With the drop from high 50s F the evening before to below 10F in the morning and the wintry mix that came with it, roads were bad. So several people canceled and we ended up with only three people from Underhill Center, each with less than three miles to drive to the 9 AM meeting place. We took one car up to the trailhead, and needed AWD and four good snow tires to traverse the last bit of road from the former Maple Leaf Farm to the trailhead and started up the trail around 9:20 with light snow falling.
One of our group wanted to be back by 1 PM, so we did a slightly shortened version of the planned trip, heading up the ski trails to just north of Twin Brooks tenting area instead of taking the Nebraska Notch trail. After the thaw of the previous two days there was still enough water under the top layer of snow to make for around a lot of wet spots as we headed up the ski trail, and we battled repeated buildups of ice balls on our snowshoes.
We hit the Long Trail around 10:20, and from there ran into a lot of crusty snow that was often not quite strong enough to hold our weight, even with snowshoes, so our pace was a bit halting in spots. We reached Butler Lodge around 11:15 where we spent about 10 or 15 minutes for lunch, then headed back out into the cold. The snow had stopped, but the temperature had been dropping, and the wind coming up the trail was fierce.
So the first part of the descent was pretty cold, but it improved markedly as we got lower, and we caught glimpses of blue sky above. We passed a couple other Underhill Center folks with three dogs near the bottom, and reached the car just before 1 PM, where we met a couple other folks headed up Nebraska Notch trail.
Participants: Rob Gordon, Laura Selman, David Hathaway (leader).