Snowshoeing to Kwai Lake

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Mount Washington has just opened so we decided to check out the snow but it would be in a different way than most. A group of friends decided to hike to Kwai Lake can camp for the night.

Unfortunately, I’ve not got the required gear for being toasty warm while camping in the snow.  My girlfriend and I would make the trip out there with them, then after some warm food and shelter building, we’d head back to a warm car and dry clothes.

We met at the Raven Lodge, Mount Washington for a later start than I had hoped.The weather report bordered on snow but we didn’t see any. The sun was trying to push its way through the greyness above but just couldn’t do it. The grey stayed dry though and I was thankful for that. I was ecstatic to be out roaming around in the snow with friends but I know some of our pack was going to be less than pleased with the conditions after several kilometers through heavy snow. Rain would definitely have put a heavy damper on the mood already made tense by anxious conversations regarding the actual whereabouts of the campsite.

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Off to a great start. Loping down the valley trail, err, road, I’m suddenly veering off into the bush attempting to keep up with the rest of the pack. It doesn’t even look like they know where we’re going. After 100 meters of bushwacking we landed on a beautiful snowshoe trail, then headed off into Paradise Meadows.Our first big decision. Straight to the easier but longer way, or left and up the hill, a shorter but tougher shoe. After some deliberation, eating and layer-changing, we head left, up the bank. Little did I know we’d be in for a rough ride.

Up and down, up and down, up and down. That’s all I could feel for the next hour. Instead of taking the nice, fluffy, flat, route that was slightly longer, we took the gnarly, steep, crazy hill. Ok, it wasn’t that bad but it felt hard at the time. I’m sure those that were with me that spent half the time hauling their snowshoes out of large holes can attest to the effort that was required to get all the way through those side hills.

After some celebration, we arrive out onto a flatter area and our, ahem, guide takes half us back into the woods for some more side-hilling instead of following the first group across the flat, fluffy snow. Like a lost dog, I follow.

The clock is ticking, and by this time the sun is getting lower and my girlfriend and I need to find our way back to our car. I was a little anxious about finding our way out by a different route. The snow makes everything look completely different. Never mind that, I had never been there before! My GPS was working flawlessly and tracked us back to the lodge with no problems.

After a short break in the snow on the way back for some warm food and hot chocolate, we collapsed into the car and started the long foggy roll down the mountain.

It was terribly disappoint to go to so much effort and turn around before we got to Kwai Lake and the campsite but it was still a great time marching around in the snow. We’ll have to get out there again and actually achieve our goal of Kwai Lake. Who’s coming!?

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