North and South Hancock, Barnsfield Campground, Wildcat A and D, Mount Washington Omni Resort 2015

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North and South Hancock

North and South Hancock
Type of Hike: Day
· Matt’s Gear:

  • Base Layer: T, EMS convertible Pants,
  • Insulation: Patagonia Nano Puff Vest
  • Shell: Marmot Precip Raincoat
  • Accessories: Microspikes, MSR snowshoes
  • Pack: Osprey Stratos 36

· Gear: Gabrielle

  • Base Layer:
  • Insulation:
  • Shell:
  • Accessories:
  • Pack:

Spring is in the air and we are getting some mountains down this weekend. The mission for day one is North and south Hancock. Snow is still dominant on the trial but well packed on the trails. Our microspikes are on and our snow shoes strapped to our packs. One great thing is that it is now warm enough for us to use our hydration bladders which is so much more convenient than carrying Nalgene’s in the cold months.
The first few miles are a breeze and we are cursing along. It is a beautiful day despite the forecast calling for a few showers for later in the day. Around the Hancock Loop trail is where we put our snowshoes on as post holing stated to slow us down. North Hancock came first. The summit offered beautiful views for miles but dark clouds began to hover over our heads. We snapped our summit photo, checked out the outlook, added a layer and continued to South Hancock. The two summits are separated by a ridge line roughly around 1.5 miles long. Around the .7 mark we hear a huge CRACK sound above our head….lighting, and it is close. What to do?! Do we turn around? Keep going? Stay where we are? We cannot get off the trail as it was heavily wooded and we would not be able to navigate. Stopping did not seem safe to me, how long could this last for? We needed to get down. The second summit was the smaller, less exposed one so we continued our way in a hurry. Hail was falling down from the sky and we were getting hit by a wintery mix of precipitation. We threw our shells on and I got to test out my brand new Marmot PreCip raincoat for the first time. The storm was still overhead had so many things running through my mind. “Do I ditch my trekking poles? Should I take off the snowshoes? Do we keep moving?” But my biggest concern was making sure Gabrielle was safe, we had to get down. As we summited South Hancock the storm was now a little bit behind us. We took one, very fast picture of the summit while on the run and began on decent.

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Barnsfield Campground

When we got back to the trailhead the weather was well past us and the skies began to open up again. We grabbed an ice-cream and headed to a jam packed Barnes Field Campground to set up camp. I think we got the last spot there. That night we enjoyed a nice fire and dinner while we prepared for day 2.

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Wildcat A and D

Wildcat D & A
Type of Hike: Day
· Matt’s Gear:

  • Base Layer: EMS TechWick 1 s/s, EMS convertible Pants,
  • Insulation:
  • Shell:
  • Accessories: MSR Snowshoes
  • Pack: Osprey Stratos 36

Matt also carried: Marmot Precip Raincoat, Patagonia Nano Puff vest, Microspikes

Gear: Gabrielle

  • Base Layer:
  • Insulation:
  • Shell:
  • Accessories:
  • Pack:

It is day 2 of our summit weekend. We work up will rested. The best part of car camping has to be the fact that I can bring 6 bed pillows with me. After a cozy night in the tent we prepared a nice breakfast of pancakes, watermelon, and Patagonia Provisions smoked salmon, which we were trying for the first time (it was delicious).
It was a quick drive to the 19 Mile Brook Trail. We started with snowshoes but for the very first part of the trail we hit many bare spots and rock was starting to be exposed. It was another beautiful day spring day and we were both wearing short sleeves. We headed up the Wildcat Ridge Trail and were able to enjoy some spectacular views of Carter Dome and the Carter Notch Hut. The ridgeline between A & D also offered open views to Mt. Washington. We took many pictures before we made it to Wildcat A.
This summit had some traffic. The ski lifts were still open and a lot of skiers booted over to the summit to check out the view and stand on the top of one of NE’s 4000 footers. We hung out on the summit for a bit and enjoyed a few sandwiches we had previously made before back tracking to the car.

The 19 Mile Brook Trail had really melted during the day and we had to unclip our snowshoes half way down. I laugh about it now but we chose to carry our snowshoes down rather than strap them to our packs. These snowshoes were so wet and grimy from the trail that we did not want our packs to suffer the abuse. Ever carry snowshoes shoes for 2 miles in your hand? Boy do they get heavy after a while!

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Mount Washington Omni Resort

Next stop, Mt Washington Resort! That’s right, we booked ourselves a room months in advance for this trip. We checked in, got cleaned up, explored, relaxed, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner and evening there. Despite the fire alarm going off in the morning, it was a lovely place to visit! I say this a lot but, it was a perfect weekend spent with the perfect person.

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