Sunday, January 16, 2011

Land of the Glass Pinecones

No, This post isn't about the quirky cult hit by Human Sexual Response, but in thinking up a name for the post it popped into my head, and I was sure BigBikes would appreciate the nod to a BackBay Band.

This post is about a snow-shoe excursion to Crystal Gorge Conservation Land in Haverhill.

Crystal Gorge isn't very big. It's only 65 acres with less than 2 miles of trails, but I've managed to string together a loop that incorporates an additional 3/4 mile or so from a trail off the parcel and one section that doubles back on itself to get a solid 5 K out of it. If you run it it in both directions, the rocky terrain with the tight twisty singletrack and short steep rises offers a challenging 10K run.

Since I was on snowshoes yesterday, I opted for one 5K loop, with took me nearly 90 minutes in the 16" deep snow. Fortunately, this area got mostly light fluffy snow from the last storm, so trudging through wasn't nearly as tough as it could have been.

It's rare that I get to pop a trail cherry, but since the trail head hadn't really been plowed, less than half the trails had previously been trod upon.

I happened upon a deer nest.

My Faithful Canine Companion waded through chest-deep snow for the whole 90 minutes.

Another virgin trail.

It's a good thing I know the trails, following the markers wasn't exactly handy.

One of the charms of this little slice of haverhill are the extreme-for-the-area geographical features.

I'm about to go up this 30 feet granite feature to the left. Yes, this actually a marked trail.

My snow shoe tracks show the path.

The Pooch taking a break from climbing the granite face in the deep snow.

Another granite feature in the parcel. It's tough to tell from this badly stitched picture, but on the right is a ten foot granite ledge in two tiers. At sometime in the past, the horizontal pine tree slid off the ledge and landed on the next tier, and then continued to grow at a right angle. The trail curves to the left per the marker on the right angle pine.

The trail goes over the stone wall, under the fallen tree, then back over the stone wall and to the left up a rise over to the right angle pine.

The Pooch after the excursion in the back of my car.

A close-up of the ice balls bound to her feet.

What she reminded me of....


solobreak said...

I love their cover of "Kool Jerk"

zencycle said...

yeah, one of the few songs to ever have the dubious distinction of "banned everywhere".