Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Windy Winter

The well-intentioned point out that we are blessed to have such a mild winter and hope that it will stay that way for us. I couldn't disagree more. We want snow, snow, snow. Snow, a reasonable amount of it, makes hiking easier for both Atticus and myself. In this current weather there is a lot of ice on the trails and I'd rather walk across snow than ice. Snow also makes for a more beautiful hike and more comfortable and faster trip from the summit to the trailhead.

And weather just isn't precipitation. We're having a difficult time getting above treeline. With Atticus along for the journey I'm picky about when I'll bring him above to the elements. This winter there have been very few low wind days. I know that the first day of winter was mild but other than that we haven't chosen to be above treeline. The Mount Washington Observatory pointed out this morning that each day in January has seen winds gusting to at least 80 mph. So while people are saying we're having a mild winter, they're talking about the temperature and precipitation, not the wind.

Here's today's Mount Washington Higher Summit Forecast:

Tuesday, January 9, 2007
4:46 AM
The low pressure system that passed yesterday is continuing to pull away to the northeast today. Low level moisture mixed with upslope flow will allow for fog to remain on the summits with a few snow showers mixed in. Winds will remain high this morning as the gradient behind the low remains tight but as the day progresses, winds will slacken slightly. Overnight, a cold front will pass allowing the summits to remain in the fog with enough instability to spur on more snow showers. Tomorrow, an upper level trough mixed with a low level shortwave will continue the foggy conditions and bring a continued chance of snow showers to the summits. As the shortwave moves through tomorrow, winds will be on the increase through the day. So far this month, every day we have had a wind gust above 80 mph and this trend looks to continue through this forecast period. Wind chills will be as low as 25 below today, 30 below overnight, and 40 below for tomorrow.
Ryan Knapp

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