“I’d like to get above tree line once a month,” David said, when I asked him if he had any New Year’s intentions. I didn’t want to talk about resolutions — too resolute. Being intentional about making sure we do things that make us happy is another thing altogether.
Hiking up to an open ridge makes both of us happy, so we began making plans earlier this week for a hike up the Crawford Path in the White Mountains to Mt. Pierce today. We emailed some hiking buddies, got an enthusiastic response, and ended up with 10 people hoping to hike with us. The weather forecast wasn’t promising, but David and I were willing to do the hike in almost any conditions, short of downpours.
Then the forecast worsened, by 8:00 last night it was raining, and the other hikers started to bail out of the hiking plan. By the time we went to bed last night, we were down to 5 of us planning to hike. We got up early this morning and checked a high summit forecast, and looked at the radar. No rain anywhere in New England and a chance for some breaks in the clouds this afternoon. So we drank coffee and started packing up to go. Another set of hikers dropped out via email, and I called the friends who live up north as we drove into the mountains. They also took a pass, but David and I kept driving.
By the time we got to the trailhead, I knew we’d made the right choice. Clouds were lifting all around us, and we could see the range to the south of us. The trail was well-packed powder, making hiking effortless with just microspikes on our boots. “No rocks, no roots, no bugs,” David and I said to each other, the winter hiking refrain. As we climbed the snow on the trees thickened, draping the spruce, and the sun began to break through the clouds.
When we got above tree line, the southern slopes of the Presidential range swept off to the north, occasionally threaded with a piece of cloud. From the summit of Mt. Pierce, we could see the tops of the mountains to our south, dark peaks in a sea of clouds. With unusually warm and still weather, we were able to take a lunch break on the summit, then walk a bit further up the ridge, just to enjoy the view.
Above tree line for January: done!