There’s something magical about gathering with old friends, even after a long absence. It reminds me of the experience of slipping on a well-traveled pair of hiking boots: they fit just right and enable you to walk for miles in comfort. So it was for us today, a group of friends who have been hiking together for more than three decades. We met at the base of the Rivendell Trail on Mt. Cube – a trail that is one of my local favorites, because it gives one a dose of the “White Mountains” without a long drive or a major hike. Standing apart, and forgoing the usual hugs, we donned a layer of warm clothes as the wind whipped through the trees overhead. Read on!
The recent rains had decimated the snowpack, leaving behind a hard icy layer on many of the rocks, and frozen rivulets running down the middle of the trail. Yesterday’s fresh dusting of snow was pretty, but also made the ice much more slippery. We pulled on microspikes and then made confident progress up to the intermediate viewpoint (above). It was not particularly cold – perhaps in the teens – but a stiff wind kept us from hanging out at this point for very long.
From here the trail was very icy through the woods, and we were grateful for the microspikes. On the final hundred meters, though, the trail scrambles up a series of granite ledges to the summit; on bare rock the microspikes are actually more slippery than boots, but it was inconvenient to take them off.
The summit of Cube has grand views to the west, and sometimes offers a glimpse of Moosilauke through the trees to the northeast. Today, however, Moosilauke had clouded in. One could imagine the fierce conditions up there today, in these strong winds. Much better here on Cube! We gathered for a group photo and a quick snack before sliding carefully back down the trail to the car.
Looking forward to the next outing!