Date of Hike: 1/26/13
Willey Range Trail
Avalon Trail: 1.3 miles
A-Z Trail: 1.0 miles
Mount Tom Spur: 1.2 miles
Willey Range Trail: 3.7 miles
Avalon Trail: 2.8 miles
Total Miles: 10.0
3,250 feet elevation gain
- As a brutal cold front lingered over the northeast Alton and I decided to still head up to the White Mountains and get in a quick hike below treeline that had some nice outlooks to take advantage of the great views.
- We decided on the Willey Range and started hiking on the Avalon Trail at 9 a.m. under a bluebird sky with temperatures struggling to reach zero degrees.
- Amazingly enough within about five minutes I started to sweat and had to delayer. I over packed and had too much weight in my pack and struggled to keep up with Alton who set a great pace.
- The Avalon and A-Z Trails gradually make their way up to the col between Mount Field and Mount Tom with some short steep bursts as it gains the ridge.
- Once we made it to the col we took a right and hiked 0.6 miles to the summit of Mount Tom. The Mount Tom Spur has a pretty cool 'Pencil Tree' forest at the beginning which looks incredible in the winter. We quickly made it to the summit area of Mount Tom where there are some decent views to the west over to the Pemi Wilderness and to the east of the Presidential Range. I snapped a few pics but was very cold so I changed into a dry layer and put on my fleece as Alton fueled up and fed a real fat Gray Jay before we booked it back down to the Tom/Field Col and hooked onto the Willey Range Trail.
- The Willey Range Trail in the Summer is not very exciting, it's a trail in the woods with decent footing and easy and moderate grades. In the winter it is a whole different experience, it's a beautiful and magical hike in the snow. The trees are blasted with snow and on a sunny day the light shines through the woods and makes for one of the best in the woods winter hikes.
- We made good time to Mount Field and snapped a few pictures from the downlook before heading over to Mount Willey. This part of the hike was slow going for us, I forgot about the bump the trail goes over then down about a half mile from the true summit. At this point I hit a wall and didn't snap out of it until a hundred feet from the summit but was rewarded with phenomenal views from the outlook just past the summit.
- I took a bunch of pictures of the Presidential Range to the north before we headed back over to Mount Field. The going was good even when the broken trail meandered off trail for a tenth of a mile. There were some pretty views into the Pemigewasset Wilderness to Carrigain Notch and a unique view of the backside of Mount Bond.
- The last section leading up to the summit of Mount Field is a real butt-kicker and wiped me out and I was so happy to reach the summit, snap a few pics before we banged a right onto the Avalon Trail.
- The Avalon Trail in the winter is another trail that is a hundred times more fun to hike. The snow covers all the root and rocks and because of its steepness you can book it down the trail and even butt slide if that is your thing.
- We made the quick side trek up the steep short burst to the summit of Mount Avalon. There were about eight other hikers on the summit and about a dozen just below us on an A.M.C. group hike so we didn't linger too long before heading back down.
- We blitzed through the last steep descent to the A-Z Trail junction then cruised out to the Highland Center to the car, put the heat on full blast, and finally regained full feeling in our faces by the time we entered Franconia Notch.
- It was a cold but great day to be in the White Mountains!
Mount Field from the Highland Center
Willey Range Trail