Transitions are never easy and in the transition from Winter to Spring, Winter was having a hard time letting go. Today, I was excited to head back to Mt Moosilauke for what I hoped to be a clear day at the summit. The weather report painted the picture of a cloudy day to start and then clearing with cold temps (-30 with the wind chill). In spite of the wind chill on an extremely open summit, I was going anyway and Isis was coming with me. It was time for us to return to Moose since we had not been there since June of last year.
As a matter of fact, I had no issues convincing myself to get out of bed. I was looking forward to this and getting back to successful hiking trips. Of course the early spring conditions had something different planned. After an uneventful ride, I hit 118 and a snow storm broke out. The road reminds me of the mountain road I take to work and as it was poorly plowed and chock full of frost heaves, I thought several times about turning back (already) and I pushed and made it to the trail head, trying not to think of how I was going to get out if this continued for the majority of the day.
I had read a trail report from Thursday that said there was some drifting and that the Ravine Road was skiable. This meant that it was also snowshoeable and broken out. Isis and I got ready to head out in this early spring snow storm. It was easy going for a while and we enjoyed the silence of the road walk. I continued to pack down what was already packed and covered in recent snow fall (about 3 inches). It was fluffy powder so, I thought nothing of it given the depth. As Isis and I walked, I did begin to think about what lay ahead and began coming up with alternative plans, including one that had us turning back at the lodge. Maybe it was here that I began psyching myself out.
The road faced the wind in places and the snow stung my face and coated everything. The drifting had begun and there were places that Isis was up to her belly. I promised her that we would evaluate at the Lodge and see what the day held. Summit or not, this would be a good day for us. Far better way to kick off Spring than sitting on the couch or anywhere indoors. No matter how long we were out today. Summit or not.
In deed as we made it to the Lodge, the snow looked to be tapering off and I could see blue skies. We began to head down the trail by the lodge and seemed to step into deeper and deeper drifts. I of course pushed as Isis was not hindered yet and did not show signs of turning back. We came around to the front of the Lodge to the open field and suddenly we were faced with unbroken drifts up to my knees and thighs. Isis was not having it at all and did her about face. I was not going to stop her. I have always told her that we don’t have to do anything that she doesn’t want to do. So, we turned back. Much like people, I am not about to hike with a miserable dog. That makes it no fun for either of us.
Heading back the way we came, I discovered that my tracks were now blown in and a little deeper in spots. We continued to walk back to the car and while I reasoned that the summit would have been too cold for us and what if we got too far in and became exhausted from breaking trail on our own, it seemed to help. There still remained that nagging voice and picture in my mind that I always get when I back out of something. Transitions are never easy and on top of the seasonal transition, I seem to be in the midst of a few others. I’ll keep plowing through the silence and the fog of bad energy and I’ll keep trying, hoping that once things clear, I am standing on a beautiful summit looking out over the world as I will come to know it, a calm and peaceful place surrounded by good people who get this lifestyle in the mountains.
You can’t keep us down for long…. Even with a snow storm possible mid-week, I’ll be watching the reports to see what’s broken out for next weekend. Slow and steady I will build this grid. It may take a lifetime and in that lifetime, I will see 576.