Elmore State Park - 2021
A winter hike can completely change the dynamic of the same hike during warmer weather. The sun was out and shinning and it was 10 degrees but with the wind chill it felt like -24. With the weather being so cold it is easy to overdress and bring to much weight, making the hike take longer than it should. Another issue is water freezing. Even if the water is insulated, when it is below freezing the water will freeze. So climbing Mount Elmore in the winter was challenging for me because I was carrying to much weight and I had no water to hydrate. Another complication is the snow, unless there were other hikers to blaze the trail for you spikes will do the trick. If not, snow shoes are essential if you want to reach the peak. So ascending up the 1,260 feet climb to Elmore was pretty easy. Arriving at the top of Elmore and being exposed to the freezing windchill proved difficult to see. My eyelashes froze so every blink they would stick together. If any skin were to be exposed for more than 15 minutes there is a good chance of getting frostbite.
At the top of Elmore there is a fire tower, I would not recommend climbing the fire tower in the winter. I am not one to be intimidated by obstacles. However there was at least 5 inches of solid ice on each step and with the wind I felt very unstable reaching the top. I had a moment of dizziness and felt like my world was spinning. I took my time and made sure each step was secure and I had a decent grip around the railing. The wind was so strong it made each step a challenge.
I reached the top, and it was so beautiful. I could not stay up long though, it was so frigid that even with all my layers I felt exposed. The tower provides a 360 view of the Green Mountains, I look forward to returning when it is warm and I can enjoy the view.