Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Three-fer - Tom, Field, Willey - 1-29-12

I decided that night that instead of the Hancocks (unsure about the water crossings after all the melting and rain, plus not really wanting to do that steep climb the day after a steep climb), I'd go for Field and Willey, and then if time/energy/weather permitted, Tom. I was staying at the Highland Center like the weekend before, so these were right there. They were also probably pretty well broken out since a lot of guests at the center frequent these trails.

Sunday saw me wake up to a not-sore-anymore hip (yeay!) but a very sore achillies tendon...what the heck! I was able to stretch it out reasonably and decided to give my plan for the day a go. I could always just call it off if need be, and drive back home without anything, the mountains weren't going anywhere.

I actually started out decently. I stopped at Avalon on the way up and took in the limited views briefly (in and out of the clouds all day, and pretty breezy) and snaked. I then slowly chugged up to Field and actually reached the summit 2.5 hours from leaving the Depot, a lot better than I expected! I trudged over to Willey, where I finally had a snack again (boy did I need it too! I should have had something at Field but wanted to get out of the wind).

Mount Tom waiting for me

Carrigain Notch from between Field and Willey

Gray Jay visiting on Mount Willey

View down through Crawford Notch from Mount Willey

Ate at the overlook just below the summit with 5 other people and 2 very friendly gray jays that were literally eating out of the palm of your hand (even when not invited!). Up to this point I'd been in microspikes all day, and really they were perfect except for the section between Field and Willey where there was more drifting and someone the day before had punched a TON of holes in the track. I didn't add any holes on the way to Willey, but put the snowshoes on for the trip back to Field to smooth things out some. There were people behind us using shoes the whole way (some barebooters/spikers too though) so the trail should be better packed now.

I had decided at the start of the day that with a 3-hour drive home, I'd have to be back to Field by 1 in order to do Tom as well. It was 1:05 when I got back, and I was feeling OK so I went for it. I cruised over to the A-Z trail, up Tom (where I passed a couple guys and an Airedale I'd seen earlier on between Willey and Field), took some pictures on the windy cloudy summit, and hopped back down to the A-Z Trail. I had left Field a mere 55 minutes ago! I don't usually move that fast in summer!

This way to #3 for the day

Look back to Field from near Tom's summit

Carrigain Notch

Uneventful trip down to the depot, back at my car at 3, so a shade under 7 hours ET. Not bad considering I still don't have the endurance I used to, and the day before was a tough hike. Microspikes were fine all day, though as mentioned snowshoes were better in between Field and Willey. Everything else was packed down solid, and most of it really could be barebooted. Some icy spots on Avalon and A-Z trails though, making spikes helpful.

Route taken - South leg first


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