Instant frostbite! That was my concern as we stepped out of the car on Saturday afternoon, stuck in deep snow at the unplowed parking area for the Appalachian Trail on the southwest slopes of Mount Moosilauke. The snows of Winter Storm Nemo had just ended, and were drifting deeply in strong cold winds that followed the storm. Although the New England coast had been hammered by this blizzard, at home in Lyme we received only 6 inches of snow and up here we found perhaps 8–10 inches. Not much, but very welcome replacement for the icy trails and bare brown fields that were here a few days ago.
By the time I had dug out a parking space and gotten the skis off the roof of the car, my fingers were numb and the kids were complaining about the cold. We strapped on our skis, hoisted our packs, and skied up the trail toward Moosilauke. Fortunately it is not far to Great Bear cabin – perhaps half a mile – and the fresh snow had been tracked earlier in the day by some snowshoers. We reached the cabin after skiing across windswept meadows, and were pleased to find that it was still warm from the prior occupants. Mara quickly had a roaring fire going, while the boys cracked the ice on the stream to bring back a pot of water. We settled in for a warm and cozy evening as the sky cleared, the sun set behind the trees, and the temperatures dropped below zero.
We played a few rounds of various card games, enjoyed a wonderful pasta dinner, and roasted in the sleeping loft as the wood stove cranked away all night. The next morning was lazy as we cooked breakfast, cleaned the cabin, and got ourselves out at the crack of noon. By then it had warmed up into the teens or maybe twenties, with a brilliant blue sky and sunshine, so we took a nice ski tour through the meadows and woods before heading home. We passed numerous hikers who were returning from the summit, who all reported spectacularly clear views and a stiff windchill up there. I was jealous.
A wonderful if brief weekend! Here are some more photos from that trip and also a walk we took near home on the weekend before.