Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Breaking Trail and Bushwhacking in Kilkenny

With an Arctic cold front moving in the winds started howling at 8:45 this morning. It started with a temperature of 43 degrees and rain squalls that quickly turned to snow squalls. I set out on a snowshoe adventure with my son and his girlfriend joining me. We got a late start and it was 2:00 in the afternoon when we began our hike into the Kilkenny wilderness. Our plan was to summit an unnamed mountain using old logging roads and trails. The best laid plans do not always go well.

The road was gated but had been plowed, probably for logging operations. It was about a mile hike into our snowshoe starting point. We put on our snowshoes and continued on. We were now following an old unplowed logging road and the snowshoes were proving their worth. As we moved up the road scrubby growth and thorny bushes were poking up through the snow.

As we came to several forks in the overgrown logging roads we took what we thought were the most direct routes to the top but it was a tricky trek and not exactly the easiest. We eventually ran out of old roads and trails. It was time to bushwhack!

We made our way through a stand of new growth trees, at least there was no prickly brush to deal with and it was fairly easy going. There was no sign of any sort of trail so we just pointed our snowshoes up and kept going. It was nice to have some young legs along to break new trail.

I took my turn breaking trail, the summit was turning out to be very elusive. Before long I came upon some fresh moose tracks that led to where the moose had been lying down. There was also some very fresh, still steamy moose droppings as well as moose hair all around. I took a careful look around and did not see or hear anything.

It was now 4:00 with fading daylight and we all decided it was a good time to make our descent. There would be no summit view today. We followed our tracks back down the mountain.

Down at the bottom we followed an unbroken trail along the Ammonoosuc River. The light was fading fast. I had put my headlamp in my pocket before I left but still didn't need it. We stopped briefly along the river to snap a couple of photos.

We arrived back at the vehicle just as it was getting dark. Never did need the headlamp but it was good to know that I had it just in case. The wind was still blowing hard as we drove home.

Between not knowing where the summit was and the bushwacking it was a challenging experience. Although we did not make the summit I still found it to be a very enjoyable adventure.

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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