Six of us met at the Middlesex Park and Ride at 8:30. We took two cars and drove in tandem up the confusing back road route to the end of the plowed portion of North Bear Swamp Road, which is the winter access for the Middlesex Trail, about a quarter mile from the trailhead. There is ample parking there along the sides and “end” of the road, as long as folks take care not to block driveways. From there we set out around 9:15, walking down the unplowed section of road on mostly packed snow, passing the Highland cattle farm on the way. At the Y in the road we stayed to the right, continuing past the overflow/alternate parking area, rather than dipping down left to the official trailhead and older established parking area, since the trail from there soon comes up to meet the woods road that we were now on. We continued walking on the woods road a ways until seeing the “Trail” sign on the left pointing up the hill. We then started climbing on what was now a real “trail”, encountering a mixture of packed snow, rock, wet gravel/leaves (but not mud per se) and a moderate amount of ice, with most of us choosing to put on spikes. The few small water crossings were navigated without too much trouble. We reached the junction with the Bob Kemp Trail about 10:15. There we turned right to stay on the Middlesex Trail toward Hunger Mountain, getting up the steeper sections without too much trouble (sections which at other times in winter can be really quite difficult), and even found packed snow instead of ice underfoot on the steep open slabs near the top. We reached the summit around 11:15. We found the trail signs there had fallen over so Dave H and Ken managed to prop them back up with rocks, taking care to make sure they ended up back pointing in the correct directions! After a short early lunch/snack break to take in the views and appreciate the near lack of wind, we left the summit around 11:35 and continued down the other side, descending about a tenth of a mile on the Waterbury Trail. We were relieved to find that this very steep section of trail was packed snow as well and not the ice flow we had been anticipating. When we reached the trail junction with the White Rock Trail on the left, we found it had been broken out days before, but by bare boots, not snowshoes, so was heavily post-holed. Conditions were such with the snow being hard and crusty enough that we opted to step in the existing post holes or on the crust rather than putting on our own snowshoes, figuring we weren’t going to make the trail any worse, and the benefits of snowshoes would have been marginal at best. The White Rock trail can be difficult to follow in the winter, but fortunately those bare booters who had broken out the trail obviously knew the trail well and had stayed right on course. We continued on the trail down through the woods and then up to the first open ledge where we could look back at Hunger and up at the White Rock summit immediately above us. We continued past the Bob Kemp Trail junction and onto the spur trail leading to the White Rock summit, traveling across more open ledges, up a steep rock face, then up a short but tricky scramble, reaching the White Rock summit around 12:30. After another lunch/snack break and views, we left the summit around 12:50. One hiker (me), foolishly tried to cross a small patch of water-covered ice at the bottom of the rock face without my spikes on (having taken them off temporarily while crossing the rocks), slipped and fell and bonked my forehead on the ice. Fortunately I was lucky and quickly recovered with only minor injury, and after putting my spikes back on(!), we descended on the Bob Kemp Trail then Middlesex Trail, reaching our cars around 2:30(after getting a good look at the magnificent Highland cattle munching on hay as we passed by!). It was a really fun hike with a great group of people! Participants: Julie Cimonetti, Ken Corey, Alan Finn, Dave Seissen, Dave Hathaway, Jill George (trip leader).