Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happiness is a Pair of Tired Legs and A Pair of Wet Gloves

Some of us are 'indoor dogs', while others are 'outdoor dogs'.  I'm an outdoor dog - I need to get outside, even in the winter.  I need the sun on my face, the feel of changing terrain underfoot, the smell of the water and the woods.

As I posted yesterday, we've been real busy with work and the holidays.  Today, I took some time to go snowshoeing.  It was great!

I was planning on starting at the Robert Frost trailhead (part of the Green Mountain National Forest).  It's been a while since I've been to that trailhead.  Unfortunately, this area was closed.  As I was going to snowshoe to the Chatfield trailhead, I drove to it instead and then would hike to the Robert Frost trailhead by way of the Water Tower trails..

I got to the Chatfield trailhead, put on my snowshoes and gear, and started out. It was a beautiful morning. All the woods had a light dusting of snow, the temperatures were around 20 degF, and there was no wind.  The sky was a clear blue.  Beautiful.

I headed down Widow's Clearing Trail.  At first, the trail was bordered by conifers, but as the trail  rose, the trees turned to yellow and white birches.  There were some x-country tracks, but the conditions were marginal for skiing (2 inches of snow over 2 inches of ice).  It warmed up yesterday, and tiny streams of water crossed the trail.  I had to make sure I didn't step in any (not because it would make my feet wet, but the water causes ice chucks to form under your snowshoes - very uncomfortable).  Once as I stopped to take in the scenery, my presence must have unnerved a thrush - it bolted by after I was standing in the trail.

As I climbed up the trail, you could see the snow-covered mountains off in the distance.  I got to the junction for the North Star trail, and then headed down the trail.

I got to the trail junction for the Robert Frost trail, and then headed down to it.  As the access was closed, the trails were untouched.  My tracks were the only ones around.

Periodically, I would stop and just listen.  All was quiet.  You would hear an occasional chickadee chirping.  I circled around the Robert Frost area, then proceeded back to the Water Tower trails.

I followed the trails back, but then turned off onto the Afternoon Delight trail.  Like the North Star trail, there were a lot of areas where the snow cover was thin and there was wet, exposed ground.  As I climbed back up the Water Tower mountain, the snow cover got better.

I got to the junction of the Trepidation trail.  Trepidation is a short, but very steep trail.  It has a grade around 25%. I just step-kicked my way to the top (only about a 150 foot ascent).

Once I got to the top (and caught my breath), I then had an easy descent back down the Widow's Clearing trail back to my car.  I came across a bunch of feathers - looks like something caught a wild turkey).  

In time, I found myself back at my car.  My legs wee tired, and I was drenched with sweat.  It was great.  I can't wait for my next trek.

Maybe 'll see Santa out on the trails soon!


~ Regan said...

Awesome. I'm glad you got out! Must be nice to have somewhere so beautiful to go out on a trek ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had the chance to do this. the pictures are beautiful and I can only imagine the views in real life are more spectacular.

hope to join you one day on one of these snowshoe hikes.

the indoor dog.

Uncle Tractor said...

I'd go snowshoeing with you two any time. Thanks for the comments!