Tuesday, December 10, 2013
A feeling of ill-preparedness swept over me as I spotted two young ladies at the trail-head. Each was outfitted in insulated pants, gaiters, and winter boots. Would our journey to 3,000 ft. really have knee deep snow in April? Standing in my shorts, Timberland's, and a Helly Hansen jacket, I locked the truck door and made my way, sighing, across the parking lot. Leaping over the snow bank, where a plow truck had cleared the lot all winter, I landed swiftly on early Spring grass. And so went today's hike - snow, grass, a bit more snow, then a nice batch of mud.
Spring outings require planning (or, so says the guy in shorts). A check on the NOAA weather station revealed a high today of 55. Without so much as a cloud in the sky, shorts seemed in order. A good wool base layer, a warm fleece, and a soft shell jacket will make up for exposed legs. I like freedom to move anyway, plus I was told this hike would have a bit of scrambling over rocks and roots.
Peeling off outer layers is nearly an immediate response to the sun beating down upon our shoulders. The elevation gain teamed up with snow just soft enough to make putting one foot in front of the other a workout on the hamstrings and quads. The forest has a fresh look this time of year. The Spruce and Pine trees all seem to have a deep green luster standing out from that fading and dull-colored snow.
Left: Basking in the Sun. Right: Nature at it's best.
Fresh mountain run-off provides an ideal location to top off your Platypus water reservoir.
Blues and greens are winning the war over white. The heart of the White Mountains revealed itself to us with a 360 degree mountainous panorama. Winds picked up significantly rising above tree line, drying the hours of perspiration. The cool temperatures felt nice, for a short period of time, before we found our mid-layers again.
Before heading back down, I pause and gaze over to Mt. Washington, the jewel of New England. Still snow-capped, you can watch blowing snow whip about it's peak. For today, I'll settle for a hike involving shorts. Summer is around the corner, my tent is packed and I need some campfire for my soul.Tweet
Rhon Bell, an outdoor enthusiast, spends his time exploring the Maine Woods and documenting his journeys.
Growing up in Aroostook County, he embraced the outdoor lifestyle at a young age. Living today near Portland, he spends weekends and week-long adventures hiking New England summits, canoeing the historic Maine waterways, and ice fishing for lake trout.
Follow the journey as Window to the Woods discovers new destinations, and check out his other blog, Backwoods Plaid.