It was to be a partly cloudy day, cool to start with rising humidity so I planned a hike to fit the weather conditions. Yes, I planned the hike this time! Scott had been wanting to hike Field and Tom for a while and I said we would hold off on these for a lack-luster day as the views are not all that great. The hike should be easy. Low mileage and the peaks were just over 4000 feet. No problem! We parked at the train station and began our day. We crossed the train tracks and climbed through some wet sections of trail, well not really. It has been so dry even up here that the water was all but dried up every where you go. Even the river that was washed into the trail from Hurricane Irene was down to a trickle. The river stones now a part of a small portion of the trail making a unique spot.
After a steep climb we took a left onto Avalon trail. The hike was steep and rocky. Phew, this peak sure made us work. But the view at the top was so worth it! I didn't realize the view from this peak! You could see the Presidential range, the Notch and the Willey range from the "rock spired" summit. Spectacular! We sat here for a good 10 minutes in the cooling breeze and looking down at the bustling Highland Center below. Scott pointed out my truck too, it's always fun to see your vehicle as a tiny spec below!
Rested and ready to get number 32 and 33 of the 48/4000 footers we climbed back down and onto Avalon trail. We passed several people as we made another steep climb with some moderate pitches. We couldn't believe how many we saw who had no gear with them what-so-ever. Not even water! What the hell are people thinking!? Or not thinking I should say. With all the reports of unprepared people getting lost and injured on the mountains and these idiots still don't heed the warnings!
Anyway, back to the hike. We will return to that subject shortly! We finished the difficult push to the top of Mt. Field and found the cairn marking the summit. There was a view cut that overlooked Avalon and the Presidentials which was clouded in now. We took a much needed break and took a few pictures. A hiker came through and after checking the view buzzed past us headed down what he thought was the trail to Willey. It dead-ends around the corner to a tent-site. He came back around and again went down another false trail. He swung back around puzzled and exclaimed "where am I going!?" I pointed straight ahead beyond the cairn and said "the trail is that way!" "And to think I've been here before" he quipped. We got a good chuckle out of it.
Re-fueled we packed up and began the moderate climb down to A-Z trail. We passed several people on their way up to Field. We connected onto Tom Spur trail and made an easy climb to a clearing and followed a trail left to the summit cairn. We continued down an obscure path to find a blow down area with good views to the North of the Twins and over to a fabulous view of the North side of Carrigain and it's notch flanked by it's surrounding peaks. We found a wood bench in the trees and sat down to have our lunch. We were not alone however. A Southern Red-backed Vole (I think) was scurrying up and down the trail and around the cairn, apparently looking for food scraps.
Lunch consumed we made the journey back down. Again passing people with little or no gear or food. What -the-hell! I sure hope people needing rescue who are not prepared get fined. Your in the White Mountains on a freekin' 4000 footer! Anything can happen at any moment! And with the threat of thunder storms in the forecast you better believe if you broke your leg or got lost (and it happens on any mountain and even to those who are experienced hikers), you'll be wishing you had rain gear, food and water with you! We were getting so aggravated seeing all these ill-prepared people!!
It was a steep climb down! These peaks sure make you work for them no matter what side you tackle them from! We were happy to scratch two more peaks off the 4k list. Slowly but surely we will complete them in due time. It is fun seeing all the different mountains and trails. We will definitely be making a return to Avalon in the future!