I reach the summit of a non-mountain February 28, 2009Posted by Jenny in hiking, White Mountains.
Tags: Falling Waters trail, Franconia Ridge, Little Haystack, White Mountains, winter hiking
(The pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.)
I climbed a non-mountain today, Little Haystack on Franconia Ridge, elev. 4760′. When I arrived around noon, it was windy enough that I had trouble keeping my balance during the gusts, though I could see that it could be done with a little persistence—a group of three guys were making their way along the ridge toward Lincoln (elev. 5089′). But I’ve already done all of the winter NH 4000 footers, so I wasn’t motivated enough to go any further. (Little Haystack is considered a shoulder of Lincoln rather than a mountain in itself, because there is only a 100′ drop between them.)
We’re getting now to the point in winter when the sun starts shining very powerfully on all that white and blue terrain, so that it looks frigid but feels warm at the same time, somehow. I had a beautiful climb up the Falling Waters trail. It was well packed down by snowshoers who had probably gone up on Wednesday (the last good hiking day we had). I carried my snowshoes and my crampons but ended up only using my microspikes, which are great for going up steep stretches of packed-down snow.
All of the waterfalls along the trail were hidden under a lot of snow, but every now and then you could see gaps in the thick cushion of white where the water underneath showed through.
I took another picture that got fogged somehow at the top, but I still like it, looking up at the morning sun through a grove of spruce.
Near the end of my hike, I found some rocks that had perfect pillows of soft, fresh white snow on top of them. I was reminded of that thing that happens in snowfall, which children notice but we start to take for granted after a while, when each object has its own snow cap on it that seems carefully tailored to fit the shape of the object.