Looking to get something quick but still mountainous under our belts today, we chose short and relatively-close-to-Ottawa Ampersand Mountain, as hiking companion Brian needed to be back relatively early to run an errand. We arrived at the trailhead shortly after 8:30 a.m., and were on the trail by 9. For mid-January, we were surprised at how little snow depth existed at the trailhead - perhaps an inch or two - and decided to go bareboot with microspikes.
Although it was decently below the freezing mark, the air was still and our brisk walking soon made us feel plenty warm. The trudge in along the mostly flat terrain to the base of Ampersand's slopes went by rapidly.
The snow depth increased only very slightly as we ascended the slopes of Ampersand's northwest flank. A few lobes and runs of ice here and there were easily dispatched by our microspikes - even the partially broken ones Brian was wearing. Snow depth remained minimal, all the way up to Ampersand's ridgeline.
The still air and coating of fresh snow lent an air of pristine serenity as we walked between huge boulders and crags on the final few steps towards Ampersand's top. At the edge of the open terrain surrounding the summit, we paused to take some nice photos of the bleak scene, accentuated by a faint sun, straining to be seen through a thin gray layer of clouds. The pictures may look cold, but the lack of wind and reasonably moderate temperatures made the in-person experience rather tame. A few flakes drifted down through the remarkably still air.
Brian reaches trees' edge
The scenic walk up Ampersand's open bedrock to the summit marker was over quickly. Although the sky was overcast and it was lightly snowing, visibility was fairly decent, allowing us to see a few tens of miles in all directions.
Unlike most of our Ampersand visits, where we usually loiter about on top for quite some time, we and turned headed back down within a few minutes - Brian's appointments later in the day dictated a tighter schedule.
With good traction and easy trail conditions, we cruised back down to the flats in short order, followed by an unremarkable trudge back to the highway. Somewhat noteable, however, was the fact that this had been our fastest ascent of Ampersand, clocking in at a reasonably swift three hours and a half. You'll also be happy to know that we successfully deposited Brian back in Ottawa well in time for his 4:30pm errand.
Interactive trackmap with photo points - Ampersand Mtn - click map to view
Hike Data - Ampersand Mountain
* : +/- 75 feet