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28 November 2010

Return to the Whites: Mt. Avalon, Mt. Field, and Mt. Tom

What I learned this weekend: There is no better way to combat a tryptophan-induced post-Thanksgiving food coma than to hike a snowy mountain in a blizzard.

After a few delicious days of feasting and indulgence, I was anxious to get back to the mountains, and especially to see the Whites covered in white! Simon and Jon picked me and Emily up at 7am in Boston (we brought our pillows for the back seat). We made a quick stop in Manchester (ahhh to be reunited with Deka!) to meet up with NH locals and we were well on our way north to the White Mountains. We arrived at the trail-head near the Crawford Notch Visitor Center around 10:30am. The trees and ground were dusted with snow, and there were a couple fluffy inches on the ground.

There were ten of us in total as we embarked on our 7.3 mile hike. I was a bit nervous about trying my new hiking boots (purchased for my Nepal trip in a month), but coupled with Simon's liner socks they worked really well! The first leg of the trip was about 1.25 miles, after which we reached a fork in the trail and decided to go left and climb Mt. Field first.

Along the way to Mt. Field we summited Mt. Avalon, which afforded the nicest views along the entire loop. We could see the Presidential range enshrouded in clouds in the distance.

The top of Mt. Field was a bit less exciting since it was mainly just a cairn in the middle of the woods. There was a bit of a view off to the side, but by then the clouds were thicker and it was beginning to snow. Dan managed to act as a bird feeder by holding some trail mix up in the air!

We headed over to the spur to Mt. Tom, where most of the group hiked up to check out the peak. On the way over a blizzard swept through and we all soon sported a pair of frozen, snow-covered eye lashes. The storm stopped about 15 minutes later, and we were pleasantly surprised by a beautiful sunset through the snow-covered evergreens.

Post-hike we headed to Moat (delicious restaurant in North Conway) for dinner and stopped at one of the gear consignment stores where some people found treasures!

I think I could fall in love with winter hiking...

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