Peaks: North Tripyramid (4180', NH4K), Middle Tripyramid (4140', NH4K), Scaur Peak (3605', NHHH)
Mileage: 10.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 3750ft
Book Time: 7 hours (actual 6.5 hours)
Finally, after over a month away, I got back to the Whites. I am fortunate enough to be able to head North fairly often, and a long day on the trails really helps me re-zero myself. I really needed some trail time, and a day solo on the trail might prove just the ticket (and if not, the plans for the next day surely would). I've meant to hike the Tripyramids a couple of times already this year, but it just hasn't happened, but today I would actually get going. I drove through some light sleet/freezing rain along the Kanc from Lincoln, but as I got out of my car at the Pine Bend Brook Trailhead, blue skies were starting to emerge. Hey, not badly timed!
The route today was to take the usual winter route to these peaks, the Pine Bend Brook Trail, which is fairly flat and meanders along its namesake for the first mile and a half or so. Then there is some climbing, nothing terribly steep, but definitely increasing in grade until it reaches the base of a ravine where the real climbing begins. This stretch up to the ravine base is not a favorite of mine, as it is very rocky and rough, but with a couple feet of snow still clinging on, it isn't so bad. The trail conditions also weren't too bad, with a pretty solid monorail to this point, meaning the snowshoes stayed strapped to my pack.
|An eroded spot along the Pine Bend Brook Trail|
|The infamous monorail, a common spring-time discovery in the White Mountains|
|Open woods, blue skies, it was a pretty nice day actually.|
Along the way I passed the only 2 people I would see all day on this hike (I would see them again on the ridge as I returned to North Tripyramid), leaving me with a light coating of fresh snow (about an inch fell in the area a few days before). Not long before the ravine, about 2 miles from the road, a set of canine-looking tracks joined the trail and followed it up towards the ridge for quite a ways. Since there were no human tracks up to this point fairly far into the woods, the only conclusion I could come to was that these were tracks belonging to a coyote, and a pretty darn good sized one at that! The women I had passed earlier on also mentioned seeing bear tracks. That's the fun thing about this time of the year, you get to see a lot of different animal tracks in the woods as everything comes out of their winter hideaways.
|A sunny, open spot near the Scaur Ridge Trail that was completely clear of snow! Though overall there was still a couple feet on the trail.|
|Still a decent amount of snow in them hills!|
|Solid cloud deck just to the North|
|Bear Mountain and Table Mountain|
|Mount Chocorua in the distance|
|Potash and Hedgehog|
|Sandwich Dome just visible, and Jennings Peak below it - both offer great views|
|Mount Tecumseh and the Waterville Valley ski slopes - looking pretty bare|
|The ski area must be closed for the season now, there's no one parked in the parking lots!|
|Mount Chocorua and the 3 Sisters|
The descent was a little interesting, I stuck with the snowshoes and did slip once or twice on some steep icy spots (the snowshoes do not offer that great of traction on ice), but overall it wasn't bad getting back to the ravine. Around the Wilderness Boundary I ditched the snowshoes in favor of microspikes knowing from the morning that the snow from there was a mix of narrowish monorail and bare ground. For the next 1/2-3/4 mile the going was obnoxious, as the monorail's top was narrow and slushy, so I slipped off of it numerous times (snowshoes would not have helped), sometimes postholing on the side of the monorail (welcome to spring hiking!). But eventually the rail resolidified and it was a pretty easy trek out to the road from there, and the hike was done! A shower, food, and sleep was in order, as the next day was to be epic, but already I was feeling more "normal" again, it's amazing what a day in the woods can do for you.