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Thanksgiving is the 2nd day of the year when Americans consume the most calories (#1 is Super Bowl Sunday). I figured a good hike that day would preemptively offset some of the gains, and finding no one to share that view I went alone. Winter had set in and the forest was white and gray. I took the Avalon Trail with the plan to go up Mt. Avalon and Mt. Field, but the approach trail was often just a sheet of ice (left) and I was concerned about the ledges below those peaks, so I diverted to Mt. Tom as a safer route. The ice made for beautiful formations on the streams and cascades along the way (right).
The trail up Mt. Tom is gentle and nice, going up the headwall to the col between Mts. Field and Tom and then heading right to the peak. There was no one on the trail so I couldn't get a picture of me! Mt. Tom doesn't get much respect, with my 4,000 footer guide saying that "it has never been known for its outstanding views". I beg to differ and offer these pics as evidence. Just below the summit is a spur trail that takes you on the north side to an outlook with a fantastic 180o view of the Bonds (left), Mt. Carrigan (right), Crawford Notch and Mt. Field (below left) and Mt. Washington (below right).
I had done Mt. Tom the previous year on November 8 with Roger Gagne, my last hike that year. Today was later in the season and had the white and gray to prove it. I looked for gray jays but they were nowhere to be found, as opposed to last year where a couple followed us around to be our lunch partners (see link above).
After taking in the views I was getting cold and went to the other outlook on the south side of Tom, close to the actual summit indicated by the cairn. This spot is officially viewless but a blowdown some years ago still offers good views toward the Twins (left) and Zealand (right). But the trees are growing fast and I had to stand up to see anything. This is quite a contrast to my first climb of Tom five years ago when the views were expansive, and you can even see a dramatic difference with the view of Twin that I took last year from the same spot. In a few years this view will be history, but I hope that this winter will give us more blowdowns - how about denuding the peak of Hale, or the ridge between the Hancocks? A man can always dream. Rendez-vous next spring - I think that this hiking season is definitely over, time to put on my snowboard!