I am so pleased that this hike worked out well, and that we managed to reach the peak. The views were spectacular, and the trail was almost empty the whole time.
This weekend it was myself, Hubster and H. Thankfully….there was no chance for our car to reach Jennifer Dunn Trailhead, we needed H’s 4wd for this!
Temperature wise it varied between 28F and 36F throughout the drive over, we went down Route 2 and saw the beginnings of snow on the sides of the roads, but once we hit the turn up to the trail head we did not see any. I was slightly disappointed in this, I had all the right clothing and layers to play in the snow! Then……
The road up to the trailhead was not in the greatest of condition, people have obviously been up there since the windstorm, trees had been moved out the way and chopped up. Part of the side had been washed away and there were a lot of large pot holes which we were able to avoid, as well as hanging branches. Surprisingly the trailhead car park had a few cars in already, we started late arriving about 11am.
The actual trail varied on the way, from mud through to ankle deep snow. In places the snow had settled, iced over, melted and in others there simply was none. It was a warm hike, and my layers were too much. Merino wool base, winter running top, fleece and water resistant coat, this went quickly down to just base and top! Wished I had only worn my leggings and not put my hiking trousers over the top.
We started with a slow hike, and had planned to turn around at 2pm wherever we were, so that we knew we would make it down before the light left. It was so incredibly quiet.
There were a few little streams going over the path, and in one place the bridge across a bigger stream had been washed or blown away.
The snow became thicker along the path the higher we went.
I think (?) we found the Saddle point, I maybe wrong, but this was an open space where we had our first sightings of mountains. If only the sun was in a better place so I could have captured some photos. I only used my iPhone on this hike, so apologies for the photo quality! At this point I would have been happy if we did not make it to the top, I loved the view and the snow balls!
Once we carried on the path seemed to lose the snow on it, but there was more tree climbing and some washed away paths. Still we hadn’t come across anyone else and had not yet eaten! I like my food, and was particularly looking forward to a coconut Cliffe bar.
From this point onwards the snow increased. We did not need snowshoes, nor was I slipping so did not need snow-trax. Very pleased as I have yet to buy any. Oops. By this point, I had found a nice walking rhythm and found myself gaining distance between Hubster and H. They were busy talking work stuff, so that was ok. I loved finding this written in the snow::
I loved being in the snow. I made a recording of a section where I was by myself and could not hear anyone. It was incredibly silent.
We began to meet people coming down around this point. Everyone we passed spoke highly of the views at the top, so I became determined to reach it. We were very aware of the time, and gave ourselves a buffer. One person reckoned we were 40 minutes from the top, so we agreed. 40 minutes or turn back.
I was on a mission, I took my food from Hubster ate on the go and marched!! All the way to this ……
I heard the boys in the distance, saying something along the lines of “not sure how long left, maybe head back” I shouted back “I’m here, this is the peck, no further”.
It was beautiful, and yup you guessed it….my phone died.
Someone or someones had started making a snow fort up the top, and it was just us. Hubster has some photos from up the top, so I’ll nab them and put them up.
Walking back down was harder, bit slippery in the snow and for the first time I wished I had some poles. We made it down in 1 hour and 30 minutes approx. at 4:20pm, just as the light began to fade. We were the last car, and enjoyed a bumpy ride back down to the road. I love sitting in the back of H’s car, I can sit crossed legged and snooze. So that is exactly what I did!!
This was an amazing hike, I really enjoyed it, fitness wise it was not too hard. It was 7.5 miles upwards, and had spectacular views at the peak. What more could one ask for?