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September was a busy month but I did a few hikes to Mts. Martha, Tom and Field, Garfield, and also Switzerland! I took advantage of a 2-week trip to Europe to spend the weekend in Geneva with mom and hike with my brother Thierry in his Swiss mountains. We did a classic hike to the Rochers de Naye in the pre-Alps above the Lake of Geneva. This is so different from the White Mountains - you don't have to fight for views, they are everywhere (left and right).
The mountains are also really jagged and you get to see the white peaks of the Alps in the distance (left). And then at the top is a hotel that people can reach with a cog railway, with a marmot museum and tame marmots that come up to you for a handout. From there is a splendid view of the Lake of Geneva (right), which we enjoyed for much of the way down. It was wonderful to hike in Thierry's paradise - he knows all about his mountains and shared his knowledge, I love to see people so connected and proud of where they live.
Back in NH, Mt. Martha is a 1.5-hour hike from Twin Mountain and Janice was nice enough to do this with me. The climb goes by large tracts of land that have been cleared for logging and I like to see that - land of many uses, this is a place where people live and work. The views at the top are very nice and better than advertised in the guidebook (left toward the north), thanks to some cutting for which I am grateful. In previous trips I have gone along the crest (Martha's Mile) to Owl's Head, which is very nice and makes a longer hike of it, but here we just headed down. The following week I went with Roger Gagne to Mt. Tom, which shows precisely what happens when you don't cut - there were great views from Mt. Tom in the past thanks to blowdowns but they are really closing in and you have to stand to see anything. As Roger headed down from Tom I took off to do the classic loop over Mts Field and Avalon. Mt. Field has a beautiful view (right), thanks to some strategic cutting. Going down I left the trail at Avalon Brook and bushwacked the rest of the way down the stream, which is a really fun because you get to discover all kinds of pools and waterfalls.
Mt. Garfield is a destination climb - -the climb itself it not particularly interesting but the trail is really well graded so you can go fast. And I'm not really being fair by saying that it's not interesting because you get to enjoy the changes in the forest as you go from hemlocks at the bottom to maples to birches and then to spruce/fir. OK. But the real reward is the top, which is without question one of the most beautiful and unique views of the Whites. You get to see Owl's Head floating in the middle of the Pemi Wilderness (left). The maples on the valley floor were already turning red. Angling toward the west you see the Bonds range from an unusual angle (right). Turning to the southeast you see Lafayette and the Franconia Ridge (below left). And you may run into a handsome guy (below right).