Phil Hazen picked up Jill, Mark, and David at various spots and we headed up to the Long Trail crossing on Rt 242 in Jay. The trail was completely unbroken so we all donned snowshoes which stayed on for the entire trip. It was overcast and in the 20s F as we started out around 10:10 AM. The trail was sparsely but reasonably well marked with white painted wood rectangles as we slanted up across the slope to the Gilpin Mt ridge.
We lost the trail for the first time shortly before reaching the signed South Gilpin summit around 11:20. From that point on the little blazing we saw was even more sparse and was mostly very faded white paint. So the rest of the trip was in reality pretty much of a bushwhack, aided by GPS. We stayed mostly on course to Domey’s Dome, with only one spot in which we wandered around very much, and reached it around 12:40. After a short lunch break we continued. We separated a bit looking for the trail, and David (with GPS) headed on a bearing toward Buchanan, while Phil, Markm and Jill followed a ridge which looked like a more reasonable descent route, but was actually at roughly a right angle to the Buchanan heading. We had gotten out of earshot of each other, so the three stopped and were considering how to find David when he tracked back to their tracks and found them. We then got back on a bearing for Buchanan and reached it around 3 PM.
Although we all had headlamps we decided not to continue on to Bruce Peak. So after a short rest we headed back. The sun came out just after we left the Buchanan summit so we had clear blue skies for our return trip. We made much better time on the way back since we followed our tracks (including all our meandering) and weren’t breaking trail or route finding, reaching road around 5:40.
Participants: Jill George, Mark McLane, Phil Hazen, David Hathaway (leader).