Backpacking a Mt Moosilauke – Hurricane Mtn Loop

Headwaters of the Baker River on Mt Moosilauke

The primary path I ever hiked within the White Mountains, the Beaver Brook Path, climbs Mt Moosilauke (4803′). The preliminary ascent is a beast of a climb 2000′ up a cliff with iron bars and picket steps anchored on the rock subsequent to a waterfall that plunges to the valley beneath. I selected it again then as a result of it was the closest 4000-footer to the Boston space, the place I lived then, however little did I do know. I’ve climbed that path a number of occasions since then, and it’s been a memorable expertise each time.

This journey was no completely different. The Beaver Brook Path was the primary path I climbed just lately on a one-night 24-mile backpack I did on the paths surrounding Moosilauke earlier than ascending to the summit. Moosilauke is a giant mountain and whereas it takes some effort to climb it, you’d be shocked at how far you need to hike to circumnavigate it.

Backpacking a Moosilauke Loop
Backpacking a Moosilauke Loop


  • Beaver Brook Path (up from Rt 112)
  • Asquam Ridge Path
  • Hurricane Path
  • Glencliff Path
  • Lengthy Pond Rd
  • Tunnel Brook Path
  • Benton Path
  • Beaver Brook Path (as much as summit)
  • Beaver Brook Path (right down to Rt 112)

Whereas lengthy and exhausting, with 7250′ of elevation achieve, I hadn’t reckoned on rain being a severe issue on this journey however it was. The climate forecast had been benign with a slight probability of rain on day 1 and sunny climate on day 2. As an alternative, it rained all through. I don’t know why they even trouble forecasting the climate in New Hampshire this summer season as a result of it’s typically fallacious. However when you’re not prepared to hike or backpack within the rain you’re not going to be doing a lot mountain climbing or backpacking.

The Beaver Brook Trail is usually wet from the adjacent waterfall.
The Beaver Brook Path is normally moist from the adjoining waterfall.

Climbing that first leg up the Beaver Brook Path was a chore with a full in a single day pack, however I made fairly good time, climbing 1000 ft/hour. Whereas the elevation achieve is critical, the factor that makes this path so troublesome is the footing, which is filled with massive rocks requiring cautious footwork as a result of they’re continually moist from the adjoining waterfall. I attempt to take small steps when climbing up steep inclines as a result of it preserves the massive muscle groups of your legs and helps stave off fatigue, however there was no avoiding it on this climb.

The steepest sections of the Beaver Brook Trail have wooden steps anchored in the rock.
The steepest sections of the Beaver Brook Path have picket steps anchored within the rock.

On the high of the climb, I turned on the Asquam Ridge Path which is way gentler and follows the south “rim” of Moosilauke earlier than dropping right down to Dartmouth’s Ravine Lodge, a sprawling lodging advanced that’s open to the general public. From there, I attempted to observe the outdated Hurricane Path (by bushwhacking it) however found that that part was impassable and has now been rerouted, forking now off the Gorge Brook Path. I suppose I have to replace my waterproof maps once more (FarOut and Gaia each have it fallacious).

The Asquam Ridge Trail climbs to Mt Jim, before gradually descending to Ravine Lodge.
The Asquam Ridge Path climbs to Mt Jim, earlier than regularly descending to Ravine Lodge.

Hurricane Mountain is 3000′ peak on the southwest facet of Moosilauke and sees a shocking quantity of site visitors, most likely as a result of it hyperlinks the Appalachian Path from Glencliff, south of Moosilauke, to Ravine Lodge, letting you bypass the summit. The Hurricane Mtn Path ends on the Glencliff Path, which runs right down to Sanatorium Street. I adopted that highway right down to Lengthy Pond Rd, which is a mud Forest Service Rd named #19, and adopted it to the beginning of the Tunnel Brook Path.

There are a series of beaver ponds along the Tunnel Brook Trail between Mt Moosilauke and Mt Clough
There are a sequence of beaver ponds alongside the Tunnel Brook Path between Mt Moosilauke and Mt Clough

By this time, I used to be drained and began to marvel the place I’d pitch my tent for the evening. I’d hiked about 11 miles to date and had deliberate to camp someplace alongside the Tunnel Brook Path, which has good water entry. This path is fairly distant, touring up the slender valley between Mt Moosilauke and My Clough, a trailless peak to the west. The ends of this path have fairly good tenting, however there are a sequence of beaver ponds within the center that aren’t so good as a result of they’re so moist.

After I bought to that center part of the Tunnel Brook Path, the raspberry bushes alongside the path had been head excessive, so I needed to push by means of numerous thorny vegetation. Fortunately, I’d made a last-minute clothes change on this journey, switching from the t-shirt and shorts I’ve been carrying many of the summer season to an artificial long-sleeve shirt and lengthy pants as an alternative. This proved to be essential, each to keep away from getting lower up by thorns and to remain hotter within the fixed rain.

Camping near Tunnel Brook
Tenting close to Tunnel Brook

I saved mountain climbing and coated one other 5 miles earlier than calling it a day close to the Benton Path junction. I used to be fairly exhausted at this level, arrange camp, and began making dinner. However then I found that I’d forgotten to pack a spoon, my regular path utensil. I’d packed a dinner of gnocchi, olive oil, and salt which was going to be difficult to eat by hand!

So I boiled a pointed keep on with my gnocchi and speared them as an alternative. Fortunately my prepare dinner pot has drain holes within the lid, so I used to be capable of drain off the cooking water, cowl the gnocchi with olive oil and salt and wolf it down. They make a fairly good meal, however subsequent time I need to convey an even bigger pot and a few tomato sauce and cheese to eat them with. Then I went proper to mattress.

The Benton Trail is a relatively easy way to climb Mt Moosilauke
The Benton Path is a comparatively straightforward solution to climb Mt Moosilauke

The subsequent morning my breakfast consisted of immediate wheat cereal. To eat this, I made it with an extra of water, in order that I might successfully drink it from the prepare dinner pot. I normally eat my wheat cereal with numerous water even when I’ve a spoon as a result of I view it as energy AND hydration, however this was on the acute finish. I made up a Nalgene stuffed with robust tea after which it began to rain once more.

Whereas the Benton Path requires 3000′ of elevation achieve over 3 miles, it’s a a lot simpler path to hike than the Beaver Brook Path as a result of the path floor is usually spruce needles and no massive muscle strikes are wanted. You possibly can actually simply shuffle alongside, figuratively talking. The truth is, I believe it’s most likely the best path to rise up to Moosilauke and possibly definitely worth the straightforward 1.8 mile stroll from the north trailhead of the Tunnel Brook Path to get to (I hiked to it from the south finish.)

The Benton Trail - Beaver Brook Trail Junction, just below the summit.
The Benton Path – Beaver Brook Path Junction, just under the summit.

It took three hours to climb after which I discovered myself again on the Beaver Brook Path simply 0.4 miles from the summit and fewer than 300′ of elevation to climb. Whereas I knew there can be no summit views because it was raining and blowing fairly exhausting, I knew I couldn’t simply skip the summit and hike out when it was so shut.

The Beaver Brook Path breaks above treeline about one or two-tenths of a mile from the summit and from that time on massive rock cairns mark the path. Visibility was about 25 yards and the wind was howling after I stepped out of the timber, however I’d had the foresight to layer up with a fleece midlayer and rain jacket beforehand. I’ve climbed this mountain over a dozen occasions so I knew this route and what to anticipate, however you may solely think about what a newcomer would assume.

The summit of Mt Moosilauke
The summit of Mt Moosilauke

The powers that be had painted white blazes on the cairns for the reason that final time I hiked this route and path indicators have been put up documenting the path names since individuals have ceased to make use of maps or know which course they’re headed with out their telephones. I can’t assist however mourn the dumbing down of mountain climbing and backpacking because of the creation of smartphone apps. It’s why I’m drawn to off-trail journey and poorly marked trails, I suppose, if solely to maintain my mind from atrophying too.

On the summit, I met an Alpine Steward from the Dartmouth Outside Membership who was rebuilding a scree wall and eradicating invasive vegetation, in addition to guiding the few hikers loopy sufficient to hike the height that day towards the proper trails. It’s been a number of years since I’ve seen a Steward on Moosilauke and he defined that they’ve solely simply reactivated this system once more. The DOC does an incredible job sustaining all of the White Mountain trails between Hanover and Moosilauke. Actually top-notch work.

I descended past the AT shelter which is located at the top of the steep section, about 1.5 miles up from the trailhead.
I descended previous the AT shelter which is positioned on the high of the steep part, about 1.5 miles up from the trailhead.

I sighed in reduction after I made it again beneath treeline and into the safety of the timber. However the hardest a part of the day was but to return: mountain climbing the size of the Beaver Brook Path again to Rt 112 together with a descent of the actually steep half I’d hiked up the day earlier than.

The highest a part of that path was a mudbath with actually deep and unavoidable mud and puddles. I had lengthy given up staying dry at this level, however this was excessive. I can now say that the Beaver Brook Path is my least favourite path within the Whites and rank it as one of many 10 hardest. The massive descent, whereas sketchy and sluggish, was truly so much simpler than the ascent with a full pack. Nonetheless, I used to be completely happy after I bought again down in a single piece and will peel off my moist garments for the drive house.

The waterfall adjacent to the Beaver Brook trail
The waterfall adjoining to the Beaver Brook path

This was an excellent journey however difficult. It will have been rather more nice in fantastic climate, however I’m nonetheless glad I went. I benefit from the reset that solo backpacking journeys present and plan to proceed them till I’m now not in a position…which hopefully will probably be a few years to return.

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