I drove over to Pinkham Notch on Saturday to check out what was going on with the Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest, and pick up a pack to test for the day. Hiker Box was camping with some others nearby in preparation for his NH 48 finish on Sunday. I didn’t have the gear to camp overnight but I decided to hike up and say hi on my test hike. I went up the Stony Brook Trail on Mount Moriah, a very gently climbing trail to the ridge. It was packed down enough from all the people out snowshoeing that I wore my spikes the whole way up.
I knew they’d be on the Moriah Brook Trail and when I got to the junction, I saw that theirs were the only tracks leading that direction. I put snowshoes on since the snow was very deep there but I thankfully didn’t have to go too far down the trail before running into Guthook melting snow in a pit they’d dug. Hiker Box and Section Hiker soon showed up with firewood they were collecting. I hung out for a little while and then headed back the way I’d come. I stayed in snowshoes the whole way back down the trail out of laziness.
After returning the test pack, I headed up to Gorham to meet Pam and crash on her motel room floor. In the morning, we drove back to the trailhead and met Matt to hike up Stony Brook again. There were a couple of inches of fresh powder so I went up in snowshoes this time. We arrived at the junction at the same time as the campers, and all started up the Carter Moriah Trail to the summit together.
We soon reached the first of several exposed ledges and stopped for face masks and goggles. It was my first time using my new goggles and they fogged up quickly. Luckily, we were back into the trees right after, and the wind was blocked enough that I could take them back off. The snow was drifted fairly deep on a lot of the trail leading to the summit but it was still a gentle climb until the end.
We made Hiker Box wait at the spur trail to the summit while the rest of us climbed up, and then we called him up and he ran through our raised trekking poles to finish. It was too cold and windy to sit at the summit so we went back down to the main trail to celebrate. Pam had brownies and champagne. I had a little bit of the chocolate and then started hiking again since I didn’t feel like digging more layers out to stand around.
It was a very quick hike back down the trail. I tried glissading a few times but there was just too much powder to get any speed going. I spent the whole 10 mile hike in snowshoes, which is the longest I’ve ever had to use them in the Whites. Usually the trails are packed down, no matter how early you get out there after new snow.