I really enjoy picking hikes: sometimes, this is about views, sometimes about time… Picking the Lower Great Range gives so many combinations. Hiking them all at once (Wolf Jaws, Armstrong, Gothics, Pyramid and Sawteeth) is quite a challenge. So, this time, we selected Upper Wolf Jaw and Armstrong. Lower Wolf Jaw can wait (more on that in a later post) and we’ve climbed Gothics and Pyramid already.
This was a long and interesting day. We got started a little later this week. We only left St Hubert’s parking lot at 9:15 am, unusually late for us. Parking was crowded and we had to park on the side of Route 73. Then, it was about a half mile walk to the trailhead.
After checking in at the gate, we turned up the West River Trail and, as per usual, the first few miles were pretty uneventful. After those easy “stroll in the park” miles we started to climb, and climb we did. We selected the Wedge Brook Trail that meanders in the forest before becoming steeper while approaching the Wolf Jaws. Close to the ridge, the trail splits, one going to Lower Wolf, the other leading up to Upper Wolf.
The hike up to Upper Wolfjaw was a lot of fun: there were crevices to climb and some steep rock faces. Don’t be fooled by its dramatic “false summit”. That first, flat plateau with a great view isn’t the actual peak! Go about 500 yards further down the trail and look about 10 yards off it. A nice place to rest and enjoy the views.
After a few minutes there, we continued onto 4,400-foot Armstrong. Nobody warned us about the down-up-down-up nature of the hike across this range. Yeah, that was a good lesson (as I thought it would be closer to hiking the ridges of the White Mountains, NH). But, we made it to the summit for lunch, which we enjoyed on sun-bathed rocks, facing West.
After a moment of calm and rest, we decided to head back down towards Beaver Meadow Falls and to the car. The total loop was about 12 miles. It was a really nice hike. It was a good bit of work, especially getting up to Upper Wolfjaw and down from Armstrong, but after this hike we confirmed that we were ready for just about anything.