Sunday, January 24, 2010
Sandwich Range Wilderness Snowshoe
Kevin and I did a very nice 6 mile snowshoe jaunt yesterday. We started with a steady gradual climb up the Cabin Trail from Rte 113A (in Tamworth I think) into the Sandwich Range Wilderness. We set out in bright warm sunshine and shed layers of clothes throughout the first mile. There was one other set of fresh snowshoe tracks, but otherwise the trail was soft and unpacked. Neither of us see a lot of sense wearing snowshoes on trails that are so well packed that you could easily manage without the snowshoes. Winter hiking has become so popular in the Whites that most trails are well packed within 24 hours after a snowstorm. That's why we headed over to this part of the Sandwich Range. There aren't any breath taking views or awe inspiring climbs where we were yesterday, just dense thick beautiful woods and nice white snow. It doesn't attract a lot of foot traffic and it is one of my favorite areas to runin. Yesterday it was perfect.
At the top of the Cabin Trail climb, we turned off to the right onto Whitten Brook Trail, again following very little used trail. A little way down this trail, the snowshoe tracks we were following suddenly ended. Who ever had been out there had turned around and haded back the same way. This meant beautiful, untouched deep snow for us! Kevin let me lead. You wouldn't think this would be the sought after position, breaking trail through fresh deep snow, but both of us love this kind of thing. Part of the fun is trying to stay on the trail. The other part is feeling your hamstrings and quads burn with every step. On Whitten Brook, the blazes have all worn off the trees but I managed to stay on course with very little prompting required from Kevin. This entire section of our outing was slightly downhill and we could really move fast through there! It was shaded and a little cooler, but we were moving and working hard enough that we didn't have to add any layers back.
There were several brook crossings before we got to the intersection with Big Rock Cave Trail. I didn't get wet until the last water crossing, just after we turned off onto Big Rock Cave. I stepped down on what looked like snow covered rock only to find out it was ice, which broke off and put my feet into the water. This didn't bother me much, because as soon as we crossed this water we had a big steep climb that kept me nice and warm. Finally we crossed over the top of Mount Mexico and back into the sunshine,where we stopped for lunch. Then it was a quick gradual descent back to Rte 113A. What a great snowshoe outing!
Today we both are feeling it a little in our legs, but we're headed out to Kezar Mountain with our snowshoes in a few minutes.Rain is expected tonight,so we have to take advantage of the snow while it lasts!