NE 4,000 Footers
NE 100 Highest
NH 4,000 Footers
NH 100 Highest
NH 52 With A View
NH Belknap Range
NH Ossipee 10
Albany, NH, Sandwich, NH, Waterville Valley, NH
Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking down the Blueberry Ledge Trail along the Blueberry Ledges
Route: Blueberry Ledge Trail, Rollins Trail, (Mt. Whiteface), Rollins Trail, (Mt. Whiteface ledges), McCrillis Trail, (Mt. Whiteface ledges), Blueberry Ledge Trail
Now that the there is increasingly more daylight, my after-work and quasi-after-work options are growing. Wanting to get a good workout, I decided to leave work a few minutes early and head up to Ferncroft for a sunset hike up Mt. Whiteface.
Arriving at Ferncroft, I was less than happy to see increasingly cloudy skies - not a good recipe for a sunset! Nonetheless, I strapped on my snowshoes and headed down the road (snowcovered on one side thanks to wind drifts) and over to the base of Quimby Hill. The Blueberry Ledge Trail was already well packed after the recent 2" snowfall, so it was pretty good going. Nonetheless, I was feeling a bit tired, so it was a decent push to get up to the Wiggin junction.
I was surprised to see a rope tied to a tree at the second ledge scramble - while not necessary at the moment, I found it helpful. The next scramble above it was tricky (as it was a few weeks earlier), requiring me to get out my ice axe so I could pull myself up the ice rock. Above there, the remaining scrambles were relatively easy thanks to drifted snow.
A quite stop at the southern ledges revealed a tinted horizon - perhaps I'd at least get some colors. I still had to get to the summit, however, so I quickly returned to the trail and dipped down to the Sleeper junction. From there, there was only one set of tracks continuing up the Rollins Trail - the rest were going down the Sleeper Trail. Reaching the height of land, I walked right past the summit - a sizable amount of snow had drifted in and made the area just north of the summit appear to be a good 5 feet higher. Fortunately, I realized my mistake almost instantly and backtracked to the scarred trees that stand above the sometimes-present cairn.
Back at the Whiteface ledges, I could see some promising color to the west. Since I didn't have a good view of it from the ledges, I headed down the McCrillis Trail a bit to investigate - sure enough, I found a pretty good view ranging from the Sandwich Dome to Welch-Dickey. Since I had over half an hour of waiting ahead of me, I fetched my pack, threw in some handwarmers, and waited. Sure enough, there was a strong display (despite the cloud cover). Perhaps most impressive was seeing the silhouette of Killington and Pico in the far distance, backed with a red tint.
After the cold wait for the sunset, I headed back to the Blueberry Ledge Trail and began my descent, reaching the bottom of the scramble ledges just before the end of civil daylight. Below there, the light of the half moon helped illuminate the trail. I found the lights throughout the views to be particularly stunning - distant lights in Maine, night skiing lights on Pat's Peak, Crotched Mountain, and Gunstock Mountain, and the warming sight of lights in nearby West Ossipee. I didn't even need to use my headlamp until I reached the roadwalk, just as a precaution.
Despite the early threat of a cloudy, non-sunset hike, it turned into a pleasant evening!
Getting To Trailhead:
||Thursday, March 5, 2009|
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The Blueberry Ledge Trail trailhead at Ferncroft
A woodpecker hanging out around the Blueberry Ledge Trail
A rare view (thanks to snowpack) of Mt. Washington from the summit of Mt. Whiteface
The sunset from the south peak of Mt. Whiteface, as seen over Carr Mountain and Welch-Dickey
Directions to trailhead: Take Route 113A to Wonalancet, then take Ferncroft Road. The trailhead (the road) and parking lot are both on the right next to the pasture.
Back to Mt. Whiteface Profile