Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mount Tom Hike

The plan for today's hike was Mount Tom (4,051 ft.), on the 4,000 footer list, with the possibility of adding Mounts Field and Willey, two more 4,000 footers. There was thick fog in the valleys that was quickly burning off as we made our way to Crawford Notch.

A funny thing happened on the way to our hike today. It was early morning and the sun was rising up out of the fog that offered a beautiful photo op. I quickly pulled off the road and into a clear cut, jumped out of the truck and started walking toward the sun not paying attention to anything else on the ground. My son started yelling for me to get back into the truck. I was walking directly toward a moose that was standing there motionless, staring at me as if thinking, "what is this crazy human doing?" I got the photos and jumped back into the truck!

We reached the parking lot at Crawford Notch Depot and there was plenty of parking, it pays to get up early. With backpacks on and trekking poles in hand we were on our way. It was 8 o'clock and 69 degrees as we made our way over to the Avalon Trail. The woods were cool and damp, it felt good!

The trail ascended with an easy grade. Brook crossings were no problem but I did notice that all the rocks on the trail were damp and wet, I'm assuming from the humidity level. It made for a slippery rock walk along the way. We reached the trail junction and veered onto the A-Z Trail. It was getting increasingly warmer and more humid.

The trail continued at a moderate grade to the Mt. Tom Spur junction. The sign indicated 0.5 mi. to the summit and my map had 0.6. I won't quibble over 0.1. This was an easy climb to the summit. The trail veers left to a blowdown area with views, was not really sure where the true summit was at this point. We back tracked and turned right onto the trail leading to the summit. Trees are quickly growing up here, a few more years and there will be no more view.

We didn't spend much time at the summit. Took some pics and made our way back down to the trail junction where we took off our packs, cooled off and had a snack. It was at this time my little hiking buddy decided his legs were tired so we made the decision to hike back down instead of hiking over to Mounts Field and Willey. Those mountains will be there another day.

As we were descending there was a steady stream of hikers ascending. Apparently this is a very popular hike. We veered off onto the Beecher and Pearl Cascade loop. This might be more impressive if there were more water running down through here. Back on the main trail it was a short hike to the Crawford Depot. We sat on a bench in the shade and drank a Gatorade. We now have another 4,000 footer to add to our list!

Having fun in the great outdoors!

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