The Moose

The final approach towards Moosilaukee's summit

The final approach toward Moosilaukee’s summit

“You’re crazy.”

“There isn’t going to be any snow up north.”

“Why not just ski around here?”

Frosted trees near the mountains summit

Frosted trees near the mountains summit

These were all comments Mickey Spades and I heard as we planned to head north and ski last Wednesday morning.  Despite the many objections and warnings, Mickey Spades and I believed we would find good conditions up north, our confidence and psych bolstered by good luck and great conditions on our recent trips. I was also staring down  a seven-day-in-a-row stretch at work and was hopeful another trip up north would satiate my desire to ski for the next week.

Tim nearing tree line

Tim nearing tree line

Our destination was Mount Moosilaukee, a trip we know well having skied it a more than a few times over the last few years. The drive to the trail head was jarring to both Mickey’s and my confidence, as there was very little  snow anywhere near the road.  As we got closer to the trail head, we began to doubt ourselves and wonder if our luck had finally run out.  Was everyone else right about the conditions?  Would we return home to an earful of I told you so‘s?  Even as we pulled into the parking lot, snow was in short supply. Only a small ribbon of the white stuff covered the trail leading into the woods.

There is enough snow up high to nearly bury the sign

There was enough snow up high to nearly bury the sign

Attempting to remain optimistic, we geared up and followed the thin trail of snow into the woods.  It quickly began to feel as our lucky streak up north would continue.  Upon entering the woods, the snow cover grew thicker; the trail was fully covered with deep sections of snow blown into the trees.  Even many of the water crossings on the flatter part of the trail were covered with snow, allowing for easy crossings.  In addition to the good snow conditions, the weather was phenomenal, allowing Mickey and I to skin up wearing only base layers until coming near tree line.

Just underneath the clouds near Moosilaukee's summit

Just underneath the clouds near Moosilaukee’s summit

As we got above tree line, the snow moved from soft, to firm, and finally to icy.  Despite the bountiful amount of snow near the top the skiing looked as if it would be defensive.  It was standard fare for Mount Moosilaukee as we came across the summit ridge: we were buffeted with wind and the temperature dropped significantly.   Heading up, I believed we had a very good chance of skiing snowfields from the summit (something I have yet to do there), but once again left disappointed as the summit had been swept clean of snow.

Mickey Spades at Moosilaukee's summit

Mickey Spades at the summit

Skiing on top was defensive as expected, but the snow softened up nicely as we descended and our tired legs were grateful for the skiing to get easier as we got near the end of our day.  In the end both Mickey Spades and I were glad we rolled the dice and headed north.   For our effort, we were rewarded with being able to ski from top to bottom and, despite the conditions being less than ideal, we managed to find some patches of really nice skiing.  Add to that the summit of a New Hampshire four-thousand-footer, being right (kind of) about the snow, and not having to return home to the I told you so‘s, and we will call the day a win.

Mickey Spades getting some turns in

Mickey Spades getting some turns in