Single season winter 48

Up until a couple days ago, before the official start of winter, John and I have been ticking away at “tracing” – hiking every mile of the white-mountain trail system. Honestly, that hasn’t been too sexy, so I haven’t bothered with writing about it. Now John and I taking a break from hiking more obscure trails so we can bag all of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers in winter, December 21 through March 19th.

We started with Moosilauke on December 26th via the Glencliff Trail. Other than being so cold that my phone died, it was an uneventful, albeit beautiful, hike.


Next we did North and Middle Tripyramid via the Livermore, to avoid all the water crossings on Pine Bend. It still felt like winter on December 27th (unlike today, but I’ll get back that that in a minute). We wore snowshoes the entire hike, even on the groomed cross-country ski trail. The televators going up to North were super helpful. We were pleasantly surprised that the trail was nicely packed with snow and not a mess of ice from cycles of freezing and thawing. The descent hurt. Granted, I wasn’t used to my new bag and I wasn’t in winter-hiking shape, yet, but I really think it was the condition of the snow. It was so consolidated that it felt like I was walking on concrete with snowshoes, and it jarred my lower back with each step until we finally leveled out on Livermore again. I was happy when the 13-mile hike was over and we could order our burgers and get home.

North Tripyramid
Middle Tripyramid

Today (December 29th) John and I hiked Waumbek. The temperature was spring-like for the mountains. We started late, and the parking area off of Starr King was full when we arrived. We only added .4 a mile from the lot by the gas station to get to the trailhead. We passed, easily, 25 people who were finishing their hike as we were getting started. Everyone but one guy yielded to us, as is trail etiquette. John and I had a brief conversation with two women, one of whom informed me that she had the same snowshoes as me, and how do I like them? I really appreciate nice people, and bona fide hikers seem to be the nicest.

We had the summit of Waumbek (and Starr King on our return trip) to ourselves. The sun was arching toward the horizon as we exited the ridge and made our way back to our starting point. One of my favorite things in the world is light filtering through trees in the golden hour. It makes me think that anything is possible and life is good. It makes me feel alive.

From Starr King
From Waumbek


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