January is keeping us guessing!

I got out with my husband this week to do a 3 mile loop over in Moose Brook State Park, outside of Gorham NH.   Moose Brook is a great valley resource in all seasons! In the summer, you can camp there, fish, swim, hike and mountain bike (They have a great little network with single track riding.). There is a day fee during the summer. That fee does not exist in the winter. There is a snowmobile trail through the midst of the park, accessible to the public and two awesome snowshoe hikes, the Perkins Gulch Hike and the Perimeter Hike. The Perimeter I believe could be skied by good backcoutnry skiers as well!

Berry Farm Road

My husband and I did the Perimeter Loop Hike on this day and had amazing blue skies and warm temperatures! As just about everywhere in the Whites at the moment however, prepare for ice! Most of the even smallest brooks were broken out and had edges of ice along the banks we had to negotiate. And we came along significant ice falls along the trail on a regular basis. I think you could manage it with snowshoes with traction on the bottom. We were happy with Microspikes however and my husband even barebooted it a bit once we were on the ridge line.

The trail itself is varied and beautiful! Begin by Ascending the Berry Farm Road which is accessible to snowmobiles (Looks like Route 19A or possibly 19). Pass the CCC Link and go Left on the CCC Perimeter trail in under a mile. You'll see numbers marked on trees along the way with small paths going to and fro. These are the signs of the mountain bike trails. They could possibly be some interesting backcountry skiing as well. The CCC Perimeter trail begins in a lovely evergreen forest and crosses a wonderful brook on a small bridge that was currently dry of all snow and ice. In again under a mile you pass the Perkins Gulch Path on the left and start to
ascend 300-400 feet to the top of the ridge.  You move into deciduous forests, catch a great view of the Presidentials through the trees and then begin to wind in and around these great little hillocks...it's all relatively mystical...even more so since you most likely will not see another soul in here! We saw TONS of tracks which our AMC Naturalist would have been able to identify! 1.1 mile from the Perkins Gulch Path you rejoin the Berry Farm Road and descend back to the parking lot. Great morning or afternoon adventure!

The Perimeter trail said lots about our trail conditions right now. We're hanging in there but the woods look much more like April for the moment than January! We have 6 inches here at the snow stake in Pinkham and we were looking at about that over in Moose Brook. The snow is packed down and icy or slightly rotten for the most part. The upper elevations got some significant snow last night (7 inches on the summit of Mt Washington) but down low, plan for lots of ice, bare ground, and open streams!  From Pinkham just up to Crystal Cascade is a solid sheet of ice, at least several inches thick!  Microspikes would be foot gear of choice. And if going "up", remember what this new snow is covering up! You can check out  AMC Conditions or the Daily Regional Forecast for day to day detailed updates!

Watch out for that ICE!
We now have 6 inches of snow cumulative on the summit of Mount Washington and our avalanche danger is back up to Moderate verging towards Considerable in both Tuckerman's and Huntington's Ravine. There are at least several trails open still at Wildcat Ski Area up the road and Great Glen Trails is hanging in there for cross country skiing, so if you want to come North, I would still say...DO! The warm weather is making some gorgeous days out there! Just adjust your mentality away from deep winter for the moment! This weekend we are expecting 6-12 inches of now, so stayed tuned for trail updates!

If you have questions regarding what gear to bring on a winter hiking trip please feel free to call us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center. As always you can check AMC Conditions for the latest report from the snow stakes and/or call us here at Pinkham to see what we're seeing out our windows and for the best trail advice we can give you!   
For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice, please feel free to contact us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center front desk.  We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM or by email at amcpinkhaminfo@outdoors.org. To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm. We also offer ski and stay packages at our Joe Dodge Lodge and the Highland Center

Happy winter adventuring!

Backcountry Information Specialist
AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
(603) 466-8116

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