Mts. Tom, Field, and Willey Hike
Hiking/Walk DATE: 12/29/2012 - 12/29/2012
Trip/Event Location: Bretton Woods, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
The plan is to climb three of the 4,000 foot summits in NH. Tom [4051 ft.] is the northern most peak of the Willey Range, has good views. Mt. Field [4340 ft.] has limited views while Mt. Willey [...
We will be meeting at the parking area on the southwest side of Route 302 about a mile south of the Willey House Site. According to Google Maps this spot is 164 miles from Boston and it should take about 2 hours and 51 minutes to drive there.
Click here for driving directions. Once you open Google Maps simply change the generic starting point [Boston, MA] to your own starting point to get customized directions. We will be driving a blue Toyota FJ Cruiser.
Since this is our ending spot we will leave a few cars here and then drive the short distance to the Avalon Trail parking area to begin our hike.
Carpooling is encouraged so you are responsible for coordinating your own rides. Use the comments section below to communicate with other members who may also be looking to share a ride.
We decided that we would revisit these peaks again, as we’ve never hiked from Field over to Willey before. Jon and I have been up to Tom and Field before in winter but this time we made it a GayOutdoors trip.
Our plan was to drop off a couple cars at the base of the road leading up to the Ethan Pond trailhead and then drive over to the Highland Center to start the trip. ) We were to hike up to Mt. Tom first via the steep Avalon and A-Z trails, then cross over to Field and then to Willey before descending back to our cars using the Ethan Pond trail.
There were two stream crossings with the first being snow-bridged and other semi bridged.
The trail was all broken out and we used snowshoes the entire day.
The trail in winter is so pretty with the snow covered branches. I love how magical the trails look. Putting up the televators on the tail of our snowshoes made the steep ascents easier. The day was pretty and company excellent. We took breaks as needed.
Our first stop was Mt. Tom (4051') which had some descent views over the "marshmallow" trees. We could see it was snowing over the western mountains so it was only a matter of time before we were in it. Sure enough, when we were back on the A-Z trail it began to snow; around 11:30AM. We were protected from the wind except for when we were on each summit.
We probably spent a little too much time feeding the Gray Jays, but they were so cute!
Our next stop was Mt. Field. The trail between Tom and Field wasn't too bad. The trails were in great condition. There were a handful of steep spots, but we got a lot of elevation done climbing up the Avalon and A-Z trails.
Mt Field (4340') is the highpoint of the range where we decided to have lunch. It was snowing a bit more at this point and we chatted with three guys from Massachusetts.
We were doing good time and continued onward to tag Mt. Willey and hike down before sunset. We had headlamps with us, but would rather not use them. The trail between Field and Willey descended a lot between the two and we were dreading every time we had to maneuver down a steep section as we would soon be turning around and going back up it.
When we got to the summit of Mt. Willey (4285') there were not any views as the snow really started to come down. It was a bit windy so we went down a bit to protect ourselves to drink some water and have a snack. After Mt. Willey the trail was no longer broken. Because we were descending, it was effortless. We were determined to make it down before 4:30.
We had a lot of fun butt sliding down. There was a lot of blowdowns that we had to navigate around, over and under. We then lost the trail. We saw the blue blaze going up but could not find the next blue blaze going down. We spread out searching for the next blaze and ‘eagle-eye’ Bob found a very faint blue blaze that was partially covered by snow. Whoever follows our snowshoe tracks will probably notice a bunch of tracks meandering off in many directions.
When we reached the ladders, the butt slide turned into a steep, vertical, slide. It reminded me of one of those steep waterslides at a water park except this one was made of snow/ice.
When we were hiking near the road, we saw a police car with its lights on behind our cars. We arrived just in time because he had just called two tow trucks. He was towing us because we parked alongside the road in a snowstorm. Phew…that was a close one. We were back at our cars just before the planned time of 4:30pm. WooHOO! Everyone returned back to our house in Waterville Valley for fireside camaraderie and dinner. Bob spent the night and everyone else braved driving in the snowstorm to get home.
Marshmallow trees, winter hiking in a snowstorm, butt-sliding, temporarily loosing the trail, our cars almost being towed, and fireside comaraderie made for an overall excellent winter adventure!
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What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
- Thanks to Mike and Jon for this beautiful day. We had everything to make this day a good one. Great mountains, great views (mostly the first half), a lot of fun butt sliding and a great meal to complete everything. It was nice meeting the other participants. See you next time. - Stephinmtl
- Thanks Mike & Jon for a great trip! (Other than a very sore butt from sliding on it for a mile!) The freshly fallen snow was beautiful- winter is back! Also, the salami appetizer & lasagna really hit the spot after the long hike. - Bobcat