Hiking is one of my favorite things… Especially in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We New Englanders may not have the elevation and peaks of the West, but we have some pretty beautiful trails with some spectacular views. Size ain’t everything, people!
One of my goals is to get out and do some more hiking in the whites, especially the 4,000 footers in New Hampshire. There is just nothing better than a few hours in the woods. And I love me a good checklist.
I am beyond lucky to have fabulous like-minded friends to share these adventures with. A quick “let’s do this!” moment at work, a consult of our schedules, and we were off! December 1 was our chosen inaugural hike, and we chose Mount Tecumseh to start with. (We have both climbed some of the others separately in the past). Tecumseh is below tree line and was one of the shorter drives, perfect choice to start off the season.
Our weather forecast wasn’t the greatest – 40 mph winds and chance of showers. But temps in the 40s, extremely mild! We decided to pack up and go for it, and take our chances.
The winter trailhead for Mt. Tecumseh is at Waterville Valley ski resort, across from parking area #1. Easy to find! Tripoli road is closed in the winter, which leads to the other trailhead.
We hit the trail around 9:45 am. Slushy, well packed down trails. Very moderate terrain, gradually climbing.
It was warm once we got moving! Shed some layers quickly. The trail is very protected from the wind most of the way, which made it very comfortable.
Couple of stream crossings along the way, easy to navigate but the micro spikes made it a little tricky. Trekking poles for balance would have been helpful. Last time I leave those behind!
The trail was a moderate, steady climb, 2.5 miles to the summit. Slushy but not terribly icy given the warmer temps. I wore my micro spikes which worked great. The slush was a challenge at times, it felt like we were climbing in sand! Tecumseh is “only” 4,003 feet, so we were below tree line and protected from the wind most of the way. This is a great hike to try out in winter conditions if you are new to it. We were over prepared of course; any time you head out for a hike in the winter, especially in the whites, you NEED to be. Pretend you will be stranded and pack accordingly. Anything can happen – do your research and be prepared!
The summit was foggy, windy, and chilly. Grey skies for days….. No views for us! We hunkered down on a rock and ate our pb&j’s. Freaking gourmet. I was ready to start chewing on my own arm at that point, I would have eaten the foil my sandwich was wrapped in and been happy.
The way down was a little slow going; we didn’t bring our trekking poles, and definitely could have used them to speed up the descent! Note to self – bring ’em next time. We climbed up the Tecumseh trail (yellow blazes) and descended off the summit via the Sosman trail (blue blazed). The Sosman trail seemed to be the easier of the two options.
Done! :). Around 3 hrs and 45 mins, including our lunch and picture breaks 🙂
We had a great hike, and were super happy we took our chances on the forecast. We celebrated with a bowl of soup and a beer at Six Burner Bistro in Plymouth NH (http://www.sixburnerbistro.com). It was a great little place, very cozy and the food,was delicious! I highly recommend it. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, since it was late afternoon on a Monday.
Crab and corn chowder and a tuckerman’s? Yes please!
Success! Tecumseh checked off the list. Time to consult the map and plan our next adventure.
What is your favorite “off-season” fun? Favorite 4,000 footer and why??
NH hiking resources:
Weather – http://www.nws.noaa.gov/view/validProds.php?prod=REC&node=KGYX