Finally and at long last, everyone in our household is healthy! It was quite a winter with injuries (me) and illnesses (the girls), but we are all now 100% fine and dandy. Last Friday, we celebrated our return to health by taking on Mt. Hibbard, a relatively easy mountain on the 52 With a View list, and nearby Wonalancet Hedgehog. It felt SO GOOD to get back up a couple of proper (albeit mellow) mountains!! Sage hopes to finish the 52WAV this year, and Alex wants to finish the Trailwrights 72 list, so our NH trip reports will be filled with those peaks from now until we "get 'er done."
We arrived at the Ferncroft parking area around 8:45 and began walking up the wide and easy Old Mast Road.
1.8 miles and forty minutes later, we arrived at the junction with Walden Trail.
Our pace slowed considerably as we climbed the steep route toward the summit of Wonalancet Hedgehog.
We took a short break on a boulder at the top of the first steep stretch.
As we continued toward Wonalancet Hedgehog's summit, we came across piles and piles of moose poop. The scat stretched across the trail for yards and yards...in my six years of year-round near-weekly hiking, I have never before seen this much moose poop on one trail. It was quite amazing.
There was still a bit of snow left near the summit...though never so much that we needed snowshoes.
Summit of Wonalancet Hedgehog!
From here, we headed down Walden Trail, toward the intersection with Wonalancet Ridge Trail. Once on Wonalancet Ridge Trail, we descended a short way until we reached the unremarkable summit of Hibbard. We took a break and ate our summit snacks on a nearby quasi-viewpoint.
After eating and descending a bit more, we found the short spur path that led us to this view...
The rest of our descent was lovely. Due to time constraints (we had to be somewhere in the early afternoon), we skipped the summit of Wonalancet and took the Shortcut.
Wonalancet Ridge Trail below the Shortcut is beautiful and filled with interesting items such as the child-eating rock...
...the fern-topped boulder...
...and a gorgeous open forest.
Upon nearing the end of our hike, Alex remarked that she wished we had taken on a longer trail. She said she felt strong and ready to really get back into things. Sage echoed her sister's sentiments. Since both girls hiked at their usual, pre-illness pace with backpacks that are almost as heavy as they'll be on the John Muir Trail, I think we can take on something with more distance and elevation gain next week.
'Til next week -- Trish