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.
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.
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.
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.
Today, Sunday is a 16 mile run and then a recovery day on Monday.
Here in Concord we got about 6 inches of snow this morning. The roads around my house are plowed so I head to the Winant Trails with my dog and snowshoes.
The photo above shows how gorgeous it was this morning. Not a soul out yet. I could hear snowplows in the distance but other than that it was peaceful.
Last night I came very close to signing up for an Ironman and had thoughts of signing up for the Leadville Camp/Run combo. Very dangerous. But instead I walked to the store and bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s – Peanut Butter Cup.
I woke up with a sugar handover and still undecided about what races to do.
I’m signed up for the Houston Marathon and Umstead but am too injured to run. Okay, not much for Monday Motivation except for starting the day with a great snowshoe hike in the woods with my dog.
We hiked Mount Tom today, the day after Thanksgiving. There were a lot more people and dogs on the trail compared to yesterday on Tecumseh.
I wore snowshoes because reports said some overnight snow and I’m a bit of freak when it comes to hiking alone in the winter so I’m prepared.
I should’ve brought my spikes, but I left them in the car. (Note: always bring spikes.) The monorail is fine and living well on the Avalon and A-Z Trail to Mount Tom. Snowshoes were overkill ,however I feel like I contributed to the overall tidiness of the monorail so I’m okay with it!
The A-Z Trail is steep in sections and I was running out of steam until I met a wonderful couple about 500 yards from the saddle who told me “that’s the worst of it, you’re almost to the saddle and it’s a nice hike to Tom”.
OMG – I love these people. They made me so happy when I was dying from too much uphill and wearing clucky snowshoes when spikes would have sufficed.
The summit was socked in with fog but I don’t care. I made the summit and it was freaking beautiful! So many nice people along the way who loved on my dog even though she barked at them (why is she barking when she typically doesn’t care about other people or dogs?). Every. Single. Hiker. Was. Awesome. And the dogs we met were so freaking cute and happy! It was a great day.
I’m happy to be home after being in mid-winter conditions in Crawford Notch.
4,000 footer Number 2 done – 48-4,000-footers-in-my-49th-year. This goal is getting me out there everyday I can, and pushing my limits and making me do the things I say I’m going to do.