Monday, March 30, 2015

Green Hills Finish 3/25/15

Working title: Doing it right

Peaks: Cranmore Mountain (1667'), Black Cap (2369')

Trails: Ski trails, Cranmore Trail, Black Cap Trail, Black Cap Connector

Mileage/gain: 4.6 miles, 2013' of gain

New redlining miles: 1.5

Following last weeks poor showing in the skiing department, I decided I needed to work my skis, and work on my skiing on them! Mike had gotten in touch on Tuesday night, and I gave him a rundown of what I was thinking... I don't think I was precise enough, because he was confused by my initial plan! Out of work, the inaugural Wednesday AM drive back to Conway commenced, and I hit some breakfast with Ashley and her friend Matt before getting myself together for the day. I had purchased a lift ticket the night before for Cranmore (since they require an uphill pass ($12) anyway), planning on skiing the resort after the initial climb. Mike thought I meant just taking the lift to the top, then skinning up to Black Cap and skiing back... wrong! I know there's no rule for redlining about having to start and end at the road (trailhead or wherever), with no motorized assistance, to have it "count". But in the spirit of doing it right, we skinned up the ski trails.

Part of our 1100' initial ascent

Baking in the sun, we slogged upward, staying well to the sides. We got smiles from skiers passing us, and friendly jeers from the chairlift when we neared the top... "you know there's a lift, right?!". Heading out of bounds, we passed the big tree disguised cell phone tower at the top and found the little kiosk for the Cranmore Trail.

Nice try

Skinning up the Cranmore Trail, we enjoyed the bright sun and t-shirt weather. It was super mellow and easy going, much more so than the ski trails below, which had me sweating in no time flat. Hitting the Black Cap Trail, we found it packed by snowmobiles, but softening in the warmth. Turning off the packed trail, we hit the final 0.3 mile section of Black Cap Trail up to the summit, the final length of trail for me in the Green Hills. The closest new redline to me is now significantly further away!

Nice newish signage

Firm old track in the middle, soft on the sides

Skinning up the snowmobile packed bits

Tracks

Almost to the top

Reaching the open ledges at the top, I finally got the views I was denied when I was last here in November. The skies were clear, the wind was light, and it was super pleasant in the sun, so we took a nice break near the top. Even as the snow softened around us, I found myself lamenting the end of winter. While I look forward to the warmth and renewal of spring, and the unfortunate heat of the summer, it's the cold months where I feel most alive.

A solid view (that I had to work for a bit) over to Evans Notch 

Big Dubs looking proper

Northwest view out to the Pemi

Following our break, it was time to get back to the ski area, as there were lift served laps to be had. We ended up skiing down the Black Cap Connector back to the Cranmore Trail, where the sun had softened the snowmobile track up enough to provide for some quality turns. Really we should have just skied down the ledges back to the trail... but I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities in the future. The Cranmore Trail had a decent enough angle to provide for a good cruise (with only a little uphill) back down to the kiosk.

Turning it up on the Black Cap Connector

Back down to the bottom of the lift, we got to the laps. I never even put my shell on, instead skiing in my base layer and liner gloves, and my helmet of course. I'm not sure how many laps we got in, but they were all quality. To put a finer point on it, it was hero snow. I got to really lay into my skis, and they responded like they never had before. Note to self: ski em' like you stole em'. We ended up doing some laps with Ashley and Hallie as well, before the lift shut down for the day. As much as I wanted more, I was glad when 4 o'clock came around, because my legs were toast from charging so hard. It was a superb spring day!

So that's that for the Green Hills, and leaves only 5 sections of trail remaining in the Carter/Baldface section, the largest section (both mileage and trails wise) in the White Mountain Guide. The finish creeps closer with every tenth of a mile!