With only part of a day to hike, I chose Field. Since it is that time of year when the weather changes, I loaded up the winter gear, put on the winter boots and headed up the highway to Crawford Notch. I drove away from the house in the dark, but by the time I got to Crawford Notch, the sun was just coming up and I could see that all the summits of the high peaks were in the clear and were dusted in snow. The temperature in the car when I started was 19 degrees. Glad I brought all the winter gear!
I headed up the Avalon Trail and it wasn’t long after the second water crossing that I started to see the snow. Once I got to the junction, there were definite patches of snow and after that, the snow kept increasing. On the steep portion of trail between the junction and Avalon Spur, the snow increased to total coverage, along with some vaguely disguised ice with snow on top. The footing was fine as long as I payed attention, and although I was carrying microspikes, I didn’t need them. There were still a few too many rocks poking up through the snow for the spikes to be useful or not to be ruined.
At the Avalon Spur, the snow depth was about 1″ and it just got better from there to the summit of Field. My original intention was to also hike over to Willey, but seeing I was short on time, I decided just to cruise along and enjoy the first snow hike of the season (meanwhile sparing myself of getting to hot and sweaty and subsequently chilled!). The sun was shining, the trees had that winter wonderland dusting of snow, and the only tracks beside my own were the bunnies who seemed to like the Avalon Trail, too.
Sooner that I thought I came to the Willey Range Trail junction. Usually this junction seems to take forever to get to, even though it is only a mile from the Avalon Spur. Today, I was surprised to look up and see it. I suppose I was just enjoying the hike that much. I took a left and within a few minutes was at the summit of Field and then down to the outlook to crane my neck out around some trees to get a good view of the Presidentials.
The weather was perfect and it was very, very tempting to make the run over to Field, but knowing I had other responsibilities, I started the descent, enjoying the stillness of the snowy woods. I only saw three people and one dog on the way down, making for a very quiet mid-week morning.
What a truly great morning! I was so happy to be back on some snow. Somehow that first hike back on snow is magical! (Someone please remind me that I wrote this sometime next April when I’m whining about the snow!)