Thursday, December 20, 2018

Mt. Field, 12/19/18

Fresh powder made for great snowshoeing and abundant winter beauty on the Willey Range.

The day's objective in sight behind Mt. Avalon.

At the first crossing Crawford Brook was buried with a solid snow bridge. Sadly, forecasted heavy rain will likely blow the snow bridges out.

A stellar day.

Future trail work.

A new trail sign at the former Avalon/A-Z Trail junction. A relocation done by the AMC trail crew earlier this year moved the junction 80 yards farther up the Avalon Trail. The relo bypasses the former steep down-and-up through a gully, and instead skirts around the head of the gully.

Nice easy grades on the relo. The former gully crossing was tricky in winter.

As the A-Z Trail slabs up the Crawford Brook valley, it passes some wonderful gnarled old yellow birches.

A peek at the snow-caked NE ridge of Mt. Tom.

Big snow load.

Open glades.

More yellow birches.

Trail junction on the ridge.

Great 'shoeing along the Willey Range Trail on the mellow north ridge of Mt. Field.

Ghost trees.

Midwinter depth, just before the start of winter.

There were a few bendovers to negotiate.

Swamped with snow.


Backlit beauty.

Though only an inch of snow fell in Lincoln the previous couple of days, there was plenty of new powder up on the Willey Range. Tuesday's high winds fashioned some deep, soft drifts. Thanks go to the two 'shoers who busted the first tracks through the drifts going the other way, earlier in the day.

More drifts, slow going.

A peek at North Twin.

The final short, steep pitch to the summit of Field.

Two 'shoers headed the other way, assuring me of an easier trip back through the drifts.

Looking NW from the viewpoint just before the summit, which is much improved with deep snow. The sun here was great, but it was accompanied by a biting wind with temps in the low teens.

The Twins, with Zealand Ridge and Mt. Lafayette on the L.

Mt. Tom and distant NW horizons.

Mt. Bond overlooking the North Fork valley in the heart of the Pemi Wilderness.

The summit clearing on Field. For the second time, deep snow and caked trees foiled an attempt to find a geocache.

A short bushwhack, taking care not to fall into a spruce trap, led down to a fir wave that promised good views.

Mt. Willey rising at the south end of the range. 

Mt. Carrigain, Carrigain Notch and the Sandwich Range. Tough lighting looking south into the low-riding December sun.

The vast sprawl of Hancock beyond the dark forests of the eastern Pemi.

Mt. Bond beyond the trailless western spurs of Field. This is the wild side of Field, compared to its more familiar aspect overlooking Crawford Notch.

Field's northern viewpoint is wide open when the snow is deep.

The Presys, of course.

Mt. Tom and Cherry Mountain.

The Twins behind a summit sentinel.

Slanting sunbeams along the north ridge.

Packed powder made for excellent conditions on the descent. Only five other snowshoers - and no barebooters! - today.

Friday, December 14, 2018

NW Ridge of Mt. Chocorua, 12/13/18

I Micro-spiked 2.5 miles up the Champney Falls Trail packed highway, then strapped on the snowshoes for a slow bushwhack to a favorite view ledge on the gentle NW ridge of Mt. Chocorua. A great day for views.

It was still cold late in the morning, but warmed up some in the afternoon. In December I start hikes later after tending to mail order business.

Champney Brook from the trail.

Smooth Microspike sailing on a well-packed trail.

Several ice flows along the trail required careful foot placement.

A maple monarch.

Sunshine and deep snow on the NW ridge.

A mix of open glades of dying birch and fields of hobblebush.

In some spots the snow was fairly supportive.

Yes, lots o' hobblebush.

Deep and soft amidst the hobblebush, where it was slow going. The 2.5 miles on Champney Falls Trail took about 1 1/2 hours. The 0.45 mile snowshoeing along the ridge consumed 50 minutes.

Moose postholes.

Spruce traps awaited in the conifers.

This was a good one.

The ledge!

Many peaks across the horizon, including 25 4000-footers.

Owl's Cliff/Mt. Tremont, the Nancy Range, and Field/Willey.

The Hancocks, Green's Cliff and Mt. Carrigain.

Mt. Washington shone like a beacon beyond Bear Mountain.

Looking westward, the high peaks of the Sandwich Range beyond the northern ridge of Mt. Paugus: Whiteface, Passaconaway, and the Tripyramids.

The mighty Passaconaway, with the East Slide (1938 hurricane) clearly seen.

Snow-caked cliffs on the NE spur of Mt. Paugus. Osceolas in the distance.

The dark, sprawling mass of Paugus rises above the Paugus Brook valley.

Side view of the great rock slab on the 2820-ft. knob along the north ridge of Paugus. A relatively low but wild and rugged mountain, is Paugus.

Winter version of a boot shot. With sun and virtually no wind, an hour's stay was comfortable.

Side view of the ledge.

Back through a birch glade.

Crossing tracks with the moose.

The upper NW ridge rises ahead.

First and Middle Sisters through the trees.

Paid a quick visit to the ledges at the top of Champney Falls on the way down. I did not descend the falls loop trail as there is an exposed rock staircase that can be dangerous if icy.