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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Mt. Tom, Mt. Field
Carroll, NH, Bethlehem, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.

Avalon Trail to Mt. Tom

Route: Avalon Trail, A-Z Trail, Mt. Tom Spur, (Mt. Tom summit), Mt. Tom Spur, A-Z Trail, Willey Range Trail, (Mt. Field summit), Willey Range Trail, Avalon Trail

Since my friend was training for a Mt. Hood hike, the original plan was to do something a bit steep with nice views. Making our plans at the beginning of the week, we saw sunny forecasts. Then, as the week progressed, partly sunny...then chance of showers...then sunny in the morning and rain in the afternoon...then finally, the morning of, cloudy with a chance of showers in the morning, thunderstorms in the mid afternoon. No need to fear, though, as only .1 inch of rain was expected. Right.

Since the odds favored things being cloudy, we decided to do a less scenic hike - the Tom-Field-Willey-Avalon loop.

I awoke to a partly sunny morning. As we drove up, some clouds moved in - nothing too bad, however. There had been a few showers earlier up in the notch, making the trail slightly muddy, but not too difficult.

Part way up to where the Avalon Trail breaks off, some sprinkles started. From here, the A-Z Trail becomes a bit steeper, with some short, steep stretches (often with rock steps). As we split off to the Mt. Tom spur, the rain picked up a bit.

I was surprised to see that the Mt. Tom summit likely has quite decent views - though today it would only be fog/cloud. Not wanting to waste time, we headed back down to the A-Z Trail.

Contrary to the topo map, the Willey Range Trail is a bit downhill (opposite direction from where we came) from the Mt. Tom Spur intersection.

As we started up the Willey Range Trail, the rain started...then a little hail mixed in...then a lot - so much that the trail was turning white. As we passed the Avalon Trail, the hail stopped and we were left with only large rain drops and strong winds. It was time for lunch.

As we were eating sandwiches, the hail returned - heavier than before. At this point, it was obvious we weren't going to take any risks in going to Mt. Willey - where there's hail, there's likely thunder and lightning nearby. Sick of the stinging hail and not wanting to risk a lightning strike, we quickly retreated off the viewless summit to the Avalon Trail.

The Avalon Trail is rather steep and rocky in places - making for an interesting descent. Sick of being pelted by hail/being cloud/being wet, we made the best time we could without breaking our necks. Between this, not resting at the summit, and not taking any Aleve, it sure wasn't much fun for my knee. The hail was still coming down a bit as we neared Mt. Avalon - though this peak is literally right next to the trail, we decided to pass and continue downhill.

The last stretch of the Avalon Trail, prior to the A-Z Trail intersection, seemed to be the steepest - at this point, I went into skiing form and tried to just blow through it as quickly as I could.

Sure enough, as we continued down the flat portion of the Avalon Trail back to the trailhead, things started to clear out a bit. Driving through North Conway, it was partly sunny (though you could still see the clouds up in the mountains). What a weird day. I don't know who I can trust more - Hillary Clinton or a weatherman. I'll just leave it at neither.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Mt. Tom
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Minimal (due to weather)
Crowds: Minimal
Destination: Mt. Field
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Minimal (due to weather)
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Friday, June 22, 2007
Hike Commenced: 9:17 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,900'
Destination: Mt. Tom
Ascent Commenced: 9:23 AM
Summit Reached: 10:42 AM
Time Elapsed: 01:19
Trailhead Elevation: 1,900'
Summit Elevation: 4,051'
Distance: 2.9 miles
Vertical Gain: 2,291'
Destination: Mt. Field
Ascent Commenced: 10:43 AM
Summit Reached: 11:28 AM
Time Elapsed: 00:45
Trailhead Elevation: 4,047'
Summit Elevation: 4,340'
Distance: 1.5 miles
Vertical Gain: 690'
Hike Ended: 12:54 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 03:37
Hike Distance: 7.1 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 3,031'

Avalon Trail trailhead near the rail station

Looking southeast into the cloud from the Mt. Tom summit

Hail accumulating Willey Range Trail (it became much worse!)

Looking northwest into the cloud from the Mt. Field summit

Directions to trailhead: Take Route 302 west from Bartlett, NH. There is a parking area on the left side of the road at the top of the pass. Continue down the road on foot to the rail station - the Avalon Trail trailhead is across the tracks.

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Back to Mt. Field Profile

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