11.9 mile loop with 3800 feet of elevation gain.
The girls and I were fortunate to hike with both John and Samantha for this one -- together, we made a fun team.
The day began on relatively snow-free ground. The snow stayed scarce for 1.4 miles, all the way up to the intersection with Cutoff Trail. This part of the hike was the only easy bit of the day...
|Heading up Blueberry Ledge Trail|
|Intersection with Cutoff Trail|
John got too close to a spruce at one point and fell into the "trap." He was a good sport and posed while Samantha and I took photos.
We passed the Tom Wiggin Trail without seeing it (perhaps the sign is missing?) and arrived at the ledges earlier than expected.
|The first ledge, which is avoidable...|
no need to venture out and possibly fall off a cliff.
|Bare rock when we needed it.|
|Alex about to tackle a scramble.|
|The soft snow made life easier here -- there was traction|
where normally there would be only smooth and slippery stone.
|Admiring the view|
|Up up up|
I had remembered the summit as being located immediately after those scrambles, but alas, the summit is found a few more tenths of a mile upward. There were a couple more steep sections to ascend...
|It was difficult to stay on our feet|
|John, Alex, Samantha, Sage, and Trish on Whiteface|
|We talk and eat|
Samantha did a headstand...
After spending over half an hour enjoying the commonly-acknowledged summit, we got up and trekked less than a tenth of a mile onward and tagged the real summit (directly on the path as you head toward Passaconaway).
|John and Samantha on the real summit of Whiteface|
From here, we continued along Rollins Trail for 2.4 agonizing miles. The snow was soft and we sank repeatedly...and no, snowshoes did not help, The monorail was too narrow to really stay on it with snowshoes, so if you barebooted the monorail, you had a chance of not sinking all of the time. We still sank quite a bit, though. It was an arduous journey to Passaconaway, and I look forward to bare summer trail.
Sage stepped off the monorail at one point and sank so deeply that she lost her boot. I tried to dig it out and failed. Samantha was able to retrieve it, thank goodness.
|Sage postholes off the monorail bigtime.|
|Sage on the lookout near Passaconaway's summit.|
|Pound Cake on Passaconaway!|
We visited the actual summit of Passaconaway before sitting down to nosh on pound cake. I don't have photos of the actual summit because it's a tiny area in the middle of a bunch of trees just off the main trail. Boring.
Our way down felt simpler...I kept my snowshoes off and slid down much of the trail on my boots.
The large water crossing near the intersection with Tom Wiggin Trail was easily handled thanks to the log in the photo below.
The snow took forever to go away. It remained stubbornly stuck to the trail well past the intersection with Tom Wiggin Trail.
We eventually got back to rocks and roots.
|End of the trail, near a private backyard|
It is extremely kind of the property owner to allow hikers to pass through his/her land. I love the sign on the gate!
Many thanks to John and Samantha for the excellent company. It's always a pleasure to hike with them! Lots of smiles and laughs.
We hope to get out there again this weekend.