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.
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.
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.
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.
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.