(Sara, pacing me at VT50 this year)
Since Sara really wants to find a buddy to do these adventures with her, I told her the goal should be to be sure I summit something, and that I stayed warm...a tall order on a cold windy day in the Whites. That ruled out an attempt on Mt. Washington, where we likely would have been turned around before reaching the summit.
(Sara, covered in frost)
We decided to do the Lincoln and Lafayette loop over Franconia Ridge. Brian decided last minute to join us, which was great. Luckily he's experienced enough to own his own gear and all. Actually, in our time together, Brian has once ever gotten me out for a winter hike - when we hiked Cascade and Porter in the Adirondacks on Valentines Day...and he proposed. I was secretly hoping that if I finished another winter hike, he might again reward me with jewelry, but no such luck.
(Brian and I on our only other winter hike - we got engaged just before this photo)
(Brian and I on the Franconia Ridge)
So after an early morning start and a long drive north (and after Sara lent me tons of gear and helped me put it on) we were heading up the trail. I found it hard to hike in the stiff boots (which felt like they had no tread on the bottom), but the views were amazing as we looked at frozen waterfalls beside the trail and snow covered trees. About halfway up, it was time to put on the crampons - which gave me better traction but certainly made my calves sore as I tip toed up the trail. Towards the top of the trail, the trees suddenly got shorter, and before I knew it we were above tree line and on the first peak. If I had realized that, I might have thrown my storm shell on earlier to block the wind - but luckily I warmed up quickly once it was on.
(Brian and Sara, enjoying the early miles)
(Sara and I, proudly standing on my first peak of the day!)
(Sara and I, showing just how awkward it is to walk on rocks with crampons)
(The beauty of the winter)