You will never guess what I did on Columbus Day this year (yes, I realize this was a week and a half ago, I’m busy… chill). Went for a hike. Shocker, I know.
Panda and I last minute, literally on the drive up, changed our original plan of the Carters to the Hancock duo – aka North Hancock and South Hancock! We did this because even though the weather forecast said 0% chance of rain and some clouds that was most definitely not the case. The Hancocks are a great iffy weather pick, because they are entirely under tree-line, nor do they have wide open summits. I think the weather is becoming less accurate as of late, at least in the mountains. And mountain weather is already less stable than the “regular” weather, so that’s saying something.
Needless to say, we had ourselves some STELLAR views. Insert all possible sarcasm.
It’s not about the views though, rather the selfies. Again, joking. So much sarcasm lately, I can barely tell if I’m being honest or not. This is most definitely a joke, hiking is NOT about selfies. Although they are fun! Also, please note that we are wearing the same hat. Yes, this was most certainty planned. Matching makes you hike faster 😉
This was round 2 for me and 3 for Pan for the Hancocks! The last time I was here it was the middle of winter, January 2017! There wasn’t a view for that trip either, I guess Mother Nature doesn’t want me to experience the views the Hancocks have to offer! Sad face. One of my current goals post finishing the NH 48 4k’s is to hike them in all four seasons (which will likely eventually lead to hiking them all in every single month – aka the grid, because I’m cool like that).
I have to say, fall > winter for these. Why? Let’s recap:
This hike starts off on the Hancock Notch Trail, which is relatively flat and easy terrain. After 1.8 miles you bear left onto Cedar Brook Trail which runs another 0.7 miles and alike the first trail, is flat and mellow. This hike would overall be a great one for mountain/trail running and I’ve made a note of this on my excel spreadsheet to make this one a run for the spring and summer seasons – perhaps I’ll even snag a view or two!
The next section is where things get a little dicey. After the 0.7 you bear right onto Hancock Loop Trail for 1.1 miles and then get to choose either left, towards North Peak which is 0.7 away, or right, towards South peak which is 0.5 away. Well, the .7 & .5 are not exactly flat or easy or mellow or any other word that would be synonymous with those. It’s not ridiculously steep, and this is of course quite relative to my personal opinion, but it’s steep nonetheless.
Both times now I’ve ascended South and descended North and I most definitely prefer this. South is steeper, not by much, but it is. North is narrower so I can grab a tree quicker when I decide to trip myself. This is exactly why I prefer this hike in the fall > winter. I don’t love steep terrain in the months where everything is snow covered because you kind of just slide everywhere and I also tend to fall uphill a lot. Although, butt sledding down this was a BLAST! But rocky and steep terrain is my jam so I’m looking forward to a late spring and summer hike for these peaks!
The section between summits is rather mellow, some ups and downs but nothing too much! Overall, this hike is one of the easier ones on the 4K list in my humble opinion. We even met some cool friends….
After the loop we were back on the flat trails we had frolicked that morning and enjoyed taking MANY pictures of leaves on our way back to the car. It amazes me how gorgeous the forest is when you stop and observe it. All of the trees, colored leaves, little streams. I really don’t understand why some people (who have access) don’t utilize the space that is the wilderness. There is something quite magical about being in the middle of nowhere, breathing in fresh air, and moving your body in one of the most natural forms of movement – walking.
Something I want to start doing with my hike write-ups is getting a quick recap in the words of whoever I hiked with that day! So, I asked Pan to give me a brief synopsis she provided the following haiku:
“We went on a hike
It was cloudy and rainy
But we saw Gray Jays”
I have the coolest friends.
“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.” ― Sylvia Plath