woke up around 8:00, and had maple & brown sugar oatmeal, hot
chocolate, and pop-tarts for breakfast. As usual in the winter, I kept the
water bottle at the foot of my sleeping bag to keep it from freezing. I
warmed up the frozen pop-tarts by holding them over the stove. Muffin ate some
leftover oatmeal and a pop-tart. We tried to give her some water, but she
wasn't really thirsty.
paying the ranger, who came around in her truck, for a two night stay, we
got ready to go on a hike, putting on our gaiters and stashing our
crampons, poles, and my ice axe in the car. We drove through Franconia Notch to the
Mountain Ski Area's north parking lot, to hike up the Bald
Mountain-Artist's Bluff Path. This is the same trail Muffin I had taken
back in December when I lost the car keys and we had a lot of trouble
getting home again.
donned our crampons at the trailhead and headed up. A group
on snowshoes had gone through a day or two before us, but the trail wasn't as firmly
packed as the Webster-Jackson Loop had been last month. The packed strip
where you could walk without postholing was extremely narrow, and even though
we were careful, we often postholed up to our knees.
crampons came in very handy in the icy rocky section just before Artist's
Bluff, but we didn't really need them the rest of the time. Above Artist's
Bluff, the snowshoe tracks tapered off and then disappeared, so we had to
break trail the rest of the way to the summit. I led, carefully trying to
feel my way upward on what I thought would be the most solid snow at the
center of the trail, but it was hard to tell where the trail was at times,
and I often ended up postholing
up to my thighs. Holly occasionally postholed up to her waist.
we reached the summit of Bald Mtn where Muffin was already waiting for us.
The weather was great and the air was clear, so the views of Franconia
Notch, Mt Lafayette, and the Cannon Mountain Ski Area were excellent.
and Muffin at the Bald Mtn-Artist's Bluff Trailhead. The snow was much
higher than it was when Muffin and I were here last December.