Just when I was about to call it good and take the day off from hiking, I decided to check one more area that I hadn't yet checked. Low and behold, the center of the Sandwich Wilderness where Mount Whiteface and Mount Passaconaway are located, was forecasted to be mostly sunny with 10-15 MPH winds, occasionally gusting to 20 MPH, with a high of 12 degrees. I'll take it! I knew both Denise and Kyle had already crossed these two peaks off of their winter lists so I wasn't expecting either of them to join me. Kyle did however, because in his words he would "rather hike a repeat on a nice day than hike on a crappy day to bag a peak" or something close to that effect. Denise would have too but she was already staying up in the Twin Mountain area which is quite a drive from the southern end of the WMNF.
Kyle and I met at the Ferncroft parking area near Wonalancet a little before 8:30 in the morning. The sky was bright blue and the sun was gleaming off of the untouched snow on the surrounding fields. It was a perfect day and hard to believe that it was snowing a little bit north of here. For those of you who have never been to Ferncroft, it is awesome. I can't think of a more picture perfect New Hampshire-esque spot. The parking area for trail heads is at the end of Ferncroft Road, a long dirt road lined with forest on one side and big open fields on the other. From the parking area, one continues to walk on the dirt road past an old cemetery and old restored farmhouses and barns. In the summer the fields are dotted with wildflowers and in the fall there are apple trees with sweet old apples dangling from their branches. It is a quaint area that is peaceful and quiet but seems to hold many secrets. Every time I am there I can't help but wonder what it was like to live there one hundred or two hundred years ago.
All day both Kyle and I had been dreading the 2.4 mile stretch on the Rollins Trail from the summit of Whiteface over to Passaconaway. We were also dreading the final 0.7 mile steepish slog up to the summit of Passaconaway. But for whatever reason, we motored through both stretches and make great time to the summit of Passaconaway. It was strange that it felt so much quicker than much of the morning climb up Whiteface.