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26 March 2017

Hike to Mt. Avalon on First Day of Spring


Springtime in the mountainous regions of the northern hemisphere is oftentimes indistinguishable from just another routine winter day.  And such was the case on the first day of Spring 2017 where I live in northern NH.  Although there was no active snowfall on that particular day, there was upwards of 24-inches of snow on the ground.

By the time I left my house for a hike, it was early afternoon.  With such a late start my intent was just to do a 3.7 mile (round-trip) hike to Mt. Avalon (3,442 ft. elevation).  However, hiker traffic had compacted the snow on the trail's surface such that it was almost like walking on a paved sidewalk.  As a result I was able to travel at a quick pace, and arrived at Mt. Avalon much sooner than expected.  And so, a decision was made to add an additional 2-miles (round-trip) to my hike by doing a side-trip to Mt. Field (4,340 ft. elevation).

Presented below is a map that shows the route for my out-and-back hike, which was about 5.8 miles round-trip.
Map showing route for my hike
Just as a side note, Mt. Avalon wasn't named after the beach town in New Jersey, or a rock star of the 1950s.  It was named in the late 1800s by an early pioneer named Moses Sweetser.  He thought this mountain bore a resemblance to the hills of Avalon on the Newfoundland peninsula.


First view when popping out onto summit of Mt. Avalon
Looking down Crawford Notch from top of Mt. Avalon
View of Presidential Range and Crawford Notch from top of Mt. Avalon
Zoomed photo looking down at where my car was parked!
A zoomed view of the top of Mt. Washington
Although the snow on the trail itself was firmly packed, there was definite evidence of impressive snow-depth between Mt. Avalon and Mt. Field. Most trail blazes were near knee to hip-level versus eye-level during warm-weather months.
The only worthwhile photo taken from Mt. Field was this one of the Presidential Range.
(Considering my late start, there wasn't much time to linger on Mt. Field, nor do the traditional loop involving Mt. Tom.)
While descending one of the many steep sections of trail on the return leg of my hike, I took this photo.  Although it's not my personal preference, many hikers like to descend these "steeps" by sitting on their behind and glissading down the trail.



Rita Wechter said...

What a nice winter hike for the first day of spring! Looks like a popular, and beautiful, trail. Is it as popular at other times of the year?
I've always wanted to travel to Newfoundland but haven't gotten there yet. If I ever go I'll be sure to check out the hills of Avalon!

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks for your comments Rita.

Yes, Mt. Avalon is a popular year-round destination.

And regarding your comment about Newfoundland, like you, I’ve never been there. But I agree that it does seem like it would be a fascinating place to visit.


bodynsoil said...

This trail is worth the addition drive east from Wheeler just for those views.

1HappyHiker said...

TO: bodynsoil,

The views form Mt. Avalon are indeed awesome. Reaching this destination is well worth enduring the very steep half-mile segment of trail that begins where the Avalon Trail junctions with the A-Z Trail.