Spring Skiing, Mud Season, and Spring Huts are Open!

Big Pines Natural Area

All front country skiing is closed now but the Tuckerman’s season is well under way!!!  There is still over a foot of snow still at Hermit Lake Shelters and much more of course in the Bowl!  People are skiing most of the lines and having a good time.  Many others are heading up to watch the fun!  Be sure to read the current avalanche advisory for the issues you should be on lookout for!  Huntington’s Ravine is no longer being monitored and we have received no reports recently from what’s going on in the Gulf of Slides.  The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is bare for well over the first mile of trail at this time.  People have still been skinning from there on.  Light Traction is helpful but people are also bare booting it.  The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed. The Lion's Head Winter Route is now closed, and the summer route is open. I’d recommend looking up the AMC Conditions board on our website for the up to date conditions from on location!

Approaching the summit of Great Hill

Speaking of the conditions, many of our back country huts are open now on a self-service basis, offering you a number of creative options to get back into the woods!  Look them up on AMC Conditions as well and on the reservations page to check out availability!

For adventuresome hikers, there is plenty afoot!  Although it was already hazing up by the time I got out after work yesterday, I still had a fabulous day on Thursday May 8!  I broke a sweat and I even squashed one black fly!

I only had my hiking sandals with me at work so I headed a bit south to avoid both snow and mud.  I managed to do both at the Hemenway State Forest in Tamworth NH.  A little network of trails travels through Big Pines Natural Area and over Great Hill, home of Great Hill Fire Tower.  Wonderful easy trails with some great forests and expansive views from the summit!

White Face and Passaconoway from the summit of Great Hill
We still don’t have leaves on the trees up north here so the largest caution of the moment is to remember your sun block (especially for you Tucks folks!!!)!  I had no snow or ice on my climb but I only ascended to 1300 feet.  Even in the Lakes Region I would expect snow and ice somewhere between 2000 and 3000 feet, especially in the thicker forests and deeper gullies.  It IS receding but slowly!  I am not getting reports of armpit deep snow anymore up here in Pinkham Notch but I am definitely still getting reports of 1-2 feet on higher trails that have been less used.  Where they are more
The New England town of Tamworth from the Summit
used, you will find hard pack and ice lingering away!

When you avoid the snow, expect some mud!  This is definitely mud season and although it’s not the muddiest we’ve had by far, you will find patches most everywhere you travel in the woods right now.  Be prepared with good footwear (as opposed to my sandals!).  

For the Whites right now no matter what form of boot you wear, I would definitely carry light traction. Snowshoes are really questionable.  I would put them in your trunk and make your decision last minute depending on what you are looking at in the hills into which you plan to travel!  If you bring them, you may not need them.  If you don’t bring them, you may very well have to turn around at some point!

The Great Hill Fire Tower on the Summit of Great Hill

A description of the Hemenway State Forest Hike I did can be found in the White Mountains Guide on page 397.  The hike was between 2 and 2 1/2 miles long and I would rate it easy.  The whole trip took me a couple of hours with the time at the top!

With the changing conditions stay tuned for trail updates! 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. 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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