View Full Version : Whiteface and Passaconaway, March 28, 2009

03-29-2009, 11:01 AM
Cut and pasted from our hiking blog, www.trishandalex.blogspot.com
Accompanying pictures can be found there.

Blueberry Ledge Trail, Rollins Trail, Dicey's Mill Trail.

11.8 miles.

Our family is going through a rough time right now, due to some unsettling news received the day before our hike. I had festivities planned for Sat evening, but I cancelled them, knowing I would not be good company for anyone.

Alex and I went ahead with our planned hike. We had at first decided on Passaconaway. However, I read a trail conditions report on Whiteface before we left the house -- all trails sounded like they were good to go. When we arrived at the trailhead, I gave Alex the choice of doing either Whiteface or Passaconaway. She studied the map and decided to go for both.

Blueberry Ledge Trail begins easily, but toward the blueberry ledges the pitch steepens a bit.

Snow is receding up there -- we were both happy to see snow-free cairns and bare rock.

The amble through the blueberry ledges is picturesque. And it looks as though the bears are awake -- we saw a ton of footprints and a lot of scat.

Past the blueberry area, the trail changes back to all snow.

We arrived at the first of the ledge scrambles -- very nice view at the bottom of the first challenge.

Said challenge is made rather easy by the addition of a rope currently fixed along the path.

We made it up and over with no problems.

Nice views are afforded along the way to the second scramble.

The next bit was the most challenging for me. There's little ice, but the snow is still so deep in places that postholing while climbing is very possible. Foot placement was tricky -- the danger was not sliding down the slope, but sinking and twisting while trying to climb. Alex scampered up with no problems -- but my greater weight made me sink repeatedly. I ended up walking up with my knees and using my poles to push myself along -- it was much safer than trying to climb on my feet.

Here's a look down that section, once I reached the top.

We stood at the top and enjoyed the views for a while before continuing onward.

The third scramble was a complete non-issue. There was little ice and plenty of grip in the snow.

We made it to a nice outlook. There's a giant boulder here, of course we had to climb it.

From here it's a jaunt through the woods and up another hill toward the summit.

The high point is unmarked and difficult to figure out. In addition, we had to fight our way through branches to along the Rollins Trail.

We found a section of trail that was higher than anything else we could see, so we decided we had found the summit.

We continued down the Rollins Trail.

Up to this point, we had both survived in microspikes but staying directly in the center of the trail. However, the snow on the Rollins Trail was soft, and snowshoes became absolutely necessary. Alex didn't need hers, it was just heavy me that needed flotation.

The Rollins Trail dragged on and on for us -- but it was a good trail to discuss the unfortunate things which we were emotionally dealing with. We talked together and cried a bit while we hiked. The tears were initially due to dealing with our personal issues -- and then they became tears of frustration as branches repeatedly smacked both of us in the face and scratched up our bodies as we forged on toward Passaconaway.

Along the way, we had a nice view down into the "bowl."

After a million years and some emotional cleansing, we reached Dicey's Mill Trail.

A short rest here, then up to Passaconaway's summit.

There's a little viewpoint just before the summit.

We found the sign pointing toward the summit...

Then we tried to find the summit -- another unmarked, viewless spot. We walked around a bit, to make sure we had hit it at some point...then took a picture.

We headed back down with little fanfare. Dicey's Mill Trail was a nice walk, nothing steep or out-of-the-ordinary.

It was nice to see rocks with blazes poking through the snow.

The trail comes out to a road, by someone's (very beautiful) house.

There's a giant rock on the property -- Alex thought it looked like a turtle and took the following picture.

We continued along, passing the turn for the Blueberry Ledge trail.

We arrived back at the car a half hour or so before sunset.

It was a good hike, just what we both needed. Alex showed no signs of fatigue and felt strong throughout the entire hike.

It was very nice to feel warm all day long. Neither of us needed gloves, hats, hand warmers or fleece. Seeing rocks, mud, and bare trail made both of us very happy -- winter has been fun, but we are now looking forward to summer.

03-29-2009, 11:08 AM
Wow what a great day!

03-29-2009, 11:58 AM
Glad you guys got out there and it sounds like you both had a pretty good hike and the weather looked like it held out for you with good views. I hope everything works out for the best regarding your issues. As I tell my wife things always get better and you just have to take one day at a time. Thanks for taking the time to post.

03-29-2009, 01:28 PM
Wow - looks like a really nice hike! Alex obviously enjoyed it (although she always seems to). Looks like she's dancing on top of that big boulder. I'm enjoying seeing spring arrive in southern NE, but a hike in the snow sure looks good too...

03-30-2009, 07:34 AM
Brad, Chris and Mark, thanks as always for your nice words and support. :)

03-30-2009, 12:09 PM
Another beautiful day! Great hike for 26 & 27! Know that this "family" is here for you too, and only hope things get better soon.

Jimmy Legs and Little d
03-30-2009, 03:21 PM
It was good that you and Alex decided to hike on Saturday after receiving the upsetting news. A grand looking day and long hike! Your pictures and report suggest that spring is in the mountains. Tell, Alex that I could see the turtle in the picture too.
Hope everything works out for you and your family. Be positive.
Little d:)

03-30-2009, 09:07 PM
I know exactly the spot where that fixed rope is, but when my group climbed it in winter, there was no rope, and it was quite entertaining! It was a "one step forward, two steps back" sort of situation. As each person struggled their way up, floundering with knees, elbows, belly, whatever worked--we'd be laughing and shouting, "Up! Not down, up!":)

03-30-2009, 09:23 PM
I can picture where the rope is too! I prefer going natural, forget the rope.

Nice TR and pics, nothing alleviates the mind like a good hike!