On Saturday, Feb. 9th, Frosty and I met Christine at the parking lot for the Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery. The gate was open. The Don Fish Road up to the trailhead was icy in spots. It was less icy though than our trip here on January 12th. We could have driven in farther than we did. We parked down from the Dead River Gate parking area.
The three of us geared up with microspikes. The air temperature was 18°, but the wind was whipping today. I’m not sure what the temperature was when adjusted for windchill. While in the woods, it actually didn’t feel too bad. Out in the open; it was more like a scouring pad on bare skin. Luckily, we were sheltered a good part of the time. The best views of course were in the open.
We walked along the road until we hit the Mountain Trailhead parking spot and the Stuart Gross Trailhead. Trail conditions can change so much in the winter. There were a lot of bare areas on the trails today, many more than our last trip. There was also a lot more ice in other areas, a lot more!
We took both the winter bypasses on the way up. The upper bypass, the Overlook Trail, pops out onto several great viewpoints. The last time we were here these viewpoints had a thin layer of snow covering the ground. Today, the ground was bare.
We stopped and put on some wind and warmth layers on before heading onto the ledges below the summit. The viewpoints were very windy, but you wouldn’t be exposed that long before popping back into a sheltered area.
As we continued on, we found a snowman at the base of the ledges. Photo op! While we were exposed out on the ledges, we were assaulted by wind gusts. A couple times I thought the wind might blow us over. When the wind died down a couple times, we could feel the sun! It felt glorious.
We took the Summit Loop Trail to the pile of rocks that marks the summit. Then we headed back down the ledges and the Overlook trail. We skipped the second bypass trail, so we could take the Hay Ledges Path. The letterbox we saw last time was completely out in the open this trip. I think they’re supposed to be a bit more hidden.
We took the Dead River Road and Don Fish Road back to the vehicle. We didn’t cross paths with any other hikers today. I guess that’s not surprising given the crazy wind. I’m glad we didn’t let the forecast or the sound of the howling wind before we left the house deter us from this trip though. It ended up being a great hike with great company.
Today’s mileage was just over 5 miles.