Hut to Hut Snowshoe Excursion in the Whites

winterwonderland

Looking for something fun to do on a snowy weekend? I found it. REI offers a few options but I chose to go on their reasonably priced Hut to Hut Snowshoe excursion in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The trek basically started with a dinner at the lodge near Mt. Washington upon arrival Friday night and gear check. It was beautiful, all of the trees sprinkled with fresh snow, as we departed early on Saturday morning to hit the A-Z trail. Hiking the trail to Zealand hut was actually pretty challenging with all of the gear for overnight on your back (sleeping bag, food, layers, etc.) combined with a mostly uphill climb the first half of the day. We had to use spikes on our boots instead of the snowshoes since the snow was not that deep based on some warmer weather that January week. The 6.5 mile trek ended with a surprise final push up to the hut.

NewHampshireSnow

Upon arrival we were greeted by a basic bathroom outpost, a warm wood burning stove, a kitchen to wrestle up your grub, and Bear, the Hut caretaker for the season. I had always wanted to try these hut to hut adventures for the respite of the hut and hikers at night and the ability it gives you to get further away from the day hikers and feel a bit more adventurous. The conversation centered around how we all came to be at this particular spot in the mountains and some fun trail stories. A burrito never tasted so good and a three tiered bunk bed in a room with 20 other hikers never felt so good (ear plugs included).

Up on the 3rd tier bunk puttin in ear plugs!
Up on the 3rd tier bunk puttin in ear plugs!

The trek back on Sunday was a much less grueling 6 miles, however, even more scenic thanks to the falling snow which lasted all day. A better looking day could not have been planned and we were able to get out the snowshoes after all. If you board or ski, you understand this was a different kind of fresh tracks than I am used to on the mountain. There were new coyote prints in the snow, just made moose teeth markings on the trees and a snowshoe bunny (yes it is a type of bunny!) must have been running around recently as well.

awkwardsnowshoe

To top off the trip with a reward for all that hard work and roughing it, we stopped for the night at a friend’s B&B in Mount Snow Valley (2-3 hour ride) on the way home, The Inn at Saw Mill Farms. The comfort food hit the spot and the huge fireplace and cozy Victorian rooms were just what we needed after the hike. A full breakfast sent us off to town for a few stops before the ride home to NY. In Wilmington, make sure to stop at Pickwell’s Barn for quaint shopping. Andrea, the owner has rebuilt after the hurricane and really recreated her gem. She will make sure you find something great to add to your outfit and make you feel like an old friend while doing it. There is a great coffee/tea place (with an organic twist) across the street and you should go see Al in the Country Store (est 1836!) for local treats and a flashback to the old way of doing business before hitting the road.

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hampshire


Highlights:
Snowshoeing the A-Z Trail in the Whites (the long way)
Zealand hut overnight stay
Fresh show while trekking
REI’s expertise
The Inn at Sawmill Farm
Pickwell’s Barn/Boutique in Wilmington

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