Monday, March 22, 2010

Brainard Cabin and Audubon

Sunday afternoon we drove up to the Brainard Lake winter trailhead, luckily found a parking spot, and snowshoed a few miles out to the CMC cabin. We got there before the weekend day-host had left, so the cabin was already opened up with fires going.

We chilled out that evening and got an early start Monday morning to hike and snowshoe up Mt. Audubon.

It was supposed to be warm on Monday -- the temperature was 30 when we started out at 6:30 AM -- but two things kept us from feeling warm. First, we kept gaining elevation, which drops the temperature. Second, the wind got stronger as we got closer to and then above the treeline.

In the beginning there were tracks to follow from a snowshoer the day before. Once those veered off in the wrong direction, there was enough fresh snow that you couldn't tell there was a trail other than by the wider spacing between trees. We followed it as well as we could but eventually lost the trail and were on our own.

We continued up above treeline and eventually found the trail again. Above treeline there were pretty constant gusts of 30-40 MPH winds. It was a blue-sky day so we kept on going up. The sastrugi were beautiful along the way.

A few hundred vertical feet of the summit we turned around to ensure we would get back in time. The winds had really slowed us down. On the way down we were careful to stay away from the steeper slopes to avoid any possible avalanche danger. Back to the cabin to pick up a few things we left, then hiked out the road to the trailhead.

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