Now, Hiking Upward has this hike as being at its best in the early spring, before the leaves start to bloom. However, on a number of these summit hikes in the GWNF it’s a good idea to knock them out early in the year, not just because of the views. You want to get them in before the weather heats up too much because of all the critters that will likely be sunning themselves on the rocky summits.
I learned a few things on this hike – in some cases, it was info passed along by the AOA guys, but in others, it was just assimilating hiking experience. For example, they showed me an alternate parking area that provides shorter access to the summit, making an out-and-back of about 6.5 miles. And in another case, while I knew that during the winter, the leaf litter in GWNF accumulates in the trail footpaths on north-facing areas, I didn’t understand that these areas are the last to melt after snows, and can be filled with hard-frozen ice hidden under the leaves long after the precipitation has fallen.
We took a break near the top, and everyone broke out their lunches. Gary had his backpacking stove there and fixed up a hot meal – read the gear review on his blog at: http://runtechinthevalley.blogspot.com/2011/02/kennedy-peak-loop-gsi-telescoping-spoon.html. One of the highlights of this stop was the peanut butter and raisin sammiches that CFM shared. Just one more little thing I learned on this pleasant walk.
Near the top, there were traces of a fire from the summer – I’ve done some follow-up research on this and will have a post tomorrow. And then you reach the summit with the observation platform and those views; here’s photo here of me up there.