|Page Type:||Trip Report|
Every year for Rachaels birthday, as well as any opportunity or time off we have, Rachael and i head into the Adirondacks for a hike, climb, or other sort of adventure involving the immaculate beauty that only the Dacks can provide. Afterall whats more beautiful than a night out in the wilds, under a virgin sky, with the woman of your dreams....
For this particular adventure, it would be Rachaels second snowshoe trip, she was 7 months pregnant, and we were looking for snow, views and something to challenge us. we decided the night before over a delicious pot-luck with a team of dog-sledders, that we would complete the Firetower Challenge in the winter, and then push on for our winter 46. We only had one FT thus far that we reached two days before with Rondaxe, but every journey starts with one step or leap, or whatever analogy you want to insert. Blue mountain offered all that we were looking for and it was worth the drive from the not-so-snow-covered High peaks area where we were staying. It proved to be a challenge for Racahel and our protruding daughter, Renee, but she is not easily deterred (side tracked yes, but not deterred), and she trucked along.
We were dressed and geared up but 7:15 in the morning, and ready to hit the trail. The drive down looked promising snow-wise, so we were very excited. The trail register showed a few people the day before, but none that day thus far. As we left the car, we had donned our snowshoes, because it looked like they might be needed. About 300' down th trail we quickly switched to micro-spikes because the trail showed obvious signs of decent foot traffic the day before without enough snowfall. The beginning stages of this hike were a little deceiving as the trail was pretty mellow, but it quickly steepened and we knew we were in for a work out. Now its not a High Peak, but the trail is pretty steep, and the elevation is only a few hundred feet shy of 4000. I struggled with Cascade for some reason, however this was tough one for Rachael; it could have been the baby she was carrying, it could have been the day (we have all had one). Either way, she was ready to trudge the 1.5 miles to the summit.
Most of the trail was uneventful, with lots of snowshoe hare tracks, small Marten tracks, owl poop all over one tree, just another typical hike in the winter. The weather was 13*F when we left the car and dropping as the elevation rose, light snow fall, but nothing major. Up we went, but as we got higher so did the drifts, so did the snowfall lining the trees, as did our excitment; and Rachael's sluggish mood was gone INSTANTLY. We reached a point with decent views and a 4'drift I just had to run through before donning our snowshoes again. Once again, we were on our way up, at a much quicker pace this time, except for Racahel treating every pine branch like it was her own personal Icey Pop placed there for nourishment by the moutain Gods themselves. We didn't see a single person the whole way to the summit, and as i examined the no fires disk, I realized the tower was less than 100 yards away. We were here and never even realized it.
After wandering around the tower playing in the drifts for a minute, we started to climbing the firgid tower; still in our snowshoes. I quickly had to remove mine, it just wasnt fun climbing the narrowing steps in MSR Denali's with extenders, Rachael just scampered to the top. The views from the tower themselves were unbeatable, perhaps the best winter views I have had in the ADK region; it wasnt sunny, but it wasn't snowing and we had a clear view for miles around us. The wind chill from inside the vibrating tower was bitter cold, freezing my fingers within seconds; maybe i should leave my gloves and liners on to get pictures. We climbed down after a celebratory kiss, which we exchange at every summit, to wander over to the stewards cabin, which had almost 5-6' drifts, for a few more pictures. We debated on a quick stroganoff brunch, but Rachael wasn't hungry so we started our descent.
The descent was extremely uneventful, not much going on through the quick hike down to the car. We played a little more, I swatted branches to drop snow on Rachael, a few snowballs, but not much else. We did run into a couple of gentlemen heading up to the summit, at which point we figured that it had been quite a while since we needed our snowshoes, so we might as well take them off....
Just like any hike we have had, this one is chock full of memories, my favorite is watching my soon-to-be wife try out her new She-Wee that she go for XMas; in the end she chickened out :(