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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Phoebes Nable Mt. Loop 2/17/16

"Another Winter 2016 Spring-Like Day" (pictures)

In looking at the weather for Wednesday (upper 30's and sunny) and feeling the need to get out in the woods solo, I decided the night before I would go hiking at MMR. Was a late night at work and I got up later than I had wanted, but still had time to get out. The parking lot had been plowed, one swipe up to the kiosk so it is still accessible with a 4x4 or all-wheel drive.

Snow shoes and backpack strapped on I headed up Burrows Farm trail at about 1:15pm. Despite the recent snow we had the rain and warm temps that followed melted the snow pack back down to just a few inches leaving just enough for snow shoes. I stopped at the lower Burrows Falls just after the bridge for a picture. The brooks and streams were all flowing like it was Spring thaw. I climbed back up the bank and paused at the North trail junction to decide on what I wanted to hike.

I continued on Burrows Farm trail and thought I might hike up the Moose Mountains trail to the rocky-ridge pitch pine forest. But by the time I got there I was getting tired and it was too late. So after stopping at the cascade at the trail junction I hiked up to the Burrows Field. Grass was showing through the tiny amount of snow left. The warm sun felt great, interrupted now-and-then by a burst of cold air.

Continuing on to the Phoebes Nable Loop trail I began the gradual ascent of the mountain. This trail is so enjoyable to snow shoe, nice gradual climb and plenty to look at. Pretty trees, large rocks and ledges. A moose had been here recently and was also enjoying the new trail system! Further up a porcupine had been through and had chewed up a couple of his favorite spruce trees leaving them almost baren and twigs scattered all around their trucks.

I made the final push to the summit and sat down on a rock seat and enjoyed the view and solitude for a little while. So beautiful and quite it was, the world below can look so serene and peaceful from a mountain top. After a snack I headed down the Phoebes Nable Mt. trail. Along the way I spotted more moose tracks, another porcupine track and twig mess at another's favorite tree and came across what looked like a galloping fox track. I ended back at the parking lot at 3:15pm.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Beauty Ledge Loop 2/7/16

"Not Enough Snow for Snow Mobiles, Just Enough for Snowshoes" (pictures)

It was one of those beautiful days post-snow storm! After a warm couple weeks and rain there was little if any snow left on the trails. We then received about 6" of wet snow Friday and by the weekend the weather was pretty nice for February. We were able to make it into the unplowed parking lot without trouble. No one had yet been here since the snow.

We began our snow shoe hike on the Burrows Farm trail up to the North trail. This sections had not yet been open to snow mobiles not had the groomer been through yet. Up past the gate and at the Piper Mt. trail junction was where we met the groomed section of trail. While there was not yet enough base for snow mobiles the groomer did roll this section of trail out in hopes of compacting a base layer. With off-and-on snow this coming week the trails should finally be passable.

It was certainly nice to have the groomed trail to our selves. The sun had already been working on heating up the rocks under the snow pack and they were poking up through the snow. We past the Beauty Ledge junction and decided to loop counterclockwise continuing on North trail to the Beauty Knob trail. We followed this trail (which we need to open up more this summer) to the junction with Beauty Ledge trail.

We made our way up over the knob and down to the ledge. We had lunch and hung out making a snow man, taking pics and enjoying the quite. Once we had our fill and had begun to cool down we headed back down, staying on the ledge trail. We dropped back down to North trail and down to the parking lot where a car had made it into the parking lot. They had headed up Phoebes Nable Mt. trail as evidence of the bare-boot tracks going up the trail.

A great day, hiking in just a long sleeve shirt for most of the hike. Rodent tracks were visible along the top of the snow in many parts of our hike and there were a lot of porcupine trails all over the forest and along/across the hiking trails. We cleared a small tree that had fallen across a section of Beauty Ledge trail, otherwise trails were clear.