Jake and I took a hop & skip up Gunstock and Belknap before the real snow comes this afternoon. Even though we haven’t gotten fourteen inches of snow yet, the wind was blowing, and there was at least a foot of dry powder for bounding (or falling). Some days, I can’t believe this place is my home. I’ve seen these mountains so many times, but every time I walk on them, something has changed.
We went up Gunstock from the bottom of the carriage road in Gilford. The trail was packed down by snowshoers who must have come the day before. A grouse flew down from a tree about halfway up, and at the summit, we ran into the little ski hut which was completely full of skiers hiding from the wind. The view was very white.
Crossing down through the wine gardens, we shared the trail with some snowboarders for a while before turning off toward Belknap. Before us, someone had walked up with some skins, and we saw the tracks of a few few deer bounding through the snow across the trail. The needles of the hemlock branches were coated neatly in snow.
Crunching up a half mile to the top of Belknap, we encountered more wind, more white, and the fire tower which looked like something out of one of the post-apocalyptic novels I’ve been reading. Nothing to do with a relic like that, but climb it of course! Jake told me the ice coating the metal of the tower has a certain name. The crystals crumbled as I slid my gloved hands up the railing and Jake was above me so ice kept falling down on the top of my head through the stair slats.
Time to head down! Sliding, falling, bushing down paths that are normally blocked by streams. Fox tracks, fingers just beginning to freeze, a clif bar snack, and the promise of an afternoon of tea, books, and snuggling with the dog!