After winning a pair of new shoes on eBay by accident, I knew it was time to take my maiden winter hiking journey of the spring.  I had never donned a pair of snow shoes before and was pretty out of shape from eating pies all winter so I chose my shortest 4,000 footer left in the time department….Mount Tom. DSC00485   I got to the parking lot around noon and threw on my bags, one for supplies that I never use and one for my snow shoes that were already beckoning to me as I headed to the trail head.  The trail started off hard enough to bare-boot it but after a couple mini post holes by yours truly….I decided to take my maiden voyage in snow shoes. DSC00494   Things got off to a mellow start on the old snow shoes besides the fact that I put them on wrong and was making a strange clicking noise every time I stepped.  I stopped at the next river crossing to make some adjustments before I woke up all the sleeping bears with the racket I was making. DSC00497 I quietly continued on and was pleased to see that hiking with snow shoes was like walking up a ramp but on snow.  It wasn’t long before I reached the intersection with the A-Z trail and veered right to make my way towards Tom(the mountain). A short distance into the A-Z trail, I came across an appalling gully that was just emanating bad vibes.  I was able to wing it on technique going down as the closer side wasn’t as steep.  Once at the bottom, I told my jelly legs to hold on and tackled the steep section of icy trail.  I soon got the hang of digging in my crampons to grab traction as I ascended to the other side of the gully.

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After gathering my breath at the top, I ventured on and suddenly heard some loud barking in the distance.  I was extremely curious whether I was hallucinating or not so I quickened my step to investigate.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be real dogs which jolted me back to reality. I exchanged a few barks with the pooches and then found myself once again laboring on.

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Moving forward, I hit a few more fairly steep sections but handled them like the ramps they were before finally getting to the sign that told me the Mount Tom spur pointed right. The name seemed to suggest that I point myself right but I wasn’t entirely sure what a spur means so I pulled out my trust White Mountain Hiking Guide(ding ding) to confirm before I did end up heading to the right and on the “ridge” trail.

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After some fairly easy hiking, I found myself at the infamous “false summit” of Tom before reaching the “actual” summit about 200 yards more up the trail. After trooping around the summit and snapping up some pictures, I decided it was too breezy at the top and started back down.

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The hike down was pretty uneventful until all hell broke loose on the steep section noted before.  I don’t know if it was my jelly legs, small crampons or the slick snow from afternoon heating but I found myself sledding down the trail on my butt and was only able to avert a full blown ravine crisis by catching my snow shoe on a  tree at the bottom of the section.

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After taking a break to shake off my nerves, I finished up the hike with visions of bigger crampons dancing in my mind. 22 down, 26 to go!!!

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Categories: Hiking

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