Tripyramids Dayhike - 19/Sep/98

By David Metsky

After a summer of lousy weather and viewless hikes, this day shaped up to be the perfect antidote to the end of summer. After a late start we drove to the trailhead of the Livermore Road, in Waterville Valley. After putting on boots and packing up, we hit the trail just before 11:00. Not the earliest start we ever had, but not the worst either. The Livermore Road is mostly level and flat with occasional short climbs. There were tracks from recent work vehicles and occasional mountain bikers sped past. The road is gated so no cars are on the road.

After 3.6 miles the north side of the Tripyramid Loop branches off to the right. It climbs gradually for a bit, then hits the base of the slide. The bottom part is often wet so take care heading up. This is not a trail to be attempted in bad weather. Soon we climbed out into the open and got ourselves some nice views. Here, the slide broadens and people who are afraid of heights could have a problem. We passed a group of three hikers headed down, something that isn't recommended but makes for an exciting trip. No pun intended. Near the top of the slide, before it closes in, there is a wonderful view north which goes all the way from Tecumseh to Washington.

From the top of the slide it's a short climb to the wooded summit of North Tripyramid. There's a small view to the west nearby. From there, the trail runs along the ridge, dropping sharply at first before rising again to the more open summit of Middle Tripyramid, .8 miles away. There, we stopped for lunch and took in the views west to Passaconaway, east to Tecumseh, and south to South Tripyramid. A large group had just left the summit and we had it to ourselves for as long as we wanted. I guess that's one advantage of being the last folks on a one way loop. The trip to South Tripyramid was uneventful, and the peak is completely wooded. Just past the top we met up with a hiker who was looking for the Sleepers trail, which he had missed on the way up the South slide. He had finished his NH 100 highest but there was a possibility that a new list would become official soon that had one of the Sleepers that he didn't do as an official peak and he wanted to climb it before that happened. Ah, peakbagging. But afterall, that's why we were up there.

A short ways after the south peak we hit the top of the South slide. This one is mainly gravel and scree with occasional big blocks of rock thrown in for good measure. We met some folks headed up who were considering doing the loop but had inadequate footwear and a dog. I hope they decided against it. We were getting a bit tired, but made it down easily, stopping several times to catch the very begining of foliage season. From the bottom of the slide back to the Livermore Road is tiring but scenic. By the time we hit the road we were ready to head out and wished we had stashed mountain bikes for the journey. There are several short hikes off the Livermore Road, and we took the .2 mile trip to the Big Pines. There are 4 old growth eastern white pines, well over 100 feet tall, and they took our breath away. It's really amazing to stand under these giants and imagine a whole forest of them, as was here before NH was settled by Europeans. We wished them well and headed back to the car.

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