Sunday January 24, 2016 Moonrise hike beneath Mt Hunger by John Buddington and Kathy GohlEight of us assembled at 4:45 pm at the Rumney School in Middlesex and carpooled to the end of North Bear Swamp Road. When we headed out at 5:00 the the temperature was about 20F with no wind. The full moon was expected to rise at 5:48 pm (per the U.S. Naval Observatory calculations for Worcester).
There was about a foot of snow on the ground. There had been no new snow for the past week and snowshoe, ski, and boot traffic had packed down our route. Most of us put on snowshoes even though boots were sufficient.
It had been sunny until midday then clouds gradually overspread the area. When we started, a few minutes after astronomical sunset, it was still daylight. We headed down the Class 4 road and took the logging road until it joined the Middlesex Trail. We continued up the logging road to the point where the trail to Mount Hunger diverged. At this point, headlamps became useful. We continued to a log landing, reaching it at about 5:50 pm (Mile 1.6, elevation 2,000 feet, vertical climb 370 feet).
The log landing afforded us a view south to Irish Hill and the lights of the airport in Berlin. The Worcester range was silhouetted by the remnants of daylight. To the east we gradually became aware of moonlight on the clouds. We remained for about a half hour until we were convinced that the moon had actually risen. Despite infusions of hot chocolate, we became aware of the cold.
We started back about 6:20 pm mostly under headlamp illumination and arrived at our cars by 7:10 pm.