Spending New Year’s in a winter wonderland in Maine was a spectacular way to say farewell to the old year and hope for fresh adventures in the new. It also gave me the opportunity to reach another milestone for my new hip. It had been at least 2 years since I had traipsed through the snow on snowshoes, so I was eager to see if I had recovered the stamina to return to this sport.
An ice storm had blanketed the area the Monday before Christmas, leaving many in the area without power until the day after the holiday. By Saturday, the area was still coated in ice; a treacherous but beautiful scene. We decided to take a practice run through the property before setting out for a hike. With a bit of an assistance from my husband to buckle my snowshoes, I was soon off exploring the area. I found a small white pine, still firmly encrusted with ice, bending unhappily under the unaccustomed weight.
Once we determined that I was pretty stable walking around in my snowshoes, we headed over to the Carriage Trail with the intention of taking it toward Mount Battie. We had traveled this trail before, reaching the peak in about 30 minutes, so we knew it should not be very difficult. But that attempt was without an appreciable amount of snow on the trail.
Starting out on the trail, there was evidence that hikers with snowshoes and cross country skies had gone before us. The first part of the trail was fairly easy with a gentle rise leading towards the turn off towards Mount Battie. We stopped occasionally, marveling at the ice that still encrusting the foliage 6 days after the storm.
The trail became a little more challenging as it rose towards Mount Battie. Pine branches that would not have interfered with our ascent during summer hikes, now needed to have their heavy, ice laden limbs pushed aside in order to let us pass. My previous experiences snowshoeing had been on the flat trails of Long Island, so as the incline of the trail increased I found it challenging to continue. My progress slowed as I trudged upwards, stopping more frequently to rest. My legs hurt. My shoulders hurt from my heavy reliance on my hiking poles. I probably overextended myself but I could see the top of the tree line and was at the point when you see a goal in sight you are determined to reach it, so I plodded on.
Eventually, the trail ended at the auto road up to the summit. We continued in the snow along the side of the road to the tower at the top of Mount Battie. Success! I had made it! It had taken a little over an hour to make it to the top. I took my victory stance before we headed back down the trail. My husband kept asking me if I wanted to stop and rest, but I was at the point if I stopped I would be done, so we continued down. Back at the house, I was glad to know that I had reached a milestone. I could go back to snowshoe hiking in the winter. I had fully recovered!