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Bear prints on Mt. Crawford December 4, 2008

Posted by Jenny in hiking, nature, White Mountains.
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front-and-back-prints

Click on pictures to enlarge

Yesterday I took a short hike (2200 vertical, 5 miles) up the Davis Path to Mt. Crawford on a mission to take pictures that Bob and I could use on our holiday greeting cards.  I made the hike somewhat more challenging than it needed to be by carrying full winter gear, just to get in shape for the season and reaccustom myself to that “beast of burden” feeling that goes with winter hiking.  I brought the snowshoes but did not use them.  I could tell that the snow on the trail had been beaten down by hikers over the weekend, and then at the end of the weekend there was new precipitation that ended up coming down in liquid form rather than frozen.  Then it all froze up again.  Result:  trail was sort of a trough with an inch-thick crust on it.  I did not need to take my snowshoes off the pack, though up near the top it probably would have helped, but I was too lazy to do it.

On the way up I saw the most beautiful bear prints I have ever seen in snow!  The really great thing was that I could make out both front paws and hind paws.  The angle of the sun was not ideal for the pictures, but click on them and maybe you’ll be able to see better.  The one below shows a human print next to a bear print for scale.bear-print-with-human-print

Above the first open ledge that looks over Crawford Notch, the trail became fairly hard to follow through the open glades.  The brilliant sunshine made it hard to see the very faint trace of an indentation in the snow, but what I found to be a better clue was the bits of debris (leaf fragments, balsam needles) that had slid down over the crusty surface into the low point, making a sort of fragmented line.  Finally I reached the top and once again enjoyed the splendor of what might be the very best summit view in the Whites.  You look over to the Giant Stairs; up to Oakes Gulf and the Crawford Path peaks marching along toward Washington’s shining white dome, which lords over it all; and up into Crawford Notch, where the lovely straight thin white lines of the Frankenstein Trestle and the rail and highway grades make it look a bit like a model railroad set.  The obscure stream valley that issues from the north side of Crawford Dome seems like a remote, mysterious place.  It was utterly silent—no wind—and the summit was radiant with sunlight.

Lots of other interesting animal sign along the way:  moose tracks, tufts of fox fur scattered about (a captured rabbit fighting back?), cheeky boreal chickadees calling, and even a flock of wild turkeys near the Mt. Tremont trailhead as I drove back.

Giant Stairs

The giant has his staircase here

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Comments»

1. Bob C - December 4, 2008

I love Mt. Crawford and agree it has some of the best views in the Whites. Truly a “great bang for your buck” hike.

2. Winter Travel - January 12, 2009

Looks like a fabulous place. We see so much more in the winter.

3. Jenny - January 12, 2009

Yes, I think the snow is like a blank piece of paper on which all kinds of things are written!


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