Monday, March 18, 2013

3-16-13 More Big Trees

Saturday morning produced an unexpected snow storm in the White Mountains that left several inches of very light, dry snow that was lovely to see. It was enough to turn ski conditions from awful to excellent but, during the height of the storm whiteout conditions prevailed. I settled into the library at the AMC's Crawford Notch center for several hours of research--reading old Appalachia--and enjoying watching the snow blow by the windows. I spend the afternoon communing with trees and motoring around on the northwest ridge of Mt. Adams on snowshoes.

Bushwhacking on snow shoes is the perfect way to travel in the woods. There's a sense of freedom in the feeling that you can go anywhere you like. Another plus is that it's great exercise. I traversed along the contours fairly high up on Nowell Ridge, recrossing my path of last August in places but, taking advantage of the crust on the snow, I ranged out farther to the south west heading into Cascade Ravine.

 If you get lost you just follow your tracks back home if it's not snowing heavly. I've made that mistake.            
Even though the snow stopped around noon there were already fresh tracks in the new snow indicating some traffic on the Lowe's Path likely from hikers planning to spend the night at Crag or Gray Knob. The weather wasn't shaping up the way it had been forecast as late as Friday. The wind was picking up and the temperatures were lower than forecasted and dropping.
A zombie beech tree.

I measured 24 trees, mostly yellow birch (B. alleghensis), and this was the average, as on previous data-collecting trips. These were large trees but just under 3 feet in diameter.

I could see this tree from quite a distance away and it towered over other trees in its proximity.
It measured slightly over 10 feet in circumference, or 3.2 feet in diameter; the largest I measured on Saturday. I'm still looking for one 4 feet in diameter, or larger.
It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. 

Lovely late winter colors. I stopped at Lowe's after my jaunt and talked with Allen Lowe, grandson of Vyron and Winnie Lowe, both mentioned in Part III of the blog article on "Bushwhacking The Pemi". Allen's grandmother, Winnie, was the first and maybe the only woman to drive a horse and carriage up the Mt. Washington Carriage Road just after she an Vyron were married in 1892. Vyron was a guide on the northern peaks for many years and a life long resident of Randolph. Allen has a lot of personal photos of Randolph from the early days of hiking on the Presidential Peaks and neighboring mountains.   

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