Hiking to Spaulding Lake

2012-08-13 12:23:45.000 – Steve Harshman,  Summit Intern

Adams and Madison from the Lake

This being my last week on the summit, I figured I needed something great to end on. Earlier this summer I attempted a hike down into the Great Gulf to Spaulding Lake. Anyone who’s been through here knows this is no easy task. The headwall is practically a sheer cliff, with an elevation change of almost 2000 feet in about a mile. While I made it down the majority of the trail alright–creating my fair share of rockslides along the way–I quickly ran into some difficulty.

The Great Gulf Trail follows a stream down to the bottom, and at some points, path and brook are one and the same. Navigating over wet, mossy rocks down steep terrain is not something I would recommend. Soon enough, my boots were soaked from slipping repeatedly into the stream. Not only that, but the path I was on was not well maintained and I found myself in a constant battle between ducking under branches, and sliding down rocks. I eventually decided it would be a better idea to turn around than to get myself stuck in a situation I couldn’t get out of and I never made it to the lake.

With renewed eagerness, I decided to make my second attempt on the lake today. Accompanied by my fellow intern, we made quick work of the headwall, making our way down to my original turn-around point. Towards the bottom, I noticed the trail veers away from the stream and continues down to the lake. This was not something I saw the first time. Instead of taking the trail I had continued down the riverbed, a mistake that resulted in the failed trip. With the hopes that my feet might stay dry this time around, I trudged on and made it to Spaulding; quite the accomplishment for my final week. The views were far better than I could have wished for, with steep inclines surrounding the lake on three sides along with a phenomenal view of the northern Presidentials. I returned to the summit with a smile on my face, finally able to check this one off my list.

While it’s sad to leave this amazing observatory, I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved while up here. There’s nothing but great memories to look back on and I can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for me.


Steve Harshman,  Summit Intern

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