Was working 2nd shift on Monday, so brilliant me decided it's time to do the Royces Monday morning. Had to home at 3, so I got up at 5 and raced out the door at 6. As I came up to the trailhead it was evident the thunderbumpers the night before had dumped a lot of rain up here.
Despite the dampness of the trail, the numerous brook crossings were nice to look at.
The day was cool, the air was drying, the clouds were breaking apart, and there was a breeze in the air. Perfection. The climb up, while a bit wind-sucking, went quickly, and I came to the junction of the trail going to East Royce. I thought about it and decided a nice flat walk might be in order to catch my breath. Good move.
I came to the unmarked NH-ME border, and caught a glimpse of West Royce looming above.
The trail was very mucky in this section, and I soon had soaked feet. I'm used to this by now. Someday I'll buy full leathers. I made the turn to West Royce, the climb was short lived, and I came into my favorite kind of woods. Moss-covered.
The view from W. Royce was decent, but nothing spectacular.
But the sun was warm and the breeze was nice. A quick break, as the clock was ticking. Back to the East Royce junction, with this nice preview of the ledges to come.
I tried finding any indication of the Maine-New Hampshire border by going back and forth on the trail, but with the GPS errors bouncing me around, it was impossible to tell where it exactly was. I did think I spotted a very faint herd path in the right direction left and right. I was bummed to find out a monument was a short ways off trail from here, but that's something fun for another time.
At the junction, I headed up and was very glad I waited for this. It was a steep climb, albeit short, but I was now ready for it. In a short time, I came to the end of the trail, and got a nice view of the Baldfaces, with Chocorua visible at left.
There was a trail sign pointed further north, curiously, and sure enough, it was pointed right at the herd path leading to the true summit. I lost this quickly in a wet grassy area, but no matter, the woods were decent. I regained the ridge and there was the path again, clear as day.
The summit was a large rock, and I climbed down this and continued on the herd path to the north ledge described in the WMG. This had nice views of the Moriah and Carter range.
But time was now getting late, so no time to linger, and I would definitely return on a more cloudless day, so back along the herd path to be confronted by the trail sign, and then bounding back down the trail, reaching the car 3.5 hours later. Zowie. This was a half hour before I had to be out, so I was pretty pleased. A frustrating drive home behind loads of people who insisted on doing 0-10 mph below the speed limit, a quick recap and shower, and off to work. Dumbest thing ever, I was dopey sleepy all night. Won't do that again, but will do this hike again. I'm digging this side of the Whites.