My hiking partner, Monica, and I have been steadily working through the list of 48 mountains over 4000 feet in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. For the last three years we have done a hike of the 4000 Footers around my birthday. Best way to celebrate ever!
On Saturday, November 26th, we hiked Mount Hancock and South Hancock. Completing our 18th & 19th 4000 Footers.
I picked Monica up at 5:45am and we set off to drive from Quebec to New Hampshire. I was worried there would be traffic at the border since it is the American Thanksgiving weekend but luckily there was none. We arrived at the Hancock Overlook at 8:20am, parked the car and got dressed up for our hike. The Overlook is definitely worth stopping to see if you are driving along the Kancamagus Highway.
It was a mix of sun and cloud and very mild temperatures. We started out dressed warmly but quickly took off our hats, gloves and even our jackets. We hiked almost the entire day in our long sleeved tech shirts.
We put our microspikes on our boots right away mostly to avoid carrying them and then having to stop to put them on later. Most of the people we saw hiking were not wearing spikes. At the beginning of the hike there was no snow on the trail but a little higher there was some snow covering. Definitely no need for snowshoes.
The beginning and end of the hike was very flat and easy walking. We did the first 2 miles in an hour and we are not very fast hikers usually. There are a number of water crossings but all were low enough to step across the rocks and not get our feet wet. The rivers looks so pretty with the edges covered in snow.
The woods were gorgeous. The wet snow clung to all the branches and created a phenomenal winter wonderland.
We took the loop trail and headed to South Hancock first. As we approached the summit, the grey jays started following us. There were three that stayed with us until the summit. They are looking quite plump this time of year. They must be very well fed from all the hikers they see.
Grey Jays are Canada’s national bird as of this year! Not quite as majestic as America’s Bald Eagle but definitely more friendly!
When we reached the summit of South Hancock it was completely shrouded in clouds so there were no views. We headed on to Mount Hancock after a quick break.
We did a bit of huffing and puffing to get to Mount Hancock. I was really looking forward to lunch. Monica could go all day without a meal but I have to eat on a regularly scheduled program. My belly was a rumblin’ when we reached the summit of Hancock.
There was a little break in the clouds so we could see a little view but not much.
There was absolutely no wind at the summit. We sat down and had our lunch. Strangely, there were no grey jays on the North peak.
Since there was not much to see at the summit we continued on to finish the loop fairly quickly. There was no ice on the trail but I still found my micro spikes helpful on the descent. We made good time coming down and stopped the the intersection of the loop to have some hot chocolate that Monica brought.
It really reminded us of when we snowshoed up Mount Pierce and Eisenhower a couple of years ago. The snow was so deep that we had slipped and slid the whole way down the mountain and both landed on our butts at the same time. We decided since we were sitting, might as well have a coco break.
This time while we were having our hot chocolate break, we chatted with a lady who was solo hiking the Hancocks. We asked about her SPOT machine and she gave us lots of interesting information. It seems to be very worthwhile if you hike alone often.
Monica and I also talked about the fact that we are quite lucky to have such a committed hiking partner in each other. We started out doing the 4000 Footers together on Mount Washington and have hiked every other mountain together as well. We started together and we will finish together! Love ya lady!
Mount Hancock (4380 feet) and South Hancock (4278 feet)
#18 and #19 of 48 NH 4000 Footers.
9.8 miles (15.8 km)
Book Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Our Time: 6 hours 40 minutes
(our first time being very close to book time!)
We had a lot of fun hiking Mount Hancock and South Hancock. Our next mountain hike will only be in January so we are hoping to do one of the Presidentials for our 20th.
Happy Hiking All!