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!
Months ago I planned to do some hiking in Franconia Notch with an old friend. When the day arrived, however, it was gray and drizzly, with all the summits deeply ensconced in clouds. So we avoided the trails to the high peaks and chose instead to hike up to one of the area’s hidden gems, Georgiana Falls.
With the fall colors beginning to emerge, and the leaves damp from the rain, it was a great opportunity to experiment with waterfall photography. My favorites are in this gallery, full resolution.
Andy and I climbed little Mt. Pemigewasset this morning, striding up a well-beaten path to the granite outcrops that provide grand views to the south and some between-trees peeks at the high peaks of the Franconia Range. There was a fluffy inch of fresh powder on top of last week’s crust, and another foot or two of older powder below the crust. As long as we stayed on the beaten path, our footing was fine (with microspikes)… but whenever we stepped off the path, we broke through the crust and sank to our knees. And step off we did! because we passed hikers by the dozens (my guess is 80-100 people) on this popular two-mile trail. A Sunday with bright sunshine and warm temps (20ºF), on a short easy trail to a spot with grand views, is bound to draw the crowds. Indeed, we were lucky to even find a parking space at the base.
I awoke early Sunday morning to an uneven dripping sound on the roof, with the steady burble of Eliza Brook reminding me that we were spending this cool October night in a beautiful new AMC shelter high on the shoulder of the Kinsman Range. The peaks of North and South Kinsman, and Cannon Mountain, form the western wall of Franconia Notch, whose valley would later today be filled bumper-to-bumper with leaf-peeping visitors this Columbus Day weekend. It turns out they would see nothing, while we would spend the day facing spectacular views over their heads. Continue reading “Franconia undercast”