February 10, 2013.
The day after the big snowstorm that dropped 18" at home. The mountains received over a foot of snow, light and fluffy. Starting out at the Cannon Mt Ski Area tram parking lot on a crisp, temps in the single digits, blue sky morning. The plan is to head up Greenleaf Trail to the hut and then if conditions permit Mt Lafayette.
Getting to the lot a little after 9 and a look towards my destination, the gap in the center of the picture is where the trail passes through.
Walking down the road and under the highway making a left on the on-ramp to the beginning of the trailhead. Stopping to put on the snow shoes and first one on the trail for the day.
The trail parallels the highway for a while as it gently gains in elevation. I stop for my sky shot and a look at the unbroken trail.
As I pass by Cannon Cliffs and look to my left the all too familiar face is missing.
The going is slow and steady plowing through the deep snow. Sometimes being the first one on the trail is a blessing and at the same time a pain. It's great being the first one to see the unbroken trail but man it is a lot of work. About a mile and a half into the hike and I can hear someone coming up behind me, relief is on the way. He passes me on the steep section just before Eagle Cliff. A little less than two hours from starting I reach Eagle Pass, a neat area just below Eagle Cliff.
Climbing up towards the hut is an arduous task in these conditions even with the lone hiker ahead of me. Eventually I make it to a spur trail that leaves to the right to a spot that offers views to the west and north. The views into Vermont are pretty good, I can see Mt Mansfield with Stowe Ski Area to the west and Jay Peak to the northwest.
Through the trees to the north I can see a notch.
This one was a stumper when it came time to identify it back home. Over a course of three days and lots of hours looking at maps and Google Earth I finally figured out what it was I was looking at.
It is Mt Hur and Mt Pisgah located in Westmore, VT with Lake Willoughby separating the two. Surprisingly it is not far from where we use to vacation as kids on Shadow Lake. A view down the valley to where I hiked a month ago. Bald Mt and Artists Bluff.
Back up the trail and five minutes later I reach Greenleaf Hut, all closed up for the winter season.
A pano shot of Franconia Ridge.
Feeling pretty wiped out the thought of going on to Lafayette does not get much consideration. I decide to sit on a bench on the backside of the hut to enjoy the sun and views while having my snacks before heading back down. Heading back down was quite an adventure in the loose fluffy snow. Through the steep areas it was a constant battle of staying on your feet as there was no grip with the snowshoes in the deep powder. Quite a few butt landings culminating in some butt slides down the trail. Getting up was quite the challenge also sometimes with the feet sliding as I tried to push myself back up to a standing position. Eventually I make it back to Eagle Pass and pause to take some more pictures of the surrounding area.
Arriving back at the parking lot and a look back at Eagle Cliff before heading home.
Final numbers: 5.9 miles, 5 hours and 25 minutes.
Redline Miles: 2.7, Total to Date: 315.8