Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hiking and Sledding on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail

I had Monday off for President's Day. After being hunkered down all weekend due to frigid outdoor temps I was anxious to get out. I thought this would be a good day for some sledding. The plan was to hike up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to the caretaker cabin (HoJo's) at Hermit Lake and sled down the Sherburne Ski Trail. This is probably one of my shortest hiking blog posts but it was a quick ascent and an even faster descent.

It was another subzero morning but without the icy wind that had been blowing over the weekend. I was taking my time in order to let the temperature rise a bit before starting my hike. It was late morning when I got started on the trail.

Cutler River

A frozen Crystal Cascade

My first observation is the severe lack of snow for this time of year. Even driving up to Pinkham Notch there is barely, if any, snowbank along the road. The trail was well-packed and smooth with the occasional rock poking above the snow. I tend to wear traction at the slightest possibility of slippage while hiking but traction was not needed all the way up to Hermit Lake.

Heading up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Sherburne Ski Trail

Along the way I cut over to check out the Sherburne Trail. The trail conditions there looked good but I could not see some of the steeper, icier portions of the trail. On the other hand I was very impressed with the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and thought it would be ideal for sledding down. The lack of the usual crowd of people on this popular and busy trail was also a contributing factor for choosing to sled down this trail.

I reached Hermit Lake and immediately prepared to sled back down. The temperature was 16°F with a slight breeze blowing. I packed away my poles and made sure there was nothing loose on my backpack. I then prepared my video camera, a Contour HD. With my pack secured, sled in hand, video camera adjusted and on, I was ready to ride!

I walked away from the caretaker's cabin and just as the trail started its downward descent I sat down and was on my way! It was a slow start but I was moving on down and soon reached a few good drops and turns in the trail. I was picking up some good speed and found that a combination of hands and heels allowed me to control the sled without any problems. The handle on the Zipfy sled allows me the ability to grip it with my upper legs and be hands-free without falling off.

Hermit Lake caretaker cabin (HoJo's)

With the increased speed other hikers must have heard me coming and would be standing off the trail before I could see them. I was able to easily pass by with plenty of room without incident. They all seemed to get a kick out of me schussing by them and truth be known they were probably a little envious that they had not brought their own sleds.

Along the way there was the occasional flat areas that I would have to get up and walk but not as many as I would have thought. I was able to get my last sleddable section just before the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center. I enjoyed a very long and exhilarating ride down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail!

Sun above Boott Spur

End of the ride

View the video and see what it's like to sled down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
Sit back and enjoy the ride!

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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