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Hancock Campground, Bald Mtn - page 2 of 3

Day 2

We 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. 

After 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 Cannon 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.

We 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.

The 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.

Finally, 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.

Holly 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.

Holly and muffin at start of trail.jpg (239638 bytes)

Holly and Muffin on the summit of Bald Mtn. The snowy peak in the distance is Mt Lafayette.

Holly and Muffin on Bald Peak with Mt Lafayette.jpg (210727 bytes)

Franconia Notch from Bald Mtn. It's only a 400 ft elevation gain to the summit, but the unbroken powder made the climb hard work.

Holly on Bald Peak with Franconia Notch.jpg (217947 bytes)

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