Month: November 2016

Mt. Meader, NH

Trip Report:
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Outside starting temp: 32 degrees F
Outside ending temp: 40 degrees F
Trails taken: Route 113 to Mt Meader Trail to Meader Ridge Trail (to the summit of Mt. Meader)
Total distance (Out and Back): approximately 7.2 miles
Total adventure time: 5 1/2 hours
Earl wanted to do an overnight backpacking trip this weekend, but I’ve been a bit stressed over some things that need to get done around home. In the spirit of compromise, we did a 7.2-mile out and back hike to Mount Meader in NH today. Tomorrow we will do some cleaning!

The 2-hour drive to New Hampshire was uneventful except for a patch of black ice that elicited a squeak from Earl. My heart jumped to my throat but I’m not sure if it was the sensation of the car sliding on the road, or Earl’s high-pitched shriek.

We parked in the snow-covered Baldface Circle parking lot and walked the 0.6 miles to the Mount Meader Trail trailhead. We experienced first hand the fact that bridges, do indeed, freeze over before the road! We both slipped on the ice at about the same time. It was pretty funny as we stumbled to recover our footing.

The Mount Meader Trail starts off as a dirt road type of path. There were tire marks and we weren’t quite sure if we were on the trail until we saw a bright yellow blaze on a tree. The country lane feel of the path lasted for about a mile, until we reached Brickett Falls.

Brickett Falls was lovely! We talked about going back in deep winter to see how it looks frozen over and then again in the spring when the snow melt and thaw would make it thunderous. There were many pools and ledges and falls.

Speaking of falls, Earl nearly fell into one! I wanted to take his picture in front of the falls and he slipped on the wet leaves. Down he went, very gracefully, I will say. I thought for sure he was going into the pool at the base of the falls, but a fallen tree limb stopped his slide. His boots got a little wet, but otherwise he was fine.

We had noticed on the map at the parking lot that this trail had a lot of switchbacks starting at about the 2-mile mark. Switchbacks typically indicate the terrain is steep. Switchbacks ease the incline angle by spreading it out over a greater distance. We were grateful!

Our hiking speed was slow due to the snow and wet leaves. We kept talking about being glad we had our crampons with us for the descent, but we never did stop to put them on as we were climbing the mountain! Silly us.

The snow on the trees was heavy and wet. We had to be careful walking beneath branches hanging over the trail because they would dump snice (snow + ice) on us. Too often, this snice went down my back! Brrrrr.

​At the first open ledge area, the view was partially amazing. The clouds blocked some of the mountains we knew we should be able to see, but there were a few gaps in the clouds that made the view spectacular!

Feeling a bit playful, I took off my pack, laid down in the snow and made a snow–er–trail angel! It was fun.

We continued up (meaning we crawled at times) the treacherous trail to the intersection of the Mount Meader Trail and the Meader Ridge Trail. We continued on the Meader Ridge Trail to the summit (or what we think was the summit) of Mount Meader.

The Meader Ridge Trail continues another couple of miles to Eagle Crag but we had planned to turn around at the summit and head back to the car. I stopped in a wooded area to put my Hillsound Trail crampons on. I wanted a place to sit (a fallen log was perfect!), but Earl didn’t want to have snice (snow + ice) falling on his head so he kept walking.

I sat for a moment and enjoyed the quiet. I enjoyed the sound of the snow falling from the trees.

When I stood and took my first steps, I felt confident with my footing. I quick-stepped my way up the trail expecting to catch up with Earl quickly. After all, he wasn’t wearing his magic trail shoes yet!

And then the silence was broken by a dog barking and a man yelling.

At first I thought Earl had surprised a hunter and his dog. But when I rounded a corner I saw that it was a pair of hikers, dressed in blaze orange, The large dog was on a leash, sitting quietly. Apparently the dog felt threatened by trekking poles and barked when he saw Earl’s.

We chatted with these hikers for a few minutes, then they headed off. Earl put his crampons on and we headed down the trail.

Not surprisingly the ledges that we struggled to climb up, were fairly easy to manage going down. There were only a couple of spots where I butt slid my way down.

The switchbacks that were a bit scary on the ascent were easy peasy on the descent. Not once did I feel like I would slide off the trail and down the mountain. I know, I could have felt that security on the way up if I’d had half a brain!

In my defense, the extra traction of crampons comes with a price. Although they don’t weigh a lot (about a pound for the pair), that extra 8 ounces on each foot feels heavy. Wet snow and leaves cling to the crampons, making them ineffective, so the crampons frequently need to be stomped clean. The 1/2″ spikes also make walking on non-snow covered surfaces uncomfortable because your foot is not contacting solid ground.

It was wonderful when the trail leveled out and we were able to remove our crampons. Although we slipped a few times on the trail, it was much easier than keeping the crampons in place.

We reached Route 113 just after 1 p.m. and walked the short distance back to the car. We changed into dry socks and shoes and headed back to Maine.

On the drive home Earl said, “We should get home at around 3:30 p.m. I wonder what I’ll do. You probably have that all figured out, don’t you?”

Of course I did! This is what compromise in a relationship is all about!

Shelburne Trail in the Wild River Wilderness

Trip Report:
Saturday & Sunday, November 19 & 20, 2016
Outside starting temp: 26 degrees F
Outside ending temp: 40 degrees F
Trails taken: Highwater Trail, Shelburne Trail, the D&E Bushwhacked non-trail
Total distance (Out and Back): approximately 14 miles
Total adventure time: 27 hours
This weekend we returned to the Wild River Wilderness off of Rte 113 in New Hampshire. Our primary purpose was to try out our new Alps Mountaineering Tasmania 2 4-season tent. Our secondary purpose was to summit Shelburne-Moriah, one of the 52-with-a-View peaks.

We parked in the lot at the junction of the Wild River Road and Rte 113. We had a 5.3 mile hike along the Highwater Trail to reach the Shelburne Trail. That was pretty easy hiking on a cold (26 degrees Fahrenheit) Saturday morning. We stopped to watch the sun rise over the mountains to the east.

Shortly after we started up the Shelburne Trail we lost the trail. It happens. Because this trail was in a wilderness area, one that we were not sure was regularly maintained, we didn’t know if we had actually lost the trail or if the trail was just overgrown.

Earl has a GPS app on his phone called, Gaia GPS. We checked the app and saw where the trail was. We bushwhacked our way over to it. We still didn’t see anything that looked like a trail, but we kept hiking, checking in with the app every few minutes to see if we were still on track.

For those of you who have never used a GPS app when hiking, you have to understand that GPS apps are not exact. They get you to the right neighborhood, but it may be to the wrong house. Helpful, but not exact.

As I wrote above, we were not sure if the trail, as we are used to seeing trails, actually existed. Neither of us had done any trail report research on the Shelburne Trail so we just didn’t know. We continued bushwhacking our way following the trail as shown on the Gaia GPS app. ​

Let me tell you, bushwhacking is hard work. The heavy leaf cover on the ground hid rocks, roots, and muddy pits. It’s hard on your legs. It’s hard on your feet. I was getting tired. We had shed all the layers that we could and we were still sweating. Each time we checked the Gaia GPS app I asked the question, “What’s our elevation?”

Shelburne Moriah Mountain is 3,735 feet high. We were at approximately 1,800 feet elevation. We kept walking around blow-downs, trees, and thick scrub making our way up the invisible trail. Finally, the safety monitor in me said, “We should set a turn around time.”

Earl said, “What do you mean? Ready to give up already?”

“No,” I said, but yes, it what I meant. Instead I made my argument. “If we want to be home by 4 p.m. tomorrow to watch the Patriots play, we need to be back to the car by 2 p.m.

“We started hiking at 7 a.m. this morning. It is now 11:30 a.m. We will have to bushwhack our way back down to a good place to spend the night. Tomorrow we will need to find the Wild River and the Highwater Trail. We will have at least 5 miles to hike on the Highwater Trail to reach the car. It is doubtful we will be hiking by 7 a.m. tomorrow, because the sun will just be coming up. So if we don’t turn around by 2 p.m., it’s not likely we will be home in time for the Pats to play. That’s all I’m thinking.”

Earl continued moving up the trail. A few minutes later he pointed to a grassy, flat area below us. “That could be a good place to camp. Want to check it out?”

“Not really,” I said. “It isn’t likely that we’ll be able to find it again.”

We continued slowly making our way up the trail that was denoted by dotted lines on Earl’s phone.

Then Earl stopped.

“Look,” he said.

I looked. There in front of him was a trail. An obvious trail!

Woot!

“What does the app show for our elevation?”

“Two thousand feet,” he said.

“We still have 1,700 feet of elevation in about a mile and a half,” I said.

Time wise, it would be close. We could probably make it to the summit by 2 p.m. But knowing we were on the established, it-did-exist, trail, our descent shouldn’t be quite as time or energy consuming.

We continued up the trail with renewed vigor and hope for reaching the summit.

A short distance later Earl stopped. “I’m tired. Let’s just head back down.”

I offered no argument!

Now the question became, where did we lose the trail? Would we know it when we saw it? We had a theory. Time and distance would tell us if we were right.

We started down the trail keeping our eyes peeled for good places the spend the night. The two primary considerations were a water source and flat ground.

Earl pointed to our right. There was a flat, grassy area. We laughed. It was the spot we’d seen earlier, the one I did not want to hike down to to check it out. The trail was just on the other side of it!

Now you might think we started kicking ourselves, or that Earl said, “See? If we had checked this out, we would have found the trail sooner!” but that was not the case. You see, the area was wet. We would have looked at it from the side we’d approached from and never would have continued across it to find the trail.

The spot where we deviated from the trail was, indeed, the place we thought it might be. We had hiked around several trees that covered the trail. We found what appeared to be the trail on the other side of them. We still stopped to look around to be sure. We thought the trail might have veered off to the right and up a hill. We checked the Gaia GPS app. It indicated we were on the trail.

See what I mean about GPSs apps being close but not exact?

We now think that we were within 10 – 15 yards of the trail most of the time we were bushwhacking. ​

We found a wonderful spot to camp near a babbling brook at around 1:30 p.m. We set up the new tent, then remembered to look for “widow makers,” dead trees or branches that might fall on unsuspecting campers. We saw one. We picked up the tent (that was so sweet) and moved it a few feet farther away from the widow maker.

We finished setting up our home for the night, filtered water, made dinner and relaxed for the couple of hours before dark. By 4:30 p.m. we were bundled up for the night.

Let me talk about the tent for a paragraph or two. It was great. Set up was easy. The portability of moving it when we discovered the widow maker was enough to make me giddy with joy. Of course we were fortunate that there were not trees or high scrub brush that would make lifting and moving it unwise.

The Alps Mountaineering Tasmania 2 tent has two vestibules. I loved having a place to store our packs overnight out of the weather. I always tucked mine under the small tarp of our other tent, and Earl typically left his outside. The other vestibule protected us from the weather as we crawled in and out of it. I put a piece of Tyvek at the opening so we tracked fewer leaves and dirt into the tent. We left our shoes outside, but they were still protected from the weather.

The interior of the tent was plenty roomy for us and our clothes. Mesh pockets run the full length of the sidewalls of the tent so we had a place to put lightweight stuff (glasses, cell phones). ​

One thing to know about late fall/winter camping is that the nights are extremely long! It was dark at 4:30 p.m. and would not get light until 6:30 a.m. At 9:30 p.m. I woke up and had to go pee. I scooted to the foot of the tent, unzipped the door, and put my camp shoes on. Then I unzipped the vestibule door and went outside.

The stars in that black sky were so bright! I peed then went to wake Earl. This was definitely worth sharing. We stood outside in the cold for just a few minutes before crawling back in the tent. We laughed at the idea that we still had another eight hours of dark before morning.

Sometime in the night those stars disappeared behind storm clouds. I woke at around 2 a.m. to hear light rain falling on the tent. I dozed and woke many times. I heard critters scuffling around outside and the rain fell harder.

It was just getting light when we crawled out of our sleeping bags and began the day. It was still raining, but our thermometers read 40 degrees. We were surprised at how warm it felt. We had expected to wake up to snow.

Breakfast in the rain consisted of a Poptart, oatmeal, and hot cocoa. A good hiker breakfast!
Breakfast in the rain consisted of a Poptart, oatmeal, and hot cocoa. A good hiker breakfast!

​While the water was heating for breakfast, we broke down camp. At 7:33 a.m. we started the 6-mile hike back to the car.

For the first time, our entire hiking day was spent in the rain. The trail was a bit treacherous in spots where wet leaves met steep descents. We arrived back to the car, soggy and safe, at 10 a.m.

Rather than stopping for breakfast or lunch, as we typically would do after a hike, we opted to drive straight home. We unloaded the car, set the tent up in the living room to dry, and unpacked our wet gear. By 1 p.m. we were in our places to watch the Baltimore Ravens play the Dallas Cowboys.

A weekend full of hiking and football. Life is good!

 

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Veteran’s Day at Crawford Notch, NH

Trip Report:
Friday, November 11, 2016
Outside temp: 40 degrees F
Trails taken: Crawford Connector, Crawford Path, Gibbs Falls viewpoint, Mizpah Cutoff
Total distance (Out and Back): 5.2 miles
Total adventure time: 4 hours
It’s Veteran’s Day and neither Earl nor I have to work. Sweet!

We decide to hike because that is what we like to do. Our last few adventures have been in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of miles to hike and dozens (if not hundreds) of mountains to climb.

We look at our maps and decide to hike in the Crawford Notch area. We select Mt. Pierce, one of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers as our “hoped for” destination. We planned our route to go to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Mizpah Hut, too. Although we were pretty sure it was already closed for the winter season, we figured we could reevaluate the hiking conditions and decide whether we wanted to continue on to the summit of Mt. Pierce.

Because of the forecasted cold temps, chance of snow, and high winds, we also had a Plan B, should we decide to abort Plan A early in the day. Plan B was to hike Mt. Willard, one of the 52 With A View mountains. Of course, one could ask the question, why hike a mountain with a supposed lovely view on a potentially cloudy and view-less day. My response is that bagging a peak is bagging a peak!

The sun was still sleeping when we hauled our gear out to the car and started the 2-hour drive to the Notch. We had been driving for about 20 minutes or so; the sun was barely awake and was still only thinking about rising out of its bed when I said, “I wonder if we’ll see turkeys today.”

“Maybe we’ll see a deer,” Earl said, as he slowed down, because there was young buck standing in the road. I could barely see it! Good thing Earl was driving.

We were still talking about the deer when, a few miles farther up the road, we saw two groups of turkeys in the fields. It was a great day for seeing wildlife!

More miles up the road and it started to rain. Earl said, “Why is it raining?”

“So we can see a beautiful rainbow!” I replied, pointing to the rainbow that appeared in front of us.

The car’s temperature gauge read 40 degrees when we arrived at the trailhead. It was 8 a.m. Our car was the only one in the lot. We pulled our gear out of the gear, reworked our clothing layers, and started up the trail.

We took a short side connector to view Gibbs Falls, a lovely cascading waterfall.

As we progressed up the trail, the rain started and stopped. The rain transformed into snow and sleet. Earl and I later had a discussion on the difference between snow, sleet, and hail. I was pretty sure it was sleet. Earl said it was snow. Turns out we were both wrong. We were hiking in a graupel storm!

Apparently this type of precipitation is called "graupel."
Apparently this type of precipitation is called “graupel.”

The trail was fairly wet the entire duration of the hike, but as we climbed to the higher elevation, snow was evident in the woods. Ice was present on the rocks and wooden bog bridges. A thin layer of ice covered puddles on the trail.

At the trail junction of the Crawford Path and the Mizpah Cutoff we reassessed the weather. We opted to continue hiking the 0.7 miles to the AMC Mizpah Hut and abort any plans to summit Mt. Pierce. By this point, the wind was blowing hard in the protected corridor of the trail. We knew that hiking above treeline would be risky.

Luckily the entire length of the trail was at a fairly moderate incline. I never felt like I was overexerting myself. There we no “holy crap” how-do-I-get-up-there sections and thus no “holy-crap-how-do-I-get-down-from-there” on the descent. I think that aspect of the trail itself also made it easier to decide to continue up to the hut. Had there been treacherous sections of the trail behind us, I may have expressed concern or caution about letting the weather impact the trail we would need to return on.

The boarded up AMC Mizpah Hut was huge! I experienced conflicting emotions upon seeing it. I thought it looked like a strange anomaly so far into the woods, and yet, it also looked like it belonged. We look forward to returning to the hut during the summer months when the windows are open and human activity is present.

For the two hours it took us to climb to the Hut, we saw no other people. Not long after heading back to the trailhead, though, we saw a woman and young man on their way up. Farther down the trail we saw a lone woman on her way to summit Mt. Pierce. Still farther we ran into more groups of two or more people heading up the mountain.

It concerned me that most of these hikers did not seem well prepared for the weather conditions they were hiking into. Some wore blue jeans (cotton!); others had no packs (meaning no layers of clothing to add); and still others had no hats or gloves. One young man was hiking with his hands in his jean pockets!

We did advise them of the high winds and icy precipitation (we didn’t know about graupel at that point) at the higher elevations before wishing them a “Happy hike!” Then we continued on our own journey back to the car.

Instead of heading up the road to climb Mt. Willard (our original Plan B), we opted to head in to North Conway for lunch.

Carter Dome (Attempt)

The alarm went off much too early on Saturday morning. Sometimes I wish adventuring would have a 9 a.m. start time. But alas, it was 4:31 a.m. and time to rise and no promises about shining.

The almost two-hour drive to Evans Notch was uneventful. We didn’t see any deer or turkeys. That was disappointing. We usually consider seeing turkeys an omen of a good hike ahead. HA HA

It was cloudy and a cold 30 degrees when we started hiking at 8:02 a.m., We were wearing our rain coats because of the light rain that was falling. There were, however, enough patches of blue sky to give us hope that the day would be a nice one.

Trip Report:

Saturday:
Start at Wild River Campground off Rte 113 in NH.
Basin Trail to the Basin Rim Trail (2.2 miles) to take in the view point
Black Angel Trail to Wild River Trail (2.8 miles)
Wild River Trail to Perkins Notch Tentsite (4.9 miles)
Spend the night.

Sunday (planned–and a map to show what we actually did):
Continue on Wild River Trail to Rainbow Trail (0.2 miles)
Rainbow Trail to Carter-Moriah Trail (2.5 miles)
Summit Carter Dome (elevation 4832′)
Carter-Moriah Trail to Black Angel Trail (0.4 miles)
Black Angel Trail to Wild River Trail or Highwater Trail (4.9 miles)
Wild River Trail back to Wild River Campground (2.7 miles)

 

Our plan had been to continue hiking up Rainbow Trail to Carter Dome, but instead we took the shortcut back to the car. Map by Steve Bushey and Angela Faeth. White Mountains Waterproof Trail Map: New Hampshire & Maine . 2010.
Our plan had been to continue hiking up Rainbow Trail to Carter Dome, but instead we took the shortcut back to the car. Map by Steve Bushey and Angela Faeth. White Mountains Waterproof Trail Map: New Hampshire & Maine . 2010.

Our plan had been to continue hiking up Rainbow Trail to Carter Dome, but instead we took the shortcut back to the car. Map by Steve Bushey and Angela Faeth. White Mountains Waterproof Trail Map: New Hampshire & Maine . 2010.
We started up the Basin Trail ready for a wonderful weekend adventure! It was wonderful! We just were not expecting it to be so wet!

There were many water crossings on this hike. The map identified them as “brooks,” but they sure seemed like rivers to me. Especially when we were rock hopping across them! Most of these crossing were fairly typical with many rocks conveniently placed within stepping distance from each other, but some crossings were downright scary.

The first time we needed to cross the Wild River, three rivers joined just where the trail crossed. I bet the trail builders enjoyed planning that one!

We had to walk upstream a couple hundred feet to find a place that looked manageable for me to cross. One spot would look promising, but near the other side of the river there would be a gap between the rocks too wide for my short legs to manage. We kept looking. I finally gave up looking and settled on a spot that was certain to leave me with wet feet or worse.

I adjusted my trekking poles, adding about 6 inches to their length. I hoped this would be enough to help me stay somewhat stable as I moved from one rock to the next. I heaved a sign of relief when I got across that first crossing with mostly dry feet. I hoped it wasn’t too obvious that my legs were shaking.

“That was scary,” I said.

“It wasn’t scary,” Earl countered. “It was fun! It was a puzzle to be solved!”

“No, it was scary!” I repeated.

After a short verbal spar over how to convey the essence of that horrible water crossing, I relented. I offered up what I thought was a suitable compromise.

“Okay,” I said. “It wasn’t scary, it was challenging.”

Earl again insisted it was just a puzzle.

Sigh…

But as I thought about it, he did come up with a suitable analogy.

The problem with it though, is that his long legs could easily cover the distance between the rocks. My shorter legs had to find rocks beneath the surface to step on. The potential for these rocks to be slipperier–I don’t know why spell check didn’t flag that word, but because it didn’t, I can keep it, right? Slipperier… is slippery to the next level–and the current of the river added more risk to my step taking. He can call it a puzzle. I still call it scary!

We stopped for lunch at around 12 p.m. at the Spruce Brook tentsite. It was a wilderness re-vegetation area with signs stating not to cross behind them. I don’t know what it looked like before they did whatever they did, but it already looked like a wilderness area to me. So good job trail planners!

Throughout the morning the sky kept transitioning from stormy gray to brilliant blue depending upon which direction we were looking. It was actually pretty strange to witness. It made me better understand all that I hear and read about the changing weather patterns in the New Hampshire White Mountains.

Despite the mixed weather signals, we had a great day hiking. The pace was comfortable and the terrain offered gentle ascents and descents. No big mountains on Saturday.

At one point, Earl wanted to take my picture. I smiled my typically cheesy smile. He said, “Don’t smile. Just show your resting confused face.”

Donna's "resting confused face."
Donna’s “resting confused face.”

We had another tough water crossing of the Wild River. Once again I had to pace up and down the bank trying to find a place to cross. Earl was already on the other side waiting for me to join him.

Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a confidence-inspiring place for me to cross. I would start across and come to a gap that was too wide and the water flowing too hard. I turned back and kept looking. After three or four such attempts Earl offered to come help me across.

This hit my pride and also registered on my “don’t be stupid” meter. I could just imagine him coming to my rescue and then falling in himself. Not a chance I wanted to take. Remember, Earl is the risk taker, I am not.

I planted my right foot on a stable, dry rock. I planted my extended poles against two submerged rocks in the river. I moved my left foot to a submerged rock and held my breath. I rubbed the bottom of boot on the rock, testing it for slickness. It seemed okay. I moved my weight to my left leg. I re-positioned my trekking pole in anticipation of moving to another submerged rock with my right foot. Again, success. The third step was with my left foot to a dry rock. Woot! I was almost across. I quick-stepped it the few additional feet to the banking. As happened before, my legs were trembling with the effort.

Earl cracked a joke, but it fell flat. Fear-fueled adrenaline made me cranky. A few minutes later I was able to make my own joke about the challenges of having short legs. He laughed, but said it wasn’t fair that I could make jokes, but he could not.

We reached a surprisingly crowded campsite at 3 o’clock. Three families and their two dogs were enjoying a long weekend out in the woods. They had attempted Carter Dome but turned back about a mile from the summit. The trail was getting slippery and the wind was blowing hard.

The Perkins Notch Tentsite would have been a lovely place to spend the night if it wasn’t for the wind. It was blowing hard off the mountains. We checked for “widow-makers” before setting up the tent, but a part of me still wondered if one would fall on us during the night. Oh well, not much to do about it except hunker down.

Dinner was quick and uneventful. We were toasty warm inside our tent before 5:30 p.m. We took some time to study our map. We considered whether we wanted to continue on our planned route or if we wanted to save Carter Dome for another day. We decided to see what the morning brought before making a final decision.

We listened to the wind and rain/sleet throughout the night. I did notice that at some point in the night, the wind died down. I was hopeful that we’d be able to climb Carter Dome!

​Sunday morning dawned an hour earlier than usual, thanks to the change back to standard time. Earl peeked thru the tent’s flap at the same time that I did.

“There’s snow on the ground,” he said.

“I see it,” I replied. We turned to each other. “What do you think about today?”

“Let’s just head back to the car. We may get home in time to watch football.”

With a new motivation for hiking, we ate breakfast and packed up our gear. We started hiking back to the car at either 8 a.m. or 7 a.m. My phone and Fitbit said 8 a.m., but I didn’t know if they had reset themselves for the time change. We will in a dead zone for my cell phone, so I didn’t know what to think. When out in the woods, time really doesn’t matter, though.

Sunday had us crossing more “brooks,” and doing so successfully. Until, the final crossing…

Rather than crossing the Wild River at the scariest (excuse, me, puzzliest) point, we hiked the Highwater Trail. It runs parallel to the Wild River Trail on the other side of the river. We kept looking for opportunities to cross the river as we continued along. We didn’t see any, so we kept hiking.

Eventually we reached the point where we were close to the Wild River Campground and our car, but on the wrong side of the river. We looked ahead and didn’t see any promising locations to cross. We accepted that we were going to have to ford the river. We found what we decided would be the best spot. The river was about 30 feet wide and didn’t look too deep.

We released the latches on our packs, mentally braced ourselves for the cold water we would be walking into, and started across.
The water was icy cold, but yet it also felt warm. Weird. The not-too-deep water came up to my knees! The current was strong, but I was stronger. The rocks were slippery, but I managed to maintain my balance on them.

The experience was exhilarating!

We slopped up the trail the short distance back to the car. It was 1:24 p.m. (still not sure whether that was standard or daylight savings time).

We didn’t waste any time getting out of our heavy with water boots and socks and into dry footwear. What a wonderful feeling!

Although we did not climb Carter Dome, we had a great time out in the Wild River Wilderness. Friends and family members think we are a bit nutty for hiking during the colder months, but with the right equipment and the right hiking partner, you can have a great time hiking in the cold!