AMC Outdoors, January/February 2003
Mohamed Ellozy, 65, is a retired engineer who lives in Campton, N.H. Since 1995, he’s been a hike leader for the Boston Chapter.
Q. What was your first winter hiking experience?
A. I had done some cross-country skiing, was not very good at it, but enjoyed the “winter wonderland” aspect. So one winter I bought a pair of snowshoes, and finally one day put them on and went part of the way to Greeley Pond. It was lots of fun! Later that winter I did a couple of other trips, one all the way to Lonesome Lake and one almost to the summit of Mount Tecumseh.
Q. Is this what got you hooked
A. No, I got hooked gradually the next year. I took the New Hampshire Chapter course at Cardigan, then went on an introductory winter trip or two. Then I did a much bigger trip, up Mount Liberty, my first winter 4,000-footer. On the way down the leader asked me whether I was going to do the remaining 47, and I said yes, if I could. I have just two left right now. I would say that it was on the Liberty trip that I got really hooked — I had done a half dozen trips before.
Q. How often do you go hiking in winter?
A. I try to go out both days of each weekend, year round.
Q. What was your best moment on a winter peak or trail?
A. I enjoy the feeling of my body working well under what some might call difficult conditions. While I love beautiful, calm days above treeline, I also enjoy fighting the wind and getting to the summit in spite of it. I enjoy the snowy woods, the open hardwoods low down and the snow-covered spruce higher up. And the views. I enjoy the companionship on the trail, and even more so in camp.
My best moment was watching a full moon rise as we were camped up beside Mount Monroe, a bit south of Lakes. There was no wind, so we stayed out late, watching the moon shine on the snowy, icy world.
Q. What’s a piece of gear you’re never without in winter?
A. Sorry, no sound-bite reply here. I strongly believe that when going out — in summer or winter — you should be able to spend a night out if necessary. That means as a minimum lots of clothes, including a down jacket and very heavy fleece pants for hanging around camp, insulated ground pad, and a stove and pot shared by the group for melting snow as well as making warm drinks.
Q. What’s your favorite Northeast winter destination?
A. Baxter State Park. I hope to return to camp at Slide Dam this winter.
Q.What would your recommendations be to a first-time winter hiker?
A. Just do it!