Today’s solo hike brought the best of cool, fall weather and a reminder of the range of emotions I feel hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. My hike started from the Hancock Trailhead off route 112 near Lincoln with 37F temperature and mostly cloudy skies. Recent hiking reports of the Hancock Notch Trail, Cedar Brook Trail and the Hancock Loop Trail indicated that light traction would be necessary but warmer days since the last report must have melted most of the ice. I brought along my microspikes but they were not necessary. What little ice there was on the trail was easily walked on or past. The mud was frozen making the trail relatively dry. Conditions were ideal. Full sunshine was the mark of the day and a mood lifter after the brutally steep climb to the peak of South Hancock minimizing the grumpy emotions brought on by painful exertion. I chose to hike the loop counter-clockwise hoping that the decent from Mount Hancock would be less steep and easier on my knees than the clock-wise descent from South Hancock (and, I think it was). I enjoyed a brief lunch with clear, sunny skies and beautiful southern view at the Mt Hancock viewpoint.
Overall a nice hike and the first since February 2013, easy stream crossings, complete solitude (I saw no one) though evidence of a trail network well traveled.
GPS info using my Tom Tom Runner. It dropped plenty of signal and short-changed walking distance by over a mile. My Garmin GPSmap 62s measured 10.2 miles which is probably correct as I backtracked a couple of times on this officially 9.8 mile route.
Hancock Loop Trail: Clockwise or Counterclockwise?
South Hancock Peak, no view
Mount Hancock View Point
Mt Hancock View: Left
Mt Hancock View: Center
Mt Hancock View: Right