By the time Christmas arrived, we were getting pretty weary of the wintery mix of snow to rain turning everything to ice when the temperatures climbed to 40 during the day then dropped to 10 at night. Still, we needed to get out and walk off the indulgences of the holiday, so we grabbed our micro-spikes and headed off to the Carriage Road Trail. We would soon be thankful that we had donned the proper equipment for the journey before us.
When we arrived at the trailhead we studied the icy incline a minute before continuing our uphill adventure. These conditions continued all the way to the top of Mount Battie. And yet, there is something about ice that touches the imagination with its unique artwork, something about the extraordinary crystal formations that touches our souls. Although it was difficult walking on trails where the packed down snow had turned to ice, (especially where the indentations left by previous travelers tried to trip the unsuspecting hiker) I still had to pause and observe some of the artwork that reformed in those depressions where continuous melting and re-freezing of the snow had left behind some beautiful multi-layered designs.
At times, it was a little difficult locating the blue blazes that marked the trail, but the benefit of hiking in the winter is that you can easily follow the tracks of those who have gone before you. The Carriage Road Trail continued to switch back and forth up the hill as we slowly made progress towards our destination. Halfway up, I stopped to point out a rather large boulder that reminded me of a turtle. I could see the large hump of its shell before the stone narrowed and I could make out two small feet alongside its head. Below the turtle head there was a large gap in the stone, where I thought some creature could easily take up residence for the winter.
Further up, when the path turned again we found ourselves walking alongside a small ravine of running water. Near the bank I studied the rocks where the once melting snow left behind an interesting ripple pattern where the running water froze once more. As the trail turned away from the stream, we made our last push towards the top of the hill.
The trail ended on the Mount Battie auto road where we walked the short distance towards the tower. Even though there was still plenty of daylight left, the cloud cover indicated otherwise. We stayed a bit, enjoying the play of light through the clouds and the newly renovated tower before heading back down the Carriage Road Trail.