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
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.
A good portion of the trail was ice
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
Elevation Gain: 3,316'
Trails: A-Z Trail, Willey Range Trail, Avalon Trail