For the second consecutive July 4th I headed up to Evans Notch in the White Mountains to run the Baldface Circle Trail with Jim, Jamie and new this year Erik. We were lucky today to have perfect weather, warm but not too hot, no humidity and perfectly clear skies. The 10 mile loop had a great variety of terrain, some parts runnable, other parts that are pretty challenging hiking. All in all a great workout that took us just over 3 hours to complete.
The trail starts with a pretty easy first mile that's all runnable then becomes gradually more steep and hiking is required in many parts. At a little over 2.5 mile in you reach a clearing and proceed up an incredibly steep shear stone face. After what feels like a lot of climbing the trail levels out somewhat and the final push to the summit of South Baldface Mountain comes along pretty quickly. From here there is an incredible view of the White Mountains including Mt Washington, as well as the entire Baldfaces Circle Trail that we were taking.
From South Baldface (3570') there is a nice gradual descent along a ridge before making the short climb up to the slightly higher peak of North Baldface (3610'). Once again there were spectacular views from here. From North Baldface we made our way to Eagle Crag through a mix of forested and open rocky trails. Most of the way down from Eagle Crag is runnable, or would be if the trail wasn't so over grown. In parts it felt like we were running through a jungle and the trail virtually disappeared. The more open areas were filled with large loose rocks, many of them wet and slippery which made for a somewhat tricky run but it was a lot of fun.
About 3/4 mile from the end of the trail (where we started) there is a short trail that cuts off to the side to go to the Emerald Pool. This is a great little swimming hole with about a 15 foot drop into icy water, and as the name implies there is a beautiful green tint to the water, presumably the effect of algae growing on the rocks below. After a refreshing dip and a chilling soak we finished the run.