Saturday, January 18, 2020
Start: Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead/The Cog
End: Appalachia/Valley Way trailhead
Elevation gain/loss: 4986′
I started out from the Cog around 8am. I attempted to cross the river, but couldn’t safely get across to join the Jewell trail, so I decided to just hike up the semi-packed swath next to the Cog instead. It added a bit of elevation gain and miles, but I wasn’t confident in bushwhacking through the forest to get to the Jewell trail, and I didn’t know if that trail was packed down. The hike up the Cog was onerous – steep and merciless; it took me 2 hours to go 2 miles. Granted, I gained more than 2,000′ over that distance. Once I made the trail intersection, I headed to the left, towards Clay. In the cols between Washington and Clay and Clay and Jefferson, there were some deep snow drifts, getting up to thigh deep. I swapped out snowshoes for my spikes, but found myself suffering for that decision. There wasn’t yet enough snow to fill in the holes between rocks, so I kept twisting my ankles as my snowshoes were caught by rocks. But I needed my snowshoes for the climb up Jefferson, as there were deep snow drifts on the uphill that gave me trouble even in snowshoes. People had come through going downhill in spikes, and while they didn’t have trouble, I did since I was going uphill. Eventually, on the way down Adams, I switched out my snowshoes for spikes, because I was fed up with catching the snowshoes in the rocks. I had to wade through a few snow drifts, but overall, the spikes were a better choice for the remainder of the trail. I made it to the hut and went up Madison, encountering a couple hiking together as well as a group of 8 young men. I had the cold windy summit to myself and then hoofed it back down. I took a quick break at the hut to have a snack and drink, and then slid my way down Valley Way, making very good time.