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Snowy has.......snow and ICE

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  • Snowy has.......snow and ICE

    Drove up to Snowy Saturday morning. The weather was supposed to be great (high forties, dry and full sun) so I expected a nice fall hike so I didn't bring much gear. I Noticed a dusting of snow as I approached Spectulator (uh oh I thought). I was soloing it as the kids all had prior commitments (and I just had to get out hiking). There was perhaps an inch or so of snow as I started at 9:45. There were LOTS of down trees and branches. At the first major stream crossing I caught up with a group from Hamilton College who had completed their crossing and were grabbing a bite on the far side of the stream. As I picked my way across after scouting the crossing I stepped on a rock in the middle of the stream and (you know it) it was glazed with totally tranparent ice and down I went. I made it across after suffering a wet right foot and left arm...well so much for dazzling the college crowd with my hiking skills..."A little icey" I muttered meekly as I passed them. The trail was slick with snow and I soon encountered ice. When I hit the fir/spruce forest there was a lot of ice. As the elevation grew and I entered the area where the trail follows a stream wash the ice really got significant and continuing on the trail was impossible without crampons so off into the scrub I went. The part of the trail right before the summit was totally iced and I had to fight through the brush above the gully the trail went through. The chute at the top of the trail (right before hitting the clearing at the summit was ALL ice). I made the summit and was (I'll admit) a bit nervous about descending on the ice. I went to the fire tower and climbed to the cabin (which was closed) and enjoyed the view. It was a great day but there was a heavy, heavy haze on the horizon that obscured any far views (in fact I couldn't make out any of the high peaks). At the summit the snow was perhaps 5 inches deep and when the sun was hitting the trees and melting the snow on the trees it looked like rain. I ate on the summit as the college crowd made the summit...I thought I was the only one crazy enough to climb through the ice but maybe it wasn't that bad since this group did it also. I really think that if I had had my younger daughter I probably would have not summited (why risk it?). I started down before the college crowd and was apprehensive of the ice so I really took my time. I did a couple of butt plants but made it through the tricky spots pretty easily. Met three guys who were going up (one had Yak Trax on and said they were working well). I told them it was real icey up higher. On my way down I started to do a bit of trail maintenance (I was thinking of the thread that Tim started here on giving something back). I scraped a couple of SMALL drainages to drain dips in the trail (I hope I didn't make it worse...Pete did I do wrong??) in areas where the water had backed up and was iced over and people were obviously widening the path to avoid the ice and water. I picked up and dragged off a bunch of branches (some pretty big) and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Down on the flat part of the trail I was thinking what a great little hike this was shaping up to be (I was feeling pretty good about getting down the ice without any mishaps) when down I went after slipping in the leaves and mud and came down on a rock right on my knee and boy did it hurt. Now I've done it, I thought. After a few minutes of limping a long the knee felt fine and I never gave it another thought. I continued with my trail clearing and hit the car about 3:15. I drove down to Speculator to check out the town (it was my first time in that area of the Daks). I stopped in Utica to get a bite to eat and as I got out of the car I found I could barely walk and that my knee had stiffened up and was now hurting. The knee was REALLY hurting as I drove home and when I stopped for gas about an hour after Utica I found I could barely walk to the pump. There was no danger of falling asleep on this return home due to the pain. I called ahead and had the boys help me from the car when I got home. When my wife saw me she immediately started me to the doctor's (and gave me a lecture about solo hiking as we drove). The doctor thinks it only a sprain/bruise and but I am supposed to get X-rays today. It's much better today. So did I screw up my solo hiking career? I don't think so...it might just be a great excuse to buy some more gear! This was my first hike in the month of November and I learned a lot. See you all in the hills........
    Pat Connors

  • #2
    Originally posted by Hikerdad
    I stepped on a rock in the middle of the stream and (you know it) it was glazed with totally tranparent ice and down I went.

    [M]y wife ... gave me a lecture about solo hiking.
    I enjoy solo hiking, but those little mishaps make you think. I did the same thing last month as I was crossing Johns Brook on my way to Haystack. I never saw the ice and landed hard on my ass. And, boy, did I get the business from family and friends about solo hiking after I told them what happened.
    46-R #5193W

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Willie
      And, boy, did I get the business from family and friends about solo hiking after I told them what happened.
      That is why I never tell them what really happen when solo hiking...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by timmus
        That is why I never tell them what really happen when solo hiking...
        How perfectly true.........
        The quieter you are, the better.

        Sounds like a cool hike, save for that mishap anyway. Yea, consider it a good lesson, you have to have something for ice from Oct to May.
        Walk Softly

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        • #5
          HIkerdad- You had a great time, do it again! Just watch the ice.

          Now look what 24 hours and a few miles south does. We hiked Pillsbury today and encountered only light snow in the balsams approaching the summit and just some icing on the trail. Beautiful day to be out and about. I even ventured with the car all the way to the trailhead-Honda 1, rutted rocky road 0 Geocache at Mason Lake- BC & son 0, cache 1 Darn, I hate to get beat by a little box.
          Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
          It's about learning to dance in the rain.

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