Lower Montalban Ridge (October 9, 2016) - 7.5 hours - Click on pictures to enlarge!

This was Columbus Day weekend - peak foliage weekend in the White Mountains. The best foliage hikes stay low where the foliage view is best. Peter Wyatt and I hiked the lower Montalban ridge, which is a great foliage hike and not that well known so we hardly saw anyone all day. It was a cloudy and occasionally damp day but that only makes the foliage more mysterious. We started from the Mt. Langdon Trail which connected us to the Mt. Parker Trail. Nobody goes to Mt. Parker (3,000 ft) but it has a great view looking north and west (left).
From there we continued to Mt. Resolution (3,400 ft), little known but one of my favorite mountains. It has a long ledgy top with a great 180 degrees foliage panorama (above right and left). It has all kinds of beautiful mosses and lichens growing on the ledges (right), and the ledges take you on all kinds of side trails as you seek the true summit of this very flattish peak (I don't think I ever found it, not for want of trying). As you wander on the side trails you find mysterious stones like this one at lower left.
From Mt. Resolution we dropped into the col to rejoin the Davis Path and on to Stairs Mountain (3,500 ft). Part of the attraction is the passage through Stairs Col, which is wild and beautiful. From there it's a steep climb to the top of Stairs where there are again great views.
A few years ago we had continued the Davis Path along the whole length of the Montalban Ridge but you need a long day for that. Today we headed back to Mt. Crawford (3,100 feet), which is well known to have one of the best 360 degrees views of the Whites and this is particularly true in foliage. Here are views looking back to Stairs (left) and the valley toward Crawford Notch (right). Usually there is a crowd on top of Mt. Crawford but we were all alone - cloudy and windy conditions being a powerful deterrent to crowds. We headed down back to the Davis Path and to the trailhead.

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