Mt. Welch & Mt. Dickey


Trail: Welch/Dickey trail

Date: 11/09/02

Attending: Royal Ranger Hike!

Miles: 4.5 loop Time: 5 hours round trip

AMC huts, / shelters / camping site: None

Weather: Partly sunny, 55 degrees

Royal Rangers Outpost 88 Cornerstone Church (Winchendon MA) Trail Blazers and Challengers. Sounds Impressive Hugh!

In attendance: Adults... John Moylan, Gary Gillcrest, Nick Kuchta, Simone & John Chicoine; Boys... John Bauver, Gabe Chicoine, Dan Kuchta, Evan Huhtla and Joey Lilly.

This was an absolutely beautiful day, (Either we know how to pick em or a bad day hiking is better than a good day doing almost anything else.) Thank God for Indian summer! We met at the church parking lot at 7:AM, Packed a church Van, outfitted Joey with pair of boots, and hit the road by 7:10AM

The trail guide says to hike this loop counter-clockwise starting on the trail branching immediately to the right by the parking lot, but we hiked it clockwise. One of these days we may actually hike it that way, but "Not Today My Friend". We could see the snow on the two peaks from Rt. 93 so I figured it would be best to bag Mt. Dickey first just in case the ice and snow made completing the loop too dangerous. I knew with enough determination and care we were likely to summit Mt. Dickey and safely descend it. Under dry conditions this trail is lots of fun and fairly easy, but not too easy. Because of the many steep ledges you have to traverse I don't recommend hiking this trail in sneakers, (too much toe jamming without the support of a boot). We had some awesome icicles on the ledges ascending Mt. Dickey and there was some ice and snow covering melting off the granite slabs. (Thank God it was melting to the point that we had enough bare rock to hike on or it would have been a bit tougher hike). The trail has lots of open ridge walking, not for people afraid of high cliffs. At first Evan was just a little apprehensive of the cliffs, but within a few moments he adjusted to open cliffs. We took our time hiking the trails taking every opportunity to do a little trail-side teaching of animal tracks, following trail markers, and respect for the trail. Once we reached the summit on Dickey for lunch we did a little map and compass work pointing out some of the peaks in site. To this point we had not seen any other hikers on the trail and when we left the van in the parking lot there were no other cars. (I was wondering if the whole world knew something I didn't). From Mt. Dickey I could see the heavily snow covered trail up the steep side of Mt. Welch that wasn't getting the melting benefits of the sun. I knew if we managed to get down into the col we'd scramble up Mt. Welch regardless of conditions unless we hit ice. Just as we were dropping off the Side of Mt. Dickey into the col, we met our first hiker coming from the other direction. Good news! The steep side out of the col up Mt. Welch was slippery snow covered but manageable with lots of care, but the ledges down Mt. Welch to the south-east were mostly melted bare and dry. A first! We got to spend a few moments studying a 2Ft. long snake warming itself on the rocks across the trail. Wicked cool! This guy was moving real slow and we all had plenty of time to get to get a good look. (Later that night Gabe and I checked the books and we think it was an Eastern Milk Snake.) By the time we got back to the van we had few boys walking like old men. (And a few old men strutting around like a couple of kids) and smiles from ear to ear on every face. Mission Accomplished!

Read about other Welch/Dickey trips