The eight of us met at the Stevensville Road Trailhead (Underhill) at 8 am. After a brief review of hiking plan and key hiking trail junctures, we embarked on our adventure at 8:05 am. Headed up Butler Lodge Trail and as normal well-traveled/packed out but some opted for microspikes and some waited until arrived at Butler Lodge. Arrived at ~ 9:20 am where took a brief break for snacks while enjoying the lodge and clear skies with sun shining. 9:30 am Marcus ate some GORP (important hiking notation). Susan decided to head back down to the trailhead as she was feeling like was the best choice regarding her general energy level today so we were now a group of 7.
Began our trek up short connection on Wampahoofus (0.1 miles) to Rock Garden Trail where the excitement begins! We encountered ice stalactites on edge of some rock escarpments which made for awesome wonders that rivaled those of Belvidere hike. Now for the awesome caving adventures of the under/over decision of the first Rock Garden structure followed by the cool Rock Garden rock crevice which some traversed while some safely opted for the inclement conditions trail by-pass. As venturing through the rock crevice, a stalactite came crashing down from edge of rock escarpment above shortly after Ted cleared the icy section thus after witnessing this large icicle crash down, no lingering in the event another was about to crash down.
Finished Rock Garden trail/arrived where intersects Maple Ridge Trail at approximately 10:45 am. Maple Ridge Trail has some cool features itself such as two steep rock scrambles, of which we had to forgo the second rock scramble due to ice accumulation on the key narrow vein for foot placement and hand grab fissure above, thus inclement bypass section was our only option. Everybody safely traversed the leap over the approximately 4 foot opening at the third obstacle. Then a few more sections of minor up and down on Maple Ridge Trail leading to final ascent of our destination, The Forehead. Ted stopped at Wampahoofus intersection to head back to Butler Lodge in his quest for his lost water bottle which he believed left in the lodge.
The now group of 6 arrived at the Forehead at 11:50 am to the warmth of the sun and no wind allowing us to actually stop and enjoy the views along with some nourishments. The views of the snow accumulations on the trees both at the summit and as we looked down made for an awesome wonder! We began our trek back down Maple Ridge to the Wampahoofus intersection at 12:10 pm and arrived at Wampahoofus at approximately 12:35 pm. The legendary Wampahoofus Trail began with the Wampahoofus, Wampahoofus chant to get pumped up for some interesting cave scrambles which rounded out our amazing hike cave features. Arrived at Butler Lodge at approximately 1 pm where regrouped with Ted without his water bottle(no luck!). Another important time notation, Robynn graced us with a trivia question regarding the Wizard of Oz at 1:05 pm.
The final descent on Butler Lodge Trail wrapped up at 1:45 pm return time to trailhead where the group of 8 was reunited and enjoyed a Poorhouse Pie in celebration of Marcus’ Birthday!
Trip Participants: Susan Tobin, Ted Albers, Cynde Strand, Jill George, Robynn Albert, Julie Cimonetti, Marcus Keely, Dale Schmit(Trip Leader). Pictures: Julie Cimonetti, Dale Schmit, Cynde Strand, Ted Albers.