On the morning of our hike, my friend Steve put together a spur of the moment plan for a snowshoe adventure. With an overcast sky and an "iffy" forecast for the remainder of the day, it seemed pointless to have any "lofty" goals (such as conquering a 4k peak), especially since neither of us is working on a peak bagging list! So, we embarked on a snowshoe hike mainly for the pure joy of being out in the woods on a winter day. It sure beats working out at a gym!
From the standpoint of photographs, the highlight of the day were the views from an open bog which we accessed via a short 10 minute bushwhack off the west side of the Cedar Brook Trail (from a point about midway between the Hancock Notch Trail and the Hancock Loop Trail). The photo below shows the top of South Hancock peaking through a misty cloud.
The next photo shows the Hancock Notch (south end of the Hancock ridge on the left, and the north ridge of Mt. Huntingdon on the right). Admittedly, from this particular vantage point, this "notch view" is not nearly as dramatic as say looking down the Crawford Notch from Mt. Willard. But nonetheless, it is a pleasant and a unique view.
In addition to the short bushwhack to the bog, we also continued along the Cedar Brook Trail to the 3,100 ft. height-of-land saddle between Mt. Hitchcock and North Hancock. Here the trail enters the Pemigewasset Wilderness. This required us to "break trail" for about 0.7 miles beyond the point where the Hancock Loop Trail branches off the Cedar Brook Trail. On a better viewing day, this additional side-trip would have earned us a view through the scrub toward Mt. Lafayette off to the northwest. But with the overcast conditions, this was simply not happening on this particular day. However, it was not without its rewards. We tramped through some lovely snow-coated woods.
Overall, we had a leisurely hike, stopping whenever & wherever, and for as long as we wanted. We covered about 6.8 miles round trip.