I hiked Jennings Peak in the Sandwich Range / Waterville Valley today, December 15, 2018. Here's the route I took.
I ascended via Sandwich Mountain trail which is steeper but shorter (2.5 miles) and descended via Drake Brook Trail which is longer (3.2 miles) but has a more moderate grade.
There is a difficult water crossing in the beginning of each trail. I managed but it took careful consideration of each step.
I need to put heel pads inside my hiking boots. My heels keep sliding up inside the boot. Luckily it wasn't a long hike, or I would have ended up with blisters.
I took the top part of my Osprey backpack off and my neck and shoulders felt much better. I really don’t need the extra space and having the pack sit lower behind my neck allowed me to bend my head backwards and look up to the blue sky without restriction.
I wore my Marmot hiking pants with North Face long johns and that worked much better than my snow pants, at least in the warmer temperature around 40F.
I wore the gaiters in the beginning, but they added a layer of warmth, so I took them off maybe a mile into the trail. I even rolled up my pants, so I only had the long johns covering my calves and shins, as well as my socks. This helped cool me down on the ascent, although I did have a few moments where snow made it into my boot. I probably should consider some low gaiters.
The Marmot pants are amazing. They can be rolled up to turn them into 3/4 length pants, which I do a lot in the in between season when it's too cool for shorts in the morning, but it heats up during the day. They also have an elastic seam, so I was able to pull them over my boots to keep snow out and they stayed in place really well. Let me add that I hiked on a nicely packed trail, where I only needed Microspikes, I basically never sunk into the snow, which would have required my gaiters.
The Marmot hiking pants are high cut, which is the only feature that I haven’t enjoyed as much in the past. I don’t like anything constricting my waist, it tends to bother my stomach. But during my last few hikes I’ve had the problem that my snow pants - which are lower cut - create a pressure point on my hip bones. The waistband is exactly where the hip belt of the pack sits. I didn’t have any problems with rubbing on my hips this time.
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