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Old 05-08-2013, 12:40 PM   #6
rdl's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: East Aurora, NY
Posts: 643
A snow spine is formed when hiking/shoeing on snow and compressing the snow underfoot -- this will melt more slowly than the surrounding uncompressed snow resulting in a ridge or spine typically right in the middle of a trail as that is where the majority of the winter traffic is.

Melting will often happen from the ground up as well so some sections of a snow spine are basically suspended in air and remain in place due to the binding action of snow/ice. Nothing impossible to hike on but caution is necessary...

Some other more secluded options which may see less traffic are the Sewards, which use the Corey's trailhead, or the Santanonis which has a trailhead along the Upper Works road. Both of these options are "trailless" though so you should be comfortable using map and compass.

A hike that I did a few years ago on the Victoria Day holiday weekend was an excellent hike and I saw very few people -- required a car shuttle however. I hiked the NPT from Long Lake and then cut over towards Newcomb and came out at the Camp Santanoni parking area. This was 2-3 days, relatively low level terrain so no snow and luckily was before bug season kicked in. Great scenery along Long Lake and nice views of the Sewards and Santanonis.
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