Mt. Kearsarge: A Snowy Day in the Forest
Last Monday was Veterans day, so Lucy and I hiked to celebrate all of our members of the military and their families. It was a cloudy day with snow in the forecast for the afternoon, but I wasn't too worried about the weather. After our great Mt. Martha hike the day before, I was excited to test Lucy's recall without the comfort of her trainer by my side. So I headed to Wilmot with a friend for some views and a nice quick hike to finish of the long weekend.
We started up the wooded Winslow trail in the early afternoon. It was gentle at the beginning with lots of roots and pine needles scattered on the forest floor. As we continued to hike, the trail gradually sloped upward. It wasn't particularly steep, but as we gained elevation we reached many spots where frozen puddles made the terrain slippery. Lucy was behaving beautifully off leash with the e-collar and recalled when we saw other hikers to be leashed.
I had left my microspikes in the car, and I regretted a bit because the sheer ice was incredibly slippery. At the beginning it was mostly avoidable, but as we continued to climb it became more and more prevalent. Lucy and I are very clumsy, so we were sliding all over the place. We tried to direct her towards the less icy parts, but she was still having a little bit of a tough time. I was grateful that Lucy was able to be of leash because if not, she would be pulling me up and down the slippery trail.
When we started to near the summit, we broke treeline and were rewarded with pretty nice view. Had it been better weather it could have been more expansive, but the grey snow clouds were approaching quickly. We climbed the fire tower to find it locked, but we still had some views from the top of the stairs. I imagined that this would be a very crowded summit on a nice summer day with it being such a short hike for such great views.
It was getting pretty windy with the weather blowing in, so we quickly made our way back down the Barlow trail. At this point it had started to snow. I love snow so much, so I was happy to be walking in the forest with the flakes coming down around me. As we descended the light dusting made the icy patches below our feet very slippery. We couldn't the difference between ice and dirt underneath the white blanket so every step I took was carefully calculated so I wouldn't slip and fall.
Lucy on the other had was less careful, jaunting down the trail without a care in the world. Every few steps she would slide around a bit and catch herself. I was worried about her, but she seemed to be having fun so I tried to relax a bit. All of the sudden I saw a small chipmunk run across the trail into the woods right in front of Lucy's eyes. She jumped into action, chasing it off into the forest. I called her, but she didn't listen so I gave her a correction with her e-collar. To my surprise, she turned around, looked at me, and then sauntered back to my side. I was so proud of her because typically she would have followed that chipmunk deep into the woods!
We continued on our way and made it back to the parking lot just as it was starting to snow harder. It was perfect timing so we could enjoy the little flurries before the storm really hit. Kearsarge was a beautiful, quiet little hike with some great views to knock another peak off of the 52 with a View list. It's also on the NH Fire Towers list as well!
Mt. Kearsarge (2,936 ft) via Winslow Tr and Barlow Tr [2.88 mi, 1190 ft, 2:15].