Home4000-FootersOther White Mountain TripsOther StatesTrail WorkMemorabilia

Map

  Crawford Path-Bald Mtn page: 

1

2

3

4

5

6

 
Crawford Path Overnight, Bald Mtn - page 3 of 6

By the time we reached the junction with the Mizpah Cutoff, the light was fading and the temperature had dropped considerably. My clothes were damp and Muffin was covered with snow. I knew that there was still another 45 minutes to an hour of arduous hiking before we would reach the hut and tent platforms, so I decided to stop right there for the night, and then worry about going up higher in the morning. Luckily, the trail junction was at a fairly flat open area along the trail and there was room for the tent off to one side.

I started to stomp down an spot for the tent. I wished that I had had a shovel as I would have been able to do a better job leveling and smoothing down the snow. But I did the best that I could using my feet and hoped that the tent would further pack it down. Although my winter tent is twice as heavy as the summer tent, it was worth the extra weight since it’s free-standing and needs less staking out as long as it’s sheltered from the wind. I used my two ski poles to stake out the front of the vestibule, and anchored the right side to a tree and the left side to my ice axe.

Muffin was beginning to shiver, so I put her in first, even before the fly was up. Then I got in and rolled around a bit to further smooth down the snow and began to unpack our things. By the time everything was set up and ready, it had gotten almost completely dark, and I was glad we had decided to stop here. The only thing this spot didn’t really have was a source of water, but I knew we could melt and boil snow to refill our supplies.

Before changing out of my damp clothes, I boiled some water to make supper and to help us warm up now that we weren’t exerting ourselves. I made two Cup-O-Noodle soups and a small container of bean soup, giving some to Muffin while I ate the rest. It was very warming and good, and Muffin stopped shivering. After eating, I collected all our food items in a bag and carried it outside to hang in a tree in case of bears or other prying animals. I couldn’t find any really good branches, so left it hanging from a nook in a fallen spruce. It would have to do. At least it wasn’t in the tent.

Back in the tent again, I took off Muffin’s wet sweater and put on a dry one, then changed into dry clothes myself. It was now pitch black, but still early, no later than six o’clock. I continued to melt and boil snow to refill a water bottle, then shut off the stove and climbed into my sleeping bag, hoping to do some reading before bed. I put Muffin in the bottom of the sleeping bag by my feet, with the lower zipper open a bit so she could get air. To keep them from freezing up, I put my flashlight and the camera in the sleeping bag with me. I had to shift the sleeping bag around a bit to find the most comfortable configuration of dips and bumps, but once I slid over toward the middle, it wasn’t too bad.

As has happened in the past, I never ended up reading. I just listened to the sounds of the night. I could hear the night wind stir the tops of the spruce trees, sending showers of snow crystals down upon the tent walls. Occasionally, I heard what I thought might be a small animal like a mouse or a shrew or a vole digging or clawing in the snow off to the right of the tent, but mostly it was quiet and peaceful. Before going to bed, I took a look outside. The stars shone bright and frosty in the night sky. 

The Mizpah Cutoff Junction in the summer. Located at a fairly flat spot on the Crawford Path, this small clearing is only 7/10 of a mile below the Mizpah Hut, but in the growing darkness and loose powdery snow of the trail, it was as far as we could go that day. I took this picture on a trip to Mt Isolation in August 2001.

old tent site at mizpah cutoff.jpg (75247 bytes)

Map

  Crawford Path-Bald Mtn page: 

1

2

3

4

5

6