We met at 9 AM at the Underhill Center commuter lot under slighty hazy skies with a temperature around -5 F and headed up to the trailhead parking in two vehicles. It was too cold to stand around, so the first four of us started up Nebraska Notch Trail at about 9:15 while the last three finished getting their gear organized.
The trail had a dusting of snow over a packed and tracked surface. We regrouped near the high point on Nebraska Notch Trail and then continued on, reaching the Long Trail junction about 10:30. We took a short break, and then headed north on the Long Trail, which was untracked except for some old faint ski tracks, but was still firm enough that no one needed or used snowshoes. We took about a 10 minute break shortly before the Twin Brooks tenting area, when the sun, which had burned through the haze, finally peaked over the edge of the ridge.
The sun disappeared again before we reached Butler Lodge and never did much to raise the temperature, which probably peaked at about 0 F during the hike. There was only a little wind, but at these temperatures even that was enough to sting. Just before Twin Brooks we met a lone hiker who had started out from the trailhead between the departures of our two groups and who was doing the same loop in the opposite direction, and we followed his tracks the rest of the way.
We reached Butler Lodge a little after noon, where we spent about 20 minutes having lunch sheltered inside from the wind. We then headed down Butler Lodge Trail and reached the trailhead around 1:15.
Trip leader: David Hathaway
Max Seaton, Bill Moore, Robynn Albert, Wes Volk, Ted Albers, Phil Hazen