By Deb Carroll
The dashboard thermometer in my car read 14° as I made the left turn onto the road that leads to Grafton Notch. Being so excited to see my friends, I forgot to look at the temperature when I got that the trailhead. So let’s just say it was cold… Really cold. And windy.
Within a few minutes of arriving at the parking lot the four of us were bundled up, wearing our packs, and heading for the trail. A fresh layer of snow – about three or 4 inches of fresh powder over several inches of base – had fallen the night before. Although someone had been on the trail in previous days and done the hard work of packing the base, we were the first people out on that particular day.
Once we got into the woods, the wind all but stopped. We walked along the Appalachian Trail through the lovely winter landscape and took the second right turn, almost a mile in, onto the blue blazed side trail that led to Table Rock. We were surprised that the skies were relatively clear when we eventually emerged onto Table Rock. Old Speck was visible, beautiful, and covered with snow. The wind wasn’t as bad as we had expected, but it was still cold. We lingered on the rock’s exposed the ledge for a few photos and a few laughs, and then headed back down the mountain.
Although there were two cars in the parking lot other than ours, we didn’t see anyone else on the trail, and so we assumed that they were climbing Old Speck.
The 2.6 mile round trip hike to table rock was a great way to spend a crisp but sunny mid-December morning. It was a great day for the first Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust Next Century winter series hike.
See you on the trail!