Mt. Tecumseh Hike
Hiking/Walk DATE: 01/06/2018 - 01/06/2018
Trip/Event Location: Waterville Valley, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
Please join us for a very cold but beautiful winter hike!
THIS IS A GOOD ONE IF YOU HAVE BEEN HIKING AND WANT TO TRY OUT SOME NEW WINTER CLOTHING AND GEAR.
We hike to Mt. Tecumseh [4,003...
We will meet at the bottom of the stairs in front off the Waterville Valley Ski Area Base Lodge. The trailhead is a short walk from there but since I have no idea where people will be parking (ski area is in operation and you may have to park a good distance away from the trailhead) this is the easiest thing to do. According to Google Maps this spot is about 128 miles from Boston and it will take about a little over 2 hours to drive there. Use this link to customize the driving directions.
The weather forecast called for patchy blowing snow. Mostly cloudy and cold, with a high near -11. Wind chill values as low as -49. Very windy, with a northwest wind around 45 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph!
Our hiking route would take us up the Mount Tecumseh trail to the summit and back down the same way for a 5-mile round trip hike.
At 10:45 AM, Rob picked us up [Mike and Jon] at our house and we were on our way!
With the frigid temperatures, the Waterville Valley Ski area was almost deserted so we were able to park close to the trailhead. With the recent snowstorm of about one foot of snow, we all put on our snowshoes. The trail was broken.
It was mostly cloudy as we got started. It was cold right from the beginning to the end! Jon and I were using both toe warmers and hand warmers and glad we did. Removing my mittens to take photos with my glove liners was bone-chilling. The fingers stayed cold for a while even after putting the mittens with hand warmers back on.
The first section of the trail runs alongside a stream, but before long we had to cross to the other side. The rocks that we used as stepping stones was a bit icy but manageable.
The water crossings were no problem. We continued to climb. We saw prints of “bare booters” in the snow and about ½ into the hike, we saw a couple returning. They told us they wished they had brought snowshoes as the snow was getting deeper and they were sinking. We only saw four other hikers the entire day and they were all wearing snowshoes.
The woods were incredibly beautiful! The view from the ski trail was socked in. As we climbed higher, more snow was on the trees. It was getting windy with blowing snow.
When we reached the ridge, we switched our outer layer to a down jacket, and put on our face mask/goggles. I also put on a warm, dry hat. That immediately felt better and we were ready to climb up to the summit.
We reached the summit! It was very cold. NOAA history indicated it was -1 F, a northwest wind of 18 mph with a gust of 29 mph, making the wind chill -22 degrees. Rob’s watch stopped working and did not get going again until we got inside the house.
We spent a few minutes taking some photos. It was overcast and hazy so the views were marginal. It was not a day for hanging out on the summit and we soon began our descent.
It was a nice hike down. We did not meet any more hikers until we were finishing up; he was hiking solo with his two dogs and was not planning to go much further. The temperature was still cold when we returned to the trailhead. But the car would soon be warm!
I usually do this hike solo in 3 ½ hours. Usually in a group we slow down but with these cold temps, we hiked in 3:15! This was our first 2018 GO hike. Our previous hikes in December have sure felt like winter hiking. I’m sure we can all expect the weather to be even more wintry with increased snow depths and cold temperatures as the season continues.
It was short and sweet but exhilarating and well worth the experience of such cold temps! It is important to experience what that feels like!!!
Once we got back to the house, we took showers, got the fireplace going and enjoyed tasty appetizers by the fire. Sunshine kept herself warm beside the fire. It was -5 F outdoors and the junco’s were feeding themselves from the birdfeeder before hunkering down for the night. Jon made a delicious homemade sausage pizza with vegetable lasagna. We had fresh green beans and salad as side dishes.
The hazy sun, the frigid air, high winds, no bugs, sitting beside the warmth of the fireplace, our snow covered lit Christmas Tree, delicious dinner and Rob’s company made this trip even more special than it already is!
Enjoy the pics!
~ Mike Boisvert
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