I Started out on Davis Path at 8:00am. Davis Path is nice but once it starts to climb it doesn't stop until you hit the spur to Crawford. This has been more noticeable on my 3 descents on this trail after a long day. But it has nice stairs, and views.
I reached the junction of the Crawford Spur and headed up.
Where you hit the ledges on Davis Path, and continuing up the spur to Crawford, can be a bit tricky. The blazes are faded and far between in some places so it's easy to take a direction on the ledge that dead-ends. I did much better this time. Got off trail only once. 8) And hit the summit around 9:30.
Greeted by this....
And one of my favorite profiles in the Whites....
I had a lot more to do this day but I could not resist lingering for a good half hour taking photos.
As much as I hated to I had to move on. I had roughly 2.5 miles to get to a point I wanted to start the bushwhack from. I got to the Stairs Col Tr in about an hour. This would be the first time I set foot on this trail which is always exiting to me.
Looking up the bottom step
Came across this bottomless tree
As I often do in planning a hike, I neglect to look at the contour lines over the course a my route. Did not see how much elevation loss I would have to get to my starting point of the whack and hence the very significant climb back up to the col.
On the way down I did spot my objective.
I reached my entry point to find myself in thick saplings.
It did open up pretty nicely but was very steep to the col between Middle Stairs (don't know what else to call it), and East Stairs where it was quite open.
Heading east to the summit from the col was very dense pencil woods. Moving through this stuff was a slow process. Not sure how long it took but it seemed like it took an hour to go .2 miles. I did make the summit though. After doing so, it was an immediate retreat to a fir-wave just below the summit that looked like I might get some views from.
Now it was time for the whack out and the climb back up to Stairs col. Yippy! Now it was easier walking once back on Davis Path. I'd one more thing I wanted to do and that was to bushwhack to that ledge I mentioned in the beginning. It's on a ridge heading NW off Davis Path about .4 miles, and about .4 miles NE of Mt Crawford. I got to that point and headed in. It was very scrappy at first but hit some ledge. Then more scrappy. It was here that the only real problem of the day occurred. I hadn't noticed until my pant leg was soaked that the bite-piece of my hydration bladder had been pulled off. I shut the valve but the damage was done. Probably close to a liter was lost (started full at 100oz.) because there was just a mouthful left. I had to end my quest for that ledge. I was just few yards from the first open ledges (400 feet off trail), so I did continue to those which had nice views.
Time to end this journey. I hydrate a lot when hiking, in general for that matter, so knowing I was out of water made me all the more thirsty. And as I mentioned earlier, descending Davis Path is tough on tired legs. For me anyway. But all I could think of was getting close enough to the stream that parallels the trail to get a drink.
Salvation! I was not concerned about drinking from this at all. Drank my fill. A good liter, at least.
I finished around 3:30. Much longer than I'd though it would take. I will be going back someday to just explore all the "Ledgey Goodness" in that area.