Yesterday morning, Bill and I quickly finished our innkeeping duties and escaped up North on Route 302 to the trail head of Mt. Willard located behind the train station in Pinkham Notch. Though the rain clouds loomed overhead, we figured that equipped with our rain jackets and hats, we were covered for a cool summer rain. However, it only lasted a few minutes and we proceeded up Mt. Willard which is 2,804 feet to the cliffs overlooking the valley, Route 302, the scenic railroad tracks, Mt. Willey, and other mountains in the Presidentials.
It's a well worn trail of moderate degree and maintained by the Park Service. In fact, on the way down, we passed the rangers fixing the trail. The trail starts out flat passing over a stream and then begins the incline up the mountain. About two-thirds of the way up, we passed by a waterfall that pours into Centennial Pool. We proceeded at a moderate pace and reached the cliffs after 1 hour and 15 minutes (about 1.5 miles). As mentioned, the view was spectacular and hauntingly beautiful with the clouds looming over the tops of the mountains, but it wasn't raining. In fact, it's a popular trail and there were around 20 people up there admiring the view and listening to the wildlife in the forest below. Hiking the mountain trails in the Whites renews our spirits and reminds of the astounding beauty and wildlife around us.