Dear Santa: Bring Snow! Cannon, 12.14.12

Dear Santa,

Please bring snow this year.  I would really love to have lots of nice snow in the White Mountains for fun and safer winter travel to the peaks of our beautiful mountains (see trip report and photos below).  I’ve been a good girl this year, volunteering on trail crews, not postholing in last year’s snow, leaving no trace when backpacking, not trampling on fragile alpine vegetation, packing out all my trash and other people’s too, and giving rides to smelly AT thru-hikers. 

Thanks,

Summerset

PS.  If you don’t bring snow, some of those Hillsound Trail Pro Crampons would be nice to find under the tree on Christmas morning.

A nice, big, thick layer of snow would be nice is what I thought as I was bushwhacking around a really nasty ice flow on the Kinsman Ridge Trail yesterday.  This week’s Carpool Challenge was Cannon, and after reading trail reports, I rounded up all the sharp pointy traction devices (microspikes and crampons) and headed up to the Cannon Tramway lot to hike up Cannon.

The start of the trail wasn’t bad at all, although this trail is steep from the beginning and doesn’t ease off for the first mile and a half or so.  Up through the woods section I went, barebooting with no problems.  I turned left into the eroded gully section and was fine for the first little bit.  After seeing more and more ice it was time for some traction.  As I ascended the ice became more prevelant, and after a while the whole trail was just a sheet of ice.  In some sections, I decided it would be easier to bushwhack parallel to the trail rather than risk slipping and falling on the ice.

See, Santa, this stuff is really bad.  No one is going to follow those blazes out there!

See, Santa, this stuff is really bad. No one is going to follow those blazes out there!

Higher up, closer to the left hand turn away from the ski trail that the trail parallels, there was some snow covering the ice, giving a little more traction.  This was both a blessing and problem.  It was  nice to have the extra traction and not have to bushwhack, but at the same time, the ice was still lurking, ready to send me right back down the mountain at a higher speed than I’d like.  Past the turn, the ice flows still abounded, so I kept to the woods.  Finally it seemed like there was enough snow cover to hop back on the trail (well, not hop, but carefully step back on the trail) and hike upwards.

The ice flows continue even past the section near the ski trail.  Santa, lots and lots of snow would cover this up.  Could you send about 3 feet worth?

The ice flows continue even past the section near the ski trail. Santa, lots and lots of snow would cover this up. Could you send about 3 feet worth?

As I got near the outlook, the grade eased up and the snow covered remained, making travel a lot faster.  I was hiking in sunshine with blue skies and between that and pretty rime covered trees, it went a long way toward making up for the yucky ice flows below.  Going up the last rocky section was easier due to the snow and soon I was winding around the Rim Trail toward the tower and some nice views.  The tower and instruments had lots of feathery rime-ice which was pretty to see, but I didn’t stay long as I didn’t want a chunk to break off and fall on my  head.

As you can see Santa, we have some really beautiful views in the winter here in the White Mountains.  This is Mt. Lafayette and neighbors in the Franconia Range.

As you can see Santa, we have some really beautiful views in the winter here in the White Mountains. This is Mt. Lafayette and neighbors in the Franconia Range.

Rime ice on the tower platform formed on everything.

Rime ice on the tower platform formed on everything!

I headed back down the way I came, knowing that the easy hiking wouldn’t last and I’d be back in the woods, skirting the ice flows.  Until I got past the eroded gully, it was slow, careful going to descend.  Once out of the gully, I removed the traction and barebooted back to car, thankful to be down in one piece.

I will have to say it was an interesting and challenging day, and not just in regard to time limits.  This isn’t the only trail that is like this, and I’m hoping we get some snow to make these trails a little safer and easier to travel!   I’m thankful for the experience to learn how to deal with the ice and my own limits, but I’m also blessed to be down in one piece.

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6 thoughts on “Dear Santa: Bring Snow! Cannon, 12.14.12

  1. Quite an adventure you had Summerset! You should deservedly feel some sense of pride successfully completing the hike, despite the icy conditions you encountered.

    And yes, couldn’t agree more about imploring Santa to PLEASE send us some significant snow. Should we also be so “greedy” as to add that we not only want the snow, but we want it to last for several weeks, rather than only a few days, as has been the recent trend?

    Last, but certainly not least, I truly admire your very clever introduction with a letter to Santa, as well as the clever captions for your photos. And further regarding your letter to Santa, judging from your list of good deeds, I’d say you have certainly been a good girl, especially for “giving rides to smelly AT thru-hikers”. Whew! Done that, but only rarely. Their bouquet lingers long after the fond farewells! 🙂

    John

  2. Thanks, John! I feel thankful to have descended safely. The whole trip took an hour longer than it normally does, just due to the ice on the way up and back.

    Well, I didn’t think a letter to Santa could hurt! Who knows, maybe we’ll get some lasting snow soon!;)

  3. Thanks for all the great trip reports this past year. Always enjoy getting the email notice that there is a new one to read.
    Rich

  4. You’re welcome Rich! It is a pleasure to write them and try to convey the sense of the trip and adventure experienced.

  5. WOW! I thought we encountered ice flows over on the Kinsmans that day but those pitcures you took of the ice flows on the trail are incredible. I can’t imagine how difficult it was considering how steep it is in places. Glad you had a great day out there and had a fun hike!

    We may have talked to you on the tramway parking lot, I was with the guy and the girl with the cute little dog. After you left I told them she looked familar but it didn’t click until you were out of sight that it may have been you.

    Have a great winter hiking, I’ll see you out there!

  6. LOL. Yes, Chris, that was me – I couldn’t resist cute little Jack – he’s just adorable! I was wondering how your group fared coming down the KRT trail, but after reading your trip report on your blog, I guess you didn’t go down it after all! Fishin’ Jimmy isn’t fun either with the ice, BTDT a couple of years ago.

    Thanks – I’ll be out for sure this winter. We may cross trails some day!

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