Willey, Field, Tom, & Zealand
Type of hike: Overnight Hut
- Base Layer: EMS TechWick 2 Long Sleeve, EMS Techwick Long John 2, EMS Convertible Pants
- Shell: Rab Scimitar Softshell Jacket
- Accessories: EMS Gortex Gaitors, Microspikes, EMS Thermal Mountaineering Gloves, Artc’Tech beanie
- Pack: Osprey Atmos 65 2nd generation
Matt also carried: EMS Techwick Thermal, Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket, and EMS Glacier Down Jacket
- Base Layer: EMS Techwick Thermal under Patagonia Down 1/2 Zip Shirt, Under Armor Cold Compression Leggings over Lululemon Wonder Leggings.
- Insulation: Patagonia Down Jacket
- Shell: EMS Thunderhead Jacket
- Accessories: EMS Gortex Gaitors, Microspikes, Mountain Hardwear Mountaineering Mittens, Mountain Hardwear Fleece Hat and Scarf.
- Pack: Osprey Aura 65 2nd generation
Gabrielle also carried: Smartwool heavyweight 1/4 Zip, EMS Glacier Down Jacket, Patagonia Fleece, and North Face Down Booties.
Notes: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Our first winter hike is going to be a great one. 4 mountains and a hut stay! We both got some great gear for Christmas presents from each other. Matt and his 2 new Rab soft and hard shell coats AND an EMS Mountain Light -20 degree sleeping bag. Probably the last one ever in stores! Thank you love! Gabrielle, was also rocking her new Suunto Core altimeter watch.
We started on the Ethan Pond Trial. The plan was to hit Willey, Field, and Tom before cutting across to get to the Zealand Hut where we would be spending the night. Microspikes were worn from beginning to end and previous trip reports stated did not require snowshoes so we left those behind. Going up Willey was steep but the views on top were totally worth it all. Skies were clean as they could be and we could see Mt. Washington along with the rest of the presidential range from the Willey outlook.
We met a friendly pair of Grey Jays on Field and offered them some of our snacks in return for some pictures. On Tom we found another pair but they were more timed and camera shy. After hitting the 3 mountains we took the AZ trail to the Zealand Hut. The trail was in rough conditions as it had not seen much traffic during the snowy weather.
The hut was a great relief to get to after a cold day outside. Gabrielle prepared scallops wrapped in bacon for dinner with a side of couscous. I told you we would redeem ourselves from out last hut dinner! To give credit where it is due, Gabrielle did come up with this idea! To keep our tradition alive, we shared another twin bed and cuddled in our 0 degree down bags as the night temperatures dropped.
Day two was a cold one and most of our layers stayed on as we climbed up to Zealand. Views were beautiful and the skies were clear as day. We were able to get many great pictures. On our decline we decided to take the AT back to the parking lot. The AT is relatively flat and we would bypass the summits we climbed the day before. We cannot begin to tell you how much harder the AT was. The trail had not been broken in. Snow was waist deep at times and it sucked the energy out of us. It was 4 miles of hell that normally would have been a piece of cake if we had snowshoes with us. Speaking of cake… we got donuts the day before our big hike and had some left over ones in the car. That was all that was on Matt’s mind was getting back to the car and enjoying a donut. We got to the car just as the sun was setting and Matt was reconnected with his donut. I must say, frozen jelly donuts do not taste as great as they do fresh! Great trip to end 2014, but I think this is the last one we can do without snowshoes for a while!