Spring has sprung and the White Mountains are thawing out. I picked Stud up at 5:30am on Saturday and we drove north thru Franconia Notch, up and around the Pemigewasset Wilderness, and then down into Crawford Notch. We parked at the train depot, lathered ourselves in bug stuff and headed up the Avalon Trail. There were no bugs. There was some mud and the babbling brooks were running high but we managed to keep our boots mostly dry on the ascent. There were flowers, woodpeckers, bird song, and the pine scent was strong.
We reached the A-Z Trail and continued up to the ridge were we reach the intersection of the Willey Range Trail. We took the spur trail up to Mount Tom and took a summit pic with the rock cairn and then took in the views of the fog. It was chilly up there so we headed back down to the intersection where we sat on a log and had a snack watching the very plump mountain jays encroach on us. Couldn’t sit for too long so we continued along the ridge towards Mount Field where the sky started to open up giving us views. We ate our lunch on top of Mount Field, took another summit pic with another rock cairn and continued on to Mount Willey.
We found whats left of the “monorail“. Most of it was melted down and avoidable but there were still a few stretches of the snow packed balance beam. We had our micro spikes in our bags but didn’t bother to put them on cuz it just wasn’t that much snow and it was mushy so our boots were able to get just enough traction. There was definitely some slipping and sliding and we sorta skied off the sides of it a few times and some light falling but always laughing. We referenced American Gladiators as we negotiated the monorail with oncoming hikers and I imagined dueling with my trekking poles. But instead we took turns politely stepping off the monorail and attempting to yield accordingly. Technically, the downhill hikers are suppose to yield to the uphill hikers but yielding on a ridgeline can get confusing when the trail goes up and down and then flattens out. Add the monorail and its just laughable. Most of the hikers we passed and leap frogged with were friendly and open hearted. There were a few bro dudes out there as well who had more of a “get the fuck outta my way” kinda vibe. Whatevs. Stud and I like to stop and smell the pines.
By the time we summited Mount Willey, the skies were clear. To the East we looked out into Crawford Notch and across the range at the southern Presidentials with Webster Cliff with all its landslides.. To the West we admired South Twin and the massive peaks of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. We ate some snacks and headed back taking the Avalon Trail side loop.
Lots of blowdowns but the trail was clear.
Lots of rocks! Getting our trail legs going again!