Sometimes going out into the forest with no clear direction allows for you to take trails and loops you would not ordinarily take. I decided to venture out on to the Raymond Path towards Hermit Lake on to Harvard Cabin and then ending at Low’s Bald Spot. This loop from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center provides multiple viewing opportunities of the surround areas, along with seeing the different type of visitation at each location.
While heading up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, I decided to stop and take a quick look at one of the most popular waterfalls in Pinkham Notch, Crystal Cascade. With the amount of thawing and freezing we have been going through for the past couple of weeks the cascade was partially frozen, but still offered an excellent viewing opportunity.
As I continued up the trail heading towards Hermit Lake, the trail was very well packed because of how well traveled this trail is for individuals wishing to stay up at the shelters and continue up towards Mount Washington.
Just before you get to the Hermit Lake Shelters you are greeted by amazing views of the mountain ranges around you. It was a partly sunny day when I decided to go for my walk, so every once and awhile you would get fantastic views. I never really hike around populated areas, so once I started seeing some of the shelter structures it took a little bit of time to fully understand how close I was to “civilization.” The Hermit Lake caretaker wasn’t at the shelter when I arrived, but I did see a few hikers beginning to gear up to begin their journey heading towards Mount Washington.
As I continued my adventure away from Hermit Lake, I began heading towards Harvard Cabin. The trail was once again packed down from being well traveled and with such a short distance between the two locations you come upon Harvard Cabin fairly quickly.
I decided to stop in the ever so inviting Harvard Cabin to see if either of the caretakers Rich or Marcia were around. As I opened the door I was welcomed by Rich as he was finishing up breakfast with one of the caretakers who was enjoying her off day to do some ice climbing in Huntington Ravine.
I continued along the Raymond’s Path which had a gentle grade through the forest. There were a couple of stream crossings that were about 75% covered from the snow and ice which made their crossing a fairly simple task. The untracked snow was enjoyable as I continued progressing towards Low’s Bald Spot.
Once I reached the junction between Raymond Path and Old Jackson Road I began seeing the fantastic white markers that signified the Appalachian Trail. Old Jackson Road offers a multitude of interesting perspectives such as being able to cross the Mount Washington Auto Road, hiking along the Appalachian Trail , and also the gorgeous views of Washington and the surrounding ranges in such a short hike.
The partly clouded day slightly distorted my view, but it did not ruin the hike! This only gives me more of a reason to do this loop on a clear day to see all the sights I missed.
As always you can check AMC conditions for the latest report and/or call us here at Pinkham to see what we’re seeing out our windows and for the best trail advice we can give you!
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Backcountry Information Specialist