Ten of us met at the trailhead at 9. We set out around 9:20 in spikes, in preparation for the wide water crossing over Hedgehog Brook just down from the parking area. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough ice for a safe crossing at that location, due to recent rain and thaw events, so we were obliged to take an alternate route. Upon leaving the road we all switched to snowshoes, and in a short time had rejoined the Hedgehog Brook trail. Despite the recent rain/thaw/freezing rain weather events, the rain had soaked into the several inches of snowpack on the trail and there was virtually no ice, even once we hit the Long Trail. This trail often doesn’t get much traffic in the winter, which in this case was a benefit to us. The trail conditions throughout the hike were quite good–unusual for this trail in the winter–with the front folks breaking trail through a few inches of crusty snow and those further back having an easier time on the now packed snow. Even the numerous small water crossings, which are often problematic in winter, were easily navigated, and the steep sections were nicely snow covered. The exception was one spot near the summit where most of the group got off trail and scraped the snow off steep rock, making it increasingly difficult for those descending that way. The actual trail in that section, however, which travels along a narrow ledge with an 8 foot drop off, was arguably equally difficult, since the crust on the narrow ledge was slippery and slanted, requiring very firm setting of snowshoe crampons to avoid sliding off. We also benefited from the fact that the hikers who had been up the trail before the previous snow, whose faint print indentations we were following, had known their way, so we stayed on trail nearly the entire time (also fairly unusual for this hike in winter). Once we got up on the series of open ledges, the trees were heavily encrusted with layers of snow and ice to a degree none of us recalled ever seeing before, and so thick the tree branches didn’t even move when touched. It was an amazing sight! We reached the summit shortly after noon, had a brief lunch break, and were back down to cars shortly after 2. Participants: Julie, Susan, Jonna, Jules, Andy, Chris, Robynn, Dale, Marcus, and Jill (trip leader). Photos: Chris Luczynski.