Chillin' On Mount Cabot 2/13/12
You might say that this hike originated months ago when we hooked up with Mark Truman and his wife Natalie on our fall trip to the White Mountains. We tentatively planned on Mount Cabot for our winter journey north; meeting up with our good friends from Rhode Island while they stayed several days enjoying the cold temperatures of the season.
We paid an unexpected visit on Sunday afternoon to their rented cottage at the Thorn Hill Inn, within walking distance from our room at the Lodge at Jackson Village. They were glad to see us once again and we discussed the plan of attack for Monday?s hike to Mount Cabot. With the forecast of extremely low temperatures, high winds and the possibility of snow, I think each of us was hoping we were capable of accomplishing our goal.
With plans set, we said our goodbyes and left to get our gear in order.
The morning of the big hike we drove to the Thorn Hill Inn, picked up Mark and Nat and off we went to the trailhead off York Pond Road, just northwest of the town of Berlin. York Pond Road was coated in ice, so it was a good idea that we drove our Subaru Outback. Ours was the only car in the snow covered parking lot as we suited up and donned our packs, heading out on the trail at 9 o?clock.
It wasn?t long before we generated enough heat to keep the chill of the wind away. We all used hand warmers for additional warmth. The wind and snow battered us as we worked our way up the trail, reaching the junction of the Bunnell Notch Trail and the Kilkenny Ridge Trail at 11 am. We soon reached the short spur trail which led to Bunnell Rock.
We saw two hikers coming down the Kilkenny Ridge Trail after summiting Mount Cabot and they informed us that if you think it?s cold and windy now, wait until you get to the cabin . We had taken our snowshoes with us and had attached them to our packs using large rubber twisty ties I purchased at a hardware store in Shewsbury, Pennsylvania. I was pleased with the ease of which one could attach a pair of snowshoes with a few twists. We all used microspikes for additional traction on the packed, snow covered trail. Mark did relinquish to using his snowshoes on the final climb up to the summit, four tenths mile past the cabin.
Reaching the wardens cabin at 12:30 pm everyone dropped their packs, refueled with some snacks and rearranged their clothing for the final ascent.
The cabin door kept blowing open because of the intense wind and it was difficult to keep it shut. Inside, out of the wind, we could still feel the penetrating cold and it felt like the inside of a freezer.
Mark headed out first, since he had the snow shoes, with Mike bringing up the rear. As he snaked his way through the maze of snow covered trees Mark temporarily lost the trail but was able to find it once again by feeling for the hard packed snow under the drifts. We finally reached the summit of Mount Cabot at 1:10 pm. With the temperatures at 0 degrees and an estimated wind speed of 30 mph. the wind chill would have been -27 degrees; so, we quickly took our summit photos and retreated back to the cabin.
We now had blue skies for our descent although the wind had not yet subsided.
Mark continued to use his MSR?s and the rest of us still used our microspikes. The descent was otherwise uneventful and the last stretch along the York Pond trail seemed endless. We reached the car at 4:15 tired but satisfied with our accomplishment.
Heading back to our respective rooms, we cleaned up and went to the Red Fox for dinner by the fireplace. After dinner we went back to the Lodge at Jackson Village where we talked about the day in front of a roaring fire (compliments of Dana, one of the owners of the lodge), having homemade cookies, tea and coffee. Several of the other guests staying at the lodge joined in on the conversation and a good time was had by all.
Thanks, Mark and Natalie for another wonderful day of hiking in the White Mountains.
Here's the link to our slideshow:
Mike and Donna
"If you can't find time to fix it right, when will you find time to fix it again."