February 5, 2012.
A wicked early morning hike to North Pack Monadnock to catch the sunrise from The Cliffs. At the trailhead at 5:15 AM and it is still plenty dark out and surprisingly there is already a car here before me. Was really expecting to have this whole mountain to myself, dang it. Oh well, on with the headlamp and microspikes and off I go to the summit and then over to The Cliffs to wait for the sunrise.
It is icy all the way up and very quiet in the woods as nothing is awake yet. Then again it is winter so what would be awake? It is strange walking thru these parts in the complete dark giving it a very eerie feeling. It does not take long for me to reach the summit as I get there at 6:00 AM. Fifteen minutes later and I am over at The Cliffs and the wait is on.
I stay here for about fifteen minutes then wander over towards my left to find a more open spot and to stay warm by keeping the body moving. I find an open meadow as I have never been this far over before and I still have about twenty to twenty-five minutes before the sun comes up. One shot I get the skyline of Boston, a surprise that I didn't see until I got home. It is located on the right side below the clouds.
Waiting patiently but getting cold as the time passes slowly by. Time lapses as it is five minutes to sunrise.
Back over to the Cliffs and a morning shot of Pack Monadnock and Mt Monadnock.
Time to get moving and get the body warm so I am off to do the Cliff Trail loop. Down off the cliff and into the woods and very shortly I get all confused as to the trail and end doing a loop down in the woods. I remember the first time I did this section from the other direction I got lost due the blazing being sparse down in here. Back on track and I make it back to the summit of North Pack in forty-five minutes.
A few more shots of Monadnock and over to the northern ledge to get views of...well, north! The grand daddy of them all being able to see Mt Washington and the Franconia Ridge with Lincoln, Liberty and Flume visible.
A few more shots over towards Vermont and time to head down this time in the daylight. A stop at one of the ledges and one last shot north of Washington with from left to right-Osceola, Black Mt, Sandwich Dome, Tripyramids, Sleepers, Whiteface and Passaconaway.
And one of Franconia Ridge with South Kinsman and Cannon on the left faintly visible and Lafayette, Lincoln, Liberty and Flume on the right.
Will have to remember to come back here on a crystal clear blue sky day in the winter to see these views in a little better conditions. Great sunrise hike with some bonus pictures of the White Mountains. Oh yeah, and I never did see the other person from the car at the trail head.
Final numbers: 5.1 miles, 3 hours and 34 minutes.