In Mia’s continuing quest to knock off another 4,000 footer, Mia and I headed to Mt Madison today. The goal was to bag Madison and depending on how we were feeling, possibly attempt Mt Adams for a potential “two-fer”.
We headed out of Concord just before 7AM for the long drive to the parking lot in Randolph. Appalachia is one of the busiest hiking parking lots in all of the White Mountains. Luckily with it being Sunday and getting there relatively early, the parking lot was only about 3/4 full.
The forecast for today couldn’t have been better. Upper summits in the low 60’s and light winds. That’s a rarity in the Presidentials.
We started up Valley Way which is pretty easy for the first mile, then starts to climb a bit steeper. After about 2 miles, it gets really rocky and alternates between steep and a bit steeper, with a little respite thrown in here and there.
We ran into quite a few people coming down. It sounds like the Madison Hut was full last night since most people seemed to have spent the night up there. Something we really need to do soon.
We made it to tree line in good time and from there it is less than 300 feet to Madison Hut. There was a very gentle breeze and the sun was still out. I think it is one of the coolest huts and above treeline segments in all of the whites.
Before tackling the summit of Madison we decided to stop in for a short break and eat some lunch. Luck would have it, they had a TON of left over pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes for free! I snagged some of those, had a PB&J and some grapes.
After this brief rest it was time to tackle the last 0.4 miles to the summit. This is a tough ascent. There is no really good “trail” since the approach to the summit is all fractured rock. We followed the cairns as best we could and scrambled over the rocks. We had the summit all to ourselves for about 1o minutes before other people started showing up.
It was just about perfect at the summit. The winds were light, the sun was shining and the temps were mild. We sure picked a winner of a day for this hike.
We decided to skip the attempt over to Adams. Neither of us was feeling 100% today. I think we both had tired legs from walking almost 10 miles to/from the Concord Farmer’s Market the day before. So we chose common sense and headed back down to the hut and back down Valley Way. Admittedly we did have a few moments of hesitation on the decision.
It was a slow descent back down to the hut. The busted up rock is probably easier to climb in my opinion.
The first 2 miles down are slow. Tired legs and just tough trail make it a slow descent. Usually you can probably take 75% of your ascent time for the descent , not today. It only took us about 20 minutes less to get down today.
Great day, good (but not easy) hike and as always, I get to do it with Mia, so that makes it perfect.
Thanks for reading.