Mt Hedgehog and Upper Frankenstein Cliff are two excellent short hikes that can be easily done in the winter. Both take roughly a half day to complete.

Nice view from the "summit" of Upper Frankenstein Cliff
Continuing with the theme of shorter hikes for enjoyment of the New Hampshire winter, I decided to do a mountain on the Kancamagus Highway and another off of Crawford Notch/Rt 302 (the most classic highways in the state). On these days, I was in a particularly frigid period of weather which was cold even by White Mountain standards. Ambient temperature on the Mt Hedgehog hike was 15 below zero so I stuck to the sub 3,000 foot summits. Mt Hedgehog was actually a nice workout- its about a 5.5 mile round trip hike with sufficient elevation gain to allow for a panoramic view without getting too exposed to high altitude winds.

Mt Hedgehog is on the "52 with a View" list, maintained by the Over the Hill Hikers of Sandwich, NH. It certainly earns its spot with an imposing view of Mt Passaconaway which looms over its comparatively short summit. Additionally there's a direct view of most of the eastern Kanc Highway and notch. Its also mostly a loop hike which is always a bonus.
Arethusa Falls, NH
The hike up to the summit of Mt Hedgehog is a relatively straightforward 2 miles with somewhat constant elevation gain. The summit has a fine view before the trail confusingly runs behind and around the backside. In the winter this involved some pretty difficult route-finding; the blazes are infrequent and deep snow covered the usually-well cut trail. It loses quite a bit of elevation before coming around the eastern sub-peak. This isn't a true summit but it is a ledge-y outcropping with ample views of Mt Passaconaway. Its a nice touch to this short hike. The trail then descends easily to the beginning of the loop. Unfortunately this was an expensive hike for me- I lost my camera, broke a snowshoe and a poll on this one!
Mt Washington and a view of the Valley of the Dry River
Upper Frankenstein

I was in no condition for ice climbing but I couldn't resist a nice hike around the famous Frankenstein Cliff. I didn't realize that although it's better known for some excellent ice, the cliff is also a great hike. This is another 6 mile hike and although its steeper than Mt Hedgehog, there are rewarding views of about a dozen ice falls and Arethusa Falls. The "summit" of Frankenstein Cliff has the above pictured view of Mt Washington and the southern Presidentials. For a newly-Midwestern person like me, it evoked many memories of all my times hiking in this part of New Hampshire. Its was a poignant hike.

This hike can also be best done as a loop with Arethusa Falls. It scarcely adds any distance to the trip and the short walk off the main trail brings in view New Hampshire's largest waterfall, frozen. I've frequented Arethusa many times despite the fact that its no secret to anyone. Ice Climbing it ranges from simple WI3 to multipitch mixed routes. It was a good place for me to learn.

I would have liked to have done a 4,000 footer during my time back in ME/NH but it wasn't in the cards this trip. I look forward to returning some time in the early summer for some further peakbagging.

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