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  • Writer's pictureIzzy Risitano

Mt. Pisgah Mini Report | 3/24/23

I have attempted to visit Lake Willoughby on a clear day four times now. The first, in a rain storm, the second a low cloud ceiling, then that weekend Washington was the coldest place on Earth where I got no views since so much stream was coming off the water, and finally today.

...The first time

This time, however, the weather finally seemed reasonable enough to get a view and gain some elevation while I was at it.


After class, Ryan and I grabbed a late start time of 4:30 and motored up. Even though we hadn’t hiked together since November, we got right back into our rhythm of talking loud enough to hear each other over crunchy steps and nerd out about the terrain.


The trail was packed, but notably choppy in areas with sun exposure. I would say the trail is still doable for microspikes this weekend, but will likely be more enjoyable in snowshoes as the snow gets softer… I didn’t make my call until the trailhead, so pack both!

First mile

The hike itself was on the easier side of moderate, reminding Ryan and me of a miniature version of the Mount Garfield Trail back in the whites. We gained elevation steadily just about the whole time, yet naturally, it felt more strenuous for me when I noticed how close I was to the dramatic cliff faces the peak boasts.

Mt. Hor peeking through the trees

The undeniable Garfield similarity section

We faced one false summit moment before passing the South Overlook but were certain we were near after views opened out towards Burke, Cannon, and most notably the Franconia Ridge. The evening light could not have looked better over the ranges in front of us.

South Overlook

After we summited, we pushed on to the West Overlook but ultimately decided it was not worth breaking trail and turned around. I did some quick blister care back at the South Overlook, mad at myself for not wearing the Darn Toughs I always wear, and we got down a full 30 minutes before the sun went down- allotting plenty of time to drive the rest of 5A and take in the evening sky just a little longer.

Today I learned I don't need to take everything off my boot to take the boot off

Final Stats: 4.33 Miles | 1,518 Gain | Maybe 25 Deer on 5A

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