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TRIP REPORT: Dog days of winter (Day 1)
March 11, 2013 - Morgan Ryan
With winter appearing to be on its last legs, this was the perfect weekend to get out in the snow for an adventure (or two). This is the time of year when you feel like any ski or snowshoe could easily be the last of the season. The weather forecast for rain and warm temperatures early in the week added a sense of urgency.
A group of four of us (and three dogs) did our best to try to beat winter’s clock. We skied and snowshoed most of the way up Whiteface on Saturday, then woke up Sunday and headed down to traverse Hoffman Notch from Loch Muller to Blue Ridge Road. Pretty much used the same gear and pack for both trips.
Couldn‘t have asked for better weather. Not a cloud in the sky on Saturday, and Sunday the clouds didn’t start moving in until later in the day. It would be nice to get another ski or two in before the spring thaw, but I think this weekend would stand up pretty well as a fulfilling winter finale.
Saturday’s trip started from the parking area on Route 86 near the junction with River Road outside of Lake Placid. We skied on the truck trail for three miles before reaching Whiteface Landing and the junction for the trail to the top of Whiteface Mountain.
Moose and McKenzie mountains make a nice backdrop from the north end of Lake Placid, with Moose Island in the foreground.
The dogs seemed to be enjoying the lake.
We had a leisurely lunch break in the bright sunshine on the dock then swapped out our skis for snowshoes and headed up the trail toward Whiteface. We soon realized that we should have kept our skis on for a while longer since the early part of the trail was relatively flat and very skiable.
We hiked along Whiteface Brook much of the way, and crossed over at this point.
We brought our skis along thinking that maybe we would hike over the top and ski down the toll road to a car we had parked on the other side earlier in the morning. By the time we got high up on the mountain, though, it was getting late. We had to determine whether we had enough daylight to take on the steep final climb to the top of the mountain or turn around and coast back to our starting point. None of us had a problem with turning around, so we decided to leave the summit for another day.
We had a pleasant ski back to Connery Pond, where we were greeted with these sunset views.
We skied across Connery Pond for the final stretch of the trip back to the cars.
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