After a trip to Walmart in Mexico this morning where we score some hard to find racks of beef ribs and were checked out by a very nice young lady who had little or no teeth, we pondered what to do with the rest of our day. We decided to go and make a bid for the Table Rock Loop in Grafton Notch. This was a new venture for us as we had never done that loop before. It is situated literally across the road and across the valley from one of our favorite loops, the Eyebrow. Portions of these loops are parts of the famed Appalachian Trail.
By the time we had completed all of our chores and had lunch, it was well after noon. Not the best time to start planning an outing in the mountains in the winter but just about our style. We threw a bunch of gear together and jumped into the truck for the 15 mile drive to the trail-head lot. I packed extra junk just in case but of course nobody knew where we were or where we were going. A quick internet search on trails.com told us that the loop was fairly mild, should take a couple hours and was about 2.5 miles. Perfect as we had a few hours until dark by the time we departed. I like having a little buffer but not so much as to make it boring or anything. We but the snowshoes on and headed out.
At the split for the loop we noted that the counter clockwise route was not broken. Naturally we opted for that route, assuming that it was the harder leg and that we could and would turn back if the trail was too difficult and that we could always then opt for the broken route. Almost instantly we started climbing into drifted snow. The trail became steep and then we started clambering up a boulder field that had drifted snow and ample peril. We continued for some time but eventually common sense took over and I pulled the plug. Of course, descending was even harder in that terrain but we emerged unscathed.
We made it down without issue and decided to take the tracked route up as far as time would allow. As it turned out, we were able to make it to the crest and got to take in the view at the top of Table Rock. The trip back down was uneventful and quick and we got back to the lot by 4:10PM with a solid 20 minutes of light left to spare. From there we stopped at the Sunday River Brewery to re-hydrate with some Wednesday 3-7PM $1.50 drafts. Back home for some grilled beef ribs and garden salad and the day was complete. Vacation is good.
Up for tomorrow will likely be another outing on the skate skis, possibly at Bretton Woods or the Balsams. Stay tuned.