Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winter Wonderland

Griffin and I headed into Pisgah for what we thought would be a normal run Friday, Dec 13 around 8am.  My plan was a loop we call "mini-vistas" and it usual takes me less than an hour.  We headed from Winchester road to Old chesterfield Road and started up Reservoir Road- which is just past where we saw big moose tracks on Tuesday.  I had my gortex sneakers on - no snow shoes yet, but it's getting close to time for them. 

Some branches down on Reservoir

Some of the open/wet areas along the trail

the first "vista" of the loop looking out to Mt Monadnock

Mt Monadnock encased in clouds
Zoomed in a little at Mt Monadnock
I wasn't making great time because the footing wasn't great but we were enjoying the pretty morning.  The next section of the loop is turning right on Baker Pond Trail.  I love this section.  At this point a set of footprints appeared from the other way on Reservoir which must have been from Thursday.  We almost added a "quick" out and back to the Pisgah Ridge but I was a little hungry- good thing we didn't.

Some hemlocks were covered in ice and snow over the trail just before the Ridge intersection

Snowshoe Hare tracks; Golden-crowned Kinglets happily chirping in the trees...

Coming up to Baker Pond

Baker Pond
Griffin loves selfies!

We proceeded to Hubbard Hill Trail.  From here it usually takes me 20-25 minutes depending on my state of fitness and motivation.  I was hungry so we were going to try to get a little workout in and get back to start the day.  As soon as we got to the top of the first little climb everything changed.  It was an icy, snowy winter wonderland!  It was beautiful because the sun was shining, but it was also somewhat hazardous because of the numerous trees and branches down and the many still bent over encased in ice!  Pictures of course don't do it justice but I tried...


The trail was hard to follow, there was no running, and the creaking, cracking, and popping was making me a little nervous.  Just before the vista lookout I saw a pileated woodpecker fly across the trail and a few seconds later there was a major crashing of branches from that direction!

from hubbard hill vista

Hubbard Vista...always a buzz with chickadees up here...

 This was going to take longer than I thought but what I didn't realize was how much worse it was still going to get!  I was very glad that someone had hiked through because I used their footsteps as the trees and broken mayhem we had to go around took us way off trail a lot.  Again pictures don't do it justice...

A logged area in which I saw a big moose a few weeks ago...

Biggest tree down...had to go way off trail to get around it...

I was in awe the whole time we walked through the destruction - and glad nothing new fell on us!  Griffin was excited to come across some fresh fox tracks and didn't seemed bothered by the detours.  This section of the loop that usually takes me 20 minutes took us over an hour! We won't be running through here anytime soon - and neither will snowmobilers.   My feet were dry but I was hungry!  I am curious if the sun yesterday helped some of the trees recover and may go up to see later today.  This park never ceases to amaze me!  Get out there!!!