9.8 mile loop with 2650 feet of elevation gain.
It was late April, but it still felt like early winter on the trails. The snow was packed solid, so we microspiked it up, around, and down...all without making more than a half-inch footprint.
I enjoy the Hancocks, as I think it's one of the easiest 10-mile hikes in the Whites. Nice and flat for the first couple of miles, then a gradual ascent until the Hancock Loop Trail. The loop is steep as you ascend toward a summit, but by then you're almost there so you don't really mind. The trail between the peaks has its PUDs (Pointless Ups and Downs), but its nothing to make one groan for more than half a minute.
We were again fortunate to have Samantha with us. Here's our day, summed up with a handful of photos.
|Starting out. The snow cover began within the first 50 feet of trail.
|Nice packed trail
|At the intersection with the Hancock Loop Trail
|Going clockwise, up the steep half mile
|View from near the top
|View from the lookout near the summit of Hancock.
|On the ridge. Lots of snow!
From South Hancock, we butt-slid down the steep half-mile to the loop junction. It was fast and furious, so I didn't get a chance to take photos.
We arrived back at the car six hours after we'd left it. It had been a great day -- easy hiking with warm-enough temps and simple water crossings (the brooks weren't high). Good times,