Part I: Mount Willard
Mount Willard has been on my to-do list for over a year now. People always rave about the great views to be had from it, and how it is a fairly easy hike (that sounded good about now!). It is right in Crawford Notch where I am near very frequently, but I've never made the time for it as it is a mere 3.4-mile round trip. I kept saying "one day..." to myself. Well, one day was today.
The Mount Willard Trail begins 1/10 mile down the Avalon Trail from its start at the Crawford Depot Station. Down low here, the woods were dry and sunny, and the snowshoes were in the car, not on my back (woo hoo!). The trail very quickly crosses a stream, where there were herd paths diverging all over the place to alternate crossing spots, and no blazes marking things. I figured it out easily enough though, and that was the only real drama (aside from the views) to this hike. A couple tenths of a mile in the monorail appeared and on went the microspikes. Shortly thereafter there is a signed pool alongside the trail, which looks like it would be a great little water hole to soak in during the summer.
|Centennial Pool, trailside on the Mount Willard Trail|
|Still looks a bit chilly for a dip!|
|Minor monorail most of the length of the Mount Willard Trail|
Awesome trip, well worth MANY revisits as well. Being morning, and the ledges facing Eastward, most of the pictures were shot into the sun and aren't all that great as a result, sorry. 52 With-a-View, Check!
|Looking down from Mount Willard|
|Willey from Willard|
|Jackson and Webster|
|Down Crawford Notch towards Tremont, Chocorua off in the background|
|Bemis and Nancy peeking out behind Willey|
|Rt. 302 and the Scenic Railroad heading down Crawford Notch|
|Wonder where they stopped the paving project last year???|
|Mount Washington just barely peeking out behind Eisenhower|
|Right-hand loop near the trailhead is the actual trail; The view ledges are just to the right of where the little spur towards the summit is marked|
Part II: Mount Pemigewasset
With it being still mid-morning, there was definitely time to drag myself up another short hike. Mount Pemigewasset was another of those short ones that I drive by a lot and never bothered to explore, so today was the day. It was even on the way home! In the interest of red-lining, I parked at the Flume Gorge Parking lot on Route 3 and walked the 1.25 miles downhill on Route 3 to the trailhead for the Indian Head Trail.
The Indian Head Trail passes through mostly hardwood forests, and so now I was getting BAKED by the late-morning sun since there are no leaves out yet. No snow to deal with though! The trail here is not well-marked (very few blazes), but I was able to follow it with care. Grade-wise it was steady but not awful, but my legs were definitely not happy with me at this point. It was hot, and I was tired, but slowly and surely I made my way up past the base of the cliffs that adorn the summit (where I could hear people taking a couple hundred feet straight above, pretty cool!). After passing the base of the cliff, the Indian Head Trail steeply climbs for a short distance to a minor col just West of the summit, where it meets the Mt. Pemigewasset Trail. The upper stretches of this section was in the conifers and thus had a little, but avoidable, snow and ice. The spur to the summit ledges was also snowy, but I was stubborn and managed without the traction.
What another wonderful view! I tell you, while I keep drifting back to the 4K's, these smaller 52-With-a-View peaks are pretty awesome, it is definitely a list that needs completion! The views from the main ledge encompasses the Western end of the Kancamagus Highway, and the Southern end of the Kinsman Ridge from South Kinsman through Mount Wolf and the bogs on the Eastern side of the ridge. From the actual summit, a few dozen yards further up-trail (the trail's end is marked as you will see in a picture in a moment), there is a limited but nice view of Franconia Ridge.
|Open hardwoods on the Indian Head Trail|
|Persistent tree that insisted on thriving|
|Mount Wolf from Mount Pemigewasset, Moosilaukee is visible to the left in the distance|
|End of the trail|
|Liberty (L) and Flume (R) from the end of the Mount Pemigewasset Trail|
|Small peek at the main Franconia Ridge|
|Liberty (C) and Flume (R)|
|A spur of South Kinsman|
|Pano from Mount Pemigewasset|
It was shortly after 2PM and I was on my way home after a shorter, but great day of hiking in the White Mountains. 2 More 52 With-a-View peaks (bringing my total to 12 though I've yet to get good views off of Starr King), and 3 more trails red-lined!
Trails: Avalon Trail, Mount Willard Trail (Hike 1); Roadwalk, Indian Head Trail, Mount Pemigewasset Trail (Hike 2)
Peaks: Mount Willard (2865', 52WAV), Mount Pemigewasset (2557', 52WAV)
Mileage: 3.2 miles (Willard), 5 miles (Pemigewasset) -> Total 8.2 miles
Elevation gain: 950' (Willard), 1600' (Pemigewasset) -> total 2550'
Book Time: 2hrs 5min (Willard), 3hrs 20min (Pemigewasset) -> real time was 6hrs with driving