On a scouting trip two days earlier, I’d found a curtain of ice completely blocking the narrow ledge approach to the cave. I managed to get past it and through the cave, but it was pretty tricky, as was descending the ladder in the cave in snowshoes, and climbing the narrow ramp out of the cave (see three ice pictures below – not from the group hike). So I decided the group should skip Clara Bow and do an in and out trip on the LT.

After a number of folks dropped out and two from meetup didn’t show, the five of us who met at the Underhill Center commuter lot at 8:30 piled into one car and drove up to the Stevensville Road trailhead. There were almost no spots left, as the lot was full of back country skiers. While we were getting ready someone who was leaving got stuck with their left wheels in deep snow, so three of us joined a number of others to help push them out. We started up the trail at 9:05 with under partly overcast skies with temps near freezing. Because I’d encountered some postholing from previous hikers higher up and some unbroken trail with deep drifts along the beaver pond and on the final descent to Taylor Lodge on my scouting trip, we all wore snowshoes from the start, though the trail was pretty packed until we reached the brook. We reached Taylor around 10:46 and had some early lunch (and neglected to take any pictures). Then two folks started down when the other three (or five?) climbed up tot he Lake Mansfield overlook, then hurried to catch up with the others, which we did just before the steep climb up from the brook. Then back down the trail to the car, which we reached around about 1:10. A great hike and a fun group.

Participants: Helena Nicolay, Greg Bostock, Rich Douglass, Erin Cohen, David Hathaway (leader).

Photos: David, Erin, Rich.