Day two of our New Hampshire weekend adventure called for more hiking! This time we studied our map (over a couple of beers, obviously) and settled on Mount Tom, Field, +/- Willey for our second hiking day.
- Hike Date – Sunday, February 19 2017
- Distance – 7.2 miles (10 including Willey)
- Elevation – Mt. Tom – 4051 ft; Mt. Field – 4340 ft
- Equipment – microspikes, snowshoes (Dion 121’s)
- Planned Route –Starting at Crawford Depot –> Avalon Trail –> A-Z Trail –> Mt. Tom Spur –> Willey Range Trail –> Mt. Field –> Avalon Trail –> Crawford Depot
- Actual Route – Same as planned
We hit the trail around 10:15 AM, to sunny skies and temps in the 30s-40s again. Stronger winds were forecast for today, so we opted to stick to below treeline hiking for some protection against the gusts and wind chill. The hike started out at Crawford Depot (again near the AMC Highland Center), with a very moderate start with some gradual climbing.
After about a mile, the climbing started and didn’t let up until we reached the summit of Mount Tom. This route was steep, and seemed to just keep going… and going…. up, up, up. The cold overnight tempts and traffic the trail had received before made hiking in microspikes possible thank goodness – we were able to climb much faster in those. After 3 miles of climbing we reached our first summit, Mount Tom (a 0.6 mile “spur” off the main trail). The winds steadily increased as we got closer to the top, and it was pretty gusty up there, even for a relatively “small” mountain.
The traverse over from Mount Tom to Mount Field was a pretty quick and gradual down and then up-hill over about 1.5 miles. This was packed out and became much snowier as we climbed the 300 foot elevation change between the two. The snow on the trees became like a cave! The summit of Mount Field was even windier, with beautiful views in and out of the clouds.
The trail out to Mount Willey hadn’t been packed out yet, and we opted to skip adding almost 3 miles and hours of hiking on to our day, and headed back down from Mt. Field. From the summit of Mount Field it was down, down, down back to Crawford Notch. We descended the Avalon Trail, over Mount Avalon and back down. This trail was super steep in some places, making the descending tricky in the slippery snow. I went for the hands over my head, “wheeeeeee”, butt-sliding method which was FUN… and way faster than trying to stay upright. This was a great, challenging day hike. If you are fit and ready to do some steep climbing and descending, this is a great way to get into some winter 4000 foot hiking without the added challenge of a lot of time above tree line.