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Return trip to Mount Hancock 4420’
and South Hancock 4319’

9.8 Miles 2650’ Elevation gain

Kevin, Judy and Emma

Here we are again, climbing mountains to get Emma through her 48. On this trip I wanted to make sure I didn’t repeat the mistake I made on the first of blowing right by the trailhead with Cedar Brook Trail. We had hiked well into Hancock Notch before I realized my mistake. This time I got it right. Others have told me they made the same mistake, so remember, it is 1.8 miles on Hancock Notch Trail, then you must turn north onto Cedar Brook Trail. It is 7/10ths to the Hancock Loop Trail from there. This is only 600’ elevation gain over 2 and 1/2 miles, so obviously there is some elevation to be gained on the Hancock loop Trail. On our first climb we were advised by someone who seemed to know, that it was easier to ascend to Mount Hancock (the northern mountain) via the North Link first. After climbing this way twice I have to say it seems to me it would be about an equal climb either way, with the North Link being 2/10ths longer and 150’ higher. On this trip it turned out well that we chose the North Link, as this was clear of snow and covered in wildflowers because of its south facing exposure while the trip down South Link from South Hancock was still ice covered and treacherous. We met two women on this section of the trail who were having a real tough time trying to get down the icy trail. We passed them as they tried to creep from tree to tree for something to hold onto. Our footgear was no better than theirs, all we had were hiking boots on, no crampons or cleats, but, we had the major advantage of trekking poles. You learn to set the poles to ease yourself down without pitching headlong down the icy trail into a tree, which I am sure these women were afraid might happen to them. Poles are invaluable for hiking in the mountains, I can’ emphasize this enough. They help you with your balance making water crossings, climbing and descending. You don’t need two, although some people prefer two. I guess it’s a matter of trying it out and seeing what works best for you. Also on this trail we met Josh, a Newfoundland. He was out to get his 4000 Footers, too. About the only thing on earth I’ve ever seen Emma afraid of is a Newfoundland. From time to time we run into them on our treks and her reaction is always as though she is coming nose to nose with a bear. What comes to my mind in this situation is “Bear meets skunk”. We saw Josh again the next spring, but I can’t say why or it will give away the ending.

K(65) J(40) E(35)
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