We claimed last tracks on Crescent Ridge for the season. When we first planned the last NH AMC family trip for end of March at Crescent Ridge, that sounded like a reasonable idea. After all, it worked in 2018 and 2019. Well, the snow this year just hasn’t been up to snuff.
We had three families on the trip, which is amazing. But there was the snow problem. A few days earlier the snow had been ok. None of us had realized how much Friday’s rain decimated the snow until we drove up. There was no snow in Concord, no snow in Lincoln, almost no snow in Franconia Notch, and only patches of snow in Randolph. We had a frank discussion of our options at the trailhead
- go to Pinkham Notch, except the parking there was already full
- go home
- ski here and see how it turned out
The trail from the parking lot had snow on it, and everyone was game for exploring, so we went. It even started snowing in encouragement. The kids took off, too excited to wait for the adults.
All of the stream crossings were open. But otherwise the snow improved as we skied up. Isaac fell at one of the stream crossings and rolled completely into the water. I had brought spare socks for him, but not an entire change of clothes. We made do with his warmer jackets. Under his ski pants, his wool long underwear got damp, but not soaked. By the fourth stream crossing or so, we had a routine down. One parent would go ahead to help the kids across. Next the kids would cross. Then the remaining parents would pass the skis across and the kids would pile them on the far side. Finally all the parents crossed.
Our luck with the snow ran out at the wildlife clearing. We weren’t surprised to see that the wildlife clearing had less snow. It is exposed to the sun after all. We hiked up part way. Then the trail emerged as a ribbon of snow, so we went back to skiing. The five year old briars and bushes snagged the smaller children and sent them tumbling. The sky snowed some more wet sloppy flakes in encouragement. But then we crested the ridge of the wildlife clearing to discover that the main glades were half bare. We didn’t even have to take a vote. It was obvious that we would be eating lunch, and then retreating. As a last insult, one of the briar bushes caught Fenton and threw him into a swampy puddle, resulting in another full body immersion.
At lunch, a few of us skinned up 500ft left of the clearing for a few low angle turns. Descending that wildlife clearing turned out to be tricky. The kids were still fighting the bushes. And the adults didn’t have room to turn. … Actually, I found room to turn. I just had to analyze which bushes were flexible enough to pretend they were dense snow I could carve through, and which bushes went “thunk”.
We got some good turns on the way back out through the woods. And then suddenly, the snow disappeared. Despite the snowflakes falling from the sky most of the morning, the snow had actually melted. It was just gone.
So the kids handed their skis to their parents and ran off. Us parents rigged up two pairs of skis to each pack and followed. That was it for this year, but I am feeling optimistic for the ski committee family trips next year.
- Past AMC family ski trip reports
- NH AMC web page with family ski trips
- Granite Backcountry Alliance glade guide to Crescent Ridge
Tyson forgot to start tracking until we were part way up the trail.