Hikers: Brian K., Steve, Janet, Diane, Bill, Dave F., Jean, Dave W.
This was an exciting hike for me for several reasons. The first reason is because I’ve been literally sitting at a desk either at work, at school or studying at home for the entire fall and winter so I haven’t been able to get outside to enjoy any of this snow at all. It was worth it though because I completed my bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude!) and now I’m applying to grad school so I am going to take advantage of every free waking moment until school starts up again in the fall. The other reason is I haven’t seen, ridden with, hiked with, or talked with many of my bike friends for months! So it was great to see a parking lot full of folks to hike and chat with. The day was exceptional with sunny skies, no wind, and reasonable temps. The snow just doesn’t get any better; the trail wasn’t broken out so it was a bit of a grind at first slogging through almost 3 feet of snow. Everybody started shedding layers within the first 15 minutes. We took turns breaking trail until we ran into a couple hiking in the other direction. They were as happy to see us as we were happy to see them. The hiking was much easier now that the trail was broken out. We stopped for a group shot on the bridge which came out pretty good. My new camera is holding up well and I was pleased with the pics. I fried (or I should say froze) my previous camera last year on a hike to Mt. Everett in single digits. We decided to split up into two groups at the end of the loop as a few people had plans and needed to get out of the woods, and it was quite a workout so I think some of the others were pretty happy with the 3 miles. It was a tough trek, I was sweating like crazy even after we were on the packed out trail. Dave F. lead a group back to the parking lot and Dave W., Steve, and I decided to add the lake loop which is another 4 miles. We carefully crossed the street in our snowshoes and got on the trail but there were no tracks it and there was 2 to 3 feet of fresh snow on the trail. However once we got to the lake we saw tracks on the ice that followed along the shore so we decided to follow those tracks as it would take us hours to break trail to get back to the parking lot. The view was breathtaking and surprisingly there were only 2 groups of people ice fishing. We stopped for a quick snack and continued following the tracks for what seemed like forever (to me at least…) then the tracks crossed a little inlet and went up an incline that was pretty much straight up the woods to who knows where. At this point we decided to cut across the ice against Steve’s better judgment. Steve stuck to the shoreline while Dave and I trudged across the middle of the lake, said Hello to the ice fishermen then took a seat and waited for Steve as the shore hugging route took a bit longer to navigate. The snow was not very deep where Dave and I cut across but along the shore it was well over a foot and even with the snowshoes it was slow going. After talking to Michael later I think it probably would have been safer following Steve along the shoreline or getting off the lake altogether. The snow has a thermal affect which warms and melts the ice which makes it less safe to walk on. Oops. All in all a great day though. I didn’t get to talk to everyone as much as I would have liked. Nine people on a single file hike make it challenging to have a conversation so I’m looking forward to more hikes, more chats, and more snow. –Jill