Saturday, December 22, 2012

Trail Report: Mount Tom, Field and Avalon

December 15, 2012

It's getting late in the season but Tony and I are still going strong!  Tom couldn't make this hike and Kellie is done until Spring.  Today's hike was going to be Mounts Tom 4051', Field 4340', Willey 4255' and Avalon 3442' but due to the sun setting at 4:11pm and we started 30-45 minutes later than expected, we cut out Mount Willey which saved us 3 miles.

We arrived at the AMC Highland Center around 9am to use the facilities and to ask where the Mount Tom trail head was as we couldn't find it.  We also signed the hiker registry which I had never heard of.  The AMC will send out people to look for you if you don't return by the time you list.  The Highland center is very nice, it's pretty much a hotel, rates are expensive but you do get all your meals covered.

The Mount Tom trail head is behind an old train depot that is used during the summer months for tourists.  The depot is also right next door to the Highland center.  We were the only car in the parking lot, not surprising as the temperature was 17 degrees, clear skies and no wind.  So we gear up and get on our way.

 First ones here
Trail head sign

Right from the start we had snow and ice

Tony deciding how to make it across

The snow and ice was getting worse

About an hour into the hike we came to a fork, left up to Mount Avalon and Mount Field or right to Mount Tom.  We decided here to go up towards mount Tom and then across the ridge to Mount Field.  We also took a few minutes to strip off a couple of layers and put on our micro-spikes.  By the time we got to this fork we had navigated a few ice flows along the trail and we decided it was best to try out the spikes or turn back, the trail was getting very very icy.

A-Z Trail wasn't very steep

About two hours into the hike we stopped for a quick drink and snack and noticed we were being followed by a couple of Grey Jays.  Kellie and I encountered these birds on another hike.  They are not afraid of people and love to eat!

 Eating granola out of my hand

Grey Jay

Me @ the Summit of Mount Tom 4,051'

Tony @ the Summit of Mount Tom 4,051'

We didn't spend long at the summit of Tom, not that it was to cold, Tony estimated it was in the single digits, but we were concerned about day light so we fed the birds, had a drink and then pressed on the ridge trail to Mount Field.

Willey Range Trail Sign

 Willey Range Trail

A good portion of the trail was ice

Micro-spikes make walking on this a breeze

These things are worth their weight in gold!

Tony @ the Summit of Mount Field

It may have been in the single digits, but it's never to cold for a summit beer

Coming down Avalon Trail

Mount Avalon Sign

No way anyone was getting up this without spikes

The Presidentials from Mount Avalon

I forget what mountain this is

Summit of Mount Washington from Avalon

Me @ the Summit of Mount Avalon - Presidentials in the background

Avalon Trail was a mess to navigate but the micro spikes made all the difference!

Mount Tom to the right - Mount Field to back left

GPS Track - Tom (r), Field (l), Avalon (l - middle)

Summit of Mount Tom: 4,051'
Summit of Mount Field: 4,340'
Summit of Mount Avalon: 3,442'
Total hike time: 6h 3m
Distance: 7.16m
Elevation Gain: 3,316'
Trails: A-Z Trail, Willey Range Trail, Avalon Trail

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trail Report: Cannon Mountain & Northeast Cannonball

As usual I am extremely late with this blog post.  I've been really lazy about writing it up and now I have two I need to write.  Not that it matters, I don't think anyone really reads this blog anyway.

On November 12, 2012... Kellie, Tony, Tom and myself decided to hike up Cannon Mountain 4,100' along with Northeast Cannonball 3,769'.  Being a month ago I forget the exact weather details, but it was on the cooler side, clear skies and windy.  There was more ice and snow on the trail that we had anticipated, we did this without micro-spikes but in the end I think we all wish we had them.  Especially Kellie as she twisted her ankle at the summit.

We started hiking up Lonesome Lake Trail around 9:13am.

Lonesome Lake Trail Head Sign
After about 15 minutes we hit the Hi-Cannon Trail sign, but we decided to go checkout Lonesome Lake and the AMC Lonesome Lake Hut.
 Trail Signs

Shinny Rock covered in ice.  Kellie and I visited
this rock on Mount Haystack when we hiked the Lafayette loop

Starting to get slippery

After about 50 minutes of hiking we made it to Lonesome Lake 2,760'.  At this point we took a few pictures and decided to skip visiting the hut as the hut sits on the other side of the lake.  We weren't sure how long the rest of the hike would take us so we decided to visit the hut on the way down if we had time.  We didn't.  I'll visit it next summer.

Lonesome Lake 2,760'

AMC Lonesome Lake Hut

There are a lot of reasons I like hiking, one is to get away from work, people, and to just be outdoors.  But to show you how small the world is, while we were taking pictures at the lake, we heard someone walk up behind us, Tom engages in conversation as I was taking pictures and I hear them both talking about our place of employment.  I turn around and there is Kris from my department!  We had no idea that each other hiked.  And it was quite funny to run into someone from work.

Kris from MTL/MIT

After a short 10 minute stop at the lake we continued on up Lonesome Lake Trail to the Kinsman Ridge Trail.

The higher we got the more snow we ran into

Top of Cannon Mountain our destination

Once we reached the Kinsman Ridge Trail, we took a left to bag Northeast Cannonball.  Kellie decided to stay back, at this point she was not enjoying herself at all.  The snow and ice was worse than we had predicted and she was wearing some kind of trail sneaker, I'm not even sure what they are called, but with no boots she was having a rough time.  I also forgot to take a summit picture, not that there was a view, but it would have been nice to have a picture of the three of us at the top.  Oh well.  Here is a picture of us descending NE Cannonball.

Descending NE Cannonball

We met back up with Kellie and continued our journey along the Kinsman Ridge Trail to the summit on Cannon Mountain.  The snow and ice seemed to get worse but I think this was mainly because the trail really started to get steep as we were going up Cannon.

Getting steep
About 3.5 hours from when we started, we reached the summit of Cannon Mountain.
Mount Lafayette from Cannon
 Mounts Lafayette and Lincoln from Cannon

Tom, Kellie, Mike, Tony @ summit of Cannon Mountain

View from the tower on Cannon

Me with Lafayette, Lincoln, Haystack in the background

Descending Cannon Mountain

Northeast Cannonball

How did this happen?

GPS Track
Northeast Cannonball to the left
Cannon Mountain to the right

Summit of Northeast Cannonball: 3,769'
Summit of Cannon Mountain:  4,100'
Total hike time: 6h 24m
Distance: 6.68m
Elevation Gain: 3179
Trails: Lonesome Lake Trail, Kinsman Ridge Trail

Monday, November 5, 2012

Trail Report: Mount Moosilauke

November 3, 2012

Snow, snow and more snow.  The weather reports said 40% chance of snow showers in the morning, even my personal meteorologist, Tony, also said a light mixture of snow and rain today.  We were in for quite the surprise at the summit of Mount Moosilauke 4,802'.

As the Fall season is upon us and the sun sets early, we set out from Hudson around 6am, arriving at the trailhead about 730am, gearing up and hitting the trail a little after 8am.  The snow was already falling in the parking lot but it was really just a few flakes here and there, really nothing to be concerned about.  The temperature was hovering around 35 degrees and I started off with three layers, quickly losing the first layer about 15 minutes into the hike.  I think I have finally found the perfect temps for hiking, the 30-40 degree range is absolutely perfect!  I can't believe I am actually saying that.

This was our first time up this mountain and Tony decided to pick the hardest trail on the mountain.  There's a sign at the beginning of the trail warning you as to how dangerous this trail is but even with the snow fall, overcast and wet conditions we went for it anyway.

 Beaver Brook Trailhead

Trail sign

Second bridge crossing

The warning sign

The first two miles of this 3.8 mile route is very steep.  So steep in fact that the DOC (Dartmouth Outing Club) has installed wooden blocks and some iron hand rails in some of the more difficult areas.

One of many water falls along this trail

Tony @ another water fall

Wooden block stairs

Iron hand rail

Me @ another water fall

 The higher up we went the light rain started turning more into snow.  Around 2700' it was a light snow.  Around 4000' it really started accumulating.

Some light snow on the trees

More wooden block stairs

Around 4000' it started to stick to the ground

Gotta keep moving

It may look cold but I was sweating, a lot

Snow covered trees

Almost @ the summit

Close to the summit

Very close now

We went above treeline for about 10' and then decided to head back below treeline to put on an extra layer.  It was amazing how cold and windy it was above treeline.  The snow was blowing so hard it was almost white-out conditions.  After we put on our extra layer we made the final push to the summit.

First view above treeline

Tony in the distance pushing up the trail

Summit sign 4,802'

Me @ the summit

The summit was so cold and windy we stayed less than five minutes.  I took about a dozen photos, talked to a couple of other people that were at the summit (there were two guys in shorts), then we left.  We didn't even stay long enough to drink our celebratory Dogfish Head Pumpkin beers.  Once back below treeline there was virtually no wind and things warmed back up again quickly.  The trek down was long, just as long as coming up.  The batteries in my GPS died on the way down so I don't have all the stats for this trip.

GPS Track
Summit of Mount Moosilauke: 4,802'
Total hike time: 7h
Distance: 7.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 3100'
Trails: Beaver Brook Trail,  Benton Trail