Member Trip report

Snowshoe hike up Mars Hill


Trip Report/Photos from BillyB1976

Featured Photo

This was my first snowshoe hike of the season.  Bigrock ski area at Mars Hill had originally planned to open today, but pushed that date back to Dec. 26.  This gave me a chance to do a snowshoe hike up the ski slopes.  They are preparing the mountain for skiing with many snow guns going.  The snow guns actually created a cloud part way up the mountain.

It was a cold, calm and sunny day.  When I left home the temp. was 5 degrees. 

I made my way up the ski slopes, taking 48 minutes.  That is basically double what it takes in warmer weather.  The snow was well packed, but breathing in the cold air makes it harder. 

I took a break in the little hut at the top of the ski slopes.  The door was wide open.  I swept the snow off the floor and slammed the door shut when I left.

There was a lot of rime ice and snow on the trees, chairlift and towers.  I could hear ice falling from time to time. 

Once away from the snow guns it was nice and quiet.  There was no wind, so the windmills weren't moving.

I hung around at the summit for a few minutes to take in the view and have a snack.  There is a lean-to at the summit and I brushed some snow away so I'd have a clear place to sit.  It was cold, but the sun felt good.  I took off my heavier jacket and just used my lightweight jacket with only a t-shirt under it.  I didn't put the heavier jacket back on for the remainder of the trip. 

The only person I met on this hike was a guy tending the snow guns.

The distance going up was just over 1 mile, going up around 1,088 ft.  The elevation of the south peak is 1,748 ft.  The total hike was 2 hours 10 min.

When I got home the temp. had gone up to 15.

One thing I noticed on this hike that I've never seen before from Mars Hill is that the mountains in the distance looked distorted from their normal shapes.  After doing some research, a temperature inversion appears to be the cause of this.  I've posted 2 pictures at the very end to show the difference.  The second to the last picture is from this trip.  The last picture is what the view is supposed to look like, taken last summer.


Here is an interesting fact about Mars Hill.  From Wikipedia....

By virtue of its height and Northeast location, the summit of Mars Hill is the first place in the contiguous United States to see the sun rise for nearly half the year, from March 25 to September 18.[2] The first 50-star flag to see the sun in the U.S. was raised on July 4, 1960 at 4:33 AM. Fifty national guardsmen gave it a 50-gun salute.[citation needed]

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BillyB1976 Posted Dec 19, 2020 at 8:55 PM

Thanks for the comment Mike.

Gandalf Posted Dec 19, 2020 at 5:35 PM

Absolutely gorgeous!!

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