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.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Snow Depths In 70 Degree Weather

Lonesome Lake Hut at 2,760 feet of elevation and just up the road a few miles is reporting there is still 32 inches of snow on the ground. Depth at 4,000 feet and higher is a lot more than that…unless you get above treeline where there is very little snow these days.

The reason this snow depth is a problem is because with all these 70 degree days, even with snowshoes on it’s easy to posthole up to your knees or even worse, your crotch. (Ouch!) A friend of mine contacted me yesterday to tell me he’d done the Tripyramids recently via the Pine Bend Brook Trail and wore snowshoes and shorts. But even with his snowshoes on he sank in deep and there were times the upper crust cut into his shins. By the time he returned back to the car his legs were very bloody.

For Atticus this ‘rotting snow’ is more of a problem since he cannot wear snowshoes and simply postholes right up to his body, all four legs getting stuck at the same time. And if the crust hurt my friend who climbed the Tripyramids imagine what it would do to Atticus at this time.

This is the reason we’re staying snow-free from now one. And while the temperatures have been high, there are only a few places to hike snow free these days. That means we’ll be heading back to Welch-Dickey and Black Mountain several times, simply for the workout to get us ready for the late spring and summer season. But who am I to complain? It could be worse in that to get a workout I’d would have to go to a gym and get on a Stairmaster. This way I get my workout in and at the same time get to watch nature come to life as the spring spreads throughout the mountain.

This morning I’m writing, but by this afternoon Atti and I will be back at Welch-Dickey for another 4.4 mile loop, and we probably will be there tomorrow, too.

No comments: