I took a short trip Mt. Monroe the day after Christmas to burn off some energy. Monroe is a 5,372 foot peak that sits next to Mt. Washington in New Hampshire’s Presidential range. The day was unseasonably warm, in the 20’s, and winds were light during the morning hours.
I hiked the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail. The trailhead parking lot is located on Base Station Road, which services the Cog Railway. Since the Cog Railway operates all winter, this road is conveniently plowed and cleared all season. The Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail is an easygoing hike up to Gem Pool which, during the summer months, features a nice waterfall and swimming hole. Immediately after Gem Pool the trail starts a continuous, aggressive climb all the way up to Lake of the Clouds hut. I switched to crampons at this point for the steep packed snow and ice, and did not regret the decision. After reaching the hut, it’s a short climb to the top of Monroe to tag the summit.
I would have liked to climb Washington while I was there, but I had to return home in time for other obligations. Aside from life responsibilities, the forecast called for precipitation and winds to increase throughout the day until gusts reached the century mark in the evening. I was happy to avoid the evening weather.
Door to door hike time was 4 hours, 30 minutes.