I work with GIS systems for a living and most of the Breweries below are customers of the water utility I work for. I’ve been thinking about making a story map for “The Exit 4 Beer Detour” (I think I made that name up)for a while. I know Mead is not beer but they are customers of ours as well and worth checking out while on the tour.
I haven’t had too many full resort days in recent history. Most of my lift served turns come in 2-3 hour sessions after work at Pats Peak where I have a pass. When I was invited by my coworker Craig to go to Okemo I jumped at the chance. Craig had won some tickets in a contest and offered me and another coworker Alan free passes for the day. Conditions were loose frozen granular and packed powder when we first got there, and as temps rose throughout the beautiful day to almost 50 the snow softened and turned to corn and mank. Even the glades which started out as being boiler plate softened up enough to ski on our last run. I skied until lunch time and then snowboarded for the rest of the day. It was nice to get a full day in for the first time in a while. I ran my altimeter and logged 23’200 feet of vert.
From across the valley you can see some little snow bowls on the steep side of a large nearby Hill. I’ve wanted to tour for some turns up there for a while but usually opt for something bigger when I have the time. Last fall I hunted up in this area and saw the definite potential for turns, so with many other spots tracked out by now I skinned out to the semi remote hill. There was one very large Buck I had seen out here a couple time last fall, but could never get an open shot to take, so I decided to head up the side of the hill I saw him at last hoping I might see him again. I found his tracks and followed them uphill
The terrain on the way up looked promising. A little bird watching might happen up here next summer
The summit area almost had a view of another great spot.
I converted to skiing mode and dropped in to the area I had spotted from across the valley.
It was apparent that the snow fields that were visible were actually the work of Mountain Bikers. There were several drops and there was even a manmade berm feature about halfway down the hill
I made some really high quality turns on snow that was still fluffy. However being alone in a spot that will probably not see any human activity until snow melts made me a little conservative.
I was able to ski out all the way to a nicely groomed snowmobile trail that wraps around the base of the hill.
That snowmobile trail happened to go towards another bigger favorite spot. I wasn’t planning on it but the bluebirdies were singing and I wanted to tour some more. So I threw my skins back on and started toward the bigger hill. I took a few shortcuts through ungroomed areas but mostly I was able to make quick time on snowmobile trails to the bigger hill. The west side of the bigger hill did not disappoint. At one point near Moose Scat Rock I augered a tip into the snow as I skied over a downed tree, my binding released and I went face first into the snow. Since I had all my vents open on my pants and coat the fluffy snow went everywhere. It took a bit to for the snow in my pants to melt away.
When I skied out to the road I was about 2 miles away from my car and I had a pretty good blister forming. I knew that Emily was on her way home from the store and picking me up would only put her mile out of her way so I made the call and got a ride back to my car.
The parade of storms and arctic weather has made for amazing conditions, however it starts to become a little bit of a grind getting out and making your turns in subzero high wind days. Yesterday we woke up here to 4 new inches of fluffy pow on top of our 4 feet of soft snow we had already received, but yesterday for the first time in a while the temps climbed to above the freezing mark. I went out around 1pm and the sun was out the skies were blue and the skiing was great. Even though I was once again skiing alone I found myself hooting and giggling like a crazy person at how good it was. It might have just been that I was drunk on natural vitamin D from the first real sun I ‘ve gotten in a while. I took a few runs through a steep section of the mountain that in past years was unskiable due to rocks and boulders. I rode skis today because I wanted to hit some trails that had flat run outs that would be a no go on the snowboard. Skis ended up being a good decision and it ended up being one the best times I’ve ever had on skis.
I was surprised how much fresh was still available for how late in the day I got out.
The recent blizzard gave us another foot of snow, and then turned on the wind machine. I went out for a lap yesterday and one this morning. Yesterday there was a group of kids up there that were fun to meet and swap flask tastings, but today I was all alone. Wow it was cold out there. We have enough snow now that pretty much everything is in play. You really don’t even need to follow the cleared glades because most brush is buried now. You really do have to stick to the steep stuff though or else you get too bogged down in the powder.
We received about 15 inches of snow from the Blizzard on Tuesday. Wednesday morning I ventured out solo into the local backcountry. I brought both my AT skis and my splitboard, but I decided to splitboard because the consistency of the snow seemed to be more how I like it for snowboarding. I Made 2 summit to road runs one on the Chat Noir side of the mountain and one down the Son of Guido Trail. The top 100 vertical feet of the mountain tended to be a little scratchy due to having less base and the high winds carried a lot of the snow away. In the Hemlocks it was only about 6 inches deep in spots. But lower on the mountain conditions were epic. Knee deep Dry Powder made for some of the best turns I’ve made in a while. After 2 runs I went home grabbed some food and then headed back up the hill again with Jeremy. Jeremy used my Icelantic Nomads and we hit up the other side of the mountain for 2 more runs. Here’s some pics of conditions. I’ll try to add some video later.
The wind had its way with the snow up high making for thin cover in spots
Saturday Jeremy and I headed up Mt Monadnock. Trail conditions were much different than they were a few weeks ago when I was up here. Most of the snow was melted and the trails had a lot of water ice on them.
We decided to take the long way up and stop at Café Pumpelly for breakfast. When we first got there a party was just leaving. I had brought some supplies to make cooking our breakfast a little more homey.
After extinguishing our fire and doing a little maintenance we headed back to the trail and toward the summit.
Many sections of trail on the ridge looked like this:
We both had microspikes on but as we hiked I was noticing Jeremy’s with only about 20 miles on them were getting much better traction than mine which have about 700 miles on them now. I had just been bragging about how long mine were lasting with no issues, but after today I realized I should start to think about updating mine. I really can’t complain though, pound for pound and dollar for dollar my microspikes are probably the most useful piece of gear I own, and I own a lot of gear.
After making our way across the ridge we arrived at a pretty busy and windy summit. We spent most of our time on the summit hiding from the wind. This was officially my 80th Mt Monadnock Summit.
We Descended the White Dot Trail back to the State Park. I fell once on the way down and and hit my elbow pretty hard on the ice, it’s still bruised and hurts but it should be fine. Back at our vehicle we headed over to Harlows in Peterborough for some Pub fare.
Conditions right now are really pretty perfect for putting down some really fast times in the Whites. After the Christmas Eve rain storm and refreeze, the trails that had snowshoe tracks are like firm side walks. I was able to make really good time up the Kinsman’s Friday. Even though this is actually my 4th time on these peak and don’t need them for any list except my December Grid I thought it might be fun to take a walk up there on Friday because Clif had invited me to stay up at the shelter that evening, I couldn’t stay overnight due to some prior engagements but I thought it would be nice to stop in and see him . I left the parking area at Lafayette Place at 8am and was at Lonesome Lake at 8:45 I stopped at the hut and signed in.
The hut guy ( I refuse to ever call them croo) said he had come down the Fishin Jimmy a couple days earlier in the rain and some of the river crossings were a little sketchy from the rain. I thanked him for the heads up and headed up the Fishin Jimmy Trail. Apparently I was the first one on this trail since the rains because there were no other tracks ahead of me. In fact there were no tracks all the way out and back to the summits until I met up with a couple of guys ascending half way back down the Fishin Jimmy Trail. I think it always makes it a little more fun when you know your that far out and all alone. I could see evidence of the blown-out stream crossings but they were no longer a hazard. Only the glaze from water ice on the boulders made them treacherous now.
I hit the top of of S. Kinsman at 10:30. From the look out you could see the cloud ceiling was dropping, I watched as the clear line of clouds slowly descended over the Franconia ridge.
As I headed off to South peak the clouds had engulfed the Kinsman Ridge and I was in a pretty good squall. Having dressed a little lighter than normal for winter hiking due to the mild forecast, I kind of had to make quick work of getting to the south summit and back to keep from getting too cold from the stiff wind and white-out conditions. When I returned to Kinsman Pond I walked out to the shelter to see if my friends were there yet. They weren’t.
Kinsman Pond Shelter (yes, that brown spot in front of it is human poop… who are these people?)
Frozen Kinsman Pond
I headed back down the Fishin Jimmy Trail making as fast of a pace as possible with out being to careless on some of the steep icy sections. I was kind of pushing the limits of my microspikes at a few points. About halfway down I met a party of 2 who were the first people I had seen since leaving Lonesome Lake. 10 minutes later I ran into Clif on his way up at 12:00 near the big stream crossing. It was nice to say hi and chat for a bit.
By the time I got back to Lonesome Lake it was nearly 40 and sunny.
The nice weather had brought out the masses. It was good to see so many families enjoying the outdoors together heading up the Lonesome Lake trail. The scene was a sharp contrast from the squall I had been in just an hour ago. I got back to my car at 12:45. I was pretty happy with my time of 4:45 out and back to the Kinsman’s but the real reason I was rushing was my parents were coming to visit their grandson at 2:30. I got back home to Goffstown just in time.
After a stressful week it was time to return to my true identity as a hiker/climber/ backcountry skier, we received 10 inches of snow on Thanksgiving Day and the mountains were calling. Most of the snow was still caught up in the trees of our local backcountry, so skiing wasn’t the best option. I headed over to Mount Monadnock and enjoyed a much needed and absolutely beautiful winter hiking experience.
This was my 79th summit of Mount Monadnock. And several times I have climbed this mountain on Thanksgiving weekend. But this was the most winter I have ever seen here this time of year. The snow was dry the air was cold the sky was blue and the views were great.
Lots of snow for November
Softshell top and bottom and Microspikes with Low Gaters. Good call for today
Neat to see open water on the lake with winter conditions
My obligatory attempt at being artsy with the camera:
I made good time car to car in under 2 1/2 hours and had a splendid hike. Then I stopped in Peterborough and got a coffee at Twelve Pine on my way home that tasted amazing. All in all it was a much needed and great day!
I haven’t posted much lately but not because I haven’t been outdoors. In fact I have been outdoors a bunch, but I have been hunting. I make the assumption that most people who follow my blog are hikers and although hunters do a lot of hiking, most hikers don’t hunt. I consider my self a small “h” hunter, not “A Hunter”. I am very sensitive to animals being mistreated so my family only buys organic humanly raised meat from a local farm. In the words of the Duck Dynasty guys: ” I dont trust meat from the grocery store.” I have recently come to the realization that there is nothing more organic than a wild raised deer, and that no one can be sure that the animal was harvested in a “humane as possible” way as me. So not wanting to be an ignorant carnivore who is disconnected with where my food comes I feel as if I should be able to accept the full consequences of where meat comes from.
I have not got a deer yet, but I have spent some beautiful time in the woods and have come to the realization that hunting and hiking although sharing similar venues have very little in common for me.
The tree stand that I have sat in and watched the squirrels from for hours:
View from the stand
I’m not very good at hunting yet, but I have gotten very good at sitting in the woods until I am nearly hypothermic.