East Kennabago

January 16, 2016

Today’s forecast is for warmer temperatures but continuous snow fall. We don all our layers and make sure to always have a water proof shell on the outside. Since it doesn’t feel that cold I think my hands will be fine without hand warmers in my convertible mitts but once again I’m wrong. The stopping and going of layering and delayering in winter is definitely annoying and takes some practice. From now on I’m going to start with hand warmers no matter what.

The logging roads are snow covered and busy with snow mobiles which helps compact the snow and makes it easier for us. We’ve opted to ski in as far as we can making for an easier way out. There are only a few steeper ups near the end so going up hill with the skis is doable. There are quite a few forks in the road but with the map, a GPS track screen shot on my phone, and actual GPS it’s easy to find the way. When we hit the END OF VIEW sign the snow gets a lot deeper and way too fluffy to ski. We leave the skis and ski boots and change into our hiking boots and snow shoes.

We are following a jeep track now which narrows the further we go. We’re now on the lookout for a turn on the left following a boundary line up to a herd path. We have a description and general idea on where the turn should be but it’s not as obvious as we thought it would be. Once we pass a stream we realize we’ve passed it and turn around.

The actual turn is up a steep bank and is not easy to distinguish from other maybe trails up hill. We see the yellow marks on the tree however so we know we’re on the right track now. It goes up rather steeply and has a few blow downs which are always fun on snowshoes. Haha not!

We see lots of animal tracks and herd paths on the snow but spotting the one we’re supposed to follow to the top is very challenging. Looking at the GPS track we conclude that that particular herd path turns right at the height of the land and follows the ridge straight up to the peak so we just decide to turn right and go for it. Besides it being pretty steep we are able to find a decent path with no actual whacking of the bush. I only have about two almost mental breakdowns because it’s so steep and slow and stepping over downed logs is so tiring. When we enter the area with thick spruce, Greenleaf picks up the narrow herd path and we’re feeling very relieved. We make it to the top just as it’s getting dark. With the headlamps on we locate the canister which is frozen shut but is still good for a photo session. ; )

Now it’s time for the down hill which is so much faster! Woohooo!!! In no time we’re back to our skis. I was looking forward to the down hill ski the entire way up but when I start on the first steeper hill I get totally freaked out by how fast I’m going. And in the dark I can’t see when the hill is mellowing out. Oh boy. I haven’t skied in a few years and have never gotten past the beginner status. How do I brake again? Oh yeah, feet apart in a snow plow position. Something is missing. Bend the knees. Okay, this is working better. Phew! I’m glad when I can relax and the road flattens out. I really should practice more. Back at the car we celebrate another successful adventure in the mountains of Maine.

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