I had to drive south for a meeting so I picked a new hike along the way to break up the drive – Sherburne Pass Trail to Pico Peak. After yesterday’s powder, I packed my snowshoes just in case but really didn’t need them at all. There was only a few inches of snow for most of this hike. I did put my microspikes on in the parking lot, figuring I’d need them at some point and it would be better to put them on while my hands were still toasty. However, the trail was so wet, in addition to the snow, that ice/snow balls kept forming on my spikes, making it difficult to walk until I could shake/stomp the clump off. I took the spikes off after only ten minutes and resigned myself to sliding occasionally instead of walking on misshapen clumps constantly.
The trail started out climbing, but soon relaxed a bit to a more shallow grade. I walked over lots of running water and would stop every so often to listen to the woods. Unfortunately, as I popped onto a ridge, all I could hear were the resort’s snow guns working. I could hear them for a good amount of the hike.
It was cloudy when I started, but I could see more and more blue appearing through the trees. The trail briefly joined a ski run and I was able to get a fantastic view of the surrounding hills.
After reentering the woods, the trail was fairly level until the shelter. Despite it being level, I kept sliding and falling over on this section. No harm done but I still wished the snow worked with spikes. I turned at Pico Camp and ascended steeply, crossing another ski run on my way up to the summit.
There was a ski lift at the top of Pico Peak, along with several buildings. I couldn’t find where exactly the summit was located but I walked around enough that I’m pretty sure I passed over it. The whole hike was 3.1 miles to the summit at 3957′.
It was below freezing when I started at the trailhead, but I still did most of the climb up in a baselayer and fleece vest. I had to put my shell on immediately at the top because it was way colder, and I kept it on the for the way down. There was some sitting and scooting on the steep trail back to the shelter because the snow was so slippery, and then I slid and fell a few more times on the next section of trail.
The sun was starting to set before I was even halfway down so I tried to go as fast as possible in those conditions. I did have to break my headlamp out for the last fifteen minutes to the trailhead. It was almost completely dark when I reached my car even though it was only 4:50 PM. Oh, winter hiking.