Another short and sweet favorite we hadn't visited in a long time (7 years? Doesn't seem possible!) was Mount Martha, (Cherry Mountain). As we drove past Lincoln into the notch we drove from a mix of clouds and sun with the sun losing out in most cases. As we entered the notch that wonderful phenomenon of encountering a small, separate weather pattern, somewhat different from the surrounding region became greatly evident as rain froze upon hitting my windshield and the wipers alone couldn't keep the ice from building up and obscuring the road in front. Don't run out of wiper fluid now! We knew things would be different as we approached Twin Mountain, but we made a back up plan anyway.
The lot wasn't plowed as we arrived at the trailhead on Rte.115. We could see that the trail had been hiked, but had filled in with new snow. I looked around for a better place to leave the car than the side of the highway, but Lennon Rd. seemed a poor option, so I got the car as far off the road as I could without getting stuck and we were off, Jude and Emma in the lead. The last time we had been here the trillium at the bottom of the trail had just opened, but as we rose through the forest we came upon more that was not quite ready yet. Today there were more noticeable contrasts as well, but they were of a much different nature.
At the beginning of the hike there was just a few inches of snow which clung to the deciduous trees and clumped on the conifers. The track of previous snowshoers was obvious, though under a few inches of powder. As we rose again through the forest it was interesting to note how the snow deepened but remained the same consistency. Along some points of the lower trail the forest seems perfectly divided by the trail which splits evergreen from the leaf bearers. It certainly has to do with logging, but makes for a very interesting contrast in the forest. Higher up there are some huge birch and others that were obviously left to reseed.
Another interesting contrast as we gained elevation was that snow no longer clung to the deciduous trees as it did below us. Now they were covered in a beautiful hoar frost which gave all their branches the appearance of crystalline barbed wire. The trail breaking became harder as the snow depth continued to increase. Jude led, Emma followed, and I did my best to firm up our track while bringing up the rear. We crossed pink surveyor's tape and what looks wide enough to be a new trail, but is probably a property line, not sure? As the trail got steeper and the snow got deeper I was looking forward to reaching the junction where the trail joins another coming up from the east.
The last 2/10ths to the summit is shared with snowmobiles, so we had a firm smooth track the rest of the way. The trees were draped in snow and quite beautiful along this section. Happily, we did not have to share the trail or summit with any of the loathsome machines, although the odor of 2 cycle motor hung in the snow. For our second hike in a row we had no views, but it mattered little. What mattered was that we got out and spent a day together in a peaceful, beautiful winter forest!