I needed to escape reality for a couple of days and I'm still working on my 4k footer list so I headed up Mt. Tom late on the day on Saturday. I've done plenty of overnighters but never solo so I was looking forward to it. Once I got beyond the the last few groups of families coming down the Avalon trail I didn't see a soul. The trail itself was pretty muddy in spots and isn't exactly the easiest on the feet with lots of smaller rocks and roots. The trip from the Highland center to the top with a full pack took just 1 1/2 hours which gave me about 2 hours to find a spot for my tent and make myself supper. The sky had some puffy clouds that broke up nicely as the sun went down. Without clouds or wind the temperature dropped rapidly. In the middle of the night I woke up feeling a little chilly so I checked my thermometer at about 3am and it read right at 40*. Morning broke early for me at about 5am due to some coyotes somewhere down in the valley towards Zealand. While my coffee was heating I broke camp. Then I sat on the bench facing Mt. Washington and enjoyed the sunrise over a nice cup of hot coffee and some breakfast. I was on the trail towards Field by 6am. The trail from Tom to Field to Willey is a pleasant one to hike with lots of ups and downs and the cool morning made it just fly by. Neither summit has a direct viewpoint but there are spots just off both summits where you can catch wonderful views in all directions. For my return trip I decided to take in Mt Avalon which has a nice little scramble to the top which gives you awesome views down to the Highland center and over to the Presidentials. The mile of trail down from Field to Avalon was also pretty wet and the footing with a heavy pack isn't very good. I was in the car and on the road home by 9:30 mentally alive again. I can see why this loop hike is a popular one for day hikers.
Link to pix: http://picasaweb.google.com/engineczar/Willeys2007