Cannon Mountain January 2020

I headed up north to hike Cannon Mountain today with Vicky and Mike. It was raining hard in Concord and all the way up to Lincoln. Then suddenly, no rain. The Lafayette Campground parking lot had three cars in it (there were actual parking spots, imagine that) as we started up the trail to Cannon. 

The snow was sand-like and the trail pretty steep for most of the hike. Despite a few icy sections, and the ladders, we made it to viewless summit. 

It was a fun hike. A great day to be outside while it rained in Concord.

Vicky on the ladders.

The last time I did this hike was July 1989. It was time to get on this trail and mark off number 10 of 48 at 49.

Just before the summit

The Pemi Traverse in Winter

While I’m not sure it is the proper name, I called our hike on Thursday, December 26 the Pemi Traverse since we hiked 25 miles through the heart of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and didn’t loop it. It seems like the right name, though.

The day started with a car spot coordinated by Ross. The four of us left from Route 302 and walked 2.5 miles on Zealand Road to the Hale Brook Trail. The hike was steep in section but spikes were the right choice. The temperature was warm enough to warrant wearing just a wind breaker, hat and gloves. We were the only ones on the trail and at the summit, so far. I don’t remember ever being at the summit of Mount Hale alone; it’s usually crowded.

Mount Hale, 4054, done! 

Now onto Zealand via Twinway. While hiking through the low laying areas, the snow was sand-like. The streams weren’t frozen, but icy,  and at one point I stepped the wrong way over a stream, lost my balance and face-planted into a pile of soft snow. There were a few false summits and I was glad to reach the junction for a right hand turn and a .1 mile hike off Twinway to the summit. 

Zealand, 4260, done!

We hiked over Guyot, 4580, but unfortunately it doesn’t count as one of the 48 4,000 footers.

Onto the Bondcliff Trail and a short 1 mile diversion over to West Bond, 4540.

Originally I was going to bypass it and keep on with Vicky who was having leg cramps, and didn’t want the extra miles. I bypassed this peak on the summer Pemi Loop run because I was exhausted. But on this hike I felt great and wanted to go for it once I saw the trail sign. It was soooooo worth it. Great views, no clouds and no wind. I hit my head twice on tree limbs dangling across the trail (Stop staring at your feet while hiking!) while on the final 10 miles of this hike. Ouch. 

I hiked up Bond as fast as I could to catch up with Vicky. Hiking above treeline is amazing. By 4:15pm there was still no wind and the temperature seemed to be staying steady but I was losing light. Bond, 4698 done! I took a video and some pictures and continued on to Bondcliff. 

I wanted to arrive at Bondcliff at sunset because it is my favorite mountain. I missed the sunset but it’s okay. Vicky was waiting at the top. I took in the amazing view and the colors to the west. I just love the rock formation and the feeling of being in the middle of a protected wilderness. There was very little snow and I could’ve taken off my spikes but I opted to keep them on; they made me feel more confident despite so many rocks. Dark was approaching and I wanted to hike the difficult descent off Bondcliff with Vicky so we headed down.  

Bondcliff, 4265, done! 

The slogfest back to Lincoln Woods began in the dark. It was my first time hiking with a headlamp in the White Mountains. We ran some of the trail and then really picked up the pace the last four miles. We made it safe and sound to our cars. 

Things I learned on this trip, luckily not from difficulty but just knowing that so much could’ve gone wrong, and always thinking about worst case scenarios:

  • Always carry extra batteries for your headlamp
  • Never hike long distance that begin and end in the dark, alone
  • Hike with more gear and more food than you need
  • Stop staring at your feet and look around while you hike so you don’t get a concussion from running into trees

What a day! Here’s the crew stopping at Zealand Hut for some water.


Hancock Loop, So Much Joy

Saturday was a hike the Hancock Loop kind of day. The morning started out cold. When I left Concord it was 9 degrees and during the drive it hovered between 5 and 10 degrees. It was a high of 14 when I started from the Hancock parking lot on the Kancamagus Highway. 

I know this trail so well. I’ve been on it five times already in the last two years. Attempting North and South separately in all seasons. Today my goal was to do the entire loop. In my mind I knew that if it didn’t feel right I would turn around: too icy, too cold, too scary.

All reasons to turn around.

At mile 3 I met my first hiker. A solo, woman on her way back to the trailhead. At 10:00 she had already done the loop – impressive. She told me she had an early start and the conditions on the ridge were amazing: no wind, some soft snow and no snowshoes needed. She warned of icy conditions going up and coming down but said all very doable. Running into her gave me the confidence that I could do this loop.

I’m so glad I did. Going up South Hancock was tricky. Icy spots had me grabbing trees and stumps to get up. Steep. Steep. 

The ridge was awesome. Fluffy snow, cool views, no wind. I started to run when I could and felt giddy, laughing to myself at the pure joy of being at 4,000 feet in December. Joy. Joy. Joy. 

A little more climbing to North Hancock and then down the steep trail back into the valley. 

We hiked 9.5 miles; the most mileage Winnie has ever hiked. 


To live with joy is to live with wonder, gratitude and hope.

Today, Sunday is a 16 mile run and then a recovery day on Monday.

Merry Christmas!

Tecumseh on Thanksgiving

Winnie and I hiked Tecumseh late Thursday morning.

We hiked it on New Year’s Eve last year. This year there was less snow coverage and I could actually see the steps that were snow covered. It was a faster hike with more snow coverage last year, but I’m not complaining. I liked seeing more of the ground. The higher we hiked the more snow but I never needed snowshoes.

View about halfway up; the slopes of Waterville Valley

It was windy in sections and not too bad at the top.

Summit of Tecumseh

The trail was perfect for hiking today. The river crossings were pretty easy. I only saw four people all day.

First big water crossing. Easy peasy.

This is the first 4,000 footer for my 48-4000-footers-in-my-49th-year goal. I like the idea of hiking the list from the smallest to the largest mountains.

The forecast looks good for tomorrow and I’ll be attempting Isolation. Twelve miles of hiking. It’s going to be an early start. I chose to #optoutside on Black Friday.

It was a good day to be outside this Thanksgiving. I stayed warm wearing my Marmot windbreaker that I bought for Leadville and Marmot hiking tights. And spikes all day.