Since the last weekend in March was sunny and warm, we headed over to the Camden Hills State Park Carriage Trail. Our hope was to hike this to the Carriage Road Trail, ending up at the top of Mount Battie. We had done this trail a number of times in three different seasons and found it a relatively easy hike. We did not anticipate the difficulties of walking the trail in early spring with snow still on the ground.
With plenty of snow still around, but melting enough for some ground exposure on the path, we decided that we should be able to get by using micro-spikes instead of snowshoes. Parking along Route 52, we donned our micro-spikes and set out on the Carriage Trail. Towards the center of the trail, the snow was packed ice where other travelers had gone before. I found that this time of year, much of the time is spent looking done to avoid what my daughter refers to as “post holes”. There are the knee deep holes left by those wandering about without snowshoes or skies when the snow was still soft.
Eventually the trail split at the Carriage Road Trail. Turning right on to this trail, it wasn’t long before we realized we would not make it to the top. Evidence of previous travelers dwindled down to just a handful. As a result, the snow was still very soft. We soon discovered that without snowshoes, we would be making our own “post holes” all the way to the top. Not wishing to put in the necessary effort of climbing up a trail and sinking up to our knees with each step, we turned back.
Hoping to get some benefit from a day in the woods, when we reached the trail split we turned back on to the Carriage Trail towards Maiden Cliff. This took us a bit further along towards snow covered bridges where we admired several displays of ice formations near the streams. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before we reached another dead end. We stopped at a rather unstable looking bridge that should have deposited us on the trail across the stream. But looking across the bridge, all we saw was water. Peering down the line of water, we could just make out another trail marker painted on a tree right next to the stream. It was clear this hike was not to be.
As we turned to retrace our steps, I admired a moss covered rock. Surely the bright green display was a sign that spring would be here soon? For now, it looks like our spring hiking in the woods will have to wait.