The Baldfaces have long been on my short list, for their exposure and in an area I haven’t been yet. I had been toying going solo but BobC had been trying to plan a trip soon, and it finally happened. It was a long 2.5 hour drive, much of it fog near the end, but it was already clearing off by the time I pulled into the lot. BobC, kpmmbm, New Hampshire, Happy Hiker, jdr6453 and Rocket21 met at the Baldface Circle trail lot, and introductions were made. BobandGeri, una_dogger and MichaelJ (and Terra, too) were just pulling in as we were leaving, and they caught up to us quickly. Funny thing is, as few hikers as I’ve met, kpmmbm was the only one I hadn’t yet.
We made our way up the trail, heading towards S. Baldface first, making good time. Conversations flowed freely as everyone mingled. Una_dogger got stung by a yellow jacket on the way up, something that happened to her yesterday. We came up to the shelter and regrouped, taking in some on una_dogger’s yummy cookies.
Before long we hit the first ledge. Cool. I really love ledges, especially scrambly ones, and this was no exception. The views that immediately hit you were immense, taking in the NH/ME border and Maine. The Royces stood out so nearby, and I think this got bumped up my list now. I was feeling fantastic today, which I can only assume is the combination of more hiking than usual and quitting smoking 4 days previous. I wanted to practically run up the scrambles, but of course with a group this large, it wasn’t gonna happen except for a few occasions. Probably just as well to not burn myself out too early.
Comedy was in strong force on this trip. At one steep point on the ledges, New Hampshire just yells out “Aaaaaaaaas youuuuuuuu wiiiiiiiiiish,” just cracking us up. At one point, I saw this overhanging rock, making a little cave. Silly ole me decided to “hide” in it while waiting for HappyHiker, BobC and New Hampshire to come up. As soon as HappyHiker got in sight, I went into a troll routine, “Who’s that trip-trap-trapping on my ledge?!” BobC got a nice picture with my poles crossed. Rocket21 managed to drop his iced tea bottle and down it plopped right into a hole in the rocks, where I could hear it continuing to bounce. Dilligence pays off (with help from BobC’s, ummmm, pole), and he retrieved his prized possession.
The grade lessened and we came up to the table below S. Baldface and took a short break. The views were just getting to be more and more astounding. The air was dry, so we could see across great distances. I was so busy looking back at the knobs we had come over, when I turned toward the summit, I was blown away by the view of the dome, just this nice scrubby green everywhere. On the summit, we lounged and finally got some views to the west. Carters, Washington, Carrigain, Tripyramids and so much more were plain as day. I’ll use it again, astounding! I looked over at Sable (a trailless 3k) and it looked like heading over the ridge to it might be an interesting way to go someday.
We moved on, entering some beautiful open mossy woods, a little gnarled birch grove, and open areas. We ran into ScenicNH, who BobC and New Hampshire hadn’t seen in a year. He’s a professional photographer, and his work brings him all over the Whites doing some really interesting things. New Hampshire, BobC, jdr6453 and I all stayed to chat while the rest of the group moved on. Time flowed, and we kept looking back to see the main group getting higher and higher, eventually up top. Eventually, they disappeared! I think we talked for about 30-45 minutes easily. Well, we were sure they knew what was going on, and eventually we parted ways and climbed up North Baldface. There were (of course) better views northward here, and again, much soaking in of said views. I got to pet a Great Dane and a Bernese Mountain Dog up there. I’m a sucker for big gentle dogs (rug holders). I asked one for a kiss, and suddenly two snouts were in my face happily obliging. Sweet. On the way down, the owners told us we had to catch them if they fell, which I said was fine, but I get to keep them.
The four of stopped again at the Bicknell Ridge junction for nothing more than to just chat some more, which was great. No rush, no agenda, just spending a great day in the mountains. We headed down the ridge trail, which was not too bad at all for steepness in getting down, and kept popping out on viewpoints, where I mainly noticed the changing face of the scraggly S. Baldface ledges, which really got to be interesting. Finally, we entered the woods for good, and made quick time. I think we all had the parking lot and not much else on our minds at that point, only pausing a moment at the stream where the Baldface Circle Trail joined back in, and finally we decided to take a diversion to the Emerald Pool, which was well worth it. We actually caught up to the main group at this point, heading out and let them know what happened to us. I got to pet the dogs one last time, and checked out the pool. A couple of tents were setup there, a really nice spot to camp. We made quick time out, and kpmmbm was kind enough to supply cold beverages, a very welcome treat at the end of a long day.