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 15, 2008

Weather Watching For Franconia Ridge

(Atticus disappearing into the clouds
on Franconia Ridge two winters ago.)
I’m just sitting here watching the weather forecasts. Over the next week the weather will drop and that is a good thing. In the extended forecast, several days’ lows call for below zero temperatures. We need the frigid temps to freeze the stream crossings once again. When they freeze it will be easier to get to Isolation; Owl’s Head; the Tripyramids; Carrigain; North Twin, South Twin, and Galehead.

Tonight I’m chewing over the prospect of doing Franconia Ridge. It will be cold and the wind will be at the upper limits we’d go out in, however, it will be coming from the northwest and once we climb to the top of Lafayette it will be at our backs over Lincoln, Liberty and Flume. We’d only have it in our faces when we return to Liberty from Flume before heading down the Liberty Springs Trail.

Could tomorrow be our first home run hike? Perhaps. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

If we do go up on the ridge, it could possibly be the first time this winter Atticus will don his body suit. Last year we hiked in heavy winds twice: the first time on Jackson, where there isn’t exposure until the very end; and Isolation, where again we weren’t exposed until the very end climb. I have no idea what the wind was on top of Jackson, however, the temps were below zero when we started. On Isolation, a friend was skiing Wildcat just down the road at the same time and reported a -33 degrees wind chill factor.

We can do wind, the important thing is to do it safely. If it will come from the northwest and the higher summits forecast gives us the same or better hope than it showed me today, we’ll take a shot at the ridge for our longest hike of the winter.