Snake sitting in spruce 4 feet about ground.

Field (4340')
Willey (4285')
Tom (4051')


2003 August 02

Perhaps Ash described this hike the best when he said, "I walked . . . a lot. There were rocks." Not exactly the type of feedback I was looking to include in the trip report, but it's a fairly accurate and concise account of our day trek. We've been looking at the Field, Willey, and Tom hike for a while, but have held off for a rainy day because the views are very limited. Well, it rained and the clouds hugged the ground most of the afternoon. So, apart from the rocks . . .

We parked at Crawford Depot (a site of much historic significance but not enough to take pictures) and headed up the Avalon trail to the summit of Mount Field, bypassing the extra 200 yards to the summit of Mt. Avalon entirely. After the junction with the A-Z trail the Avalon trail got very steep. This, combined with an incredibly humid 75 degrees, made for a extremely hot hike. We went through water and sports drinks rapidly. The steep, wet, trail followed a knife-edge like rise through the woods before coming to a clearing then climbing again. We reached the summit of Field in about 2 hours and stopped for a 20 minute lunch. A junco flittered around us looking to scavenge scraps, but refused to eat from our hand like his brethren did at Waumbek the week before; his loss. The summit is wooded with a small outlook facing north, but we saw only clouds. We took a pic of us standing around the summit cairn and continued to Willey.

group_on_field

The section of the Willey Range trail between Field and Willey is a little slow. It's only 1.3 miles to Willey but it took us an hour to get there. Willey is also a treed-in summit, but a south facing outlook gave us a nice view of the valley between Willey and Carrigain. Although I know the Bonds are a major trek into the Pemi with Bondcliff being a minimum of 18 miles roudtrip, the Bonds seemed very close to our vantage point. Along our wat to this point, we had passed a snake sitting in a small spruce about 4 feet above the ground and a mushroom bigger than my hand. Both seemed odd and we snapped a couple pics.

on_willey willey_outlook shroom snake

Our plan for the day required us to retrace our steps to Mount Field and it occurred to me during the hike that this was effectively our first 4 summit trip. It was about 15 minutes faster in this direction mostly because climbing the eroded sections was easier than descending them. We took another break on Field then left for Tom. The Willey Range trail is completely different on this side of Filed. It hasn't any steep sections and the woods aren't very dense. There's a thick, green carpet of vegetation to either side of the deep, windy, and picturesque trail. Time passed quickly and we reached the A-Z trail junction and found the Mount Tom Spur trail 100 yards south. It seems there may be some views from the summit area on Tom, but the clouds never lifted and we started down after sitting on a bench and giving our feet a short break. I was just about out of water and although I probably had enough to finish the hike, I was glad Ash brought an extra liter with him that he didn't use.

tom_summit_cairn

The trail to the base starts off steep but quickly flattens out. Apart from cascade which had cut a deep notch in the rock, there was little else worth noting. We reached the trailhead of the 10 mile, 3400' route 6:50 after we started and schlepped the 3 tenths of a mile down route 302 to the car. We had chosen to hike up the Avalon trail to Field which I recommend over the alternative of ending on Field and descending the steep and rocky Avalon trail. We also broke 100 miles on this trip, bringing our total 4000 footer quest mileage to about 108 miles. Passing Silver Cascade along the way which is a nice waterfall along route 302 that requires no hiking to see, we went to North Conway for dinner. We ate at the Homestead. I thought the ribs were good and Elleing and Ash did all right with the steak tips.

cascade silver_cascade

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