What a great day and a great hike! Thanks to all of you who wished me well. It was one of those perfect days when everything cooperated. Good company clear skies, and beautiful scenery.
We started at the trailhead at 9 a.m. and the path was fairly well packed out from last week's storm but it was still hard work climbing 2000 vertical feet over 3.9 miles in snowshoes.
Layering with synthetic layers is the way to go when winter hiking. The enemy of the hiker is not the cold but moisture--so to avoid sweating, you always want to be slightly cold in your layers, adding and subtracting as necessary. The synthetic fabrics wick the moisture away from your body and keep you dry so that when you stop and the wind picks up you don't freeze into a hikersicle.
In addition to the synthetic fabrics sold for hikers and skiers, chemical hand warmers are another thing that makes winter hiking more comfortable. I had one in each glove as I hiked up the mountain and had a new set to switch over at the hut for maximum heating. This I did at the hut after eating lunch and changing into dry socks. The mistake I made--and I'm going to try and put this delicately--was putting the still warm used handwarmers in my bra--it seemed like a good idea at the time and since this is a family blog, I won't go into detail--but CAUTION: Do Not Do This Even if It Seems Like A Good Idea At The Time.
By the time we were within a mile of the hut and climbing steeply the wind picked up and it was COLD. Maybe it's always cold in notches where the wind comes howling down the rift between big mountains but I just about froze my fingers taking very few pictures. Our lunch break at the hut was welcome, there was no fire and it was cold but at least the wind stayed outside so we could eat our lunch even if it meant putting things into our mouths to melt before chewing.
The descent went much quicker than the ascent and by the time we had lost some elevation we could once again feel our fingers and toes. It was fun getting to know Elise who is the clerk in one of my courts and her friend Sally who hiked over 2000 miles of the Appalachian Trail with her husband in 2007, the year that she turned 50. It was great to hike with them and I hope we can do it again really soon.