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19 March 2014

And Away He Ran to Mt. Tom on a Beautiful Sunny Day!

It was a beautiful sunny blue-sky day, and I had a commitment which took up most of my morning.  Aarrgh!  Finally, around noon I was able to break away.  Lines from a children's nursery rhyme passed through my mind as I headed out the door for a hike to Mt. Tom: "Tom Tom the piper's son, Stole a pig and away he ran."  Although I didn't steal a pig, the bit about "away he ran" certainly rang true!

I'm very grateful that locations such as Mt. Tom are a very short drive from my home.  Even with such a late start, there would still be plenty of remaining daylight hours to drive to the trailhead in Crawford Notch and complete the 5.8 mile (round-trip) hike.

The trail combination (Avalon Trail, A-Z Trail, Mt. Tom Spur) leading to Mt. Tom is a very popular route.  And as a result, even after a recent snowfall, the corridor is quickly tramped out by snowshoers and the pathway becomes like a sidewalk.
Typical segment of trail leading to Mt. Tom under wintertime conditions
There probably would have been enough time to extend my trek by doing a loop that would've included Mt. Field and Mt. Avalon.  However, I thought hey!  I have nothing to prove regarding how many peaks I can bag, or the distance I can travel.  So, why not just limit my trek to Mt. Tom and take my good old time to savor every aspect of the sights along the route?  And besides, the day was simply too lovely to be spent dashing through the woods, especially when quality time could be spent perched on a sunny and windless mountaintop.

Since I'd decided to make this an unhurried hike, there was ample time to spend on the summit for a pleasurable and prolonged visit with the Gray Jays.  Although I'm uncertain if the Jays enjoyed the camaraderie, I can say with certainty that they enjoyed the pretzels and other treats that I provided to them!
Collage of snapshots taken of the Gray Jays
The following photos show some of the other sights that I enjoyed during my leisurely hike to Mt. Tom.
A "Bird's-eye view" of Carrigain Notch
Mother Nature's artistry of angles, slopes and bumps.  (If you're sharply "inclined" to think that Mt. Webster is dominating this scene, you're correct!)
'Tis difficult to ignore 'Big George' when traveling in this part of the White Mountains on a bright sunny day.
Love this "pencil forest" along the Mt. Tom Spur trail
Christmas Tree decorations in mid-March.  Now that's 'March madness'!
As weird as it might seem, it was even delightful to catch the trailside "peeks of peaks" during this leisurely adventure in the mountains.
Although I'd decided not to continue beyond Mt. Tom, I did walk a 100 yards out of my way to the junction of the Willey Range Trail and A-Z Trail.  Both trails were broken out!

" . . . and away he ran" to Mt. Tom! (Please note that no pigs were actually stolen or harmed during the production of this hike!)


JustJoe said...

I think I also would have been happy as could be, just hanging out on Mt. Tom feeding the Jays on such a gorgeous day. Beautiful photos John. I love Mt. Tom in winter with a good snow pack. I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy a very similar day 3/16/10. It's amazing what you get with a 6' boost, for views. I included a couple photo links. Just copy and paste.

Thanks for sharing,

1HappyHiker said...

. . . and thank you Joe for sharing those gorgeous photos that you took on Mt. Tom in March 2010. Judging from your photo of the Presidential Range, it appears that you were able to work your way further east on the summit area than I was on this particular trek. I’ve done so on other winter treks, but this time I quickly aborted when I saw a huge hole in the snowpack where someone had apparently fallen into a spruce trap while trying to make their way further eastward. Yikes! I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly good day by experiencing a similar fate!


Steve Smith said...

What Joe said - "grayt" photos of the jays, the views and the woods - the total package! One of the primo days of the winter. Glad you were able to get out to a nice summit.


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Steve,

Thank you for posting your comments!
As you can probably guess, I love your play on words regarding the “grayt” photos of the Jays!

And yes, I wholeheartedly agree that 18-March was indeed one of the primo days of the winter season. As I read in your recent blog, while I was perched on Mt. Tom, you were experiencing some remarkable vistas from Carter Dome. Your report contains some outstanding photos!


Rita Wechter said...

Well, glad to hear that no pigs were harmed during this hike! Seriously though, this looks like a wonderful way to spend an afternoon get-away (or run-away).
As always, your photos are magnificent. The close-ups of the Gray Jay are awesome, especially the one of the bird on the wing. The "pencil forest" has just the right mix of shadows and light.

I'm glad to see that you're getting out to fully enjoy every last day of this unending winter, John!

1HappyHiker said...

Rita, thanks for your kind words about the photos in this report!

The weather on the day of this hike was simply glorious, and it would’ve been nice if I had the entire day to fully enjoy it. However, I’m certainly not complaining and am very grateful that I was able to spend at least a few hours of the day in the mountains. It’s somewhat comical that when this morning commitment was made several weeks ago, I made a prediction to my wife (Cheri) that this would probably be one of the most spectacular days of the season! Yup! Guess this sort of goes along with the adage regarding being careful what you wish for. One should also be careful about what you predict! :-)


JimmyO said...

Wonderful scenery and jokularity to boot! Thank you. Its been a couple of years since I've been on Tom and that was in the summer. Never had the mountain views that you enjoyed. Also found the captions quite entertaining and easy to read on my smart phone. Thanks Again!

1HappyHiker said...

JimmyO . . . thanks for dropping by to read my blog, and thanks for taking a moment to post your comments! I’m especially appreciative of your feedback about the readability of my photo captions on your SmartPhone. The captions are readable on my mobile device, but I’ve often wondered how my blog comes across on other mobile devices since there are so many varieties out there nowadays.

Thanks again!


Ellen said...

John, I check your blog every week or so as someone who recently moved from Vermont to Washington State (you aren't helping me let go of the Northeast, thanks to so many swoon-worthy photos). I laughed when I saw the gray jays because they were up to the same shenanigans on my hike this morning, all the way on the other side of the country. I didn't know what kind of bird this was this morning, and I was going to look it up in my field guide this evening, so thanks for saving me the trouble!

1HappyHiker said...

Ha! Isn’t that something! Didn’t realize that there are Gray Jays on the other side of the USA in Washington State! Perhaps these friendly little guys can help you make the transition from living in VT to your new life in WA. Regardless, your new location in the Pacific Northwest certainly has natural beauty rivaling that of New England. Enjoy!

Last but not least, thanks for your kind words about my photos, and thanks for taking a moment to post a reply to my blog!