Saturday, February 12, 2011

Noon Peak - Winter Hiking

Noon Peak
Elevation: 2,976ft
Trails: Sandwich Mountain Trail
Elevation Gain: 1,400ft
Distance: 3.6 miles roundtrip
Duration: 5 hrs

Difficulty:  Moderate

3 words to describe the trail hike to the Noon Peak....steep, steep and steep!

I left the house early on to make certain that I would have some time to check out the local neighborhood shops at the town center. Good excuse to the use the bathroom before going out into the woods. I also checked out the ice skating rink, a couple shops and picked up a chocolate croissant.

The Sandwich Mountain Trail parking lot wasn't plowed so we parked on the road just outside the parking lot entrance. We passed the power station, crossed a cross-country ski trail and down a small bank across Drakes Brook. For the first part of the hike the trail was moderately pitched. But as we neared the top, the trail pitch became steeper. Don't get me wrong, it's doable without having to scramble, but I wasn't expecting a steep pitch that distance to the lookout. There were several other faster hikers that we let go ahead of us. And since the snow was still soft and deep, post holes they left were inevitable every step.

At the top I was expecting to find a summit with a bit more room. It was actually a ledge and with all the snow you had to be careful not to stand too close to the edge. We took in the view and snapped photos. One of my other hiking companions found another lookout point just a few feet up the trail and we ate our lunches there then snapped more photos.

We decided to follow the same route on our descent. Did I mention how steep the trail near the top was? Also, with the post holes from the ascent, the descent was hard on the knees and ankles. After we got past the steeper portions of the trail, we donned snowshoes and that helped a bit. But some parts the lower trail were steep enough that you could find yourself skiing and butt sliding a bit. My snowshoes did keep me afloat and also prevented my knees and ankles from twisting with each step.

Where my calves were burning on the way up, on the descent my thighs were aching! By the time we got down to the brook, I was more than ready to call it a day. The temps were in the high teens and it was overcast with some brief periods of sunshine. But all in all, it was another beautiful day for a winter hike. 

My apologies for the dirty camera lens filter!

** Click on the photos to see a larger view 






























1 comment:

Stacey (aka Ultraprincess) said...

Great photos!

Thanks for following my blog. I look forward to following yours!