Blue sky and sun. Such a relief. And it's here to stay at least for a couple days.
I headed up to New Hampshire for an AMC hike today. With the teaching responsibilities gobbling up my weekends, I only made it to one hike in the Boston area this winter, on a 0 degree night, to listen for owls. It was led by a naturalist, so I learned about vernal pools, the leader's favorite habitat. I also learned that salamanders breed in vernal pools because the pools dry up every year, which means that hungry, water dependent fish don't live there. Other than that night, I haven't been hiking in months. I miss it a lot, and was disappointed to not to do more winter hiking. In August, I got a pair of snowshoes for my birthday, and they've been sitting in the closet all winter. There was virtually no snow this winter! We got a total of six inches in Boston until this month. The trip leader today said there wasn't snow in the mountains until February, which is very unusual.
So at 7am this morning I headed up to Mount Martha with snowshoes attached to my pack, hoping for one good winter hike, since New Hampshire got some fresh snow in the past couple weeks. Even better, today was a sunny 70 degree day, with a couple feet of April snow to tromp around in. Unfortunately, when I got there the trip leader told us to leave the snowshoes behind because not everyone came with a pair. My heart sunk. So back into the closet they go, until next winter. :(
We postholed it instead.
Other hikers had already broken trail so it was just a matter of sticking your feet in the holes as you went along. Doing squats and lunges all winter at the gym paid off. My legs have never been stronger, which makes me very excited for what I'm hoping will be a summer filled with hiking trips.
As with AMC hikes, you never know who you'll be hiking with, but it usually works out pretty well. They do some screening to make sure you're prepared, and give you a list of what equipment you're required to bring. But this time someone slipped through the cracks. A woman showed up in jeans, a sweatshirt, and boots (not hiking boots). I'm sure she had cotton socks on too because at the end she said her feet were soaked. The trip information said NO COTTON.
At the beginning, after ten minutes of huffing and groaning, she said to me, "It's just this darn snow. As soon as it goes away, I'll be doing okay." Uhhhh, yeah. See, we're going up a mountain. Up means colder. Colder means deeper snow. I figured she'd be turning around soon and sitting in the car for a several hours until her carpool partner made it up and back.
I bit my tongue, and good thing because she made it to the top. It was impressive, her making it to the top and the summit view. Behold the Southern Presidentials.
The peak on the right is Mt. Washington, the highest peak in New Hampshire. And no, I haven't hiked that one. Not sure I will because it's the only Presidential Mountain with a parking lot at the top. It's also where they get some of the worst weather in the world. Not this year, mind you.
Going back down is more fun, as you get to destroy all those holes by sliding along on the heels of your boots.
On the way home, I stopped off at Echo Lake, in Franconia Notch and snapped a few pictures.
It was a very good day, even without the snowshoes. :)