October 4, 20005.
8.9 mi | 3900′ ele. gain | 8 hrs.
Falling Waters Tr > Shining Rock > Little Haystack > Franconia Ridge Tr > Lincoln > Lafayette > Greenleaf Tr > Old Bridle Path
I’d been up the Falling Waters Trail a couple of years ago with my dad, but I was surprised to not recognize anything as I huffed and puffed up this steep pathway. My hiking partner, bounding up ahead, graciously waited for me to catch up. Knowing that I had less than ten miles to hike today, I wasn’t too worried about feeling slow.
We took our time to the first stop: Shining Rock. The sunshine really made the rock glisten today. We stopped and chatted here until the blissful solitude was crushed by another hiker who sat down near us. A quick little bushwhack later and we again found a nice resting place to chill out alone.
Another half mile up the trail we reached the top of Little Haystack. This is really where the views began.
The air was warm and hazy, but at least there was a breeze to cool me down up here. I thought it would be colder. After a snack break we took off along the ridge, walking almost without stopping all the way to Lafayette. I was chasing my partner the whole way, eventually catching up to him at the end of the ridge. We must have passed over Lincoln, but I couldn’t exactly figure out which bump it was!
All that ridge-top rock hopping was really doing a number on me, so I was grateful to finally be heading downhill. We hiked down to the hut and then to the Old Bridle Path, encountering many hikers going in either direction along our descent. Finally I felt like I had my trail legs and I bounded my way down the path. Suddenly it was me leaving my hiking partner in the dust.
The sunlight was dim in the woods, due to the late hour of our hike and the thick canopy above. But although we were out for 8 hours, a good portion of that was spent on extended rest breaks. It was a nice day to lollygag and enjoy simply being in the mountains.