Ward Pound Ridge Reservation - Cross River, Kimberly Bridge, Deer Hollow
February 6, 2022
Distance: 5 Mi
Elevation Gain: 577 Ft
After an over 3 month break, I decided to retrace a hike I did last year at this time: Ward Pound Ridge Reservation - Deer Hollow, Cross River, Kimberly Bridge. I wanted to experience again the beautiful snowy and icy views of the Cross River.
I've done 4 snow-covered hikes in the past. All of them were through light, powdery snow with only tiny patches of ice in very small doses. Today's hike was very different – the entire journey was over frozen solid ice or hard, crunchy, frozen snow. It was my first time encountering conditions like this, but I came well prepared with a set of crampons I bought in last fall. After much research, I settled on the Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System, which fit over my existing Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX Hiking Boots.
I arrived at the Kimberly Bridge parking lot and started my hike north on the Deer Hollow trail (DH blazes) just before 1:30pm. I immediately noticed the trail was completely covered in ice. I had no idea what to expect, but I was quickly blown away at the ease with which I could walk across the icy ground. I tested the spikes a bit, trying to slide my feet, twist my feet, and every combination I could think of to make myself lose footing. I simply could not! No matter which way I walked or moved, the spikes had me covered. I realized this was going to be a really smooth and stable journey. I can't even imagine if I didn't have these. I would have either had to turn around and go home, or simply do a much shorter, much slower paced hike across very slippery conditions.
Throughout the day, I encountered icy inclines, icy declines, and ice so smooth it looked like panes of glass. Never once did I feel any sort of slippage or instability in my walking. The only "problems" I faced were a couple spots where the ice was thin enough to give way to the ground underneath, but that would have happened whether I was wearing the spikes or not. I seriously recommend these for anyone that even has a remote chance of encountering ice. I wasn't able to test them in soft, powdery snow today, but I cannot imagine there would be any problems. If anything, I could see them helping with footing there too!
At intersection #3, I took the Brown trail (brown circular blazes) to the left (westerly) and continued following the Cross River off to my left. There's something special about this river in the warmer months, but nothing compares to seeing it weave through patches of snow and ice. I soon made it to intersection #2, encountering one of the bridges that spans the Cross River. It's always fun to photograph from different angles here. After that brief stop, I continued west and encountered the second bridge at intersection #1. A few more bridge photos, then I continued clockwise on the Brown trail.
Passing intersections 46, 45, and 44, I stopped at intersection 5 to decide where to go next. On my other visits, I had always continued on the Brown trail loop. Today I decided to switch to the longer Deer Hollow loop, slightly farther north. Not too far into this trail, I found a treasure: a wooden registry box. The notebook inside looked full, so I did not sign.
Continuing on, I encountered the entrance to the Town of Lewisboro Nature Preserve. I didn't have the time to explore today, but perhaps this might be a nice detour on a future trip. I continued my clockwise journey, passing a private horse farm off to the left at some point before intersection 40. I passed a marshy, swampy area that looked cool frozen over with ice.
I kept heading south, crossing over Reservation Road at one point to meet up with the Cross River again. I followed the banks of the river until I was back at the Kimberly Bridge parking area to conclude my trip.
I was really pleased with this hike. Temperatures were in the low 20s with very little wind, so as long as I was moving along, I barely noticed the cold. The only time I realized the chill in the air was when I stopped for a lunch break and was no longer active. With all of my layers, the rest of the journey almost felt like a spring afternoon.