Just when I thought it was safe to put away the snowshoes, we got an April Fool’s snowstorm that dumped about a foot of sticky, heavy, white stuff on us! I’ve been bitching about the snow for a couple weeks now – I’m so done with it – but this time, I decided to stop bitching and try to enjoy the snow with one (hopefully) last snowshoe of the season. My usual hiking buddies were otherwise occupied, so I announced my plans in the NH Women’s Hiking Group on Facebook and made arrangements to meet up with Kim and her rescue pooch, Miss Tory, to tackle Mt. Rowe in Gilford. Though we had never hiked it together before, we’ve each hiked it numerous times and it’s a mutual favorite.
The snow from this storm was a bit wet and heavy, so throughout the whole hike, snow was falling out of the trees onto our heads. The snow was also weighing down lots of tree branches, and in the scrubby pine sections about 2/3 of the way up, it was hard to spot the blazes on the trees – where they would normally be easy to see, low-hanging branches were blocking our line of sight.
It was pretty deep, too. Judging from the maze of deer tracks criss-crossing the trail, the snow looked to be about 2 feet deep. We weren’t sinking down that far, thanks to our snowshoes, but we were sinking anywhere from 10 inches to a foot into it.
Only the lower half of the blue trail had been broken out, by one snowshoer who came through either yesterday afternoon or early this morning. From the blue/purple merge section up to the ridge, we had to break trail in the fresh, soft snow ourselves – which was pretty tiring! We took turns leading the way, with Miss Tory following in our snowshoe tracks so she wouldn’t sink too much.
It was a pretty tiring hike for a small mountain – anyone who breaks trail on a 4000-footer has my greatest admiration and appreciation! But even though my legs are tired, my ankles ache, and I somehow managed to get a blister on the side of my heel even when wearing my trail runners (due to the physics of snowshoeing more than the actual shoe, I think), it was worth getting out there for one last hurrah in the snow.