Beaver Brook Trail is one of many approaches to Mount Moosilauke; it is part of the
Appalachian Trail (AT) which is why I chose to do this challenging hike on such a hot, humid
day (about 80 degrees) - I wanted to surprise a friend who was hiking the AT. I knew
she would be descending this trail at some point during the day so I loaded my pack up
with junk food for her and her AT trail mates. Since undertaking the AT in March, she
kept commenting on all the "trail angels" that left food along the trail for the
Unfortunately, the farther north they got, the less "angels" they encountered so
I decided to do my part to show some northern hospitality.
The trail was very steep for the first 1.5 miles as it ran up along beside Beaver Brook
Cascades. There were hand rungs, and railroad ties bolted into steeply sloping ledges
to form staircases, to assist in the climb. The pretty stream and cascades provided a
ready excuse to stop and rest and enjoy the scenery. Looking back, there were a few
glimpses out to the mountains, including a view of Mount Lafayette's peak was which nicely
illuminated by the sun.
I did this hike with my neighbor who was kind enough to carry the cookies in his pack - mine
was stuffed full and would have resulted in crushed cookies if I had forced them into my pack.
The care package consisted of oreo cookies, chocolate chip cookies, raspberry licorice, jelly
beans, and chocolate candy. When hiking the AT, everyone goes by trail names instead of real
names. My friend's trail name was "Not Here" and her hiking companion went by "Ripple". And
basically every thru-hiker knows every other thru-hiker in the vicinity.
This trail was lightly traveled but the first guy we met coming down was obviously a thru-hiker. I asked him if he knew where Not Here or Ripple were. Much to the surprise of my
neighbor, who thought this random guy wouldn't know my friend, especially by that name, the
hiker told us that her and Ripple were about 20 minutes behind him.
We continued laboring up the steep terrain and when we got through the worst of it, we
decided to take a little break. Then another thru-hiker came down the path and I asked
her if she knew where Ripple or Not Here was. She looked surprised and told us that she was
Ripple. I informed her that we had food for her and Not Here so she sat down and we visited.
Not Here was only a few minutes behind her. It was fun relaxing and listening to their tales
while they appreciatively dug into the junk food. Their friend Spot, a "repeat offender"
(having hiked the entire AT multiple times), joined us also. Two thru-hikers from
Pennsylvania stopped briefly to visit and partake of some of the goodies.
After the ATers continued on their descent (and then an ascent over another mountain), we
resumed our climb and shortly reached the spur trail leading to Beaver Brook Shelter where
many thru-hikers spend a night. By this point the steepness had eased a bit and
later turned into a more moderate grade. The upper part of the trail seemed darn easy compared
to the terrain we started off with.
At one point on the trail, we looked up to see a big, field-covered, peak. This could only be
Mount Moosilauke but it looked depressingly far away. From this point, the cairns looked like
tiny shrubs. However, looks were deceiving; only half an hour later, we had reached the summit.
There were 360-degree views. We could see Franconia Ridge, South Peak of Moosilauke,
the Connecticut River, Vermont, and more. Several towns were also visible including Lincoln and
We got to the summit at 3:20 p.m. and at this point there was only about a dozen people there.
There is an old, crumbled-down foundation at the top that serves as shelter on colder days but
the weather was beautiful, although a bit hazy. The summit was covered with gorgeous fields of
golden-reddish grass swaying in the wind and was punctuated by many boulders. Hugging the
ground, was a lot of mountain cranberry. There was a raven and a little junco hanging out
too. We reluctantly left the summit at about 5:00 p.m. so we could get back to the car
before nightfall. I often enjoy hiking the latter part of a trail in the dark, but with
the beginning of the trail being so treacherous, I wasn't willing to navigate it with a
We were surprised on our descent to find even the upper parts of the trail were steep. We
had to take care and go slowly to avoid falling but we still managed to complete the descent
about a half hour faster than the ascent. It goes to show how relative everything is: hit us
with super steep at the beginning and we are fooled into thinking the remaining, less-steep
stuff is actually easy.