After opening and playing with our new Christmas presents last weekend, Andrew and Lindsay were anxious to get outside. Lindsay had hoped for enough snow to get out on skis and the couple of new inches that fell on Christmas day provided the best opportunity. We headed down to our local park: Moose Brook State Park in search of a possible incongruous ledge mass in the floor of the Perkins Brook valley that Andrew wanted to explore. Both trails that paralell the brook, the Perkins Path and the CCC Perimeter Trail, follow on high banks away from the valley floor in this section, providing a mysterious area not easily viewed from either trail.
The snow was thin, but just enough to ski. The thin snow also meant that there wasn’t quite enough for the snowmobilers to get out on their trails. This was a welcome treat since the Berry Farm Road (closed to wheeled vehicles) serves as a hiking/skiing/snowmobile trail. Nothing like zipping down a trail on skis and trying to guess how close the snowmachine is by the sound of the motor!
We headed up the Berry Farm Road following many hiker and dog walker tracks. We turned off the road at the second left onto the CCC Perimeter Trail. If we thought the snow was light on the road, we found the snow in the woods even thinner. Luckily we were both on a pair of “found” skis and didn’t think too much about scraping up the bottoms with rocks and roots. Back in the fall and summer, Andrew had pulled his truck over for “free skis” on the side of the road and alas we both had a new pair of skis!
On the CCC Perimeter Trail Lindsay was easily distracted by fox and bobcat tracks while Andrew peaked into the woods toward Perkins Brook looking for his mystery ledge. A few days ago Andrew had been out in these woods with a co-worker doing some trail work when they both noticed a large rock face. They didn’t have time to check out at the time, but Andrew knew he’d have an opportunity to get out on his day off.
We continued skiing on the trail stepping over several small streams until we came to a stream that was too wide to think about crossing. We didn’t plan on going much further anyway and Lindsay struggled with the crossings more than Andrew. So we turned around, crossed back over the streams to a spot that Andrew thought was where the ledge might be down by Perkins Brook.
After we took our skiis off and hung our poles on a branch, we made our way down a steep slope toward the brook. The ski boots and thin snow made the bushwack down slippery, but it was a short trip to the bottom. We walked along the brook first downstream then upstream looking for the mystery ledge. But there was no big rock ledge to be seen. Andrew wondered if the snow in the trees and the setting sun had tricked them into seeing something that really wasn’t there.
We explored further noting where the brook got plugged recently and changed courses. Maybe from Hurricane Irene? Lindsay found some claw marks on a tree while Andrew crossed part of the brook. With shrugging shoulders, Andrew and Lindsay found their way back up the steep embankment to the trail.
We skied back up to Berry Farm Road and zipped down the road in no time. The new skies worked great and we wondered why anyone would get rid of them. Maybe they got new pairs? Maybe they don’t like to ski anymore? Before we knew it we were back in the truck and home again to enjoy our new gifts from Santa. It was a short adventure, but a much needed fresh air break.
We hope all our readers had an enjoyable and restful holiday season!