YES!!! We’re gonna be walking in circles this weekend, on rock, snow and ice; one big circle to be more precise; one BIG circle circling Crawford Notch should suffice. And what a circle it will be!!
IMPORTANT: Please answer ALL 5 RSVP questions or risk losing your spot on the hike. Also, questions may not appear should you respond via mobile. Should this happen, please update/re-click your "Yes" RSVP using a computer and complete your answers then.
ABOUT THE HIKE
This hike’s a little tricky to plan out. Not because of its length or location, and certainly not because it’s any more dangerous than past hikes we have hiked. This hike’s a little tricky to plan out because the southern face of Willey is rather steep, “ladder” steep. So steep that stairs and ladders have been cut into the trail, amongst the rock and root. Normally this would warrant little consideration, but seeing that the snowfall has been light this year, trails (especially at lower elevations) are not fully blanketed. This means that there may still be plenty of exposed ice and rock to “slip” us up, making “ups” a lot safer than “downs.” With this in mind, should these conditions continue, we will hike up Willey’s southern face. But should enough snow fall between now and then, softening the degree of danger of “down,” we will re-consider our starting point and hike down Willey’s southern face on what hopefully will be puffy clouds of snow. TBD.
In addition, please take note of our "meet-up" time: 9:30am. Then take note of our end time: 4:30 - 5pm. We will be hiking out after sunset. Why?? Because on a 7.2 mile/6+ hour hike, over snow, rock and ice (w/ a boot-to-trail time of 10:00am), we should not expect to be finished before dusk or dark. So, it's imperative that you have a bright headlamp & fresh lithium* batteries, annnd… that you forget about what might be lurking in the shadows after dark, such as Huffalumps and Woozles. [Ahhhh... who am I kidding; everyone knows that Huffalumps and Woozles are afraid of the dark.]
*Lithium because they are least effected by the cold and they hold their charge the longest.
MORE ABOUT THE HIKE
We’ll meet at the Crawford Notch Depot/Shapleigh Bunkhouse @ 9:30am (NOT @ the AMC Highland Center’s main lot), spot a car or two before driving to the intersection of Willey House Rd. & Rt 302 (the winter parking area for the Ethan Pond Trail trailhead). We’ll then park “roadside,” don our gear and begin the hike by walking up the 0.3 miles of driveway to the Ethan Pond Trail. Once at the trailhead, we’ll enter the woods and continue to ascend before leveling out a bit nearer the 0.75 mile mark from our cars.
Over the next mile plus, we should have an easy time of it, passing the Kedron Flume Trail (1.6 miles), before bearing right (0.3 mile later), leaving the EPT in favor of the Willey Range Trail (1.9 miles).
Now comes the tricky part. Near about a 1/2 mile shy of Willey’s summit, we can expect to start our “climb.” Taking great care, we’ll eventually reach our goal, take in the views from Willey and begin the 1.4 mile hike to Mt Field. On the north side of Field, we’ll bear right onto the Avalon Trail (as the WRT bears left), descend the mile to Avalon’s spur, and decide “yes or no” to climb the 100+ feet to Avalon’s peak.
By this time, it should be close to 3:30pm, leaving us an hour to sunset and an hour and a half plus to our cars. But no worries, as long as we are off Avalon and past the stream crossing by sunset, the last mile of trail should be quite simple and easy to follow. And if not, no worries, we’ll have our lights, and we’ll take our time, knowing that we’re nearing the Highland Center, on trail we have hiked before.
VERY IMPORTANT: As always, we'll be pay close attention to weather, time and trail conditions, and should there be any adverse weather, such as an approaching storm, or should trail conditions or time prove to be uncooperative, it may be necessary for us to avoid the summit, alter our plans, and/or cancel the hike altogether.
ALSO... we start as a group, hike as a group and finish as a group; lone wolves need not apply.
Cold Weather/Winter Essentials (required):
• Mid or Heavy-weight Insulating/Wicking Layers (top & bottom)
• Mid or Heavy-weight Synthetic or Wool Shirt & Pant
• Insulating/Fleece Layer
• Down, Softshell or Hardshell Jacket (w/ hood, preferably windproof)
• Waterproof/Windproof Shell & Pant
• Synthetic or Wool Sock Liners (wicking layer)
• Synthetic or Wool Socks
• Sturdy Hiking Boots (waterproof & insulated)
• Hat & Gloves
• Glove Liners
• Extra Insulating Layers (top & bottom)
• Extra pair of Socks, Hat & Gloves
• Water (min. 2L) in wide-mouthed bottles
• Lunch (none freezing kind)
• Snack/Energy Food (extra food)
• Headlamp/Flashlight (w/ fresh lithium batteries)
• Emergency Blanket/Bivy (so small & light, there's no reason not to carry one)
• MICROspikes or Hillsounds
the Remaining Essentials:
• Medication/First Aid Supplies*
• Water Filter/Treatment*
• Hand Warmers
• Light-weight Emergency Shelter/Tarp*
• Sleeping Pad*
• Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/sparky & kindling)*
• Repair Kit/Knife
• Small Thermos for Hot Soup/Choco
• Trekking Poles
* To Be Carried Among The Group
Please let’s not underestimate anything, come prepared for the worst: cold-cold temps., lots of wind, a storm, early darkness, an overnight stay.
From I-93N, take Exit 35 and drive north along Route 3 for approx. 10 miles. Turn right onto Rt. 302E and continue for approx. 8.5 miles; turn right just past the AMC Highland Center's main lot. Parking is next to the train depot/Shapleigh Bunkhouse.
From North Conway, follow Rt. 16N/302W north toward Glen, NH. At the Rt. 16/302 split, continue straight on Rt. 302W for 20 miles; turn left into the drive just before the AMC Highland Center's main lot. Parking is next to the train depot/Shapleigh Bunkhouse.
Crawford Notch Depot: http://maps.google.com/maps...
Ethan Pond Trailhead: http://maps.google.com/maps?...
WEATHER & TRAIL CONDITIONS
Weekend AccuWeather Forecast: http://www.accuweather.com
7-Day NOAA Weather Forecast: http://forecast.weather.gov
6-Day Mountain-Forecast.com: http://www.mountain-forecast.com
MWOBS Higher Summits Forecast: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/
Trail Conditions & Reports: http://trailsnh.com
AMC Backcountry Weather & Trail Conditions: http://www.outdoors.org
Willey Summit: 4285'
Field Summit: 4340'
Trails: Ethan Pond Trail, Willey Range Trail, Avalon Trail
Distance from trailhead to Willey Summit: 3.0 miles
Distance from Willey to Field Summit: 1.4 miles
Total distance (point-to-point): 7.2 miles
Elevation gain (approx.): 3300'
Sunrise: 7:17 am
Sunset: 4:37 pm
As a condition of your voluntary participation in this activity you acknowledge and agree to the following: this activity involves inherent risks that can cause property damage, injury, illness, disability, and/or death to participants and/or others; you assume all risk associated with this activity; you are responsible for having the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, clothing, and equipment to safely participate in this activity; you know and will follow the Hiker Responsibility Code described at www.hikesafe.com; the leader(s) of this activity are volunteers; and you for yourself, your heirs, executors, and administrators release, hold harmless, and indemnify the leader(s) and all members of this group from any and all claims for property damage, injury, illness, disability, and/or death, including those caused by negligence and/or other reasons.