Friday, December 31, 2010

A Winter Adventure

With this posting I may have to really rethink the whole "Chasing Summer" title for this blog. I just spent three days enjoying the aftermath of the "Blizzard of 2010" up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. (Jaimee could not go with me as she had to work.) Last Sunday night New England, especially coastal areas like Boston got hammered with snow. Boston alone received 18 inches of snow. Before the storm, we spent Christmas Eve to Christmas morning at Jaimee's dad's house in Shrewsbury. We had a lovely, festive time, and pardon the inside joke (but let's be honest, only "insiders" are really reading this anyway) no churches were burned down on Christmas Eve. We left Shrewsbury Saturday evening and drove down to Cape Cod where we visited with Jaimee's visiting Mom and her brother and sister. The storm began rolling in late Sunday morning, and although we had plans to return to Boston on Sunday night, we spent another night and braved the roads back to Boston on Monday. Although by Monday most of the snow had fallen, the roads were still somewhat treacherous and parking in the city was a nightmare. Our downstairs neighbors were out of town so they said we could park in their driveway, but that meant I had to shovel it. It took over two hours to shovel out the driveway wide enough to park the car. Dealing with this much snow is certainly never something we had to deal with in Seattle.

However, the timing of the storm couldn't have been better with respect to my planned trip up to the White Mountains. I spent two nights with our friends Liza and Michael at the AMC Zealand Falls Hut. The hut is rustic, only heated with a wood stove that they stoke between 4PM and 9PM each day. The hut has bunks for about 35 people and it was filled to capacity each night. This meant for cozy accommodations especially in the main room with the stove. We had a great time though, playing games and meeting new people. Not only did I meet someone who knew one of the Appalachian Trail through-hikers I met last summer while hiking the Long Trail, but I also met people who knew my Aunt and Uncle, Neil and Betsy. One guy said he'd house sat for them, and another said he used to work at the West Hill Bike Shop when my uncle owned it. It truly is a small world.

We also got in lots of snowshoeing during the day. The first day was a relatively easy snowshoe into the hut because the trail was already broken out. The second day we took the trail up to Zealand Mountain which was not already broken out. It took the three of us five hours to break through snow that was often up to our waist deep. We eventually got to the summit, which sadly had no view. Although it is a 4,000 foot peak so it helped my friend Michael who is attempting to climb all 48 of New Hampshire's 4,000 foot peaks in the winter:

The third day we returned to the car via the summit of Mount Hale, another 4,000 foot peak. Again, waist high snow where we took turns breaking trail to reach the summit. Hale actually had somewhat of a view and the day was beautifully sunny, so we enjoyed basking in the warm and calm summit:

It was a lot of work snowshoeing through the mountains, but it was a ton of fun and I hope to get up to the mountains more this winter. I'm not necessarily trying to climb all 48 New Hampshire 4,000 footers in the winter, but I am keeping track of which ones I've climbed; I'm up to 16 peaks climbed (and now two in the winter). You can see the rest of the pictures from my hut adventure here.

Now we're finishing packing up and are headed to Neil and Betsy's for the weekend. We might get in some cross-country skiing, but overall hope to have a relaxing New Year's. 2010 was a tremendous, life-changing year for me and Jaimee and I'm hoping 2011 brings more adventures and fun!

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