Sunday, November 29, 2009

Return to Bandera Mountain

November can't keep me from the mountains! I had never hiked on snow before, but yesterday, as part of a very relaxing Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to take on the base of Bandera Mountain. My goal was to reach Mason Lake via the Ira Spring Trail.

There was a light, soft drizzle for most of my adventure, and after just 45 minutes the trail got even more interesting as I hit snow line. My rain gear held up and my new winter hiking boots handled the terrain expertly. After just a little over an hour on the trail I left the cover of the trees and entered into a clearing that marks the approach to the summit. With the snow much deeper, I quickly put on my brand new gaiters and trudged on. Every tenth step or so I sank in into soft powder, but for the most part the trail was well packed by the snowshoes of previous travelers.

All went smoothly until just a little after 2pm, when it was clear the weather was closing in and my chances of hiking in the dark were rapidly increasing. You see, I only started to hike a little after noon (I slept in way too much), and so I was forced back before things got dangerous. Strangely, six more hikers in two seperate groups were still trying for the summit after me. They almost certainly made their decent after dark. I chatted briefly with one of them, a guy named Xeno, giving what information I could of the trail ahead.

Here are two short videos that I shot shortly after I started back down to the trailhead.