Hiked the 4.8 mile loop over Hedgehog Mountain to check for winter blowdowns on my adopted section of the UNH Trail. The highlight of the day was the crystal-clear views from the ledges. The lowlight was the hundreds and hundreds of deep frozen postholes that riddled the entire loop. Some of the worst trail conditions I've encountered in 35 years of winter hiking. I would not recommend using this trail until it's buried by a couple of snowstorms.
Snow depth along the railroad grade at the bottom of the trail.
The sporadic postholing on the gentler section below the loop junction was a mild foretaste of the nightmare awaiting around the loop.
Approaching the area devastated by the 2017 October windstorm.
This big spruce is a high walk-under in summer. With the snowpack it's an easy duck-under.
I deemed it too big to take out by myself with a Silky saw, so I finished trimming up the projecting stubs.
I cannot understand why these knuckleheads barebooted all the way around the loop in 50-degree weather. Thereby ruining this popular trail for all who follow.
A fresh large spruce blowdown, perhaps from last weekend's high winds.
Trimmed the stubs for an easy duck-under.
Took this little leaner out.
Approaching the summit of Hedgehog.
Mercy! Careful footwork required.
Hancock and Carrigain, with Bond and Guyot in the distance behind The Captain.
Big George beyond Mt. Tremont.
There were many, many postholes as deep as this one.
Tripyramids. The high-elevation hardwood glade under South Tripyramid shows up well in winter.
The NW summit view ledge.
Osceolas beyond Scaur Peak.
Chocorua and Paugus beyond the East Ledges.
Wild down-look along the trail as it makes a zig-zag descent off the summit.
Nice spruce forest along a rare stretch that was merely divoted.
Double blowdown, including a blaze tree.
Approaching the western end of the East Ledges.
Nice expanse of open rock.
Looking back at the summit of Hedgehog.
Massive Mt. Passaconaway casts a long shadow.
Bare rock on a grandstand perch overlooking the eastern Sandwich Range Wilderness. And the sun was warm enough to lounge for a while.
Peering back around the corner.
The eastern end of the East Ledges.
Late sun in the spruce woods.
The postholes go ever on.
Hardwood headwaters of White Brook. The loop over Hedgehog is one of the most rewarding ~5 mile treks in the Whites.