A Backcountry Adventure

2008-04-10 17:15:37.000 – Brian Clark,  Observer

A different view

As most people reading this already know, Wednesdays are shift change days for the summit crew. So, Tuesdays during my week off are my day to prepare myself. I prepare all my clothes and gear for my week on the summit. I begin to prepare the home that I have so graciously been allowed to live in, for a week without my presence. Some weeks I also have to prepare by paying the right bills before I leave if they have due dates while I am away.

This past Tuesday had more significance than most in that respect. Since I won’t be coming off the mountain until April 16th, I had to make sure that I had all my taxes in order and in the mail before I left. So Tuesday was supposed to be my day to finish up my 2007 tax returns, which I must admit were quite complicated since I moved from Pennsylvania to Maine last year.

I woke up early Tuesday to do some skiing at nearby Attitash ski resort before getting the taxes finished up. I stuck to my plans and only stayed until about 10:30 a.m. On the relatively short drive back to North Conway, I kept thinking to myself how beautiful of a day it was. Temperatures were climbing, destined to reach the low 50’s. The sun was out in full force. It was finally starting to feel like spring. Well, except for the several feet of snow still left on the ground in most places, especially wooded areas.

I couldn’t resist. I had to do something outside for my last day off instead of spending the whole day working on taxes. So I decided to go on a little backcountry skiing adventure. This past summer and fall I drove Hurricane Mountain Road on a regular basis. This is a very windy, narrow, steep road that goes over Hurricane Mountain (appropriately enough) and connects Intervale, NH to Chatam, NH. This road is closed and gated during the winter months since it would be too difficult to maintain or drive, especially with a winter like we had this year.

I parked at the locked gate on the Intervale side of the road, put my ski boots on, put my pack with my skis on my back, and headed up the road. I knew there was still a lot of snow, but I still couldn’t get over exactly how much there was. On the road itself, there was about 2 to 3 feet on average with more in spots. Toward the top of the road, I was able to poke my pole into the snow in the woods and it would bury. My pole is 50 inches long.

The trip to the top of the road on that side is about 2 miles and I was able to cover that in about 45 minutes. After breaking for lunch, I decided to then head up on the Black Cap Mt. trail to the summit of Black Cap Mt. That was another 1.3 miles, adding half an hour to my trip. Now, one of the reasons I bring up this whole ordeal is to be able to share some pictures. The summit of Black Cap has a fantastic view of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range, as well as Franconia Ridge. This view of Mount Washington is similar to the one that will be available from Jackson, one of two new webcams that will go online once we complete our membership drive. Of course, the view from Jackson will be much closer than this view was. Here are a few of those pictures:

Wide View of Presidentials

Closeup of Presidentials

Franconia Ridge

After taking in the views for a little while, I had nice enjoyable cruise back down to my car on my skis. Overall, it was a fantastic day and I’m glad I took advantage of the weather. Oh, and yes, my taxes did end up getting done, just not until very late at night.


Brian Clark,  Observer

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