Everybody! Are you done having a dance party in your cube?
Nick and I moved our feet all over Vermont’s tallest undeveloped peak this past weekend. It has been two weeks since I had skied or really done much of anything outdoors and had a plan in mind to cram a weeks worth of activity into a weekend. Given the hordes mobbing the lifts over the holiday weekend and very questionable conditions following a rapid thaw and freeze cycle, we would be headed to the back country and skiing would not be our primary activity.
I picked Nick up in Keene, NH en route to Camel’s Hump State Forest, where we planned to overnight at a back country shelter, summit the mountain, and at the very least scope out some possible ski zones. While stopping in Montpelier to rent a pair of snow shoes we noticed several inches of snow had already accumulated on the ground. It was looking like there would indeed be enough powder to cover up any death crust from the previous day’s thaw.
We arrived at the trail head and quickly agreed that skiing was necessary. So for the very first time I was skinning up the mountain. What a relief to finally be freed of extraneous footwear and carrying skies on my back. I just need to get my feet in some AT boots so that Move Your Feet doesn’t really mean Blister Your Feet.
Nick trucking along just fine on his snow shoes.
It continued to snow at varying intensities all day long.
There is some seriously exposed terrain in this neck of the woods.
Halted by this menacing rock formation we switched over to downhill mode,
and away we went. Moving our feet through the woods!
Of course I continued on to jump off this pillow, and obviously the camera battery died right before that happened.
We had a blast moving our feet in powdery turns through the mellow forest, only scraping the crust on very hard turns. Back at the car, with the fun part complete, we warmed up, refueled and made a mess of my car packing our overnight packs. The temperature was quickly dropping as did the sun as we ever so slowly climbed back up the mountain. Didn’t we just do this?
More lovely pillows, I would love to stop moving my feet and make one my bed.
Once the sun set trail finding became exceeding difficult and I think we were both very close to seriously considering just stopping where we were and digging ourselves a snow cave. Soon enough we did make it to the Montclair Glen Lodge. The two of us made a total of ten overnighters, a full house!
We quickly jumped into our sleeping bags, fired up the stove,
and made dinner from bed.
Macaroni & cheese with kielbasa. I even scored a Long Trail Double Bag from my loft neighbor, the perfect night cap! The wind howled all night long, and the sleep was far from good, but my bag kept me warm.
The sun came out in the morning as we prepared to hit the summit on our way out.
Our evening living space now void of any trace of life.
We planned to ascend the camel’s hump via the long trail, but quickly changed plans when greeted by a sign stating that the trail blazes were usually buried by snow and that the trail was very difficult to follow without prior knowledge of the route, which neither of us had. So we backtracked a mile towards our car to take the trail often traveled to the summit.
We ditched our packs at the junction and headed up. It was cold, condensation from my breath froze to my beard.
The summit provided outstanding views. Mt. Mansfield to the north,
Adirondacks to the west,
and Nick staring into a frozen water bottle to the south.
The wind was whipping like no other at the top, and of course we left our goggles with our packs. I swear I got brain freeze from my eyeballs getting so cold. So we moved those feet of ours in a hurry down the mountain, we made it down the first mile in 15 minutes, it took us close to an hour to make that distance in the uphill direction.
Packs retrieved and it’s back to the car.
Can I please just not move my feet anymore?