Saturday, January 21, 2017


A snowshoe trek through some fresh unbroken snow to Hibbard Mountain and the Wonalancet Hedgehog, via Old Mast Road, the steep-in-places Wonalancet Range Trail, the Short Cut and the Walden Trail. No views today: murky clouds prevailed throughout despite a forecast for sunny skies and warm temps (though hikers on the highest peaks enjoyed sun and a dramatic undercast). This was a backup hike after the low cloud deck scuttled my original plan to climb Mt. Passaconaway or bushwhack to some ledges off the Rollins Trail.

The Wonalancet Range Trail enters the Sandwich Range Wilderness at 0.7 mile.

There was 3-4" of new snow atop a firm old snowshoe track.

There is a long angling climb through hardwoods across the slopes of Mt. Wonalancet.

This pitch below the Short Cut junction was steep and nasty with crust and ice; it was difficult both ascending and descending. I took an unplanned slide on hidden ice on the way down.

One of the simpler trail names in the Whites. I took this route to avoid more potentially icy steep climbing up Mt. Wonalancet.

Hibbard Mountain in sight ahead.

The Short Cut traverses a long sidehill through hardwood forest.

Climbing back up to the ridgecrest at the Wonalancet-Hibbard col.

Back onto the Wonalancet Range Trail.

Unbroken snow and fine woods on the ridgecrest.

An impressive boulder not far off the trail.

Approaching the south outlook on Hibbard Mountain.

 Mostly gray air here.

My tracks on the approach to the actual summit of Hibbard.

The former good view of Mt. Whiteface is mostly grown up. (Didn't matter today.)

Beyond Hibbard there was little or no evidence of an old snowshoe track beneath the new snow. But the base was firm and the snowshoeing good. A half-mile of slight descent and easy climbing brought me to the junction with the Walden Trail.

The Walden Trail is one of the coolest historic routes of the Sandwich Range, dating back to around 1905.

Moose postholes.

Scenes along the Walden Trail.

Snowshoe hare tracks.

This boulder marks the summit of Wonalancet Hedgehog (3140 ft.).

Approaching the clifftop southern viewpoint, reached by a side path near the summit of Wonalancet Hedgehog. I was surprised when another hiker came down here with her dog, as these trails are seldom traveled in winter.

Frost feathers.

On a clear day, there's a wide view over Wonalancet and the Lakes Region beyond.

Back at the Hibbard Mountain south viewpoint, looking down. The fog hung tough all day long, but it was still a rewarding snowshoe journey on some less-used trails.


  1. Beautiful report. I am curious how was the descent of the large ledge on the Walden trail (shortly before Old Mast Road)? I had to whack around it a couple Decembers ago due to ice (and no snow!).

    1. Hi Timothy,
      I opted not to do the loop down to Old Mast Road primarily because of that ledge. A few years ago in November I turned back at it in the uphill direction because of the ice. The woman who came to the outlook on Wonalancet Hedgehog with her dog was going to do the loop, but I persuaded her to retrace her tracks to avoid that ledge. A tricky spot any time of tear!

    2. That makes sense. I was thinking it was unlikely you would have opted out of a picture of it (along with a couple other scenic spots along the Walden Trail). As for the lady, I suspect you did her a favor if she wasn't familiar with the formation. It's a surprisingly steep scramble on an otherwise fairly tame hike. Part of the trail's charm for sure!