I haven’t hiked with Schorman and Lady Di for a little over a year. We are all busy with our own adventures, but decided it would be nice to hike and catch up. Besides hiking, my family has known this lovely couple for quite a few years as Schorman used to work with my husband and father in-law at two different employers. We settled on a date and time for the hike, plus the peaks and Cameron came along for the fun, too. They had never met the third generation of the Banks family, but certainly remember back to when he and his older sister were born.
We carpooled up to the Hancock overlook parking, checking out the low cloud deck along the way. We had a chance of rain, but we figured we could handle a little rain if it came our way. With an early start around 7:00a, we also had a good chance of avoiding the possible afternoon thunderstorms, too. We set off across the hairpin of the Kancamagus Highway and into the woods. The first part of the trip to the Hancocks is nice and easy, which is perfect to get warmed up without the immediate steepness of some trails. We were having a good time, chatting away, and arrived at the Cedar Brook crossing sooner than we thought. We continued on, the trail being damp and wet in the usual places, but not unexpected as there are several stream crossings and areas that are wet regardless of the current rain conditions.
Not too long after negotiating the puddles and mud we arrived at the Hancock Loop Trail and continued on to the decision point – North or South first? Since we’d all been up both ways multiple times, we left the decision to Lady Di, who had been leading the group and setting a perfect steady pace, fast enough to make progress, but slow enough to keep the hike fun and enjoyable. She headed up South first, so we all followed along, hiking upwards steadily. We were still exchanging stories and arrived at South peak, without too much trouble. Meanwhile, we were up in the cloud, and since there were no views, we snapped a few photos and were on our way to North peak. The ridge section is always nice, with the dense spruce forest and moss. It was here in the some of the muddiest areas, that we encountered a tangle of short logs and wooden planks, the parts and pieces which will make new bog bridges and really help with the mud and trail widening situation. Along the ridge, Cameron took off ahead for a while, hiking by himself and waiting for the rest of us to catch up. He’s pretty good at following trails and had been on the Hancocks before, so I was fine with him hiking ahead, as long as he’d wait every so often.
Eventually, we all ended up at North peak, and with no views, we ate a quick snack and got set for the steep hike down. For this section, Lady Di once again led the way, keeping us at a safe pace. Considering that everything was damp and slick, with some loose rocks thrown in for fun, it was wise to descend with care. Near the bottom we heard, then saw the first people of day, a camp group out for an overnight trip to the Hancocks. Later we encountered another similar group on their way back from their Hancock adventure. Once off the steep stuff, we knew the rest of the trip would be easier and headed back to the parking area. Before we knew it, we were back at the hairpin crossing! A quick check of the time and we discovered that we had hiked it in just about “book time”. Even better was that just as we reached the vehicle, it started to rain. Since we were back so early, and didn’t eat lunch on the trail, we took advantage of the covered seating at the Hancock Overlook parking to eat some lunch before packing up and heading south.
We had a fantastic day out on the Hancocks, made even better by great company! It was good to see Schorman and Lady Di and get caught up. They’re wonderful people and great hikers, and hopefully we’ll get to hike with them before another year passes by!
Thank you, Schorman and Lady Di for everything that made a great day!