Tuesday, March 21, 2017


It was a glorious first day of spring! I bailed on a trip up to Mt. Passaconaway and settled on the always-rewarding loop over Hedgehog Mountain.

I had the idea to climb Mt. Passaconaway from the Kanc, and started up the Oliverian Brook Trail when I saw it had a track. But after a mile the track was so chopped up with boot tracks and tedious that I headed back, not wanting to do 4 more miles like that, if the track even went that far. (Later found out from a hiker who climbed Passacaonaway from the south that the posthole tracks continued all the way up.)

On the way back I made a short bushwhack to a neat open area on Oliverian Brook, presumably a large gravel bar in summer.

Long view upstream.

Signs at the loop junction on the UNH Trail.

The sun was super-bright in the hardwoods on the UNH Trail.

This was a serious blowdown.

A secluded little valley where the trail crosses White Brook.

Choppy and gloppy was the order of the day. It's getting hard to find a good snowshoe track these days, unless you make your own off-trail! (Says the whiny old grump.)

Snow-draped boulders.

Fine spruce woods below the East Ledges.

I made a short bushwhack down to the great northern ledge on this shoulder of Hedgehog, with a sweeping view over the Albany Intervale. In his classic 1916 book about the Albany Intervale, Passaconaway in the White Mountains, Charles Edward Beals, Jr. called this ledge "the huge glass-like roof on Little Hedgehog."

Quite a spot!

Mt. Washington beyond Mt. Tremont.

Mt. Carrigain and Green's Cliff, with Church Pond below.. Allen's Ledge peeks out on the lower left.

Nice angle on Carrigain Notch.

The snow was deep and soft on this ledge.

Back on the trail, approaching the East Ledges.

The broad sweep of the Oliverian Brook valley.

Mt. Passaconaway and its eastern spurs. The "Child of the Bear" is a gigantic mass when viewed from this perspective.

The next set of ledges to the west has even more expansive views. West Sleeper and South Tripyramid are in back.

The summit cliffs of Hedgehog.

Hello spring!

A fine place to hang for an hour or so.

Ledge outcrops in the woods on the way to the summit.

A great stretch of trail.

A skier launched a run down through the open spruces.

A peek at Tripyramid along the switchbacks ascending to the summit..

A fun stretch of trail to snowshoe!

From a near-summit ledge, another angle on Passaconaway.

The Sleepers and Tripyramids, all in a row.

Mt. Chocorua beyond the East Ledges.

Late afternoon parting shot from the summit.

Mt. Washington again, from the trail just north of the summit.

The west half of UNH Trail is one of my adopted trails, and a customer had told me about this blowdown.

Thanks to my Silky saw, there is one less job to do later in the spring!

Mt. Chocorua and the north ridge of Paugus from a ledge just above Allen's Ledge.


  1. I have a theory that a lot of people don't buy snowshoes until they have a bad experience. With the popularity explosion of winter hiking, it might take a while before all the new hikers have that experience (of which some percent will learn from). For me, it was coming down from Cabot a few Marches (is that the plural?) ago when - I hyperextended a knee post-holing on Bunnell Notchafter spending the night in the cabin. Classic case of the trail being firm the evening we hiked up, but soft the following afternoon.

    1. Timothy,

      That sounds like a good theory! There are many more people on the winter trails than there were 30 years ago.