With an opportunity to hike with some friends on Saturday, we set off to the Tripyramids for an adventure. All of us needed the Tri’s for our winter list, so it seemed like a good plan with Pine Bend Brook being the trail of choice for ascent. We knew that with the weather the previous day, we’d probably have to break trail. From trail reports and a drive by the trailhead earlier in the week, we knew it had been broken out previously so we weren’t exactly starting from scratch.
We got on the trail around 9:00a, and the first few miles of Pine Bend Brook Trail wasn’t too bad, new snow with an icy crust. It was pretty easy to break through and although the stream crossings weren’t snow bridged, they were manageable even on snowshoes. We forged ahead and soon found ourselves enjoying the birch forest in the morning sunshine, right before the wilderness boundary.
Once past the wilderness boundary, up the hill a little and over the last stream crossing the real work began. We were breaking trail easily before, but now the trail conditions changed. Not only does Pine Bend Brook Trail get steeper in this section, but the snow was all powder with no crust. It was slippery, hard work. Literally one step forward, two steps back in places. Exhausting and slow work for sure. Our progress slowed dramatically, but little by little we clawed and scratched our way up the small ravine to the left hand turn and up to the first ridge. We got a nice break when the trail leveled out, getting up ready for the final push to the summit of North Tripyramid. It was in the flat section that we heard, and then finally saw some of the members of a group that was behind us. At that point we didn’t see the whole group, so we continued breaking trail up to the summit of North Tripyramid. We finally got there and took a nice long break and we were happy to have it after four miles of breaking trail.
During our break the group behind us caught up to us, and we were able to meet them. The group included Bob and Geri and their dog, along with Randy and Quinn and others. It was a pleasure to meet them and was fascinating see how Randy, who is blind, and Quinn his dog worked together along with a little help from their crew make their way down the trail and around the obstacles. These trails aren’t easy if you *can* see, let along trying to hike them blind! Humbled and amazed, we congratulated them on the summit, then they headed off to Middle Tripyramid, while we finished our break, and got ready to head over to Middle Tripyramid ourselves. Special thanks to Geri for rescuing my pepperoni and celery sticks which had fallen out of my pocket on the ascent!
We arrived at Middle Tripyramid, just as the other group was ready to leave to head back down. We enjoyed the views, took some pictures and then headed back to the trailhead.
As we dropped down below the ridges, we enjoyed the light as the sun set and reflected various shades of pinks and oranges on the clouds and snow around us. We hurried along, as quick as we could in a safe manner, with the goal of getting off of the steep section before it was too dark. Once back in the easier terrain, we were able to pick up the pace and with the help of the light from a sliver of moon and hiking partner with exceptional night vision we made it back to the car quickly.
What a day! Breaking the trail was exhausting and frustrating at times, but in the end it was a great day and the blessing of nice weather and good hiking partners made it even better.