4.15.2009

Wintery Adirondack Easter

Ursine calling cards: A beech tree marked by a bear's claws.


Wintery Easter 2009 from JG on Vimeo.

Easter Sunday I got up early -- like, 5 am -- and discovered that the weather forecast had changed for the worse overnight. I had packed my gear the night before, however, and since I had to drive to Burlington anyway to drop off a package, I stuck to my original plan of going for a long solitary trail-less hike in the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area. The weather was cloudy, cold, very blustery and generally cheerless.

I am quite familiar with the east (Vermont) side of this area from several past trips, so I was able to make my way up a watershed and ascend up the west side of the bowl without any real navigational issues. As I climbed up the watershed of Derby Brook the woods got darker (Adirondack spruce thickets remind me of something out of the Brother Grimm -- gloomy and foreboding) and my morale, never too high to begin with, started to fade. It didn't help that my mind felt 'foggy' and unclear and I was doing stupid absent minded things (ie, I left my map of the area on the front seat of the car) which was worrisome in such a lonely and untraveled spot. So at 12:3o pm I stopped for some food and badly needed hot tea and decided it was time to head back to the car.

My Jetboil stove struggled to bring water to a boil in the cold (mid 20s), wind and snow -- it's not designed for use in full on winter conditions.

All in all, this was not the most fun day I have spent in the woods, and at the end I kind of regretted the experience, which also included driving 110 miles and buying an $18 ferry ticket. There are still many places in the Adirondacks that I plan to explore if the opportunity affords itself, but I think the east side of the Jay Range (post describing previous trips here) is now off my list.

Easter where I live is not a soft warm day redolent with the promise of spring: One year I went skiing; one year we were in Montreal, where cold winds blew through the urban canyons of the city.

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