Long Trail Mileage: 33.4
Time: 8 hours
Day / Night Temp: 28 / 20 F
Waking up to dark skies and abundant snowfall was a new experience for us this morning. The shelter floor, and therefore most of our gear, was covered in frost. The beam from my headlamp easy illuminated snowflakes being scattered through the air around our sleeping pads being strategically located against the wall furthest back from the shelter's opening. The chill caused us to be slow rising from our respective sleeping bags, exactly as it does on a chilly winter morning at home when your bed offers unparalleled comfort from the outside world, just to a much more drastic degree.
The scenery was beautiful, despite the wind and snowfall, and we began trekking around 0800. From the shelter it was a 0.3 mile uphill climb to the summit of Glastenbury Mountain, a 3,750' peak with an old lookout tower that on clear days provides views of Massachusetts and New York. We carried on without pause, beginning a four mile trek to the Kid Gore shelter through some of the most picturesque scenery imaginable. As snow fell abundantly, adding to the inch or two that fell overnight, we descended a few hundred feet before navigating over a few small rises. The blanket of impeccably white snow covered the ground with a flawless ease, accented with the muted green shades of the evergreen trees that were scattered throughout.
We wore snowshoes for the entire trip to Kid Gore, fighting at times through knee deep snow drifts as we moved along. The biggest struggle for me is that there's no way to create rhythm in this situation; two steps could be shallow snow and easy to navigate while the third could be a foot deep with a hidden rock yo twist your ankle sideways. It's frustrating and challenging to move forward with any regular motion, and you can never let your guard down for what your next step might bring you into. We descended steeply into Kid Gore, arriving at 1100hrs and stopping to cook a hot lunch. The view from the shelter looked across a sprawling front lawn and out across three or four small mountain ridges, almost discernible through the snow clouds that still covered our world. We stopped for an hour before moving on, with the hopes of making it 9 more miles to a trailhead parking lot & campsites further north.
We climbed out of the shelter quickly and efficiently with our snowshoes, refueled by the stove cooked meals. From the 3,200' peak we meandered just below the ridge for a mile or two in more shallow snow, crowing frequent streams and exposing our snowshoes to more rocks than either of us cared for. We switched to light traction around 1400 and continued on, hoping the snow would stay at its current 3" depth as we went, which of course it did not. Due to the time it takes to switch traction we simply left our Microspikes on and plunged forwards in 10-12" of snow, continuing a long descent to Beaver Bog below. It was around this point that Santa became fatigued, and I knew our chances of the parking lot campsite were pretty much ruled out.
After crossing by the bogs, gorgeously covered in snow in the most serene and picturesque ways imaginable, we climbed a quarter mile to the Story Spring shelter. Knowing the snow wasn't done falling and winds were to increase, we decided to spend the night instead of trekking on. Dinner was cooked and we counted out what meals we had remaining. We'll need to get into a town on Saturday to resupply as soon as a busy enough road presents itself. Seeing a small mouse scurry around outside we took the time to hang our gear on the shelter hooks, then went to bed. As I write this the wind is gusting cold air, and again the night seems to take forever to pass.
Tomorrow we climb Stratton Mountain and then try and push as far as we can to make resupply Saturday as feasible as possible.