The initial plan was to hike up to Greenleaf hut by the Old bridle trail and summit Mt. Lafayette at the crack of dawn. Sunrise on the ridge would have been terrific and the switchbacks on the way down would have been just perfect! However, Mountain weather forecast on Thursday indicated a cold front approaching on Friday night – temps dropping down to 3 F! We decided to shift this to a day hike instead.
Sharath and I flew into Logan around 2130 hrs on Friday night. A few hours of good rest at K’s place and we hopped back in the car at 0330hrs on Saturday morning to head to the trailhead parking. Getting to the trailhead early around 0530hrs, got us a couple serene hours of hiking up in the darkness – near freezing cold winds swishing by trees on the mountains, dim headlamps guiding us in the darkness, silence of the wilderness and just each other for company.
On the way up, folks making the traverse in the CCW direction warned of the white-out conditions they’d faced on the ridge. The very reason why we set out on this hike was to get S and J to experience a ridge hike, so I really hoped we could get to the ridge. Realistically though, it just didn’t seem like we would be able to. Once at the hut, we decide to push for Mt Lafayette’s summit and turn around. About 500ft in, conditions worsened super quickly and black ice on the stones made it super unsafe to head further. We turn around, make another quick stop at the hut and descend down the same trail to reach the Lafayette parking ground by 1245hrs.
All in all, despite the weather and not being able to summit and hike the ridge, this was a terrific hike. Franconia never disappoints!