Tropical November

The snow conditions have changed a lot in the Whites since I last wrote. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving it was warm enough to hike in a t-shirt. In the afternoon I headed up the snowless Tucks Trail to the Hermit Lake Cabin. The last few holiday hikers were headed for the parking lot and long drives home.

Just before sunset I hiked into the Ravine. I was alone in the giant cirque. In late November the floor of the bowl is generally well on its way to filling with snow. This year it is instead filled with the roar of meltwater and acres of black rock.

A warm snowless November is no proof of global warming. But it does make you wonder what the Whites might look like in a warmer world. The Union of Concerned Scientists has a very interesting graphic showing the equivalent latitude NH may be at by late in the century if world carbon emissions continue to grow. Take a look.

The existence of global warming is no longer debated. That humans are causing it is also no longer debated by any legitimate scientists. Those of us who love the mountains contribute our share of carbon to the atmosphere. From the energy required to manufacture our outdoor gear to the gas fueling the drive to the trailhead there are impacts from our recreation. However, most people who love the outdoors seem to be ready to make an effort to protect it. There are many small actions that we all can take to help reduce greenhouse gases. The UCS site has a good list of modest changes that can make a big difference in your carbon footprint.

As I fell asleep I listened to ice crashing down the cliffs in the Ravine, and the meltwater roaring in the Cutler River. It sounded like spring. In November I would rather hear the sound of snow against a north window.