Already busy planning the summer calendar so I'll apologize for not getting these posted earlier, but it won't be a long apology because I have places to go. Long versions can be found at the links with more pics and babbling.
Blizzard Trip to NH:
This trip fell between Christmas and New Years and was timed perfectly to enjoy a White Mountain blizzard. It was oddly warm, close to 40°F as I hiked in the first day. Mushy snow on the trail and the heat had me sweaty after just a few miles.
Gave me an excuse to make camp early so I could dry off my fur before the sun dipped behind the mountains. Was glad there was open water on the river because you can see how finding clean snow to melt might be a challenge.
Less than a week after the Solstice this far north the night was long and started early. Good time of year to pack a book. I reread the LT Guide because the laconic trail descriptions are perfect for slow reading in the tent. Don't want something exciting that you'll race through on the first night.
As usual, I thought of Patman when I found open water at the Cedar Brook crossing. Seeing the stepping stones exposed in the middle I just left my snowshoes on and crossed, but I know he'd have probably stripped down for a swim :p
Day three the storm hit as forecast with heavy snow starting as I had breakfast. I opted to head back closer to the road so I wouldn't have as far to go in the deep snow to get out. It was quite a magical day for hiking in the woods. Very little wind, just big fluffy flakes falling down. I took my time making the miles to my planned camp site.
This will save me a lot of words. It was a really nice day. Then the storm started :)
You'll need the sound up to appreciate this fully. The opening clip is quiet afternoon snowfall. The second half is during the night inside the tent listening to the wind. I wish I'd captured the sound of the snowbombs nailing the tent during the night, but that made me reach for the tent roof rather than my camera.
The roar of the wind was constant and loud. Then somehow it would get louder for a bit. Nestled deep in my quilts feeling the tent slowly being buried in the snow it was oddly peaceful sleeping until the next round of snowbombs would begin dropping.
In the morning could see why it felt like the walls were closing in on me. The roof shed well, but then dumped all the snow on the walls. Next time I set up the Torrent for a blizzard I'll have to string a few guy lines to help it spread the snow farther out.
Was funny to see all the people coming out to play in the snow after the storm. I had been alone in the snow for almost 72 hours enjoying the storm and it seemed strange that they were coming out now after the show had ended. I timed it perfectly and the plows were clearing the lot as I scraped the snow off my car.
Glorious February Failure:
This was supposed to be a two night trip, but changing weather cut it short to avoid hiking out in the rain. Instead of getting the summit pics I'd come for I ended up spending a lot of quality quiet time camped at the Baldpate Shelter on the AT section that runs through Grafton Notch.
I was happy to find the trail nicely broken out. It was just after a holiday weekend so I was counting on having tracks to follow. Navigating this trail on fresh snow can be quite challenging in spots if you don't know it really well...and I don't know it that well heh.
Having camped here before I knew the local mice population was vicious. I'd use the shelter while I set up camp, but my plan was to sleep in my tent. If I'd known the weather was going to change I'd have spent this time charging up the mountain rather than sitting around enjoying the February sun.
I stamped out a trail to the latrine with my snowshoes and was happy to see it poking up above the snow. The shovel comes along on snow trips so I was prepared to dig it out if needed, but this one was build on a high platform.
I collected some melt from the shelter roof so I wouldn't have to use as much fuel melting snow. The temps were warm so I'd brought along a Sawyer filter thinking I'd find runoff rather than my Whisperlite and a big bottle of fuel.
Sun was still visible as I ate dinner. Much more reasonable amount of night by this time of year. Thankfully I remembered to zip up the vent screens when I set up the tent. During the night I awoke to a mouse running around trying to find his way inside. One thump from the inside and he didn't come back.
Had some amazing stars that night. Almost fell over the first time I got out of the tent. Cold weather and elevation really bring out the night sky views.
In the morning I figured out the weather wasn't doing what I'd expected. It was supposed to rain late that day and be clear the next, but now that was reversed. So I could have a nice day on the mountain, then pay for it hiking down a snowy trail in the rain. I opted to have a slow breakfast and hike down instead which netted me lots of pics and some video, so I'll shut up now