Out Manuvering a Monsoon: Mount Tom, Field, & Willey

Date of Hike: 6/23/13

Avalon Trail: 1.3 miles
A-Z Trail: 1.0 miles
Mount Tom Spur: 1.2 miles
Willey Range Trail: 3.4 miles
Ethan Pond Trail: 0.3 miles
Kendron Flume Trail: 0.9 miles
Railroad Track: 3.0 miles
11.1 Miles
2,850 elevation gain

Trip Report:
- Sunday's weather window was much smaller for a good hike, in fact it was pouring when I woke up and I had no idea what I was going to hike.  I thought about the Osceola's or Zealand but had already been up there recently.  As I drove toward Crawford Notch the weather was better so I decided on a quick loop hike of the Willey Range with a walk along the tracks back to my car.
- Conditions were as to be expected; wet, muddy, humid, cloudy.  To gain the ridge of the Willey Range you hike up the Avalon and A-Z Trails.  There has been a recent trail relocation of a tenth of a mile on the lower end of the Avalon Trail.  It's a nice relocation but after heavy rain it's a slippery and muddy mess, reminds me of an Adirondack Trail!  Outside of that the Avalon and A-Z trails up the the ridge have pretty good footing and only a few short steep bursts here and there.  The trails are in the woods with no outlooks so there's nothing too exciting.
- I made good time up to the Mount Tom Spur Trail and then on up to the summit which was buried in the clouds.  The Willey Range has never been kind to me for views, I'm about one for six when hiking the range.  I was hoping to see Mount Tom Pine Martin but he wasn't around so I headed back down to the col where I ran into the first hikers of the day.  A group of about six youngsters who weren't thrilled about the rain coming their way.
-  Next up was the easy hike up to Mount Field.  Between the Tom / Field col is a great stretch of hiking through the woods.  The sun always shines through the trees and makes for a nice enchanted forest look.  The trail is in decent shape, with a gradual grade and above average footing making the hike to Field and easy one.  Once again I had no views from the summit so I just kept trucking.
- The hike between Field and Willey is not as fun as the section between Tom and Field.  If the weather was better there's be views but there were none in the morning.  The trail is a little steeper and rougher with a blowdown area.  There's a nice little herd path that goes around the blowdowns so there's no need to go over, under, and through the downed trees.
- When I reached Mount Willey I took a short break with a few dozen of my closest friends (annoying flying bugs).  I then quickly descended the relentlessly steep section of the Willey Range Trail down to the Ethan Pond Trail junction.  This section of trail loses a lot of elevation quickly and has rough and rugged footing, there is one heavily eroded and super steep section that there have been well placed ladder steps to assist hikers. 
- There were lots of hikers ascending as I quickly made my way down the mountain.  All were in great spirits, lots of people working on their 4,000 footer list.  The weather actually started getting better, the sun came out and hazy but better views opened up.
- I hooked onto the Ethan Pond trail the banged a left after 0.3 miles onto the Kendron Flume Trail and made my way to the railroad tracks.
- The railroad tracks are part of the Crawford Notch Scenic Railway, The train takes tourists for a nice little ride from North Conway to the Highland Center located at the top of Crawford Notch.
- Now, you are not supposed to hike along the tracks but I did anyway.  I figured if I walked the road back it would start pouring like on my previous two hikes with road walks.  Plus, the tracks are flat and Route 302 is uphill!
- Walking along the tracks was nice, the weather was beautiful and the train never came by so I didn't have to run and hide.  The highlight of the walk along the tracks is the big trestle that is about seventy five yards in length.  It's a little eerie walking above a big drop, and I'm always reminded of the scene from the movie Stand By Me.  I even put my hand on the track before starting across the bridge, luckily if a train came it would be going about five miles and hour so I wouldn't have to 'train dodge'.
- Just past the trestle is the old site of the Mount Willard Section House, there is part of a foundation, a water pipe or furnace of some sort, a memorial, and a beautiful rock flower garden.
- From here it's about a mile or so back to the Highland Center.  The weather turned out much better than expected and I was happy with my choice to hike in the Willey Range.  I changed into dry clothes and headed off looking back behind me as some serious weather came rolling in, I had made it out just in time before heavy rain came zooming through the notch, perfect timing and ending to two days in the Whites!

Started: 8:40 a.m.  /  Mount Tom: 9:55 a.m.  /  Mount Field: 10:30 a.m.  /  Mount Willey 11:05 a.m.  /  Finished: 12:45 p.m.

 Crawford Notch Scenic Railway
 Crawford Station
 Crawford Brook on the Avalon trail
 A-Z Trail
 Mount Tom Spur
 Mount tom Summit
 Willey Range Trail
Willey Range Trail 
 Mount Field Summit
 Willey Range Trail
 Mount Willey Summit
 Ladder Steps on the Willey Range Trail
 Willey Range Trail
 Mount Webster from the Kendron Flume
 Crawford Notch Scenic Railroad
 Mount Webster
 RR Tracks
 RR Tracks 
 Mount Webster
 Rock slabs of Mount Webster
 Mount Webster Slide
 Mount WIllard
 Trestle and Mount Willard
 Crawford Notch Trestle
 Crawford Notch Trestle
 Mount Willard Section House Memorial
 Crawford Notch
 Mount Webster from below Mount Willard
 Mount Willard marker
Hattie's Flower Garden 
 Site of old Willard House
 Water pump or furnace of some sorts?
 Birdy House!
 Hattie's Garden
 Hattie's Garden
 Bird Houses
 Crawford Notch
 Mount Willey
 Silver Cascade
 Crawford Notch Scenic Railroad
 Crawford Notch Scenic Railroad
 Top of Crawford Notch
Storm's coming!

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