Date of Hike: 2/23/15
Blueberry Ledge Trail: 3.8 miles / Rollins Trail: 2.4 miles / Dicey's Mill Trail: 5.3 miles
Total Miles: 11.5 (3,900 feet elevation gained)
- Whitney is working on her single season Winter 48 and I am chipping away at my grid peaks so we checked the weather and our lists before deciding on Mount Moriah via the Carter-Moriah Trail, which we both aren't fans of. Thankfully the night before Whitney suggested heading south to Wonalancet to hike Mount Whiteface and Passaconaway, which I had only hiked once in the winter so I was looking forward to getting back up there.
- Luckily for us the trail had been well packed down the day before by several hikers making for a relatively easy and straight forward hike. We also lucked out with the weather as it was sunny and around zero but with light and audible winds until our descent.
- The Blueberry Ledge Trail starts at the Ferncroft parking lot and heads down the road passing some seasonal and year round homes as it makes its way into the woods where it enters the Sandwich Range Wilderness. The first two miles have easy to moderate grades as it travels through open woods and over two gentle sloping slab sections with some decent views.
- After two miles the Blueberry Ledge Trail becomes very steep over the next mile and a half with the highlight of this stretch being a steep ledge that requires scrambling. This was my fourth time heading up these ledges, twice it was bare rock and ice and once unbroken deep snow. This time, it was by far the easiest to scoot right up with absolutely no issues (Until the next storm the ledges can easily be ascended and descended with caution). Above the scrambles are some great views across the 'Research Bowl' to Mount Passaconway. Once past the ledges the trail heads back into the woods for a short stretch until it pops out on the south summit which has great views to the south and west.
- From the south summit we hooked onto the Rollins Trail and headed over the wooded no thrills summit of Mount Whiteface and made our way up and down for the next couple of miles around the horseshoe ridgeline between Whiteface and Passaconaway. There are a couple of cool spots along the ridge in the winter where if you stop at just the right spot you can see Passaconway in front of you and Whiteface through the pines behind you. Also, you can spy the Tripyramids in certain spots, too, but mostly the trail is in the woods with limited views.
- The Rollins Trail ends at the junction of the Dicey's Mill Trail, where Dicey's attacks the summit cone of Mount Passaconway, steeply at times, especially the last 0.2 miles. There is a pretty good outlook just below the summit over to the Tripyramids but the summit itself is wooded and sign-less, as someone has stolen the signs up there.
- At the summit I did snowshoe and gear work before the descent. Last week my snowshoe had a piece break so I'm using one old and one new snowshoe, the old one is holding up well except the televator slipped out of place and some bolts have popped out. I also dealt with my shoelace ripping apart, but a mini bungie cord made for a quick fix! This, along with Whitney's ongoing knee issue made us the walking wounded for this hike but we still managed to hike just fine with only a few minor annoyances.
- The hike down went quickly as the Dicey's Mill Trail is a gentle two mile decent to the Wonalancet River where the path levels out and is mostly flat for the next two miles. Eventually the trail comes out at the north end of a very pretty farm house. From here we walked the road back to the car just as the temperature started to plummet and the winds picked up making a perfect ending to a perfectly timed hike!
Route for the day, click here for more details
The trail starts at the parking lot and heads along the road
There is a nice view of mountain range from a farm by the parking lot
The Blueberry Ledge Trail heads into the woods past the Sandwich Range Wilderness boundary over gentle grades
The trail ascends moderately over open slab with some decent views to the south
Nice snowshoe hike up to the two mile mark at the junction with the Blueberry Ledge Cutoff
The trail heads back into open wood
The Blueberry Ledge Trail becomes much steeper as it makes its way up to the ledges below the south summit
This is the rock scramble, it was very easy to bolt right up on this day, notice the snow pack to the right just waiting to slide off the ledge one of these days
Above the ledges are some great views to the south
View of Mount Passaconaway and the Research Bowl
Whitney makes here way up the steeps to take in the views
South Summit and the view over to Squam Lake
At the south summit we hook onto the Rollins Trail, pass the old site of Camp Shehadi and the viewless summit
The Rollins Trail travels through a winter wonderland. It can be hard to follow at times but we lucked out on this day as it was well broken out
There is some deep snow along the ridge and in spots you can see above the trees over to the Tripyramids
Tripramids on the left, Passaconway on the right
Nice little open section with a pretty good view of Mount Passaconaway
Certain spots along the ridge you can stop and see Passaconway in front of you, then turn around and see Whiteface through the trees
Dicey's Mill Trail up the summit cone of Mount Passaconway, passing Camp Rich along the way. Wooded summit photo is the lower right
There is a nice outlook just below the summit over to the Tripyramids and you can also spy Whiteface as you descend from the outlook
Heading down the Dicey's Mill Trail
Water crossing, Wiggins Trail junction, and the easy flat hike back to Ferncroft
Some very old trees at the farm as the trail pops out of the woods
Some cool signage on the way back to the car
A very pretty house with an even prettier view!