Rain and Snow… and Off We Go!

Despite the forecast of rain and possibly snow today, Earl and I planned our weekend hike as usual. We needed to stay fairly local so we decided to hike a perennial favorite, Streaked Mountain in South Paris, Maine.

Streaked Mountain trail

The trail up Streaked Mountain, Buckfield, ME

It’s a tough little mountain to climb. It’s only about 3/4 mile from the trailhead to the summit and all of that is up. The first part of the trail is in the woods. There was still quite a bit of snow so we were glad we wore our crampons. There were, however, many places where snowshoes would have been a better choice. It can be rather exhausting post-holing your way up a mountain.

Once you break out of the woods, the trail is on the steep granite face of the mountain. Emphasis on steep.

It was a bit treacherous today, as it has been many other times when we’ve climbed it. It was raining when we arrived but had changed to wind-driven snow by the time we cleared the wooded part of the trail.

The granite slopes are steep. When dry, they are intimidating. When wet or icy, they are downright treacherous. Earlier this winter we climbed up the trail and opted to follow one of the snowmobile trails down it. That meant walking an additional two to three miles back to our car, but that was nothing compared to the “scaries” that trail had us feeling at the thought of making our way down it.
Breaking out of the woods and starting the climb up the steep granite face of the mountain.

Streaked Mountain, Buckfield, ME

Streaked Mountain, Buckfield, ME

Today we climbed up and down the trail.

Post-holing our way up was tough. Post-holing our way down was tricky. One second I was walking along fine. The next, my leg was buried to my crotch. I had to crawl out of that hole and then get back up on my feet. My legs were a bit shaky until my confidence returned; or perhaps my confidence returned once my legs stopped shaking!

If it hadn’t been so important to me that we climb down the mountain today, we probably would have walked down the snowmobile trail again. But I bought new boots and I wanted to give them a good “up & down” test to see if they were keepers. They certainly passed today’s test.

 

This caught my eye because it looks like a butterfly

A trail marker breaking through the snow and ice! I thought it was cool that it’s shaped like a butterfly!

View from the Streaked Mountain trail

View from the Streaked Mountain trail

Evergreen boughs trapped in the snow.

Evergreen boughs breaking through the snow and ice.

After Streaked Mountain, we headed to the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park. Although these trails are fairly flat which made for easier walking, the soft snow is akin to walking on beach sand. It tires the legs more quickly than trails with solid footing. We walked for a couple miles before calling it a day.

What continues to amaze me is that we actually got out there.

We could have stayed in bed, or made excuses or downplayed the need to hike “lesser” trails because we didn’t have the time to do a 4000-footer.

Instead we embrace the hiker philosophy which means you hike. Short distance or long distance, we hike. Mountains or level trails, we hike. Rain or sunshine, we hike.

Earl looking tired after Streaked Mountain hike

Earl looking very serious. Maybe he’s just tired.

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