Mt. Willard (2,865ft)
Elevation Gain: 900ft
Trails: Mt. Willard
Distance: 3.0 miles roundtrip
Duration: 1 hr, 45 minutes
Difficulty: Very Easy
My first solo hike in snow! Originally I had planned to hike to Mt. Avalon (3442ft), Mt. Field (4340ft) and Mt. Tom (4051ft) today, but I didn't get to the trailhead early enough. Sure, I could have run up and back down before sunset, but I'm quite attached to 3 pounds of camera equipment and prefer taking my time in order to take photos. If the weather is good and I get up early enough, I'm going to make next weeks hike to bag my 16th and 17th peaks atop mounts Field and Tom.
Mt. Willard is a very, very easy hike! The Mt. Willard trail is a short trail with a wide path. Its ascent is gradual and provides a moderate workout for those who like to hike nonstop. Reading other winter hike reviews, my intent was to snowshoe this trail but there wasn't enough snow on the ground yet so Microspikes were all I needed. No need to break trail either, the trail is well-packed. When I reached the ledged summit there were about a dozen folks just leaving. The summit is flat and wide and the trees stand about 30 feet from the edge. It was so cold and windy that I barely spent 10 minutes quickly taking photos.
Definitely no solitude today....I passed 50 other hikers on my ascent and descent. There were also a couple of large dogs on this trail, one I thought was a black bear at first glance. You know how it is....you look up the trail and see four black legs coming down the trail and it stops you in your tracks!
Mt. Willard is part of the "New Hampshire 52 with a view" list and indeed, the summit rewards you with some great views of Crawford Notch even in the winter! After my hike, I had lunch at the AMC Highland Center. I thought their food was a bit pricey...I had the vegetarian chili and a salad that costs over $10.
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