SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
The extreme cold weather has exhausted much of the country. It has also been tough for people who love getting outdoors this time of year. But we can always count on North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann to send us an audio postcard - this time, from a snowy Alpine trek in New York's Adirondack Mountains.
BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: The day starts great with a snowshoe trail someone else has opened through waist-deep snow.
EMILY RUSSELL: There is a little bit of snow falling right now but also a little bit of blue skies peeking through.
MANN: Emily Russell's a good friend, fellow journalist and frequent climbing partner. Soon, we're crossing the Hudson River on a shaky little cable bridge.
Wow. This is crazy. It's a little high-wire act feel.
This far north, the Hudson is a muscular mountain stream, half covered in ice. On the other side, we snowshoe across a frozen lake.
RUSSELL: Great view of the mountains around us. But it's just so still and quiet. And we're so deep into the wilderness.
(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD CHIRPING)
MANN: It's so cold out you can hear the trees crack. We hike on, and here's where the day gets tricky. We're climbing a summit called Mount Adams. And Emily and I reach a point where no one's broken trail for us. So we trade off going first, plowing step by step through deep, crusty snow. It's like climbing stairs made of sand up a 150-story building.
RUSSELL: It's as mentally tough as it is physically tough to take a step and slide back down.
MANN: It's not graceful. At one point, I tumble into a mountain stream hidden under the snow. On one of the steep sections, Emily loses her balance.
RUSSELL: I fell completely on my back.
MANN: You just - it was like a turtle.
MANN: You slowly...
MANN: ...Toppled over.
We keep going. And it's worth it.
RUSSELL: We're above the tree line now. Everything is just covered in white, really snowy, cold.
MANN: The sun sweeps across icy peaks all around us. The view is mythical. It's like we've left New York state and stumbled into a version of winter straight out of Narnia. Brian Mann, NPR News in New York's Adirondack Mountains.