The Eyebrow Attempt – Grafton Notch, ME

Attempted to hike the Eyebrow in Grafton Notch State Park today. We got to the trailhead at around 9:15 a.m. There was only one vehicle in the parking lot.

“That’s weird,” I said. “What are we missing?”

Earl said, “It’s still early.”

Maybe so, but typically cars start arriving at popular trailheads at daylight.

We had the answer to my question the moment we got out of the car. We were hit by frigid temps. Brrrr… although we were prepared for the cold clothing wise, we were not prepared for the temps mentally. Yes, that makes a difference. 🙂

As we hauled our packs and trekking poles out of the car, we noticed another distressing sign that winter weather had not yet left the Maine mountains… it was snowing.

A couple hundred yards or so up the trail, we met a couple as they were returning to the trailhead. They had attempted the Eyebrow also, but turned around about a mile or so up the trail. They said it was too icy–scary icy–to continue.

We opted to give it a try anyway. Then we came to a water crossing…

The rocks were iced over, so we had to put our crampons on to get across this stream.

The rocks were iced over, so we had to put our crampons on to get across this stream.

The thought of turning around at that point did cross my mind! Instead we put on our crampons and kept hiking.A short distance later we came to an ice fall. The ice was thick and we could hear the water running beneath the ice. Luckily the trail maintainers built a bridge across it!

I will say, that it messed a bit with my head when I crossed it. It was a long slide down if you fell off the bridge.

Earl crossing an ice fall. Balance and concentration were needed. It was a long slide down!

Earl crossing an ice fall. Balance and concentration were needed. It was a long slide down!

At some point, a man and a teenage girl (I’m guessing his daughter) passed us on the trail. We stopped to chat for a few minutes about the trail conditions. We were all thinking that sooner, rather than later, we would reach the point that we would decide to turn around.

Side note: Earl asked if they’d been hiking there the previous weekend. They had. How did we know? The girl was wearing colorful leggings that I had commented on the previous week! HA HA  I do believe that the more we hike, the more we will see familiar faces on the trails.
Another icy spot where I was almost ready to say, “Let’s turn around.” But I didn’t.Several times Earl commented on our need to sharpen the spikes on our crampons. We’d noticed a couple of weeks ago that all the granite walking we’d done had rounded the tips on the spikes. Sharp spikes definitely would have made the hike easier.
Our Hillsound Crampons served us well today. Yes, we kept climbing.

Earl crossing an ice fall. Balance and concentration were needed. It was a long slide down!

 Eventually we reached the place where we would choose to turn around.

Earl said, “I think someone slid down this part of the trail.”

It sure looked like that to me, too.

What do you think?

Slippery Trail

Slippery Trail

We did climb to the other side of this icy patch, so we could take pictures of the ice fall.

Earl in front of an ice fall.

Earl in front of an ice fall.

Earl and Donna at what would be our turn-around point.

Earl and Donna at what would be our turn-around point.

 To take the picture of the two of us, we used my new The Stick Pic gadget that I just got. It screws onto the base of a camera and then fits over the end of a trekking pole. It allows you to take self and group pictures that actually include the background.

In order to fit it on the tip of my trekking pole, we had to scrape ice off of it!

We were still fiddling with the camera, when the man and his daughter came back down the trail. They had made it a little bit farther up the trail, but decided it was getting too treacherous to continue. She wanted to take some pictures of the ice, so we moved to get out of their way.

We had barely started back down that icy slide when another man and teenage girl appeared on the trail. We chatted for a few moments, told them we were calling it a day, and wished them well on their hike.

Scary descent

Scary descent

Our return trip to the trailhead was enjoyed without incident. Always a good thing!

We did wonder what happened to the first man and girl we met. They had been ready to head back down the trail as well. We wondered if they teamed up with the second man and girl to continue on. There is definitely strength and confidence in numbers for those times when bad things happen. I do hope they made it down safely!

Feeling a bit short-changed by our hike, we stopped at Mother Walker Falls to do a little sight-seeing. It was beautiful, but nothing struck me as “photo worthy.”

We returned to Moose Cave, a stop we’d made a few weeks ago. On our previous visit the short trail was extremely icy and we did not have our crampons on. Today the trail had only a few icy spots.

I did not take any new pictures of the caves, but I did see this unique tree. When I saw it, I thought it looked like a tree-person sitting and staring at the cave. What do you think?

Is this a tree person sitting and admiring the view?

Is this a tree person sitting and admiring the view?

Post hike view from the Mother Walker Falls parking area.

Post hike view from the Mother Walker Falls parking area.

 From the parking lot at Mother Walker Falls you can see Sunday River White Cap. We hiked over that mountain in May 2015 on a 3-day hike.

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