Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Icy Trails

While Washington D.C. is buried under several feet of new snow, we could use some fresh powder up this way. Unfortunately the recent storms have moved out to sea before traveling up the coast to New England. The ground is bare in spots and trails are icy.

We spent a few days hiking in the White Mountains over the weekend. Our snowshoes were strapped to the back of our packs as the trails were all packed down from many previous hikers. The flats were as easy as walking on sidewalks. Water that flows down many mountain trails in warmer seasons is now frozen solid. As we got into the steeper pitches, Srini strapped on crampons and I tried on my new microspikes by Kahtoola.

These are light, easy to put on, comfortable to walk in, and offer great traction on packed and icy trails. I am sure they aren't sufficient for high mountaineering, but for my needs so far they are perfect.

The ice climbers were happy about all the ice. We walked up the Champney Trail to Champney Falls, an extremely popular spot for climbers. They started to funnel into this small, narrow canyon by 9:00 in the morning, and by afternoon apparently it gets a little crowded in there.

The day before, we hiked the "UNH Trail" loop up and around Hedgehog Mountain, a nice little, but scenic, 2,352-foot mountain. It was there that we toasted our hot chocolate to Bella as we gazed out at Mt. Chocorua to the east, Mt Passaconaway to the south, and the Tripyramids to the west - all mountains that we have climbed in warmer weather.

Mt Chocorua

Mt. Passaconaway

Mt. Tripyramid - South, Middle, and North Peaks

If the weather holds we may be back up there next weekend to climb to the top of Mt. Chocorua, which offers one of the best views in the White Mountains. We are getting hooked on winter hiking.

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