Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Snow Day

March 9, 2013--First Tracks

Don and Cosmo headed in to check on the overnight sites at Glen Brook and Hemlocks shelters.  The Glen Brook campsites had suffered some damage from "Superstorm" Sandy, and we have a project day scheduled in June to fix things up.

Yesterday we got about a foot of snow.  With highs expected in the 40's today, we thought we'd get a snowshoe in up from the bottom of the access road to the shelters for a last fling at winter. 

Under sparkling blue skies and a light wind, we arrived at the entry road to Mt Everett before it had been plowed, but shortly the DCR truck came by and plowed out the parking area in front of the gate and we were able to go right in.

With our snowshoes on, we made steady progress up the road.  The only other tracks were from a skier, who stopped about a 1/4 mile in.  After that we took turns breaking fresh trail through the powder.

We passed a completely frozen over Guilder Pond, but in the quiet, sunny morning, we could hear water trickling out somewhere.

At the parking area we turned left and headed north on the AT--again making fresh tracks.  After bypassing a couple of blowdowns, we came to the junction of the Hemlocks and Glen Brook access trails where we found boot tracks coming in from the north.   We continued on to Glen Brook Shelter, where we found all in order.

Next stop, the tent platform area. Here a number of large trees blew down during Sandy--one landing right on the platform.  Fortunately, no one was camped there at the time.  Don is standing on the edge of the tent platform in the photo.  We have a work project scheduled for June 1st (National Trails Day) to clean up this campsite.

How deep was the snow?  Here's the bear box at the entry to the campsite:

On to the Hemlocks Shelter, where we met three men out for a couple of nights.  They had hiked up in the snow yesterday.  Originally intending to come up from Jug End, they chose to use the shorter Elbow Trail instead, since they did not have snowshoes.  While we stopped for lunch, they headed up for a day hike to Mt Everett.

After lunch, Don and I headed back to the car.  On the way, we met a hiker coming north from Salisbury CT.  He reported waist-deep drifts on the south side of Race, as well as multiple downed trees.

As we headed down the access road, the snow began to change consistency.  In areas in the sun, it became wet and slippery; in the shade, still light and fluffy.   While Winter still retains his grip on the mountains, it is starting to loosen.  Maples are making sap on these warm afternoons, soon we'll be able to walk on dirt again.

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