Bubbas on Spruce Mountain

What to do outdoors today?  We’re talkin’ snowshoeing.

Uncle Tom boiling up

The Bubbas put aside their traditional activity of relentless bicycling through all four Maine seasons to strap on the shoes and head up and over Spruce Mountain for a 2.5 hour 4.2 mile charm of a walk this end of January day.  Twenty two degrees at the start, probably the same at the end.  The snow was lightly falling as we stopped at the top of Spruce for our traditional boil up break where Craig and I fired up our multi-fuel stoves and cranked out warming drinks for our two companions, Rigger and the Doctor.

Nelson, Rigger, and Dr. Archie

This was my third trip on my new MSR Lightning Axis snowshoes and I am enjoying them more each time I walk in them.  This time we had a relatively steep ascent up toward the top of Spruce mountain. I flipped up the heel lifters ( Ergo Televators)  on the snowshoes, which instantly relieved calf stress and actually made it noticeably easier to go up.  They are effective enough at altering the stepping that I had to release them as soon as the uphill stopped. The tracking on these shoes is straight arrow and now that I have the bindings all set, it’s 30 seconds to put them on.
You can argue about whether trekking poles are useful or not, but the only one who did a couple of downhill face plants was the poleless Dr.
The route we took from the top of Spruce to Nelson’s was over what appeared to be two feet of fluffy powder.

Overlooking MIrror Lake and Ragged Mountain

We all agreed that it was a super fun time, and I was really pleased with my energy out there today.
Looks like we might get our weekly storm on Wednesday again this week, so we’re plotting a night hike Thursday night- gonna need the snowshoes again.

New Snowshoes + Fresh Powder

Been hitting alternate exercise modes in an attempt to “ spread the damage”  on impact on my body.  For this end, I have employed snowshoes, new ones, to move about the Maine countryside these past couple of weeks. I had trashed a pair of Tubbs style last year that I bought at L.L. Bean’s and wasn’t able to get a replacement pair, as they were sold out for the season.  So I took the $169 in cash and put that toward a pair of 30” MSR Lightning Axis which were about $100 more, a cost softened by purchase through an unmentioned PCT thru-hiking friend who bought them through his pro deal ( with my money).
They weigh 3 pounds, and the best feature is the one time ( for each pair of boots) toe strap adjustment that, with the two-second heel strap procedure has me into them in seconds.  I did not try the Ergo Televator Heel lifter which can be activated on steeper terrain.

After Ian and Mark found my 12:30 PM hiking invite on Facebook and we successfully completed a 7.5 mile slog up over the side of Cameron Mountain then down Zeke’s Trail in the Camden Hills State Park.

Follow the route

There was 1.1 miles of unbroken 2 foot powder on the steepest uphill section of Zeke’s, where we each took turns breaking trail. After we reached the Ski Lodge trail we went 0.4 miles south to get out of the cold at the new Lodge, which had a young couple in there next to a glowing wood stove.  What a break it was from the biting cold, which had to be in single numbers or close to it by the time we got back to our cars at 4:30 PM. As I type this tonight it is only 3 degrees out, accompanied by a steady wind.  The next two days are supposed to be the coldest temperatures of two years in these parts.

A Slide -Talk by Tom Jamrog

2,656 Miles of Backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail
A Slide -Talk by Tom Jamrog
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 7:00 PM at Walsh Common Room
523 Hope Road ( Route 235) at at Lincolnville Central School
No charge, open to the public
Join Lincolnville’s Tom Jamrog, who will be presenting photographs, video clips, and a display of ultralight hiking gear from his recent 5 month walk across the highs and lows of California, Oregon, and Washington on this National Scenic Trail.  Tom will discuss this year’s thru-hike, which he subtitles” The University of Adversity”, highlighting over 700 miles of desert travel, 20 feet of snow pack in the High Sierras, dangerous river fords, his four pairs of trashed shoes, and a diet that only a middle school boy would love.  Call 763-3406 for questions.