Forecasted temps at Cannon were looking like teens at best with wind at a decent clip for Saturday. Ever since that fateful day at Jay I seem to get frostbite on my nose and cheeks really easily in anything under 20 degrees. But I can get away with those temps if I'm working a bit harder consistently and if the terrain is a bit flatter or uphill in one direction.
I dropped Bill a line saying I was thinking about opting out and trying to think of a good light tour to do instead. He liked the idea and pitched Elbow Pond just outside North Woodstock about 1/3 of the way up Gonzo Pass. Seemed like as good an idea as any so we set to meet at 10.
There is actually a pretty established snow machine road called Elbow Pond Rd with a street sign and everything off Rt. 118 with a little parking lot (and firing range!). Bill brought some of the crew; Barb, Tumble, Kristen, Cheese, and Constance...plenty of people to fish someone out if they went through the ice. We started on the snow machine road for a bit until taking a right onto a nice singletrack trail. There was a decent track set with about 1-2in of fresh fluff on top...perfect.
at times the singletrack would widen out a bit, nice corridor to let 'em run.
We hit the pond at about 2mi or so and stopped for some pics and some hot chocolate. This is probably the second or third trip I've been on with Bill when hes had the foresight to bring a thermos. A nice hot beverage way out in the woods is pretty damn nice. I might need to add a nice thermos to a birthday or xmas list soon.
We all started making our way around the edge of the pond planning on crossing over and making a little loop of it. Tumble was going along the edge in some weedy terrain and actually broke through some crusty ice and just barely touched into a little muddy spring that hadn't really froze over that well. His foot barely got wet but some in the party were a tad spooked and wanted to turn back and head out the way we had come in.
Bill and I had been a bit farther out onto the pond and the ice was rock solid. We did a little looking at each other and chatted about sticking with the group or venturing out. I had really wanted to cross the pond and make a loop of it rather than an out and back and nobody was going to be solo so we decided to go for it. Crossing the pond was a bit harry, not because of ice but because of wind. As soon as you got exposed out there it was whipping across at a decent clip. Luckily its not a very big pond and we were crossing at the 'elbow' of Elbow Pond so it wasn't that wide. We got a bit more shelter on the other side and got back and hooked up with the snowmachine road without issue.
It was a quick haul back and we actually beat the other crew to the turn off we had taken earlier in the day. It was a quick tour, predominantly flat but very enjoyable and you could probably make it quite a bit longer with a bit more exploring around the pond. Good little area to have in your back pocket ready to go on a day you just want to mix it up a bit and keep it low key. I'm sure I'll be back.