While we haven’t had much snow at my house, I have been getting my Winter Wonderland fix on my weekly Carpool Challenge hikes. Last week I went to Mt. Osceola since Tripoli Rd. was still open and this week I went to Mt. Tom.
I was pleased to see that Tripoli Rd. was open, so I ventured down it, happy to see a couple of sets of tire tracks in the 2-3″ of snow on the road. The further I drove, the fewer the tracks. I passed the last truck parked on the side of the road, and then there were no more tracks. Just me. The temperature reading from the car was 10 degrees when I pulled into the lot for the Mt. Osceola trail. Yes, I think I’ve found winter. Although cold, the morning was full of sunshine, so after suiting up appropriately, I headed up the trail. I enjoyed the fresh, new snow, with the only tracks being those from little woodland critters. I never saw any tracks from big woodland critters and that suited me just fine. I actually hadn’t been to Osceola from this side since last fall, so it was nice to visit a trail I hadn’t been to in a while. The trail is nicely graded and never really steep, so it was nice hiking and just beautiful with all the snow on the trees. There was plenty of ice under the new snow, but with some care, I was able to bareboot all the way to the summit ledges. What a beautiful view I had! The Presidentials were robed in snow, and I could easily see all sorts of landmarks and other mountains. After a nice little break, I was ready to head down. I put on the microspikes for a little extra traction, knowing that plenty of ice was lurking underneath that pretty layer of snow. I quickly made my way down, and about a half mile from the summit saw another solo hiker, the only person I would see all day. A perfect pre-winter hike!
Yesterday, I hiked up Mt. Tom. It was lightly snowing in Crawford Notch when I arrived, so I didn’t have much hope for views. Views are always nice, but not the entire reason I hike. I’ve had quite a busy week and getting away for a day and spending some time out in the woods was just what I needed. With still no snow at home, I was also hoping to enjoy some snow. I wasn’t the first one up the Avalon Trail, but I was the first up the A-Z Trail. I enjoyed the solitude of hiking up through the woods in the light snow, even though I could only see the neighboring ridge occasionally as the clouds blew past it. I had a little more sunshine as I hiked up and the snow sparkled where the sun hit it. After a quick break, I was off down the Mt. Tom Spur. This portion of the trail was the iciest, and in some places, there wasn’t even enough snow to disguise the ice underneath. I barebooted to the summit, but once again, decided traction would be a good idea on the way down. After a quick peek through trees at the clouds and no views, I headed back across the spur trail. By the time I was headed back down the A-Z Trail, all the clouds had lifted, and I was able to get some great views of Mt. Washington through the trees. Working my way down the trail, I came to the junction with the Avalon trail and chatted with another hiker for a few minutes. He had been in the area since Monday, but had seen no views. I told him to turn around and look at Washington. The look on his face was priceless – he didn’t realize it had cleared off. His plan was to go up to the summit of Avalon, and I told him if the weather held he’d have fantastic views. We parted ways and down I went, enjoying the sunshine and having had a great morning.
While it is not officially winter yet, nor do we the snow at home that usually accompanies it, I was thankful for a little taste of winter and the beauty the new season will bring.