Saturday, April 15, 2023

Winter Hiking Wrap Up

After a messy January, we were able to catch some decent weather days for some solid hiking through February and March.

February 11, we snagged a gorgeous day to hike Tecumseh. Interestingly, we hiked Tecumseh almost a year to the day ago, in very similar conditions. It was sunny, relatively mild, lots of hiker traffic and we wore spikes top to bottom. We made short work of this hike and I believe set a PR (I'm too lazy to double check that.) 

February 12, we set out for redemption on Carter Dome. As wise as it is to hit all of the Carters at once, we did not have the time. Conditions were still not great, but snowshoes from top to bottom kept us on our feet. It was a chilly day, especially during the last mile, but we were very lucky with pleasant sunshine and very little wind at the top. No matter what, Carter Dome is one of those hikes that is just a long slog- and it may not be our favorite! (this being said, it was pretty cool to see the summit in winter conditions. HUGE snowdrifts get you up so high, it's a very different landspace from summer!)

February 19, we set off for our first winter trip over the Tripyramids. We had a really great day, and enjoyed an out and back on Pine Bend Brook Trail. There is no doubt that this is a steep, steep hike in many places but we were able to wear spikes the whole time, and it was fast and fun. It was also a beautiful day, and we enjoyed very quiet trails. This is a trail where traction is VERY much needed in winter, and there would be no way to manage the steeps in bare boots (I think bare boots in winter are the equivalent of flip flops in the summer... so...) 

February 20. South and Middle Carter. Getting the rest of these bitch ass Carters done for the season. Blech. We went from Imp trail (not over the imp face) to North Carter Trail and it was as one would expect. Honestly, it was not a terrible day. It was pretty warm, we managed fine in spikes, we only saw 5 people. We bopped down past the Joe Dodge Lodge at the end, and then ran down the road back to our car in the pouring rain, which was extremely unpleasant. Somehow, we took zero photos. 

March 5, it had snowed about a million feet over the course of the week, so we packed the snowshoes and hit Jackson. Thankfully, this is a short (less that 5 mile) hike but despite our misgivings, it was very well packed out. The biggest challenge was the traffic on the trail which was almost summer level. Several large guided groups out and about, and some unguided intrepid barebooters as well, tearing up the trail like a bunch of ass hats. The summit was a shit show of much higher than forecast wind, unconsolidated snow, and horribly bad visibility. We scooted. This was a pretty good time though, and it was incredible how much snow had shown up (at the end of winter..)  Again, no photo evidence. 

March 11, we headed out for our final Winter season hike over the Hancocks. We were greeted with a pretty well established but unconsolidated trail, and opted for snowshoes AGAIN. Honestly, it is kind of nice to have the televators to get up the wicked steep parts, so there's that. This was our first winter trip on this trail and it was a damn good time. Gorgeous weather, beautiful views, trail blazes at ankle height and a crazy wild slide back down added to the adventure. This is a long, but really fun winter hike. I'll take it over the Carters anyway (this might win my award for best Winter hike of 2023.) 

March 25, Isolation, technically in the Spring, and officially our first Spring trip to Iso. Super day for spikes and fast conditions top to bottom. We took Rocky Branch, to the Engine Hill Bushwack, to Iso express and it was in incredible shape. Decent enough weather, and very low hiker traffic. This had the potential to be an amazing day, but sadly, I expect it to win the worst hike for Spring award. I had been dealing with a mild cold for a few days, and was feeling like I was probably not going to get very sick. Unfortunately, I ended up being VERY sick and have never felt so terrible while hiking. I can't really recall anything positive, because I was miserably ill. (and let's see- it is not April 15th and I am still getting over whatever it was. Not Covid. But something horrendous.) Anyway, I don't ever want to do that again, the end. Awful.

So that's a wrap for winter, and the worst hike of the Spring. We just had 3 crazy April days in the 70's and 80's so we have a feeling that things are not going to be very nice on the trails for a bit!

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