I HAD TO GET OUT.
It would not have been good for me to hang in the house all day. So, after checking the Mt. Washington, NH web cam , where I found that it was 16 below zero with sustained wind of 123 mph and gusts up over 150 mph there I thought , “ How bad can it be here? “
Turned out to be pretty intense.
When I left the house it was 14 above, but the wind was fierce and it was a clear day, with wind chill below zero. I was hoping to get Auntie Mame , AKA Marcia, to go out with me, but she had the sense to snuggle down by the wood stove today. I didn’t even take Jody the dog. I thought she’d get too cold, and I’d end up carrying her inside my coat, all 4 pounds worth of her.
In the end, I thought the wind might be buffered by the layout of Bald Rock Mountain ( 1,100 feet) here within Camden Hills State Park in Lincolnville. It was also less than a 10 minute drive from the house. It is a very rewarding loop, with close to 4 miles of walking. I parked the car, and headed right up the snow covered Ski Lodge Road, where I only saw two guys heading downhill. They told me that stayed the night at the new shelter some 2 miles up the SLR.
Next I hung a left on the Frohock Mtn. Side trail, that broke up the trip and moved me off the road, which was littered with weeks of piles of frozen dog crap. I found myself hiking as fast as I could, given the icy trail underfoot. I was cold, due to being underdressed for the frigid temps. I had on my boots, jeans, two light woolen layers, ( one a short sleeve shirt), and a thin soft shell jacket. On my head I wore a light woolen hat, and around my neck a scarf.
Initially, I wore a pair of light winter gloves, and I eventually switched to a much more substantial pair of winter mittens.
Once up on the top, I stopped at the lower of two decrepit Maine Forest Service lean-tos and ate lunch. I knew that it was so cold that I had to move quickly, as my hands do poorly in severe cold and I’m rendered useless far too early to get things done. I put on another layer of a down vest. The wind was loud. I had to move my backpacking wood stove into the wooden shelter to keep it from being blown out by the wind outside. I tindered the stove up no problem, and started shoving down my sunflower seeds, ham and cheese sandwich, and date bars.
I was relieved to find that the coffee percolator revved up fairly quickly, despite the wind that was still attacking it.
I warmed my hands somewhat by holding the steaming cup, and then later clutched the metal pot. No matter, I knew that I had to get going and move quickly, as vigorous movement in the cold is one of the techniques that gets my back to useable condition.
I was really freezing as I moved out of the lean-to, and stepped as quickly as I could for the rest of the trip, up over the top of the mountain, then back down the trail that led to the Ski Lodge Road.
Only two people passed me on the way down, both on mountain bikes. Back at the parking lot, I recognized the driver of the tiny blue car with the bikes on back as Ian, a fellow Bubba who in turn recognized me, and he stopped and we enjoyed greeting each other out in the wicked cold today. We agreed to try and get a winter mountain bike ride in sometime in the next few days.
Here is a four minute video of me and the stove, settled into lunch at the shelter below the top of Bald Rock Mountain. The coffee perked like there was no tomorrow.