I parked and started on the Durfee Hill Road, even though I didn't plan to...

My plan was to park at the corner of Eastman Hill Road and Heisey Roads. This was the end point of map M17 and the beginning of M18. Then I would go West and tag where I turned around last week, return to the car, and hike East to MP 6.3 of map M18, Shindagin Hollow Road, where I left off 7 years ago. Then back to the car. This would have finished map M18, and picked up the missing section that I didn't get last week. Alas, it was not to be today either.

I had gotten many new things since last week.  New carbon hiking poles to replace the broken aluminum poles. Very nice Leki sticks. I also had gotten a new set of FLT maps and GPS data. And a new Garmin GPSMAP 62s along with a remote antenna. All the right gear! Plus, I had my snowshoes strapped to my pack in case I needed them. But, I didn't need them (probably because I had them with me this time!)

I drove up the Eastman Hill Road to within a quarter mile or less of the intersection, but the road wasn't plowed any farther. Then I tried Heisey Road, but it too, wasn't plowed to the intersection. So I dropped back to the worst case scenario, and went back and parked on Durfee Hill road, right where I parked last week. Just like starting over, but, oh well.

A lot of snow had melted, and because it was only 18 degrees when I started hiking (at about 6:45, still dark, using my good headlamp), when I did get to the snow pack on the trail, I didn't break through the crust. I was ready to put my snow shoes on if I started post holing like last week, but I only broke though 1 time.

Hiking up Durfee Hill Road from the car, parked at about MP 16.3 on map M17, you have a good view to the West. Which happens to be where the "super moon" was setting. It's called a super moon because the full moon is at Perigee, which means, the closest point that it comes to Earth. And this is the closest it's been in 18 years. So the moon appears to be 14% larger than usual. In any case, I took some shots of the super moon just as it was setting in the west. And in about 45 minutes, I was hiking directly into a beautiful sunrise. Kind of neat, I think!

I hiked map M17 from MP 16.3 to its end at MP 18.8. And then on to map M18. My goal was to make it to MP 6.3. At about 0.1 miles, the trail drops steeply (straight down in a few places) and it became extremely dangerous. I slipped and fell on my back once going downhill. Nothing broken, but my confidence in my footing was gone. It was a long descent, and at the bottom my knee was very stiff. That was partly due to walking and running 16.5+ yesterday, and partly due to twisting it when I fell.

Once at the bottom of the descent, there's a little road hike, and then onto a nice flat abandoned rail bed, and up through a field to White Church Road, at MP 3.0. I had decided to turn around here, and get the remainder of map M18 another time. I ate a Clif bar when I got to the road, about 2.5 hours and 5.5 miles out, and turned around.

Here is the map, and the elevation profile for the west to east half of the hike. Because of the scale, you can't really see how long and steep the hill is.

However, even though I was walking very carefully, and using my poles every step, practicing real Nordic Hiking, I fell again, this time going up hill. In a different spot, but this time I cut my hand when I landed. Or rather, my knuckle. Nothing broken, just bloody. Just another reminder of the need for extreme care when solo hiking. Even though I had my cell phone with me.

I promised myself an apple when I got to the top of the steep climb, which came at about 4 hours. From there to the car, I walked on top of the snow pack. Even though this was more difficult, it was less wear on the trail and kept my boots clean. Until, of course, I fell the third time, as my left leg broke completely through the snow pack and into a stream beneath it, and I went down on my face. I had to crawl a ways away from the break to get back on my feet, as it kept breaking more and more. Must be like that if you break through the ice on a pond.

With a very tired leg, I made it back to the car in 5:10, 5.5 trail miles one way, 11 round trip.

2011 March 20 FLT