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  1. #1
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Default "seasons" in the White Mountains

    Ok so just talking general rules here, obviously the White Mountains has unpredictable weather but from what I read . . .

    Mid-May (Mother's Day) thru Mid-June (Father's Day) is usually the height of Black Fly season
    May can also have snow/ice at higher altitudes and require microspikes.

    September (after Labor Day) is the "best" time to backpack/hike since less bugs and crowds.

    How is late June-late August? Any further breakdowns or "seasons" in this date range? Do you just have to deal with the crowds of people backpacking/hiking but otherwise usually pleasant?
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 16/48
    "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov

  2. #2
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Default

    I hiked the White Mountains this past mid July. I didn't think the shelters and campsites were all that crowded on the AT. There was always room for my tent and most LASH and though hikers by then avoid the shelters, so there almost always was room in one if you wanted a spot in the shelter. One day, I went .8 of a mile off the AT to the Guyot Shelter to pitch my tent, and that campsite was crowded; although the shelter itself was empty. The area is on a popular trail away from the AT, so it attracts a lot of section hikers and especially groups.

    Since I am a super slow hiker, especially in the White Mountains, I got passed a lot, but I wouldn't consider the AT itself as crowded. However to the south and north of Mount Washington, there were a lot of section and day hikers. I think the location of the Lake in the Clouds Hut to the south and the Madison Hut to the north on the AT had a lot to do with that. And then there was the summit of Mount Washington. It was definitely crowded. There was a line to take pictures at the Mount Washington summit sign and just a lot of people in general visiting. Most came up the mountain in cars thankfully, because if they were hiking, traffic signals would have been necessary.

    BTW. The weather was spectacular while I was there. We had a completely clear, cloudless day on Mount Washington. It is my understanding that those kind of days a few and far between at the summit.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
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  3. #3

    Default

    Weather wise, July and August can be really hot and humid. This summer was especially so. Normally we'll get a week or two of 90's around the end of July, this summer it was 80-90 pretty much every day of July and August. Pretty sure this is the new normal.

    That results in hazy views and summits which are often in the clouds. (The rocks above tree line cool off at night, then condense moisture out the air during the day). There is always the threat of thundershowers, but these often come in the late evening.

    September is definitely the best time weather wise. Starting to cool down without it getting really cold, clearer skies, less people.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #4
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Default

    Thank you both for the replies!

  5. #5

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    Slo-go'en,
    Any downside to early/mid June other than the Black Flys?
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  6. #6
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Slo-go'en,
    Any downside to early/mid June other than the Black Flys?
    Mud, snow and ice. Winter blowdowns that haven't been cleared yet. Cold, still the possibility of snow in the Presidentials. Huts aren't open yet.

  7. #7
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    Mud, snow and ice. Winter blowdowns that haven't been cleared yet. Cold, still the possibility of snow in the Presidentials. Huts aren't open yet.
    I believe the huts are open in "early/mid June".

    https://www.outdoors.org/lodging-cam...s/season-dates

  8. #8
    illabelle's Avatar
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    We went hut-to-hut in early July of 2016. There was some heat in the middle of the day, but not always, and not that bad. In the evenings, we were indoors in the unheated huts, but still were grateful for the heavy wool blankets.
    Of course every year is different, but we found July to be a great month for the Whites. Bugs weren't much of an issue.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Slo-go'en,
    Any downside to early/mid June other than the Black Flys?
    It can be iffy. If there's been a lot of snow during the winter (or early spring), streams are swollen and can be dangerous to cross. Mud isn't a real big issue as most of the trials have been eroded down to bed rock, but there are a lot of bogs in the low spots along the ridges which can be a challenge to cross.

    It can also rain a lot in June and if it's raining and your not hiking in a stream, your not on the trail. Early June can be really raw. Cold and wet which cuts to the bone. It's really not a good time to be here.

    Here's a photo I took on 5/27/18 along the Boot Spur trail on Mt Washington, which goes up the south side of Huntington Ravine. As you can see, there was still a lot of snow on Washington, and in fact they were still skiing in the ravine. On June 11, I did a traverse and there was still one nasty snow field to cross on Jefferson which was pretty scary. When I got to Crawford Notch, I was going to continue to Franconia, but it the forecast wasn't good so I took the shuttle home, and it then rained for a week.

    SAM_3990.JPG
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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