"The Perfect Snow Shoe Hike" (pictures) (more pictures)
The day started with mild temperatures and a fresh couple inches of snow on the ground and on the trees. The sky soon broke into blue patches and the sun began to shine warmly through. It was going to be a fabulous day in the woods! We arrived at the freshly plowed MMR parking lot to find our group already there getting their gear on. We were joined by our two friends Marty and Jill whom we have formed a friendship with at Moose Mountains. Also joining us were two fellow Forest Society Land Stewards John and his wife Lise who take care of the Parker trail on Mt. Monadnock. They had brought along their friend Carol. It was a neat scenario, Scott and I 2011 Land Steward Grads, John and Lise 2012, Jill soon-to-be 2013 and Marty hopefully can get in for 2014.
This was the first hike we would be leading on our own. We began shortly after 10am, heading up the Burrows Farm trail. We made a stop at the Hall Spring where I was able to expose a Woolly Snake Skin Plantain from the snow to show a leaf to the group. We carried on now onto the snow mobile trail and we headed up North trail. After passing the Piper Mt. trail junction and moving over for a few snow mobiles we arrived at the Beauty Ledge trail-head. After a break we began the unbroken trail of deep snow, Scott at the lead. It was slow going!
After making the steep climb up to Snapping Turtle Rock we took a break. Then it was onward around the ledge, jutting out from the hillside above us. The woods along here are so beautiful and quite. We were all pointing out bark scrapings made by porcupines, birds nests in the trees and animal prints in the snow. One more steep climb we passed the Beauty Knob trail junction and made our way across Beauty Knob. Here a curious Chickadee greeted us and seemed awfully friendly.
We now made the descent down to the ledge. The reaction from the three that hadn't yet been here was the same as when Scott and I first found this ledge. It didn't disappoint! Even Jill said it's different everytime and is always a wonderful sight. We carefully climbed down to the ledge, posed for a group photo and it was time for lunch! We hung out there for a good half hour. Talking, snapping pictures, taking in the view and this perfect day. It doesn't get any better than this! As we packed up the clouds were now closing in and the wind began to pick up a little ahead of Sundays not-so-pleasant weather.
We carefully made the descent back the way we came and down at the Burrows Farm trail junction decided to call it a day. We arrived back at the parking lot at 2:30pm. It was a great day and a great group of people. All enjoying the hike and the beauty of Moose Mountains. We all seemed to jive well together; nice easy and enjoyable pace; great conversation and a love of the forest. We had a few wipe-outs, the most notable was Carol. As she was coming back out of Beauty Ledge trail she exclaimed "this trail was beautiful", and not a second later cur-plunk! Down she went face-first. Luckily no harm done and we got a good laugh of it! Hopefully she comes back :) Thank you all for a memorable and wonderful Snow Shoe Hike!