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Franconia Ridge
Haystack to Lincoln to Lafayette
White Mountains, Presidential Range, NH, August 27, 2005
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     On a clear, sunny summer day, this may be one of the most enjoyable hikes in the White Mountains. Most of the hike takes place above tree line along the ridge, and the views on all sides are continuous and spectacular.

We ascended via Falling Waters Trail. The lower third of the trail followed a steeply descending stream with a number of waterfalls for which the trail is named.
About two-thirds of the way up to the ridge, we found a .1 mile side-trail to Shining Rock. It is a very large slab of apparently seamless, smooth, and nearly vertical rock, with a convenient ledge about halfway up. 


Presumably, it is really shiny in the winter with a coat of snow, even more so with a coating of ice. We discussed the possibility that it is used as a good beginners' ice-climbing venue, since top-roping would be easy to arrange.
We emerged above treeline to great views. Cannon Mountain can be seen in the center distance. The trail to Greenleaf Hut leads down from the right along a ridge. We took this trail on the way down.
We reached the top of the trail at Haystack, which connects to Liberty and Flume via the Liberty Trail. This is part of the Appalachian Trail. Shown: the view south from Haystack.


We took a short break on Haystack, and another on Lincoln. There was quite a crowd of hikers on every trail and all three summits, certainly due to the perfect hiking weather.
Shown: hikers resting on Haystack, and the entire ridge north to Lafayette 
We followed Franconia Ridge north from Haystack to Lincoln. 
Approaching Lincoln. It is a bit steep in places.

Two of our group - Fred & Paul - can be seen at lower right.

The ridge proceeds from Lincoln to Lafayette, finishing, again, in a short, steep climb to the summit. There was an even bigger crowd here, since many hikers take the short trip from Greenleaf Hut. There were two hikers celebrating with champagne their completion of the 4,000-footers. The ridge is a segment of the Appalachian Trail, which continues north to Garfield.
On the way down from Lafayette to Greenleaf hut, Fred, Paul, Karen and and Michael posed along Greenleaf Trail.
A panoramic montage shows highlights of our route: 1. shining Rock, 2. Haystack, 3. Lincoln, 
4. Lafayette.
  Franconia Ridge Panoramic View - Larger image (39s @ 28k)