Shelburne Snowshoe Workout

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Sep 3, 2003
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Gorham NH
The forecast looked good today (1/12) but windy so I decided I wanted a sunny hike with some shelter from the wind. I had not been down to Shelburne since the recent storms and was bit curious on how the hydro station was making out, so it was a good day for the Centennial Trail (the AT) from the Hogan Road. I was surprised that Hogan road has had no traffic. Hogan road used to get lot of witner traffic to the "secret AMC" shelter (Proudman's cabin handed over some AMC afffiliated alumni group) but I think it burned down at one point. There was 6" of snow with breakable crust on the road so I put on my snowshoes. There were two barebooter tracks from yesterday and a car with Mass plates was parked there with some overnight snow on it. The going was good initially as I could make my own track on Hogan road but once I headed on the AT I had to deal with the postholes. The AT in thi area is very well blazed to the point it may be overblazed. I made good time but started warming up fairly quickly. Solo trailbreaking is a workout. After an hour and half I caught up with two college age kids who had camped overnight, I think they had underestimated the conditions and were surprised anyone was out. I let them know I had found a hat crushed in posthole lower down in the trail and had left it on prominent branch. Heading up hill past their campsite no postholes but the snow got deeper. Interestingly in some spots the crust was not breaking, I think if I had my longer pair of MSRS on I might have save some effort. Centennial trail becomes a series of switchbacks heading up slope but unlike later AMC efforts the grades can get steep. I had my small MSR Denalis with televators and they were put to good use but the snow got deeper, in many spots it was 16" plus with breakable crust on top. That became a workout and as I went higher the wind gusts were a bit more noticeable. For folks familiar with the Centennial Trail its in hardwoods on mostly south facing slope until it heads in the woods and slabs its way on a side slope up the east side of the south summit. Given the breakable crust and lack of sun I decided to call it a day before heading in the woods. Heading down I cleaned up my track but once I got to the postholers campsite, I probably improved the track but its still a mess.

Still a nice day to get out, although my legs and hips are feeling the workout. Given the forecast for tomorrow it will be interesting to see how the snow pack survives or builds up.