Peaks: Whiteface (4020', NH4K), Passaconaway (4043', NH4K)
Mileage: 11.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 3900'
Book Time: 8hr (actual 8hr 20min)
This was originally going to be a Meetup group of 6, but by the end of the evening before, we were down to 3 due to worries about slippery roads in the morning. It had in fact snowed over 5" overnight in the White Mountains, a nice fluffy fresh coating of snow atop the already great snowshoeing base. The 3 of us remaining all arrived to an un-plowed parking lot at Ferncroft, which wasn't anticipated but also was not unexpected given it was still early on a Sunday morning. Luckily we all made it down the access road off of Ferncroft Road just fine, and geared up to head out. This was to be yet another car-to-car snowshoe hike.
|Early morning at Ferncroft, my favorite trailhead in the White Mountains|
|A little bit of blue sky peeking out at the trailhead.|
|The Wonalancet Range in the morning.|
|Starting off on a freshly-snowed-on but easy-to-follow trail.|
|There's a LOT of snow in the mountains right now. This was easily 3 feet of snow on top of this massive trailside boulder.|
|Limited views from the Blueberry Ledge/Blueberry Ledge Cutoff Junction|
|Swimming up the second ledge - the spot the hiker is in was the toughest of the day, we each needed multiple attempts to get up the deep, loose snow there.|
Once reaching the upper-most ledge, which many folks mistake for the actual summit of Whiteface, we descended a short ways and then climbed up to the actual, completely wooded summit. Actually, we walked right past the summit before realizing we had passed it an so turned around and went back to the top for a few pictures and a good snack break. It was still pretty warm up top!
The Rollins Trail just past the summit completely disappeared. The woods were fairly open in one stretch and the old trench had completely filled back in and it took a few tries to find the proper corridor (my GPS track of the trail was a useful aid in this exercise too). For the first 3/4-mile or so we occaisonally had to figure out where the corridor went, and in between we could sometimes see evidence of the old snowshoe trench. Still, we actually had little trouble aside from that first spot, and once getting down off the bulk of the descent we had a pretty clear old trench to follow the rest of the way to the junction with the Dicey's Mill Trail. In here is when Heather and her dog Kali, Alton and her dog Cole, and their friend Jason (?) caught up to us. These speedy hikers had started nearly 2 hours after us and caught us already!
|A view of Passaconaway from the Rollins Trail near Whiteface.|
|The Tripyramids from just below Passaconaway|
|Mount Carrigain and Carrigain Notch|
|Mt. Hedgehog (?) from Ferncroft in the late afternoon|
|Heading back to the cars.|
|The ledges atop Mount Whiteface, which we had to climb earlier in the morning.|
|Such a scenic place, Ferncroft is.|