Friday January 1, 2010
It was above freezing during the day and below freezing once the sun was low. The trail was mostly five inch deep packed snow having the consistency of a snow cone. My micro spikes made the trip a pleasure. I encountered several parties without ice traction equipment on their feet proving that the hike could be done on this day without any special footwear. That said, if you are wearing the right footwear you will not need to constantly concentrate on not slipping. There was no need for breaking trail. Prior hikers had trampled down the snow to a fairly solid base of four to six inches of fine grained corn snow. With my micro-spikes providing firm grips I found the trail much easier to walk than it is during warm weather because it is smoother and slightly padded.
The fire roads were mostly covered in thin crunchy ice or snow. There were already bare sections but most of the distance could have been skied. That said, even when the fire roads were snow covered they were very icy and would not have been much fun to ski. I am sure there were a few very rare days just after the big snowstorm when the skiing conditions were terrific.
For the last hour of my hike I walked with my headlamp turned off. A wonderfully large bright moon had climbed low into the crisp black winter sky accompanied by brightly twinkling stars. There is a special magic that occurs when the snow is crunching under your feet and a clear winter sky has a bright winter moon bathing the leafless snow covered woods in a dim silvery illumination.
GREAT START OF A NEW YEAR!
I try to take this shot from the same spot of the road so as to provide a reference of change through the seasons. Most pictures have higher resolution if clicked on but you may need to use the slider bars.
Start of the Ridge Trail.
Looking up Rock Scramble from First False Summit.
Looking back at First False Summit from below the cave.