I have recently been dabbling in hiking the NH48 in winter. It sure doesn’t come without its challenges, especially during a winter that hasn’t quite been what we would call normal here in New England.
Last year was an ice fest! It was the year that I decided I needed more equipment in my hiking arsenal. I went from hiking in mere microspikes to Hillsounds, which had a bit more bite for hiking on ice. The snow was firm and I rarely needed snowshoes.
This year started out as icy like last year but with less snow. Most of my hikes have been in early spring conditions, even in January!!!! I am now in a place where I have completed some of the easier mountains on the list and need to up my game. It’s hard and challenging to be sure!
When completing the three season 48, I bailed out on only one hike. I only bailed because I had a bad feeling at the trailhead and I never even got out of the car.
Recently I have had two failed attempts on 4000 footers for other reasons. The first was on Wildcat A. We should have brought snowshoes but the trail seemed so well packed and my hiking partner that day didn’t wish to bring them. I went along and we left them in the car. Lesson learned for both of us. At the last push, the trail was not broken out. In only my microspikes, my feet were unable to get any grip and I was falling into the snow deeper and deeper. With every step, I just slid backwards. We bailed, took a quick detour to the Carter Notch hut and called it a day.
The other day, I decided I would try hiking up to Imp Ledge, Middle and South Carter. Another day, another bail out! I made it slowly up to Imp Ledge, re-breaking some of the trail along the way. I was really glad that I had learned the snowshoe lesson as I really ended up needing them. The snow had blown over the trail into small drifts, making the trail tilt to one side.
After hiking successfully up to the Imp Ledge, I continued on the trail until it suddenly disappeared. As I wasn’t familiar with the rest of this trail and my GPS was telling me I was off the trail, I decided to head back down. It was a solo hike, I am fairly new to winter hiking and I was alone. Better safe than sorry!!!!
I’ve learned much from these two hikes and I will be back, approaching them differently the next time. I have 8 of these 4000 footers under my belt for winter! I will get there or I won’t but it is sure fun trying! The mountains will still be there waiting for me to try, try again!
Ciao for now……Karen