Avalon, Field, Willey, and Tom via... see post for trails - 2/19/13

NH Tramper

Apr 10, 2012
Reaction score
North Conway, NH Avatar: Cannon Mtn.
Trails: In order... Avalon Tr, Avalon Summit Spur, Willey Range Tr, Mt Tom Spur, A-Z Tr

Date of Hike: Feb. 19, 2013

Trail Conditions: This very productive day started from the Crawford Depot on snowshoes even though Avalon Tr was well packed out. We did this because it was so easy walking in them on that nice flat surface and traction was great. My partner for the day ended up removing them for a while opting for spikes, but lost too much energy fighting for traction in the steep sections after the A-Z junction so his snowshoes went back on. Moreover, as we gained altitude there was more evidence of light drifting and the trail was more irregular as a result; it would have been easier to posthole. There were two blowdowns before you reach the Avalon Summit Spur (which was in the same condition as its parent trail). One was an easy-over, the other a straightforward crawl-under. The Willey Range Tr, being more exposed, was blown in, completely in a few small sections. Being the first hiker of the day I got to break it out -- for which a fellow I met, John, when I was returning from Mt Willey, smiled and expressed gratitude! I'd say it's all broken out now, but you and I both know tomorrow some lucky hiker will get to do it all over again. There were a couple of blowdowns on this trail as well, both were 'whack-arounds, one that could be confusing. Looking directly through the blowdown you can spot a double blaze so just head around the right/tip of the tree and go straight instead of swinging left towards the blaze because the trail bends in that direction anyway (this area was filled in and was initially slightly confusing to me). The trail was otherwise clear and the traverse was a fairly speedy non-event. Mt Tom Spur was in great shape, clear, well trodden, and had had unseen visitors before us (and we met one more fellow on his way up to that peak on the way down the A-Z Tr later... which was also in great shape, albeit a bit more irregular than the aforementioned Spur. One side-slope section on the A-Z, in fact, was broken up as if people had difficulties there earlier, and was a bit on the soft-snow slippery side so I can see why. General Observations: It was a warm day so there was a little balling on the way up Tom and on the way out. I wasn't too bothered by it, but we did run into John again and it was getting him a bit more I think (different snowshoe). All trails were virtually ice-free, barring an exposed knob or two. All of the crossings were well-bridged and supportive (though there is a covered thin area on one crossing that might be problematic soon so be careful). Water is still available in places.

Special Equipment Used: We used snowshoes for the entire hike, minus my partner's occasional experimentations with spikes. I would suggest the same, especially on the ridge. Trekking poles helped us with balance and to probe snow bridges (sure, maybe 100 people DID cross it, but maybe the next guy goes in the drink). Because someone lowered all the trees (ha) there are sections of trail in which wearing glasses might not be a bad idea so as to prevent eye injury. At least be aware of this possibility when you're up there.

Comments: Hiked this one with Steve "Rat" Albert, a Facebook hiking friend, and he was pretty cool. We had a good first hike. Great day. Pretty warm (maybe a little too much), not too breezy, and very sunny and clear while we were up there. The trail breaking wasn't bad but that drifted snow sure is dense. Avalon was a treat. I hadn't been up there last time I did those mountains. No gray jays today.

Mike "Tramper" Cherim
Nottingham NH
Last edited: