Yes, I know it is May. Technically the season of spring, according to my calendar, began on Friday March 20th but Mother Nature is still allowing winter to beat spring up. There is snow in the mountains.
Heck it snowed last weekend and caused grave concern over serious avalanche danger in Tuckerman Ravine. The majority of us stayed away for safety reasons. The spring rituals of skiing on soft corn snow in the famous bowl will hopefully return this weekend.
South of the White Mountains, thankfully, spring has finally made a strong appearance. Monadnock, Sunapee and Kearsarge trails are finally clear of snow and ice. Now we just have to wait for the black flies to appear. OK, I know that isn’t funny, but it seems fair that since we had to wait so long for spring that maybe we could skip black fly season please.
Since we didn’t want to tempt fate during high avalanche danger we went back to enjoy another Saturday morning of just terrific mid-winter like conditions at Wildcat. The skiing and the snowboarding were terrific! I was bundled up just like it was February.
In the mid-afternoon Becca and I decided we needed to get out hiking. We decided it would be fun to find our way to the summit of Little Attitash via skinning up the mountain.
Attitash ski area is closed for the season but there was still a lot of snow on their ski trails. There are a quite a few of us that like to climb up closed ski areas for a few last runs of the year. We hit Pats Peak and Crotched. Becca also skinned up Ragged and Waterville Valley last week. I have friends that have been up Cannon too. We’re sure to stay far away from buildings and anything that looks like a construction project. We hope we’re allowed back next year and the year after, so if you go to a closed resort, behave.
We started from Bear Peak skinned up and followed trails that connected over to the summit of Attitash. All the way up the bounty of man made snow we noticed that there was very little snow in the woods. But on the summit of the ski area, elevation 2,350 feet, there was lots of snow still in the trees.
Since this was a spur of the moment adventure, we did not consider the fact that we should have brought along snowshoes. The woods were too thick to ski or snowboard so we just had to bare boot it and suffer the consequences.
We ducked into the woods right behind the ski patrol shack and we headed southwest. We went down into a col and the snow was deep. As we climbed out of the col we hoped the snow would be less but it wasn’t. We moved along carefully and slowly. It felt like the slowest bushwhack ever since nearly every step produced a deep posthole. We only had to go half a mile and another 150 feet of elevation to climb.
When we hit the open ledges it was delightful. There was no snow on this southern exposure. Plus, we were rewarded with splendid views of North Conway, Mount Cranmore’s still snowy slopes and North Moat was right next to us. We found the high point, an interesting high boxy ledge with a little cairn sitting on the middle of its highest point. We walked all around the area and continued west along the ledges that might have been part of the abandoned Humphrey’s Ledge Trail.
For our return trip we followed our tracks and we moved along a bit faster since we weren’t sinking but just stepping into holes we had made on the way up.
Back at the top of the ski area we were excited to click into our equipment. The snow was soft and it was easy to made big turns. We felt like we were flying down the mountain.
It won’t be long before the ski resorts will be open for summer fun. Zipline Adventures, mountain coasters, chairlift rides, mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking and even mini golf are all activities that are offered by New Hampshire ski resorts come Memorial Day. I can’t wait.
Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: email@example.com.