The Holy Grail of Winter Activities, Snowshoeing

mountain sheep

Rather than find this pair of mountain sheep atop Hadley, they were wandering the icy roads below as if they needed a lift.

Snowshoeing Hadley Mountain

Snowshoeing Hadley Mountain

Snowshoeing Hadley Mountain

Sunday was much too nice to work inside so six of us escaped to the southern edge of the Adirondacks with our snowshoes. At 9 a.m. our car was the first to arrive in the parking lot. Deep swaths of soft snow adorned low-lying branches and tree blowdown. Paw prints from pet dogs, white-tailed deer and meadow voles scattered the ground. The sun flickered through groves of long-living Eastern hemlock. It was the perfect day to snowshoe.

A well-groomed trailhead, only mildly precarious in certain spots, made for some happy snowshoe first-timers – myself included. In under 90 minutes, we reached the windy summit where layers of clothing were promptly put back on. Earlier we shed shirts, hats and mittens following ADK 46-er Nancy as she raced over slippery ice patches and exposed rock. Most of the hikers I climb with do so with a vengeance and nearly all agree that doing so in the winter is preferred.

“You get more bang for your buck,” said our hardscrabble climbing goddess, Miss Nola. Sure enough, I stood five or six feet higher on the consolidated snow reveling in 360-degrees of commanding vistas including the Great Sacandaga Lake. It was almost like we could see all six million acres of the Adirondack Park without needing to climb the Fire Tower. Jesse’s turbo binoculars helped make out snowmobile tracks on the ponds below.

The return trip was effortless, almost like I was glissading down on old skis. Mutti and I enjoyed this little ripple swell of a mountain a few years ago but climbing it after a fresh coat of snow is far more beautiful.