Mounts Tom and Field
4051 feet and 4340 feet
- Date: August 14 & 15, 2010
- Trail: Avalon Trail, A-Z Trail, Mt. Tom Spur Path, Willey Range Trail, Mt. Avalon Spur Path
- Total hiking time: Day 1: 7 hours, Day 2: 8 hours
- Weather: Humid, warm, partly cloudy, high 70s both days
"Unfortunately, I did not hear Tracy's warning, nor did I catch Quinn's extra hesitation as he stepped off the plank to the rock. My wet boot partially reached the stone step, but then it slipped. I fell between the plank and the rock and banged my knee solidly against another rock."
Read more about Randy's thoughts on these mountains here.
We started from the trailhead around 9:30am, after a morning of breaking down our campsite, distributing group food, filling water and parking cars. Everyone's packs were around 40 pounds except for Randy's which was around 46. The sky was blue and partly cloudy as we cruised on the first easy 1/2 mile grade of the Avalon trail.
About an hour into the hike, Randy took a fall as he stepped off a plank bridge and we spent about 15 minutes cleaning his knee and assessing his condition. As we hiked on a bit further, Randy felt some pain in his knee, so at the 1.3 mile junction with A-Z trail, we iced it with steak tips for about 20 minutes.
At this point, we redistributed some of Randy's pack weight to other participants to take stress off his knee. At 1.8 miles, we hit a mossy glen where we filled up with lots of extra water - then hit .2 miles of steep rocky steps, which were a physical challenge to most.
At the top of the steep trail, we dropped our packs at the junction with Mt Tom spur and climbed easily to the summit of Mt Tom, where we arrived about 2:45pm. After 45 minutes of celebration, picture-taking and view gawking, we descended to make camp on the ridge near the junctions of Tom Spur and Willey Ridge trails. We started setting up camp at 4:15pm while two of us went to get more water. The evening consisted of a great meal cooked over the campfire and resting Randy's knee.
On day 2, our morning began with taking down bear bags and breaking down camp, which took a bit of time. After a hearty breakfast hash and coffee, we set off efficiently on the Willey Ridge trail at 9:00am. The trail was relatively level with few rocks, however part of it was in a narrow wash.
As we began our final gradual ascent of Mt Field, Randy tripped on a root while in the wash. He reinjured his left knee from the day before and also cut his left hand due to catching his own fall. The knee was immediately iced and elevated with wet dirt in a ziplock, while we stopped the bleeding (cut was about 1" in length and a bit deep) on Randy's hand. We flushed the hand out with a squeezy water bottle, picked out remaining dirt with tweezers, then bandaged him up with butterfly bandages, bandaid and gauze wrapping. We also took more weight from his pack.
Spirits rose shortly after this when we discovered the gray jays in the area and their knack for sitting and eating out of your hand. At 11:30am, we reached the summit of Mt Field (having dropped our packs 100 ft down from the last steep summit climb).
After about 20 minutes of marveling at views and gray jays, we began our descent on the Avalon trail, which was steep with a mix of rocks and dirt - it had moments of slabby ledges where Randy had to sit or slide to get down. His knee pain resurfaced at times as he took large steps down. As our water levels dropped low and our stomachs growled, we decided to eat lunch prior to summiting Avalon at about 1:30pm.
Two of us then descended immediately to refill water bottles while the remaining group summated Avalon. The stretch below Avalon was the hardest of the trip - about 1/3 mile of very steep and angular rocks jumbled all over the trail, where the group met up again. Randy and Quinn navigated this section very well and quicker than we expected, but it still took a toll on everyone. We rested again at the Avalon/A-Z junction (the site of the steak tip icing the day before) and then moved quickly for the last mile overeasy terrain, arriving back at our cars at 5pm.
Pre-hike page:Mts. Tom and Field Pre-hike Information
Blog posts about the hike:"Back Country Bruises - Part 1" by Randy
"Back Country Bruises (with a Bonus!)- Part 2" by Randy
Blog posts from before the hike:"Pushing My Boundaries" by Tracy
"No Tom Foolery" by Randy
"Comfort is Heavy" by Carrie