As the cars approached the winter parking lot of the Monroe trail, there were high hopes for rising temperatures, sunny blue skies, and a clear path to the summer parking lot. One out of our three wishes was granted. The temperatures held steady around 1 degree, and the summer parking lot was plowed in, but the sun did desperately try to push its way through the sheet like, nearly transparent clouds which I learned are cirrostratus clouds. After playing a little trivia about the history of Camel’s Hump (for nonexistent semi-valuable prizes), the group started the steady climb to the summit. The hike up consisted of several breaks to de-layer, layer back up, put on the microspikes and snowshoes, and of course more trivia and cookie eating. We all giggled at some silly inside “cookie” jokes as I had misinterpreted someone’s request for another cookie. I blame it on brain freeze as the wind had picked up intensely as we ascended up the side of the mountain.
We regrouped at the Alpine trail intersection for a quick discussion on the October 1944 plane crash into the side of Camel’s Hump, had a quick snack and continued to up the clearing. At the clearing, we redressed (or as Phil said he “cross dressed”…I’ll let him explain that one…or just ask him about it on your next hike with him :-)). As we all layered up in our down jackets, thicker gloves and warmer hats, we psyched ourselves up for what looked like a gorgeous summit. As we approached the summit, we came across some intense (or some would say…freaking insane) backcountry skiers descending the very narrow, thickly settled path from the top. The summit proved to be gorgeous, with hazy panoramic views, and intense bone chilling winds. After a few quick pictures the group started the descent back to the car. Camaraderie, great conversation, and eager hungry bellies, made for a quick descent. Thanks to all the participants for a fabulous mid-winter hike.
Participants: Larry Gagne, Phil Hazen, Margaret Benn, Mary Keenan, Jake Cote, Joseph Gowland, Christina Hertz, Leader: Kelley Mackison