Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Wildcat D on the Edge of a Nor'easter

I had no firm plans on hiking today with a Nor'easter bearing down on New England. I would make my decision to hike when I got up to Pinkham Notch and evaluate the current weather conditions. My summit of choice was Wildcat D (4,062'). This solo hike would take me up the Polecat ski trail so I wouldn't need to concern myself with breaking trail.

I arrived at the Wildcat ski area to find the parking lot quickly filling with skiers and snowboarders. It was cold, windy and snowing but nothing that would stop me from hiking, the conditions were not that bad. I went into the lodge and purchased my uphill pass for ten dollars, policy here at Wildcat. I layered up and headed out. My snowshoes went on and stayed on for the entire hike.

The Polecat Trail was groomed with some nice corduroy as I knew it would be. It wasn't long before I saw two pairs of snowshoe tracks coming up from another trail and I followed these. A little further and I saw two hikers up ahead. I would follow them to the summit. There were many skiers and snowboarders along the way and I stayed along the side of the trail to keep out of the way.

The gray sky was right down to slope level, the wind picked up and light snow continued. I was right behind the two snowshoers as I got closer to the summit. I thought I might know them but couldn't be sure. Another snowshoer came up from behind and passed us. The top of the chairlift was soon in sight but this was not the summit.

I turned to go up the Wildcat Ridge Trail. It is a short, steep climb up to the observation tower. There was lots of snow on the trail and it was an easy climb with the snowshoes. I was able to walk up the snow covered steps of the tower with my snowshoes without any problem. I finally met the two hikers I had been following up the mountain, it was Renee and Brian. Renee I recognized from following her hikes on Facebook. We chatted for a few minutes then went our separate ways. They were going to continue on to Wildcat A and I was going to head back down the way I came up. I did notice that the Wildcat Ridge Trail looked well broken out going toward Wildcat A.

The temperature was 17° with a steady wind blowing. Before starting my descent I put on some dry layers and a dry hat, that felt much better. It was a quick trip down the Polecat Trail and I got down just as the snow was beginning to increase.

While there were no views today it was still an enjoyable hike. The trail conditions for skiing and snowboarding are fantastic. With a Nor'easter on the way bringing heavy snow the conditions are going to be epic! There is lots of snow in the forecast today through tomorrow with more snow expected mid-week. All this snow should make for interesting and exciting trail conditions and some awesome hiking next weekend!

Enjoy the pics!

Nice corduroy packed trail

Heading up the Polecat Trail

There was plenty of glade skiing available

Frosty trees

Gray and snowy

Approaching the top of the Polecat Trail

Ski patrol hut

Met fellow hikers Brian and Renee on Wildcat D

The view from the summit


Behind the ski patrol hut

Snow and wind

A hole in the woods enticing skiers to enter

Moving down a gray Polecat Trail

Not yet!

Back at the bottom

A final look up Wildcat

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

No comments:

Post a Comment