For this year’s winter Gathering, I learned my lesson from the 14-hour behemoth hike last year and picked something that both Kathy and I could do. The three feet of snow which fell the week before threw things for a loop: The ADK High Peaks Foundation sent out the wise advice to stay safe, and this was not the year to put a person on each of the 46. Even Dial wasn’t a given on Thursday, with three feet of new snow.
As it happened, we were just a couple hours behind the master himself, MasterGrasshopper (a.k.a. Glen), so we didn’t have to break trail ourselves. We had a perfect, soft, powdery trench which made a smooth up-and-back.
The conditions were marvelous, at -1°F a bit colder than I initially expected at the outset, but with perfect sunshine it was 25°F on the windless summit. We opted to stop at Dial rather than continue the 2 additional miles to Nippletop, and were back and cleaned up in plenty of time to enjoy the Gathering. FYI the High Peaks Foundation is a worthy charity if you’re looking for donation ideas. They will be helping to kick off the ‘Trailhead Steward’ program this year, focusing on educating people about responsible recreation before they get on the trail. For example, they would have told the three jerks who bare-booted up our wonderful track to put their snowshoes on.
For fun, I took the panorama from Dial and annotated the visible mountains. It’s quite a nice vista from up there. (Caution: The pano is big!)
The mountain key: