During the planning of backcountry ski trips I thought about a trip up the Ethan Allen Trail to the pond shelter for an overnighter and then continue on the trail to Zealand Trail and down to rt302. The area in this report is in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The unresolved question for me was the topography of the trail to the shelter. Whether it could be skied up, skinned up, or if I needed to carry my skis on a backpack was the question.
I had Saturday and early Sunday off. This was an ideal situation for a scouting trip.
I started hiking around 9:00 AM. The trail was steady going up. Not too steep but if I was skiing I would keep my skins on until after a junction to Mt.Willey. Then it could be skied all the way to the shelter via a pretty level trail connected via a set of ground bridges.
I met a thru hiker named Sherpa Chief. He is going Southbound!Not only is this guy doing the AT in the winter, he is also bagging all 4000 peaks along the way. Awesome Dude. We parted ways at the junction to Mt.Willey. He would rejoin me at the shelter for the night.
I reached the pond around 11:30. It was only partially frozen.
It was only a few more feet up the hill to the shelter. I set my pack down and looked around a little bit.
One of the tent platforms had nicely spaced trees to put me right at the edge of the platform and leaving enough space for Sherpa Chief should he want to pitch a tent. I set up my hammock and set up the tarp in porch style. I set up my underquilts. My new Mt.Washington 3 and Winter Yeti stacked up.
I poked around a bit more and then tried to rest in the hammock. It was a little breezy. I was comfortable but not necessarily cozy. I decided to redo the tarp, draw it down and added my end beakers to cut down the wind.
The sun started setting shortly after 4PM. I grabbed my foam piece, tea thermos and sat at the pond to watch the sunset. Sitting on the foam and sipping on hot tea I enjoyed the rest of the day.
I returned to the tent platform and started making diner. Sherpa Chief arrived as well. He set up right next to me. We shared stories and then went to bed.
The temps went to teens during the night. I was somewhat cold in the beginning but then steadily found the right spot for warmth and fell asleep. I woke up around 1AM pretty much boiling. Overheated I had to unzip my sleeping bag, unzip my top a little bit and take my hat off. I fell asleep soonafter and pretty much slept until about 7AM. There was frost on the underside of my tarp.
I packed up, made breakfast and wished Sherpa Chief a great trip on the Appalachian Trail.