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Blueberry Ledges winter snowshoe

Well, here it is Friday and I am just now getting my weekly post out, I even went on a hike last weekend. Anyone else have trouble staying focused? I am like a squirrel, running here, running there. Oh look, something shiny!

What a beautiful day out on the trails Sunday, it was warm, sunny and no wind. We went just in time. This week's weather has been brutal. One day we thought the house was going to blow away. That was the day we couldn't keep the house warm even though the furnace was running constantly - almost constantly. I had something to do with that, as hubby keeps reminding me.

My writing/craft/office is in our basement. That sounds like a terrible place to be creative, but it isn't. It is a daylight cellar with two slider-doors and two floor to ceiling windows equaling twenty-four feet of glass looking out to the lake and on clear days, way off in the distance, I can see Katahdin on the horizon calling me to visit her. It isn't such a bad place to be stuck at home on cold winter days and Covid stay-at-home orders.

Before I reminisce about the hike though, I'd like to share what I did Tuesday. Since March 2nd was Read Across America Day, I conducted top-of-the-hour free live readings on Facebook from my books. It was far from polished and by the 7th reading, I was getting a little tongue-tided and loopy. It was just one little way I could give back. But those readings were the cause of our house being so dreadfully cold. Well, it was really my fault.

I share my work area with the furnace room. At first, I didn't like that, but when the furnace runs, it creates white noise blocking out any other sounds that may come from upstairs. The day of my live readings, I needed to shut it off so it wouldn't be heard during the readings. At the top of the hour on ten hours on the coldest and windiest day this winter season, I silenced the furnace for about 20 minutes. But then at my 6pm reading, I forgot to turn it back on as we were in a hurry to leave the house for a meeting. While others around the state and Northeast were without power due to no fault of their own, my absent mindedness caused our bout with chilling inside temps.

Now on to the hike. Last week, Bruce and I chose Sunday as our commit-to-a-hike day since the forecast showed that day to have the best weather. Baxter via way of the Golden Road was our itinerary. We had never been to the park in the winter time so we wanted to check it out. We knew the park tote road is closed during the winter months. We knew the Golden Road was accessible but also had never traveled that in the winter time either, that we remembered.

We gave ourselves the luxury of sleeping in, neither one of us have been sleeping well. By the time we gathered all our day hiking gear and drove the hour and half to the trailhead parking, it was 11:30am. The parking lot was full of cars, several of them topped in snow. That was inspiring, it meant their owners were doing some backcountry winter adventures.

Blueberry Ledges was our destination, slightly short of two miles in. An easy hike in the summer time and just as easy that day as previous hikers broke trail making it smooth for us. Even with its gentle terrain and slow rise of roughly 300 feet over the two miles, I still needed frequent but short breaks. Sometimes, more often than not lately, I feel so hypocritical. I write about outdoor adventure while at the same time I have gotten so out of shape by not doing consistently, the very thing I write about. I won't give up. I know this is just a terrible phase I am going through and before I know it I will be out there on a regular basis.

It was so nice to be outside with the sun in our face. Once we left the heavily traveled Golden road it wasn't long before the quietness of the woods set in. The log book informed us there was only one other small group headed to the same place we were. I was looking forward to a peaceful day. Even though we have been starved of socialization like everyone during this pandemic, when I take to the wilderness, I prefer the solitude.

Before we came to the junction of our trail and the main trail used to access Baxter in the winter, we passed a crew from Daicey Pond with their loaded Polk sleds in tow. They were just finishing up a multi-day excursion in the park. How I envied them. Next year. Seeing them and remembering the posts of a fellow adventurer writer, Carey Kish, who just recently did some winter backcountry hiking in Baxter, made me realize if I don't get out of my funk, I will not be able to do adventures like I want to.

Enough words, let's let the pictures do some story-telling for a bit.

Blueberry Ledges is just that, a semi-open area with acres of granite ledges and a stream that flows through the area. The ledges are not cliff type, but rather rolling exposed rock. And yes, there are blueberry patches scattered around as well. But in the winter there are no berries and the ledges are hidden beneath the snow making the area look more like a field than exposed stone. About three feet of snow buried the ledges, as I found out when I stepped off the beaten path without my snowshoes on.

Our favorite part of the hike was the nap we took at the Ledges. We unfolded our padded sit-upon and reclined on the soft snow against our packs. We sat in silence leaning against each other saying nothing as the sun warmed our faces and the peacefulness filled our spirits.

This was our first "real" snowshoe adventure for the season. I don't count the ones I do from our house. Not sure why I don't, I have had some good ones. Unfortunately, it will be my last for the season also. My snowshoes failed. I have been having a challenge with them off and on for a couple seasons now. last season I think I wrote about them failing. Add to that my boots that I have refused to retire because they are expensive and I just don't want to say good-bye to them, but they caused a blister on each heel.

With the snowshoes failing and the worn boots causing blisters, I finally said, ENOUGH! I can't do this to myself. I head to the woods for therapy. But it doesn't do much good if I don't have the right gear. So I won't be going snowshoeing again this season. Walks on the camp road will have to do. It won't be long though and we will be able to get the bikes out.

I am in the market for new snowshoes. That will be fun. I so love to go gear shopping. If I can't get outside for green therapy then retail therapy is the next best thing, that can be an adventure all by itself. While shopping can be fun, it is just a means to an end. The real joy is using that gear to take me someplace far from home into the wild so I can take a nap.

Happy Hiking,



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