January 18, 2016
After spending the night in the Stratton motel we head out to hwy 27 and look for the turn to our logging road. The sign says North road but I think it’s called something else on our map. Anyway, we sure are glad we rented a 4 wheel drive vehicle for this one. My little car would have never made it on this road. It’s totally snow covered with some tire tracks from recent logging traffic. We make it safely to a little parking area, put our snowshoes on and cross country towards the road we see on the map. We sink in really deep but are hoping to pick up some tracks from other hikers who have been here a few days before.
They got in some trouble with a water crossing so we’re very careful to avoid that. A little too careful, because when we see their tracks and we see some water we decide to continue on a bit further to hopefully avoid the water. We follow the road we’re on but soon realize it’s leading us away from the road we want to join. Turning left should get us back on track. Except we turn so much to the left that we end up walking in a circle! Poor Greenleaf was leading and had been doing so well with the navigation up until now. I thought he was still checking his GPS and I was too busy trying to keep up to pay any attention to direction. I must admit that hiking in the snow can be quite disorienting. Back at our own tracks, he stomps off to follow the other snow shoe tracks and it turns out that that water crossing was no big deal at all and we join the intended road in no time. Sweet!!!
Having the other tracks to follow makes a huge difference. We’re still sinking in because new snow has fallen but not nearly as much as before. We’re very thankful.
We’re on logging roads for a bit until we hit the narrower fire warden trail and it gets a bit steeper. It’s really pretty with the snow covered trees right next to us. There is one steeper rocky section where I’m grateful to have Greenleaf pull me up but otherwise it’s pretty easy going.
Near the top there is a nice view point, we really only see the trees near us and a white sky but it sure is pretty. It’s getting a little windier up here so we add some layers back on and don’t linger at the top. And we certainly don’t climb the fire tower. That thing looks dangerous! ; )
The down hill is a breeze again. I do fall on my face once or twice because my snow shoe catches on something but no big deal, the landing is soft in the snow. ; )
On our way up we had found something precious sticking out of the snow on the side of the trail. It was a giant fresh moose antler! We stashed it behind a tree to pick up on the way down. The area we found it at was moose central, so many moose prints! We were joking how the moose should be required to wear snow shoes since they were ‘ruining’ the snow shoe tracks. ; )
We attached the antler to Greenleaf’s backpack, boy that thing was heavy! It wasn’t long before we were back at the point where we split off from the other’s tracks, I asked Greenleaf if he wanted to the circle again but he decided against it. Haha. In the end I was getting pretty tired and was happy to see the car again. The drive out was a little slippery but we stayed in the now snow covered tracks and made it safely back to the highway.