October 13, 2010

Mounts Tom, Field, and Willey

On top of Mount WilleyAfter our recent Labor Day weekend trek up North and South Kinsman, Katy and I had completed 7 of the 48 4000 footers in New Hampshire. In the hopes of getting to double digits before the winter settles in, we planned a visit to AL and UP's condo in Bartlett, NH for Columbus Day weekend and organized another ten mile hike over three 4000 footers, Mount Tom, Mount Field, and Mount Willey. With absolutely perfect weather all weekend long, we chose this past Sunday for the hike to complete 10 peaks on 10/10/10.

Since we were spending the weekend with several other family members at AL and UP's condo, I had thought we would get a few more takers to join us this time around. But alas, most were dissuaded by the early wakeup call and the hefty mileage. Only Katy, myself, and Mo were motivated enough to be out the door and heading to the trailhead in Crawford Notch at 7:45AM. By 8:30AM we were geared up and on the trail under perfectly clear skies but very crisp fall air in the mid 30's.

Mount Tom summitHiked individually, Tom, Field, and Willey are all relatively easy climbs. We made it to the top of Mount Tom fairly quickly and stopped for a snack and some pictures. With not a cloud in the sky the views were spectacular with fall foliage covered mountains as far as you could see and Mount Washington and Mount Jefferson visible with some early season snow cover at the peaks. It was chilly at the summit, though, as temperatures had climbed slightly since the morning but it was still probably in the 40's with some gusty winds. We didn't linger too long before heading off to work our way down the ridge to Mount Field.

Mount Field summitThe top of Mount Field was enclosed in trees but also offered a side trail to a ledge overlooking the Mount Washington hotel and a good view of the Presidentials. We ate lunch at this peak and amusingly got a phone call from UP while we were on the summit asking if we could see him. Err, huh? Apparently, a late shift of hikers had left the condo about an hour after us and were hiking the nearby Mount Willard, a much smaller and easier hike. They could see the peaks of Tom, Field, and Willey but our view of Willard was obstructed by trees. Sorry no such luck! After more photos and finishing up our lunch, we pressed on to bag the final peak of our hike.

Feeding the gray jayThe summit of Mount Willey definitely had the best panoramic outlook with a really great view of Crawford Notch. The wind had settled down and the sun had warmed the temperatures to a really comfortable mid-day level. In addition to snapping the obligatory summit photos, we also managed to capture an image of one of the many gray jays flying around the peaks eating right out of Katy's hand! Those birds clearly knew that there was food to be had with people around and had no fear flying right into your hand. The summit of Willey was definitely a cool spot and we lingered up there for a while before heading out for the descent.

Ninja jump!The trip down was relatively uneventful, although the upper section of the Avalon trail was definitely the steepest section of any trail we took during the hike. It wasn't too difficult to navigate but definitely did a number on the knees towards the tail end of the hike. We made it back to the car before 4:00PM to complete peaks number eight, nine, and ten on our list! After setting this peakbagging goal just over one year ago, we're now over a fifth of the way done. And once again, fall continues to provide evidence why it's my favorite New England season.


  1. I love this post, Owen! :) ... You got some really great pics! :)

  2. ...Willard was tough enough for me... ;)

  3. Owen;

    Found your site while Googling about the 4000 footers. I couldn't find your email listed, so I hope this comment gets to you. I was wondering what template you use for blogging? I really like the setup.