I know this will sound strange to all you frigophobes: 6 hours tromping around the snow in sub-15°F (sub-minus 10°C) is really quite fun. The hardest part is getting from the house to your car; once you’re stomping down fluffy white snow, and especially once you start climbing a mountain, you barely notice the temperature.
And on days like Saturday, after a few consecutive days of snow, the Adirondacks are simply a winter wonderland. Every branch, every spruce needle is encased in white, which in addition to looking pretty also damps sound, making it amazingly peaceful.
Since I haven’t been hiking much, Whiteface and Esther were a perfect combination. I decided for a later hike, trying to get nice light from Whiteface’s gorgeous summit. Alas, this pair grabbed a cloud in the morning and never let go. In fact, it was thick, dropping snow all day along the hike, and making the summit “castle” barely visible from just a few hundred yards away. (Compare a view from this hike to a summer shot from the same place!)
I opted for the longer (more monotonous and frankly much less pleasant) return via the Whiteface Highway, which is closed to cars all winter, in hopes of getting a view once out of the Whiteface fog. I was rewarded with a perfect winter pastoral scene, the sky a mix of blues, Payne’s grey and peach from the setting sun.