Every summer, a few lucky office folk head into the field to spend time with our students and see our trip leaders in action. I (Assistant Director Andi Schweers) had the opportunity to visit our New England Mountains and Coast crew in July of this year and accompanied them on several days of hiking – keep reading to follow along with one of those hikes!
I joined our intrepid Apogee explorers and their fearless trip leaders at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center in New Hampshire on a beautiful, albeit cloudy, July morning. We arrived around ten in the morning and parking was already filling up!
Pictured Here: Trip Leaders Emma and Clare returning from a van parking adventure!
Our trailhead was a small marker off New Hampshire Route 302 for the Crawford Path. The Crawford Path is a very popular trail and we saw many other hikers also enjoying the terrific day. We saw enough people that one of our Apogee students, Max, decided to ask (and receive!) a fist bump from every person that we saw on the trail. No words were spoken more often on this day than, “Can I get a fist bump? Thank you.”
Pictured Here: Apogee student Max (of fist bump legend) and trip leader Emma!
The Crawford Path starts gaining elevation pretty much right away, but never does it become what I would call too steep. Our group powered through the elevation with some snacks and water breaks sprinkled in and we popped out of the thick forest into the sparser, but just as beautiful, spruce trees of the sub-alpine at Mizpah Spring Hut! It takes a bit of a push to get to the Mizpah Spring Hut – we gained just under 2,000 feet of elevation on the way up! These Appalachian Mountain Club Huts (of which Mizpah Springs Hut is one) are a sight to see. They are less hut-sized and more mansion-sized. They have bunks for hikers, potable water, a large kitchen, and staff that spend the season there as caretakers. We took a longer break here, consumed some leftover oatmeal generously gifted to us from the Hut caretakers, and then the group voted to continue onto the summit of Mt. Pierce!
From the hut to the summit, the hiking got much easier, although the 0.7 miles certainly felt longer than we were expecting given the anticipation and excitement we had for the summit! We did, eventually, make it to the peak of Mt. Pierce and saw the valley open up beneath us. We had a lengthy summit snack break, pointing at beautiful views, sharing more fist bumps, and reveling in our accomplishment.
Pictured Here: The whole group at the summit of Mt. Pierce! Tired, but excited!
Pictured Here: Me and Josh Calianos (trip leader extraordinaire) at the summit of Mt. Pierce!
After the delightful rest atop the summit, we all packed up our packs and headed back down the mountain! The way back down went by quickly and before we knew it, we were at the historic and awe-inspiring Gibbs Falls!
Pictured Here: The portion of the crew that wanted a picture with Gibbs Falls!
You can swim in the pool at Gibbs Falls, though it is a bit chilly. It wasn’t quite hot enough on our hike, so while some folks did splash their faces (and friends) with water from the pool, nobody went for a full dip in the water. Gibbs Falls was our last stop and we finished up our last half mile of the trip with few interruptions. Our entire descent was full of good cheer and great laughs.
When we reached the trailhead again, there were high fives all around and some tired feet climbing into the van. We had a great day on the Crawford Path and on Mt. Pierce, and we were all happy that it was dinner and time to trade our hiking boots for comfy camp shoes! We can’t wait to get more students on this trail and others like it next summer!
Pictured Here: Our amazing Trip Leaders for this adventure, Josh, Emma, and Clare!