4,340-foot Allen Mountain is one of the more rued hikes for aspiring 46ers. It sits to the south of most of the other High Peaks, isolated from all the other trailheads. The start of the hike, shared with the über-cool Mount Adams and its restored fire tower, is a whopping 9 miles (one way!) from the summit.
When we hiked Allen in the summer, Kathy commented that it just felt like a long meander in the woods. On this day, that description would be too kind.
The weather was warmer a few days prior, and lots of hikers left ample divots with their boots. Then the colder weather came in and hardened them, making this trip a bumpy slog for most of the duration. Even with snowshoes, most of the base was frozen hard and made for clunky walking. Facing 18 miles of it was discouraging. At least the lake and river crossings were frozen solid.
I made great time — under 9 hours — and was happy to put Allen behind me. This is my 13th winter High Peak, all done this season.