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TRIP REPORT: Dog days of winter (Day 2)

March 12, 2013 - Morgan Ryan
Sunday morning came early thanks to daylight savings time.

I woke up, threw on my still-damp clothes from the day before and got in the car for another day of adventure. The two early birds of our group had once again done the dirty work by positioning a car at the end of the trail on Blue Ridge Road.


We met them in the Frontier Town parking lot at Exit 29 off the Northway then drove down to Exit 28 and Schroon Lake. We weaved through a few different frost-heaved backroads for about eight miles to reach the end of Loch Muller Road and the beginning of the Hoffman Notch trail.

The immediate start of the trail was treacherous, with a steep downhill on an icy, post-holed surface right off the bat. My legs were still tired from the day before and not quite awake enough to take on this tricky descent. I'm pretty sure all four of us went down on that first hill.

That wake-up call was followed by numerous stream crossings that forced us to unclip and carry our skis several times. We would be breaking trail the rest of the day.

After less than a mile of slow going, we decided to strap on the snowshoes until we got to more skiable terrain.

The views of surrounding ridges through the notch made the slow going worth our while.

We did eventually get skis back on our feet for many miles of rollicking and challenging backcountry trail skiing. All in all, we probably skied about 6.5 of the 7.5 miles of the total trip.

We passed through the ravine and reached Big Marsh after 3.8 miles. Here I am mugging for the camera on the pond.

The terrain smoothed out after Big Marsh and we enjoyed a relaxing final 3.7 miles to Blue Ridge Road and our vehicle. Somehow, we were able to jam three stinky, muddy dogs and four tired, sweaty humans into the car for the drive south down the Northway back to our cars in Loch Muller. The 7.5-mile trip took us about seven-and-a-half hours.

A monstrous burger and a beer at Flanagan's Pub in Schroon Lake capped off the incredible weekend nicely.


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