Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Tom and Field on a Spring Day

Hiking on Saturday had to be postponed as I was not feeling well. I felt better this morning and planned on doing the short hike to Mount Tom (4,051'). I would decide on continuing on to Mount Field (4,340') if I felt well enough and the weather and trail conditions were good. I figured the trails should be well broke out from hiker traffic on Saturday but I would have to see once I got up there.

I took my time getting ready and would be in no hurry today. It had snowed a little last night and there was a dusting to one inch but the roads were only wet without any ice so it was a good drive to the trailhead. The clouds seemed to be clearing on the high summits. When I arrived at Crawford Depot the Willey Range was clear and it appeared to be a good day on the way.

I was faced with the usual dilemma this time of year of what traction to wear. I thought I would probably need the snowshoes soon after getting on the trail so I hand carried them. The trail was hard packed with just a thin layer of loose snow. On the other side of the first water crossing I put on my Hillsound Trail crampons and put the snowshoes on my pack. I thought that once I got into the higher elevations that I would need to put the snowshoes on.

The trail continued to be in very good condition all the way to the summit of Mount Tom even though there was a lot of snow up there. I saw no signs of the summit cairn, it was completely buried under snow. There were some great views and after some photos I was on my way back down to the trail junction. When I returned to the A-Z Trail I wasn't feeling 100% but certainly well enough to continue on to Mount Field.

As I turned onto the Willey Range Trail I noticed that the A-Z Trail to Zealand Trail was not broke out. That would be a long tough 2.7 miles for anyone going that way. I continued on with the trail crampons as the conditions had not changed. After 3.3 miles I had not postholed once so the snowshoes would stay on the backpack. It was a very enjoyable hike over to Mount Field.

There were several hikers on the summit. Once again I could not see the summit cairn, it was also buried under the snow. I took a short break up here for some photos and something to eat. I noticed the trail to Mount Willey was well broke out. All of the hikers departed and I had the summit to myself for a moment.

I soon began the hike back to the trailhead. It was a steep descent down the Avalon Trail. The trail crampons were doing a good job. Hikers ahead of me had been doing some buttsliding and the trail was smoothed out nicely. There was no buttsliding for me today. I passed by the spur trail to Mount Avalon and continued my descent.

I only saw one hiker on my way down from Mount Field and that was back at the trailhead. The snowshoes got a free ride. I never had a problem with the trail crampons and never postholed once. I was glad to get out in the fresh air today. The weather and trail conditions were better than I expected. After not feeling well yesterday this hike was good for what ailed me!

Enjoy the photos and videos!

 Unique clouds on the drive to the trailhead

 Clouds swirling around the summit of Mount Washington 

Crawford Depot

Sun rising over Crawford Notch

 The hike starts here

Solid snow bridge on the water crossing

Easy under or easy over blowdown

Easy under blowdown

Easy water crossing

Trails were nicely packed

One mile to Mount Tom Spur

A-Z Trail is well packed out

Lots of snow

At the Mount Tom Spur

Snowy woods

Coming up into blue sky

Mount Carrigain

Loon Mountain

On the summit of Mount Tom

Cloud cover over the Presidentials

Mount Field

Close-up of Mount Field

Tree arch

Footprints soon end on the A-Z Trail to Zealand Trail

On my way to Mount Field on the Willey Range Trail

Head knocker if you're not looking

Snow creature

Final steep section to the Mount Field summit

Mount Field outlook

Clouds still cover the Presidentials

On the summit of Mount Field

Mount Washington resort far below

Loon Mountain

A snow-capped Mount Lafayette

A view toward the Bonds

A view toward the Twins

Starting my descent from Mount Field

A solid Avalon Trail

Presidential summits still in the clouds

Mount Avalon

A look back up to the Willey Range ridgeline

Trail to Mount Avalon is broke out but I did not visit today

Back at the trailhead

A look up to Mount Field and Mount Tom

A view of the Presidentials as I drive home

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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