There is still plenty of snow in the mountains. Unlike last year, the first week of April finds the trails covered in snow. Here at the AMC's Highland Center in Crawford Notch, all hiking trails are well covered with snow and the snow pack is 17 inches in the woods. Don't let the bare spots of grass in the field in front of the Highland Center decieve you! However, with the warmer afternoons now even the well packed trails are getting quite soft and tough to walk on by noon, so bring snowshoes.
With the warmer days comes the awakening of the trees, including the famous Sugar Maple. Here at the Highland Center we tap about 15 trees on our property for the purpose of education and public awareness of our tasty natural resources. We give regular Maple Sugaring walks on our property, so look to sign up if you're visiting the Highland Center.
The sap in maple trees tends to start running when the temperature gets above 40 degrees. This past Easter weekend we collected about 30 gallons of sap from 15 trees. The sap is running clear and sweet right now. When the sap starts to look cloudy and tastes not so sweet or "green", then the sap run is over for the year and not worth collecting. The cooler temperatures this spring have allowed for an extended sugaring season, unlike last season, when 80 degree temperatures in March caused all the sap to flow at once. When it gets to warm for to long, the trees metabolize up their stored sugars for energy before we get much of a chance to enjoy and collect the sweet sap. Sap collection was low in most places last year and Maple Syrup was expensive as a result. Sugar Maple sap is usually about two percent sugar when it starts to flow in the spring, so 40 gallons of sap are required to make one gallon of maple syrup!
Enjoy and learn about the sugaring season while it lasts and come visit the Highland Center within the next week. You'll also have the chance to enjoy skiing and snowshoes opportunities still to be had with our generous snow pack as well. Winter is blending into spring nicely right now.
Highland Center Adventure Guide
April woods in Crawford Notch
Sap dripping into bucket on 4/4
Sap Collection Bucket on Sugar Maple tree behind Highland Center