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Bethlehem, New Hampshire, United States
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12 October 2013

A Plain Vanilla Hike to Mt. Pierce

Chances are good that most readers of this Blog have hiked to Mt. Pierce on more than one occasion.  Deservedly so, it's a very popular hike.  Being a rather commonplace trek, the term "plain vanilla" was used to characterize my trip to Mt. Pierce.

One of my Facebook friends (Joyce West) went a step further by portraying my hike as "vanilla with a cherry on top"!  Perhaps you'll agree with Joyce's portrayal when you view the next photo showing low-growing alpine flora which turns brilliant shades of red in autumn.  Adding to the "cherry on top" analogy, this snapshot also features a hiker with a red jacket!
View from top of Mt. Pierce looking toward Presidential Mountain Range
Same view as above, but slightly zoomed
Same view again, but highly zoomed
From a point slightly below the summit of Mt. Pierce, there is "bird's-eye" view of the Mt. Washington Hotel complex.
"Bird's-Eye" view of Mt. Washington Hotel complex
On the return leg of my hike, the southward view from the Webster Cliff Trail provided vistas which included shades of orange along with dark gray shadows of late afternoon.  These colors were quite different from those experienced atop Mt. Pierce.  They were more suggestive of the upcoming Halloween season, rather than "vanilla with a cherry on top"!
View from Webster Cliff Trail looking toward Mt. Chocorua, and peaks in the Bartlett area
Although the Mizpah Spring Hut was still open as of the date of this hike in early October, there were no folks milling around the outside of this facility.  No time was taken to go inside.  I merely snapped a photo and moved on.
Mizpah Spring Hut on the Webster Cliff Trail
Just beyond the hut is a picturesque segment of trail, as shown in the next photo.
Picturesque segment of trail near Mizpah Spring Hut
To top off my journey, I took the short spur path to Gibbs Falls.  The late afternoon sun was producing a golden glow on the area surrounding the falls.
Gibbs Falls in the golden glow of late afternoon
This 6.2 mile hike was done as a clockwise loop involving the Crawford Path, Webster Cliff Trail and Mizpah Cut-Off.  My route is shown in the Google Earth image below.
Google Earth image showing my route of travel
To sum it up, normally I try to do hikes that are new to me, rather than doing repetitions of the same hikes.  Although I've done Mt. Pierce on numerous occasions, weather conditions were ideal for a high-elevation hike such as this.  And besides, who could resist a scoop of "vanilla with a cherry on top"? :-)

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