Jim Salge Photography Blog

Images of New England captured in dramatic light and atmosphere

Morning at Greenleaf Hut…

While planning for my hike to Mount Lafayette last week, I was pleased to discover we have reached an arbitrary milestone in the progression of the seasons. The sun now rises after 6AM, which makes getting to locations for sunrise so much easier than in June, when the sun would rise before 5AM in the mountains. It’s the first time that the sun rose after 6AM since April, and is a sure sign that alpine autumn is right around the corner.


Armed with this information, I knew that I could sleep until atleast 4:30 at Greenleaf Hut, and still make it up to the summit for first light. Knowing that I could, comparatively to summer, sleep in made for a much more enjoyable night with friends, new and olde at the back country camp!

Sneaking out of an AMC hut is a bit science, a bit art, and still not the least silent. The hut is creaky, and through hikers sleep in the main dining area right next to the door. Outside thought, the world was silent, the wind had died overnight as Orion rose over the silhouette of the mountain I had to finish climbing. One false summit had me doubting myself in the race with the sun, but I arrived as an orange predawn glow was back-lighting Mount Washington to the east.

Predawn Glow Behind Mount Washington

Predawn Glow Behind Mount Washington

As the sun rose, the ridge line to the south acted as a division of color between the warmth of the sunlight and the cool blues in the shadow. To the north fog filled the valleys…though none filled the Pemigewasset Wilderness spread out before me as I had hoped. Reason to return, but not to tarnish the moments of spectacular beauty as I watched the shadows retreat in the valleys.

Alpenglow on the Franconia Ridge, Looking South

Alpenglow on the Franconia Ridge, Looking South

Back at the hut for breakfast, I was greeted by eager hikers and hearty smells, and went back to work in the kitchen while the guests ate. I could continue on and on about how much I always enjoy my experience in the huts with the croo, but a last morning shot, through the coffee steam, should replace the words.  A fantastic morning!

Godrays in Greenleaf

Godrays in Greenleaf

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