford Path.
Bog bridges in the Pierce-Eisenhower col.
Along here I ran into a group with notable hikers including Al Sochard, one of the original 4000-footer speed hikers in 1991, with his canine companion, Percy, and Curly Perzel, still climbing peaks at age 81. Curly finished hiking all the trails in the White Mountain Guide in 2016.
Great ledgy walking on the approach to Eisenhower.
A nice wooded section between the ledges.
Looking back to Pierce as it turns into a spectacular day with 90-mile visibility.
A hiker heads for Eisenhower.
One of the best viewing days of a generally humid summer.
Hung out for a while on this broad trailside ledge.
Zoom on Pierce.
One of the great trail sections.
Looking down one of two short ladders on Mt. Eisenhower Loop.
Revegetating slide in Abenaki Ravine. Aerial photos suggest it may have fallen in 1995.
Looking back along the ridge.
Beautiful view over the expansive, wild Dry River Valley.
Raven soaring in the wind above Eisenhower's summit.
The big summit cairn.
Franklin and Monroe, with Washington still buried in cloud.
Views for miles.
Clouds lifting from the Presys.
Looking down on Red Pond from Mt. Eisenhower Loop.
Pointing the way down.
At the last view before heading into the woods on Edmands Path, Washington finally popped out, the 32nd 4000-footer visible from Eisenhower.