I never quite know where I’ll go or what I’ll find.
Last weekend’s hike to Holts Ledge emphasized the end of winter/snow hiking, despite the spectacular powder snow I encountered on Kinsman Ridge two weeks ago. That change, coupled with area roads swallowed under a mud season of “biblical proportions”, led me to stay close to home for my hiking this weekend: literally out my back door. It’s a common mud-season opportunity for me, while the trails remain muddy in the mountains and the river is still shedding its winter ice. Today’s outing led to two interesting finds! Read on.
A mere five days after I went snowshoeing through winter’s glorious powder in the Kinsman Range, I went hiking with two friends … in decidedly spring conditions. Granted, Holts Ledge is much lower (elevation ~1069′ rather than 4293′) but there was much more snow at the base of the Kinsmans than there was at the summit of Holts. This week’s rain and unseasonably warm weather (close to 60º during our hike) has turned the low-elevation trails into mud, and (no doubt) the higher elevation trails are packed ice.
This section (and other low-elevation sections) of the Appalachian Trail is now basically done for the season, and should be avoided until after mud season.
Ironically, the view above is at the top of the Dartmouth Skiway… fewer than 100m from the top of the slopes. There, skiers were still happily skiing on spring-condition snow. At least there were some views, below.
Sigh, we haven’t even reached the spring equinox yet.
Tuesday morning I saw the first spots of open water along the river as I drove into town. By Tuesday evening the river had opened up a channel down the center, near home. By Wednesday evening, below, the water was widely visible, the ice slowly dissipating and breaking up. I don’t have good records, but this sure feels early…
A late-winter snowstorm triggers my itch to get up into the mountains.
A massive winter storm blew through New England yesterday – starting as a light drizzle, but turning to wet snow as the temperature dropped. Here at home in the Connecticut River Valley, I was disappointed by the heavy, wet, two inches we received despite hours of snowfall. I knew, however, that there would be more – lots more – at higher altitudes, where the storm may have been an all-snow event and where the cooler temperatures would brew light, fluffy powder. As the photo below shows, I indeed found great powder conditions. Read on!
This morning I was looking for a good destination for a winter’s afternoon hike. Morning business meant I could not reach any trailhead until after noon, so I picked Spruce Mountain – an easy 2-mile trail up a short mountain in east-central Vermont. I was here just over a year ago, in deeper snow, but the memories of a lovely hike were shadowed by a sad incident on the drive home that sent my Tesla into the shop for almost two months. So today was an opportunity for redemption. And a beautiful day at that!