On April 1st, we headed out early to drive up to Rangeley. We had a great view Saddleback on the way, but the minute we parked the car. It became overcast and started spitting snow!
We met the Teal Goat from NH in the parking lot. He is in the process of bagging all the 4000 footers in New England. T.G. hoped to bag Saddleback, as well as The Horn while he was up on the ridge.
We checked the weather before our trip, but mountains have their own weather systems. Today was a perfect example of that.
The hike up was short, but STEEP. It felt good to get some physical activity. I definitely could have done without the wind though. As we neared the top, the snow and wind became really intense.
Frosty and I had each hooked a sled to our pack. When we stopped near the medical hut to add layers before summiting, we stashed the sleds. I am glad Frosty suggested this. The sleds really would have banged around in the incredible wind above tree line.
The section that headed up to the summit from the medical hut was very picturesque with little trees and snowy ground. Up above tree line the wind was whipping and the snow was pelting. The visibility was horrid. There were some windswept bare sections up there. The Teal Goat was on his way down from the summit and gave us a trail report and some advice.
We snapped a couple photos real quickly at the summit. It had to be quick because the wind was bashing us. I was so glad I remembered my face mask!
On the way down, we removed our snowshoes and went in the warming hut. The Teal Goat was inside hoping for the weather to improve. He was planning to head back up to bag The Horn if the weather improved. Frosty and I unhooked our sleds from our packs in preparation for sledding down the mountain. Since the ski resort isn’t currently operational, the warming hut provided shelter from the elements, but not actually any additional warmth.
We went down some of the less steep trails on the sleds. I am glad we had the sleds. It was fun sledding down. As we drove away from Saddleback, I couldn’t believe the difference in the weather. It was so sunny and warm, nearly 50 degrees. But, as we looked back up at Saddleback, it was still in the clouds.
Frosty tried out a couple new clothing layers on this hike. He had a lightweight hooded vest and a super lightweight windbreaker. The company that made them, Enlightened Equipment, specializes in customizable lightweight camping gear. He tried out the Copperfield Wind Shirt (about 2 ounces). He put this on for the intense wind near the summit. Frosty was amazed at how well it worked, and it’s so thin! He also wore the Torrid APEX vest. He customized his vest with a hood (about 6 ounces with the hood option). The vest performed wonderfully as well. Frosty was thrilled with his new gear.
Tubbs Flex VRT Snowshoes, Black Diamond Trail Shock Trekking Poles, Limmers, LL Bean gaiters, Darn Tough Socks, Yama Pogies, L.L. Bean Mittens, L.L.Bean Ultralight Down Hooded Jacket, Gossamer Gear Kumo, Stormy Kromer The SK Outfitter Vest, Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe (taken but not needed),1/4 zip wool shirt, Buff merino wool neckwear, Johnson Woolen Mill Worsted Wool Pants, L.L. Bean Sonic Slider sled, Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX vest, Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt, and Aloha Eyewear Stone Creek MX1 Men’s Wraparound Bi-focal Sunglasses
Tubbs Flex ALP snowshoes, Black Diamond Trail Shock Trekking Pole, Stormy Kromer Ida Outfitter Vest, Buff merino wool neckwear, Apana running mittens, L.L. Bean Packaway Mittens, L.L. Bean Ultralight 850 Down Hooded Jacket, Darn Tough socks, L.L. Bean AT 38 Day Pack backpack (the link is the updated version of Magoo’s pack), merino wool leggings, Russell windbreaker, old L.L. Bean ponytail hat, L.L. Bean Sonic Slider sled, Layer 8 wind pants, Cabela’s Women’s Ultimate Lightweight Merino shirt, Kamik Greenbay 4 Boots, Costa prescription sunglasses, Grivel Futura Ice Axe (taken but not needed), and OR gaiters.