After a yummy lunch at Foods For Life in Gorham, NH we headed over to North Road in Shelburne to get out on our first snowshoe hike of the season. A few days ago we go over 12″ of snow and it was snowing again. We wanted to hike up Mount Crag, a small rock outcrop with a view of the Androscoggin River and valley below. The farmhouse next to the Austin Brook Trail plows a small parking lot across the street for hikers and we found one other car there when we pulled in.
The trail begins on a logging road for easy travel along the Austin Brook. The snow falling all around us made for an idyllic snowshoe hike. At the junction we turned left onto the Yellow Trail for the most direct route up to the top of Mount Crag.
The trail immediately enters a protected evergreen forest, but snow has managed to make its way to the forest floor. One large boulder can be seen in the woods and invites you toward it, even though the trail swings you away from it. We passed one other snowshoer heading back to her car, clearly enjoying the fresh air and snow fall as much as we were.
When the trail begins to climb in elevation, the woods changes to a hardwood forest and brightens up to the open, leafless winter sky. Lindsay was using her new snowshoes that she had bought at the end of last winter and was enjoying how big, floaty, lightweight and comfortable they were on her feet. They are Atlas 1230 and have the added feature of a heel boost. Flip up a small bar and any uphill climb is easier. Andrew was on his wood and leather laced Tubbs that he prefers except for steep icy mountaineering. Andrew is often obsessed with ‘grooming’ a snowshoe track as he makes his way, taking care to tamp down humps and fill holes with his oversize snowshoes for a skiable finished surface. Lindsay also opted for ski poles on this hike (yes, even though we’ve posted about these annoying things in the past: Clickity Clack). I guess it’s about time that we’ve come out to our blog readers that Lindsay is carrying a little extra weight these days and hiking a little slower because we are expecting our first child in just a few short months! Her balance is a little off these days and the poles help her keep it.
After trudging up the switchbacks through the hardwood forest, the top of Crag is covered with evergreens, including red pines. We took some photos at the summit and drank some water and ate chocolate. The view was limited with the cloud cover, snow, and declining light, but still a nice look at the Androscoggin River in Shelburne.
We didn’t spend too much time at the top since the light was fading and we made quick work of heading back down first through the hardwood forest, then into the evergreen protection and back down to the logging road. Happy New Year!