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Rusk, Hunter, SW Hunter

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  • Rusk, Hunter, SW Hunter

    It was a beautiful sunny day on Monday, warmer than the two weekend days. We headed up Rusk a bit around 7:30am hoping to catch the colder temperatures and crusty snow on the steep ascent. With the full sun, it was remarkably warm even at that early hour. With shallow snow we abandoned the pre-existing track and made a track on the next ridge to the west, stripping layers and taking breaks to avoid overheating.

    We followed tracks all the way from Rusk to the Spruceton Trail at Jones Gap, skirting the East Rusk summit to the south. Thanks to those before us, we could just cruise along and take in the beauty of the day.

    We met Blowdown Gang and Hermit at the Hunter summit picnic tables. They had bushwhacked up from Becker Hollow and suggested we do the same. With SW Hunter still on the agenda, the best we could do is take a bushwhack shortcut from just beyond the 4 way down to the SW Hunter 3 way. Thanks to their suggestion, we had a much more enjoyable trip than we would have on the trails.

    We wore snowshoes all day and moved easily until we got about a quarter mile below Geiger Point. There we ran out of snow. That section really takes the full sun and the water drainages do their work. Off came the shoes and some bare booted and some spiked on the slushy thin snow barely covering the trail. From the waterfall bridge down, the trail was in very good shape again. Hard packed snow holding up well there.

    specs: 5 pairs of MSR Lightning Ascent and one pair of heel less MSR EVOs. When the spikes came out, ‘twas 100% Hillsound.