Since I’ve finished my 4,000 footers in NH, and because my family and I have plans to continue hiking in other places and other states, I’ve amended the title of the blog to include hiking beyond the NH 48. Boott Spur is one of those peaks not included in the NH 48, but is included in the Trailwrights 72 list. If I ever get serious about that list, I’ve bagged this one. As a side note, I was pleased to discover that the South Peak of Moosilauke was also included in the TW72 list, and am glad I followed the inkling that it was a on a list somewhere and visited it a few weeks ago.
Hiking Boott Spur was an interesting experience. I am part of the AMC NH Chapter’s Winter Hiking Series this year, a program to educate and give winter hiking experience to those wishing to extend their three season hiking into four seasons. For the most part, I hike solo or with one other person, so figuring out how to fit into a group dynamic was different for me. It worked out fine, as I already knew two other hikers from other hikes, and got to a meet a whole lot more.
After spending a Saturday in Pinkham Notch listening to lectures and checking out winter gear and a nice side trip to EMS in Conway, we got to hike on Sunday. The hike chosen was a loop hike to Boott Spur via Tuckerman Ravine Trail, Boott Spur Link, Boott Spur Trail, Davis Path, Lawn Cutoff and a descent down Tuckerman’s Ravine. Some of these trails I had never been on and some not in a very long time, so this was a nice bonus.
The weather was not bluebird-sky perfect, but it was cool enough to have produced a little ice and some snow overnight, which we saw as we gained elevation. While it would have been awesome to actually see the summit of Washington (we never did) or to look down into the ravines, the fog and clouds that were either rolling up or down the mountain was fascinating to watch. Every once in a while enough cloud would part and we’d be able to look into Pinkham Notch or out to the Dry River Wilderness.
The hike itself was not super difficult, with the steepest sections being short and coming after the warm-up hike to Hermit Lake Shelter. The Boott Spur Link was the steepest but at only .6 mile and at a slower pace was not hard at all. The upper section is where we ran into some ice on the rocks, but since we were moving at a slow pace, watching the footing and being careful wasn’t a problem. As we neared Boott Spur, we saw more snow on the ground, not enough to put on any sort of traction, but enough to be careful and do a little rock hopping to stay out of it.
We ended up at Tuckerman Junction and headed down the headwall into the ravine. The new rock work is nice and the trail is wide enough to feel secure as you carefully hike down. Unfortunately, my camera batteries were on the blink and I did not get the pictures I wanted. At this point, we finally got under the clouds and could see ahead of us down to Hermit Lake Shelter, where we would continue down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail back to Pinkham Notch.
This hike was different for me in that the pace was almost relaxed compared to a Carpool Challenge, and the time went by rather quickly as we chatted, mingled within the group and got to know each other better. There are five more hikes in this series, all designed to teach and expose us to winter hiking in a safe manner, so I’ll be posting those as they are hiked.