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28 March 2014

XC-Skiing at Great Glen Trails (Pinkham Notch)

Since there about ten facilities with groomed trail systems within an hour's drive of my home, it's sort of surprising, even to me, that this is the first year I've branched out into the world of XC-skiing on groomed trails.  It's been a nice addition to my overall Nordic skiing experience!  In prior years I've skied off the beaten path though open woodlands, logging roads, etc.  For future winter seasons, I'll likely do a bit of both types of skiing since both are appealing to me in different ways.

The weather forecast for the next several days included rain and daytime temperatures in the upper 40s, possibly even low 50s.  Considering that, plus the fact that it was the last week in March, I could see the handwriting on the wall.  This pretty much spelled the end of any quality XC-skiing for at least several days, and perhaps for the entire season.  So, as a grand finale to what could be my last great Nordic adventure of the year, I decided to ski on the groomed trails at Great Glen Trails.  I was eager to try out this place since I have a passion for doing things that are new to me, and this would fit into that category since it would be the first time I'd ever skied at this facility.

The conditions for skiing at this particular location were phenomenal.  Possibly the best I've had this season!  The overall experience was further enhanced by the picturesque backdrops of the Presidential and Carter-Wildcat mountain ranges.  The only unpleasantness was of my own making.  I skied and skied for several hours until my legs muscles burned and demanded that I call it a day!  It was similar to the cliché of "shop till you drop"!

And so, you might ask, what are some of the sights you saw during your delightful day at Great Glen Trails?  The snapshots presented below show some highlights of this ski adventure.  And just as a side note, there are a few photos with captions making reference to trail names.  One thing I've noticed about Nordic ski centers is that they have a talent for coming up with odd and often humorous names for their trails.  They are unlike hiking trails which generally incorporate the name of a destination, or a topographic feature such as a brook, etc.
Great Glen Trails has a gorgeous location within the White Mountains.  Even before arriving at the facility, there are many attractive views.  I stopped at a roadside pull-off to take the photo shown above. 

While skiing the trails, there are many places where you can see stunning sights, such as this view of Mt. Adams and Mt. Madison.  This photo was taken from the Great Grumpy Grade (how do they come up with the these trail names?) :-)
Exterior of the cabin at Great Angel Station (at junction of trails named Libby Trace and Dragon Corridor)
Looking through a window at mountain vistas from inside the cabin at Great Angel Station
Had a very pleasant lunch at this picnic table with an impressive view.  There was no wind, the air temperature was in the low 30s, and the bright sun made it feel even warmer.
Besides distant vistas of magnificent mountains, other attractive sights were close by, such as the vignette shown in the above photo which was taken along Dragon Corridor, not far from Fuzzbottom Brake.
Although winds were mild at the surface, air currents in the upper atmosphere were strong and produced lenticular cloud formations sometimes referred to as "flying saucer clouds".  This photo collage shows a few of the lenticulars seen during my ski trek.
Okay, this last photo is just for fun.  A mountain feature that could be seen during this trek was something often referred to as "Jefferson's Knees".  When first pointed out to me many years ago, I was told that it helps to imagine Thomas Jefferson's head perched atop Mt. Jefferson.  So, with a bit of photo trickery, there you have it!


Rita Wechter said...

Loved your last photo, John! As I was scrolling down I thought there was a mistake in the photo when the first thing I saw was a picture of Thomas Jefferson! Isn't it great what we can do with digital technology?

I've liked your series of posts on the groomed cross-country trails available in your area. You have so many opportunities to ski in beautiful places. The cabin looks like a cozy place to take a break. But the al fresco lunch at that picnic table looks even better.

Thanks for another fine post, and for giving me ideas for future cross-country ski trips to New England!

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Rita for posting your thoughts about this report.

From reading your blog over the years, I know that you also have a fine selection of facilities for Nordic-style skiing in the western part of the U.S. where you live. And, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, each ski-center offers its own unique vistas and amenities. At Great Glen, there were exceptional views from their nicely groomed trails, and I especially enjoyed the rustic cabin and adjacent picnic table with a view.