Spring is in full swing...both for hikers and for skiers!!!

                Got out for our first hike of the spring season on Monday!  Spring hiking is always a potpourri, so don’t take our experience as a rule but it could be an indication of what you’ll find in the woods up here right now!  
                We went to Mt Prospect in Weeks State Park out of Lancaster NH.  Franconia to Randolph got the least snow this past season so if you are looking for hikes with no snow, this is a pretty good locale to search through.   We ascended a 2 mile gated road to John Weeks’ 1912 Summer Cottage which is listed in the National Historic Register.  Between it and the locked tower, it was a very very interesting mountain top!  Views were in all directions if you took advantage of the lookouts.  There was a western and an eastern look out on the road up and a northern one off of the top of the mountain.  Trails to the look outs had a bit of ice on them which was what I would expect a lot of right now.  We could negotiate these just fine
but deeper sections or higher could prove much more difficult.

                For woods access, pack your microspikes in the least.  You may need snowshoes just about anywhere you go and this could be a particularly pesky decision.  For most locations, I do not think you are going to need snowshoes in the beginning but snow is lingering in the deeper glades and in the heights.  You have to choose to not bring them and either deal with what you find or possibly even turn back.  Or choose to bring them and possibly never even need them.  It’s not an easy choice but keep in mind that 2 weeks ago we had 40 inches of snow here in Pinkham and within 4 days it was down to 2 inches.  In the deeper glades with less sun and the higher elevations where it is cooler, it is THAT snowpack which is lingering.  
                For above treeline still bring up your crampons and ice ax.  For right now, it remains the only safe way to travel above treeline.  The Lion’s Head Winter route is still open and the one section is pretty icy!
                Backcountry skiing is still holding on.  Most of the front country Nordic facilities have closed for the season with the possible exception of Bear Notch Ski Touring.  Check out their website to see what they are saying!  Most front country alpine areas have closed as well...Wildcat is still hanging on for the next couple of weekends.  Check them out online if interested!  Here at Pinkham where snow remains it is patchy, post holed by non skiers and icy!  Tuckerman’s Bowl is still going strong however, even if it is in end of season conditions now!  The snow pack has stabilized and folks are going up daily to see what they can link together!   The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is packed and icy from top to bottom...microspikes will make your travels much more comfortable.  People also continue to use skins on the Tucks trail.  The John Sherburne Trail and the Gulf of Slides Ski Trail is still skiing top to bottom but VERY patchy near the bottom so be prepared for challenges if you undertake it!  It has flowing water, ice, grass, water bars, and rocks!  Be sure to check the weather and the Avalanche Report to get the latest details before you go to Tuckerman’s!
                All in all, my family's hike on Mt Prospect was a great graded way to break in the hiking legs!  You can find the hike listed in the White Mountain Guide under Mt Prospect Auto Road.  It is not covered on the AMC maps but you can find small maps for Weeks State Park on line to complement the trail description in the book!  Enjoy the end of the snow season and start thinking green things!!!

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. Be sure to check weather conditions and avalanche reports before you come and call us here with any questions! We'll see you up here!

Happy spring adventuring!

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


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