Black Snout /Mount Shaw 3/10/09
Emma Leads the Way
Black Snout 2803' and Mount Shaw 2990'
8 Miles 2300' Elevation gain
Mount Shaw Trail and Black Snout Trail
Kevin, Judy and Emma
Wet snow on Monday dampened our plans for another 4K on Tuesday. We slept in and got a late start, deciding to re-visit one of our new favorites, Mount Shaw. The wet snow immediately proved to be a problem and we were afraid that Emma would ball up and not be able to climb without it sticking to her fur. Instead, she glided right through it, no sticky balls of snow dangling from her fur, while it stuck quite nicely to our snowshoes. I was glad we hadn't decided on something higher or longer although I knew that further north the snow was probably quite different. Later I read in some trip reports that as the day progressed and got warmer others had the same problem on their trips. There was about three or four inches of wet/sticky over a hard crust which held us.
As we started out on the Mount Shaw Trail we immediately came upon a lot of maple syrup buckets. This was old school. No vinyl hoses leading from tree to tree and down to the sugar house. Evidence of the owner driving his tractor through this area to place the buckets and then return to collect their contents was well impressed into the snowy trail. I was a little nostalgic about this as my uncle once had a large sugar farm in Ashfield, Massachusetts many years ago, though I have to admit he used the vinyl hoses.
Along the trail the snow was still clinging to the fir trees and the Fields Brook was breaking free from winters icy grip. Except for the sticky snow, it was a beautiful walk. The brook crossings looked a little dicey, but proved much easier than they looked. Further up the trail begins to climb a little more steeply, then, after the third brook crossing becomes very steep as it climbs up to the carriage road. As we climbed we could hear snowmobiles roaring along the carriage road to the northwest. I was hoping we wouldn't have to deal with them on the road, and as it turned out we didn't. Climbing the steep section I kept hoping to reach the carriage road to take advantage of a snowmobile packed trail, having thus far broken trail through the mashed potato snow the whole way. It is not often I want to share the trail with snowmobiles, but it was looking like a good thing at this point.
Finally, i crested the steep section and reached the carriage road, only to find that the snowmobiles were not allowed on this part. Well, more trail to break. Jude had fallen behind at this point and Emma had returned to hike with her. Not knowing if they were still following I headed off to Black Snout, deciding to reach that and turn around. This I did, then began the descent. I didn't get very far when along came Jude and Emma, so, back up Black Snout we went. I chose a bit of a bushwhack route because it was more direct than the carriage road and the road was drifted deep. On the summit we had some lunch and felt a lot better about continuing on to Mount Shaw.
We set out along the road again, still breaking trail and dealing with a few deep drifts. About a half a mile along it connects with another carriage road which allows snowmobiles and we were thankful for the packed trail the rest of the way. Never thought I'd say that! The views were hazy, but all the mountains were still visible. I always marvel at how many can be seen from here! It makes it well worth the effort. On the return trip the snow had softened considerably and we were both postholing a lot, even in snowshoes. It made the going difficult and tiring. It was good to finally get back to the car!
Wow, you guys are back out there with a vengeance now - good for you! Sounds like you had a bit of a slog but sure looks like a gorgeous day. The photo of the falls on Fields Brook is beautiful.
say hi to Emma for me she still loves to go for hikes
Beautiful snow to hike through even though you had to break a few trails.
Guess snowmobilers are good for something....