In cloudy conditions and light snowfall we left the parking lot behind us and headed east, following the steep and icy but well trodden 3.2 mile Falling Waters trail to Little Haystack. The trail was well marked and bordered by beautiful ice formations and the sound of water navigating its way under sheets of ice to end its journey miles away in the valley.
At Little Haystack we were met by strong winds whipping across the open ridge, severely limiting visability and quickly wiping out footsteps. We hesitated for a moment before sandwiching ourselves between several other groups of hikers traversing the well marked 1.6 miles across the open ridge Franconia Ridge Trail, checking off three peaks in one go: Little Haystack 4780', Mt. Lincoln 5089' and Mt. Lafayette 5260'. (If you are prone to vertigo, don't attempt this trail.) After gradually having gained 3900' in elevation and summiting Mt. Lafayette in 3 hrs 25 minutes, we picked our way 1.1 miles down to the Greenleaf hut where we broke for lunch before leisurely descending the final 3.1 miles downhill Old Bridle Path in clear sunshine. Total book time 5 hrs 35 minutes.