View into Notch from Willey

Tom, Field, and Willey - 8/Sept/01

By David Metsky

You'd think that this late in the year high humidity wouldn't be an issue. But it was a hot September day when we embarked on our Crawford Notch peak bagging hike. We all met at the Crawford Hostel, and while Tom and Erik moved two cars down to the Willey House site we looked up at Mt Field. After filling up with water at the Depot, we crossed the railroad tracks and started up the A-Z trail. It's a steady climb, and with the heat it was tough on man and beast. We took the .5 mile spur trail to the partly wooded summit of Mt Tom. There were some views of Willey through the haze. It was a good place to eat and drink lots of liquid. Amazingly, there were few if any bugs and just one creature hanging around.

Back down to the ridge, then the climb up to Mt Willey. It's a ridge walk, pretty mellow hiking except for the final climb just after the trail junction with the Avalon trail. The summit is wooded with only limited views. No real point in hanging out here, so we quickly packed up again and pushed on. It's a bit longer to Willey, with more rise and fall. We began to feel the heat, and things slowed down a bit and talk began to drop off. Just before the summit of Willey is a view down to Ethan Pond. The summit of Willey is also wooded, but there is a clearing just past that gives some great views into Crawford Notch. We hung out here for a while, taking in the slight breeze and great views.

The descent from Willey is the only steep section on this hike. There are ladders which proved somewhat difficult for some humans and animals alike. But everyone made it without incident, and the trail continues, joins with the Ethan Pond trail, then we branched off on the Kedron Flume trail. We paused at the flume for our final break. This was the one place along the hike that felt cool, so we took our time and relaxed. We reluctantly pushed on, with the thoughts of ice cream at the little shop on the Willey Site, it would have been an excellent way to end the day. Alas, we arrived 3 minutes after 5:00 and the shop was closed. *sniff*

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