Sunday, February 7, 2010

Eagle Craig 2/6/10

Scott & I actually rested and up early for once arrived at the Baldface Circle Trail to find all but 1 car in the lot! It was cold but nothing like the weekend before! We geared up and headed across the street to the trail head at 9:38am. The trail was hard and crusty and well packed, temps. were in the upper 20's. We made a stop at Emerald Pool and continued on with thick ice coating many sections of the trail. We took a right at the loop junction on to the Baldface Circle Trail (counter clockwise) and arrived at the Charles Brook crossing, which was not passable at this spot. We headed up river about .1 miles to find a safe and suitable crossing. Then simply cut through the woods to the trail which runs perpindicular to the river. The trail here gets really icy as water runs through these trail sections. We negotiated our way keeping to the sides of the trail for traction on the snow. We finally made our way to the Bickell Ridge junction at the bank of Eagle Brook taking another right keeping on the BFC Trail. The snow pack became a little deeper but only 5 or so inches with grades remaining at a moderate climb, until about 2700' where steep pitches started to work themselves in.

We arrived at the first rock scramble at about 1pm, this time of year a snow & ice scramble and this one proved to be the most difficult. Still we did fine bare booting then easily made the second scramble. We crested the ridge, took a right at the trail junction and arrived at the Eagle Craig summit with light but constant winds around 1:20pm. We took pics, made our way back to the somewhat more sheltered trail junction and ate a quick sandwich. Temps. dropped to the mid teens and with the windchill I would say it was in the single digits. Views were stunning as they were in the summer with views across the rocky Eagle Craig over to Evans Notch, the Wildcat/Carter/Moriah Ranges, a glimpse of the Southern Presi's, the Baldfaces, and across the valley to Maine.

With frozen faces & fingers we packed back up and headed to the Bicknell Ridge Trail which we decided to descend by. We dropped down into the pines to find a cold, snow accumulated area and grumbled our way back up and out to the rocky ridge crest to the trail junction. We had some trouble finding the trail entrance into the pines and decided to follow the fox tracks as he seemed to know where he was going on our ascent trail. Sure enough it led us the right way. We very quickly discovered that this trail was nto a good choice. Not packed out and full of much more snow due to the pines and semi-openess of this ridge we were post-holing every few steps up to our knees. This trail would make an awesome summer ascent though, with many open ledges with South Baldface right in your face!

We continued on in this exhausting fasion all the way down the ridge arriving at the Eagle Brook river crossing just before the junction. Again we had to look for a suitable crossing which was found 100 ft. up stream. I was having a little fun on the ice trail sliding down it, Scott tried video taping it and just caught the end of it as I slipped and fell, OWCH! Another dumb moment by me! Back down quickly to the Charles Brook crossing and back on the main trail we gunned down it getting back to the road at 4:20pm. A beautiful day, a wonderful hike and it was topped off with a SPECTACULAR sunset. I got a few shots of it from Rt. 113 and was so hopeful to find a clear shot of the fiery orange over Chocorua but no such luck.

Pics of this hike here

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