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Monday, December 14, 2009

Bald Mt. and Artists Bluff with Fred and Carl, December 12, 2009

Jeremy Clark recently introduced me to Fred Shirley, an avid New England hiker who often explores the trails with his seven year old grandson, Carl. The four of us had planned on ascending Mt. Jackson today, but a few factors forced us to reconsider our agenda. Carl has not yet climbed a 4K, and though he is an enthusiastic and very capable hiker, Fred and I agreed that something more laid back would be a better choice for this subzero, snow filled day. We settled on the Bald Mountain-Artists Bluff loop. Carl could practice using snowshoes, and Alex and I could enjoy seeing Sage's favorite route adorned in winter-white.

We arrived at the parking area, geared up, and turned the kids loose. They happily ran up the unbroken trail.

The snow was only a few inches deep and therefore easy to walk on. The ledges, however, posed a temporary problem. Well, actually, they only posed a problem for me -- both kids and Fred scrambled up without slipping once. This old lady had to attempt the ascent several times before finally making it to the top.

The summit felt nippy, but it offered some wonderful views.

After consuming our fill of hot chocolate, we descended the ledges the only way sliding on our fannies.

Next up was Artists Bluff. The snowshoeing was easy, and we were at the lookout in short order.

Carl and Alex had a grand time playing on, around, and under a couple of the boulders.

The kids could have stayed up there all day, but I was getting chilly and looking forward to lunch at the local pizzeria. We convinced Alex and Carl to head down the trail ahead of us; they happily obliged and gleefully trotted through the snow toward the road.

After finishing our hike with the traditional, serious photograph...

...we ambled up the road, climbed into the car, and joined Hugh and Sage in Lincoln for a hot meal and great conversation.

A nice day in the cold and snowy woods.

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