Saturday, December 22, 2007
Hike: Mount Lafayette Elevation 5,260'
Distance: 8 Miles
Elapsed Time: 7 Hours
Who: Sherpa John and Sarah
Winter began at 1:08 Am EST here in New Hampshire. And though the frosty landscape would have dictated otherwise over the last month and a half, the season has finally changed. Per the normal for myself and various of my hiking friends, the turn to winter is the official start of "The Game." Peak-bagging NH's 4,000 Foot Mountains in the Winter season. I've all ready completed the lust once and am well on my way to completing the list a second time. Today was a great day for us to begin this ears game on a good foot.
Sarah and I woke early and hit the road making it to the trailhead off of I-93 in Franconia Notch. The skies were overcast with the clouds hanging low. It was cold in the parking lot as we began our hike rather bundled up. The trails were packed out from the previous nights hikers (Thanks Drew and Crew!) so the going was as easy as it could be. Our snowshoes were al ready on and they helped us float on more than 4 feet of powder.
The higher we climbed on the ridge, the harder the wind blew. We were socked in the clouds and wondering if this was even worth it. As we meandered higher on the ridge and poked out into open areas such as "Lunch Rocks", the winds howled, we shivered and spoke of turning back after visiting the AMC's Greenleaf hut. At about 3,500', rime ice had formed on the trees, enhancing the frosty landscape. (See Below: Google Search RIME ICE)
As we reached the hut, we hunkered down in the back seeking shelter from the harsh elements. We grabbed a quick bite to eat before adding additional layers for the frigid journey ahead. We were still a mile from the summit with the most dangerous part of our hike left to go. Before we poked above tree-line, I gave Sarah my goggles and I would brave the sandblasting of snow upon my face from frigid winds. But the most extraordinary thing of the day was about to take place... we were to emerge ABOVE the clouds and view a sea of undercast below. This is a phenomenon we've been waiting to experience for many years. And despite harsh winds, cold temps and a below zero windchill,we enjoyed every breathtaking minute of it. As we reached the summit, we snapped some quick photos and turned back for the bottom.
Sarah and I then returned home to enjoy our Christmas together, exchanging gifts and the like. A very enjoyable day. I want to take this moment to thank all of you who continue to visit my little space on the web. Your support is very much heartfelt, and I appreciate it for all that it is worth. May you and your families enjoy the Holiday, whatever it is that you may celebrate. God Bless! And Now... a final clip from my all time favorite Christmas Movies. Happy Holidays!