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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Mt. Madison
Bean's Grant, NH, Chandler's Purchase, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking down the Airline
Looking down the Airline

Route: Air Line, Air Line Cutoff, Valley Way, Osgood Trail, (Mt. Madison), Watson Path, Brookside, Valley Way

Though having hiked in the Whites for two previous Septembers, I had not yet taken part in Flags on the 48 - a September 11th memorial. My first time would be on Mt. Madison.

While it was raining at the start of the hike on the Air Line, things cleared up as we climbed. Reaching tree line, we had excellent northern views. However, looking uphill, we saw fog rolling over the ridge. Sure enough, by the time we reached the hut, the peaks had been swallowed.

After picking up some goodies at the hut, we continued up to the summit of Mt. Madison. After raising the flag, we spent about three hours on the summit - though we didn't have views, it was still a good time, for a great cause.

For the descent, we chose the Watson Path. The above treeline portion didn't seem quite as steep as the Osgood Trail from the hut, however it did last much longer - while there might be better views on a good day, the traprock footing results in slow hiking.

Below treeline, the trail dropped off steeply with poor footing, including a few scrambles. Crossing the brook, we took Brookside down to Valley Way, checking out a few cascades along the way. While there were some nice portions of this trail, other parts had pretty poor footing.

Despite the weather, it was a good hike. God Bless America.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Mt. Madison
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Very Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Minimal (due to weather)
Crowds: Heavy

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Monday, September 12, 2009
Hike Commenced: 7:15 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,311'
Destination: Mt. Madison
Ascent Commenced: 7:15 AM
Summit Reached: 11:08 AM
Time Elapsed: 03:53
Trailhead Elevation: 1,311'
Summit Elevation: 5,367'
Vertical Gain: 4,131'
Hike Ended: 5:54 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 10:39
Hike Vertical Gain: 4,251'

The Air Line/Valley Way trailhead at Appalachia
The Air Line/Valley Way trailhead at Appalachia

Looking into the fog from Mt. Madison - Click to enlarge
Looking into the fog from Mt. Madison

The flag on Mt. Madison - Click to enlarge
The flag on Mt. Madison

Topographic map of Mt. Madison - Click to enlarge

Directions to trailhead: Take US 2 West from Gorham to the Appalachia parking lot.

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